The McLaren Elva is the latest example of this

McLaren unveiled the Elva supercar earlier this week, and among its many unique features, it included one that has become trendy among supercar brands in recent years. Folks, the Elva is the first production McLaren that doesn’t have a windshield. In fact, it doesn’t have a roof, either. Windows? What are those?

As striking and unique as the Elva is, it’s not the first performance car to adopt this kind of appearance. In this decade alone, there have been a number of other performance vehicles that were created with the little-to-no-windshield design. Some arrived as concepts while others turned into production models. Either way, these five vehicles pulled the design off to varying degrees of success.

Aston Martin CC100 Speedster Concept

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The Aston Martin CC100 Speedster Concept technically has a windshield - It’s barely a windshield - but still, it’s there.

Unveiled in 2013, the CC100 Speedster was released as a celebration of Aston Martin’s only victory at the 24 Hours of Le Mans. It comes as no surprise that the Le Mans-winning DBR1 served as the main inspiration behind the concept, though it must be said that Aston Martin took certain design liberties to give the concept a design that lived up to the design trends of the current decade.

You could chalk up the speedster-style body and the see-through doors as products of that goal, but it’s the invisible windscreen that caught a lot of people’s attention. Not only did it make the CC100 Speedster Concept look sexy as heck, but it also showed that Aston Martin wasn’t beyond getting a little creative in showcasing its future design language. Parts of the concept’s design have since found their way into current Aston Martin models so I’d say the CC100 served its purpose, even if the invisible windshield didn’t make it anywhere close to any of Aston Martin’s current model lineup.

2014 Aston Martin CC100 High Resolution Exterior Wallpaper quality
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For what it’s worth, the CC Speedster was powered by a zesty V-12 engine that produced 565 horsepower. The unit was paired with a six-speed sequential transmission that sent power to the CC100’s rear wheels, enabling the concept to sprint from 0 to 60 mph in four seconds on its way to an electronically limited top speed of 180 mph.

Aston Martin CC100 Speedster Concept specifications
Engine V-12
Horsepower 565
0 to 60 mph 4 seconds
Top Speed 180 mph

Read our full review on the 2014 Aston Martin CC100 Speedster Concept

Lamborghini Aventador J

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Introduced at the 2012 Geneva Motor Show, the Aventador J was unforgettable for a number of things, including its roofless and windowless Barchetta-style configuration.

The Aventador J was powered by the same 6.5-liter V-12 engine as the standard Aventador, producing the same output of 690 horsepower and 509 pound-feet of torque.

2012 Lamborghini Aventador J High Resolution Exterior Wallpaper quality
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For the most part, though, the Aventador J was a truly singular creation. Only the front hood, front fender, rear fender, and headlights remain from Lambo’s big V-12 coupe. All its other panels were created new and in-house, as per the directive of then-CEO Stephan Winkelmann. The Aventador J also didn’t have a radio or air conditioning, largely due to weight-saving reasons. It’s also the only model of its kind in the world. Yes, there’s only one Lamborghini Aventador J in the world, and, most astonishingly, it only took Lamborghini’s team of designers and engineers six weeks to develop and build the car from the ground up.

Lamborghini Aventador J specifications
Engine 6.5-liter V-12
Horsepower 690
Torque 509
0 to 60 mph 2.9 seconds
Top Speed 186 mph

Read our full review on the 2012 Lamborghini Aventador J

Ferrari Monza SP1 and Monza SP2

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For an automaker that prides itself on dropping bombshells, Ferrari outdid itself last year when it dropped not one but two head-turning, four-wheeled specimens.

The Ferrari Monza SP1 and Monza SP2 were low slung, carbon fiber-bodied speedsters that drew inspiration from a slew of old-school Ferrari race cars like the 166MM, 250 Testarossa, and 750 Monza.

The two models shared a lot of things in common — both had scissor doors and no windshields — but for the most part, each brought something unique to the table.

