Back to the Future

Local photographer and auto enthusiast Dan Cutrona takes a spin in an exotic McLaren sports car.

Photography and text by Dan Cutrona

The British Invasion is a term most often associated with the arrival of the The Beatles on American soil in the 1960s. Reaching further back into the history books, it could also be used to describe the arrival of the Pilgrims in the 1620s. In 2016, a new type of British invasion took place on the South Shore. This time, instead of four blokes from Liverpool, we got four wheels from west of London and a state-of-the-art Norwell showroom for the exotic British carmaker McLaren.

It’s hard to describe the stunning example of automotive engineering that is the McLaren 570S. What would the Pilgrims have thought of this newfangled technology? I decided to take a spin down to Plimoth Plantation to find out.

The car’s spacious trunk, or rather its “frunk,” located under the front hood, easily swallows up my camera bag, multiple light stands and a tripod. Crossing over the carbon fiber door sill, I slide into the sculpted seats of the 560-horsepower beast and push the start button. The rear tailpipes bark authoritatively, letting me know I’m dealing with a supercar. In my mind, I’m shouting “Take my money!” But alas, an extra $225,000 dollars is nowhere to be found.

Driving down Route 3 is uneventful, in a good way. I feel in full command of the road, sitting go-kart-close to the ground but with a surprisingly good view of everything, even out the back. Try that in a Lamborghini. Cruising along at 65 mph, the 8-cylinder engine is extremely civilized. But with a touch of the gas pedal it transforms like a lightning bolt giving life to Frankenstein. This dual personality makes the McLaren truly special.

Upon arriving at Plimoth Plantation, a crowd quickly gathers. Elementary school kids on a field trip are expecting to see butter being churned, not the pinnacle of British automotive engineering. The contrast is startling and the Pilgrims I meet drop their baskets to examine this “spaceship” from another time.

Whether or not you’re a Pilgrim, the McLaren is a sight to behold. Everywhere I stop, heads turn and the attention is inescapable. On the way home, I test the manual paddles and try to achieve the 3.0 sec 0-60 mph claim. I barely need to shift the gears to achieve my goal. As the car reaches 6,000 and then 7,000 rpm, the engine crescendos and I laugh out loud at the symphony playing right behind my ears. I don’t even dare reach the 8,100 rpm redline since I know that I could never come close to exploring the limits of this car on a public road.

At this point every nerve in my body is tingling and childhood dreams of becoming a racecar driver foolishly begin to creep into my head. Reality has become warped. I start thinking, “What do I need to do, so I can do this forever?” But I love my first-born child just a little too much to make that deal. And I hand the keys back, feeling stunned—like an actual Pilgrim catching a glimpse of the future.

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