The McLaren MP4-12C was officially unveiled today, a moment that, like most things McLaren, made us think of the man himself. Bruce McLaren is long dead, but his undeniable coolness lives on. Which car company has the coolest founder?
Coolness, of course, is relative. There is fanatic cool, as in the case of Ettore Bugatti, who was known for withholding paychecks to keep his factory running. There is quiet, determined genius cool, a quality found in subdued people like Ferdinand Porsche or Soichiro Honda. And there is enigmatic, batshit-crazy cool, found in guys like Harry Miller or the much-maligned Johnny Z.
Because we are an impressionable lot and have McLaren on the brain today, our vote goes to Kiwi Bruce. The man who gave the world the coolest chunks of orange ever built was a driver, an engineer, an inventor, and a charismatic free thinker from the wilds of New Zealand. As Wikipedia so helpfully reminds us, he effectively penned his own epitaph in his book From the Cockpit, writing about the death of friend Timmy Mayer:
"The news that he had died instantly was a terrible shock to all of us, but who is to say that he had not seen more, done more and learned more in his few years than many people do in a lifetime? To do something well is so worthwhile that to die trying to do it better cannot be foolhardy. It would be a waste of life to do nothing with one's ability, for I feel that life is measured in achievement, not in years alone."
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