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The SP1, for example, was a single-seater speedster where the driver’s cockpit was located on one side of the car. The Monza SP2, however, came with two independent cockpits that were separated by a center section. Both the Monza SP1 and SP2 utilized the same 6.5-liter V-12 engine that powers the Ferrari 812 Superfast. The engine’s output for both cars added up to 799 horsepower and 530 pound-feet of torque, making both Monza SPs slightly more powerful than the model from which they borrowed their respective engines. Oh, and about the lack of a windshield? That’s not entirely true, at least according to Ferrari, which indicated that both Monza SPs actually came with a “Virtual Windshield.”

Ferrari Monza SP1 and Monza SP2 specifications
Engine 6.5-liter V-12
Horsepower 799
Torque 530
0 to 60 mph 2.9 seconds
Top Speed 190 mph

Read our full reviews on the Ferrari Monza SP1 and Monza SP2

Mazda MX-5 Superlight

2010 Mazda MX-5 Superlight
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Before any of the other cars on this list came to existence, there was the Mazda MX-5 Superlight, a bare-bones version of the third-generation NC MX-5 that the Japanese automaker unveiled at the 2010 Frankfurt Motor Show.

The MX-5 Superlight was a one-off showpiece that Mazda unveiled to emphasize the roadster’s lightweight nature, something that Mazda really emphasized with the MX-5.

The MX-5 Superlight was a roofless, windowless, and windshield-less car that featured a few quirky design elements. The sculpted, aerodynamic bolsters behind both seats, for example, served as roll bars and housed the LED brake lights. The carbon-fiber hood extension protruded into the cabin and served as the top for the lightweight plastic and carbon-fiber dashboard. The interior didn’t have air conditioning, carpeting, and sound insulation because Mazda wanted to keep the concept’s weight down. The car’s track was widened 2.0 inches and the ride height lowered by 1.1 inches to ensure aerodynamic balance.

2010 Mazda MX-5 Superlight
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The MX-5 Superlight was powered by the Miata’s Euro-spec 1.8-liter four-cylinder that produced 125 horsepower and 123 pound-feet of torque. Visually, the Mazda MX-5 Superlight looked stunning. It still does. But that’s all we ever got to see from the concept because as soon as the 2010 Frankfurt Motor Show ended, the Superlight faded into black.

Mazda MX-5 Superlight specifications
Engine 1.8-liter four-cylinder
Horsepower 125
Torque 123
0 to 60 mph 8.9 seconds
Top Speed 130 mph

Read our full review on the 2010 Mazda MX-5 Superlight

McLaren Elva

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The McLaren Elva is the latest in a growing number of windowless and roofless performance models that have come out in recent years.

The Elva, which takes its name from the McLaren-Elva M1A of the 1960s, is an open-top supercar that pays homage to a design principle that was previously used by the car it shares its name with.

The Elva has no windows to speak of, though you could buy a windshield as an option in certain markets, including the U.S. where you must buy one if you want to take the Elva out on the road. Unlike some of the models in this list, the Elva will be produced and sold in McLaren’s key local and global markets. 399 units are planned with each model priced at $1.69 million.

The New McLaren Elva Is Faster Than the Senna, Lighter Than Any Other Modern Road-Going McLaren Exterior
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It’s the latest McLaren to come out of the brand’s Ultimate Series lineup, a fitting inclusion for a car that’s powered by a 4.0-liter twin-turbocharged V-8 engine that produces 804 horsepower and 590 pound-feet of torque. Best be quick if you want to buy the Elva; deliveries of McLaren’s latest limited-run super will begin in a year’s time.

McLaren Elva specifications
Engine 4.0-liter twin-turbocharged V-8
Horsepower 804
Torque 590
0 to 60 mph 3.0 seconds

Check out more details on the 2020 McLaren Elva

Kirby Garlitos
Automotive Aftermarket Expert - kirby@topspeed.com
Kirby’s first exposure into the world of automobiles happened when he caught Knight Rider on television as a five-year old boy. David Hasselhoff didn’t leave much of an impression on him (that happened later on in Baywatch), but KITT certainly did. To this day, Kirby remains convinced that he will one day own a car with the same ‘spirit’ as the original KITT (not the 2008 monstrosity). He doesn't know when that will be, but until then, he’s committed to expressing his love for KITT, and all cars for that matter, here at TopSpeed.  Read More
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