McLaren today unveiled the Speedtail, a wild, 1035-hp hybrid unlike anything we've seen before. There are a lot of distinct features about the car, but one of the most (which you can see above) is its three-seat layout. Like the iconic McLaren F1, the driver sits in the middle, flanked by two passenger seats in a delta formation. This makes the Speedtail unique among new cars. . . and not totally street legal in the US.
A that using a three-seat layout meant the automaker wasn't able to fit side airbags, which are required by law for any new car sold in the US. Since only 106 examples of the Speedtail are to be built, McLaren decided not to bother with engineering the car for this one requirement. Additionally, the Speedtail has two retractable rear-facing cameras replacing traditional side mirrors, which also aren't legal in the US.
But, Motor Authority reports that the Speedtail can be brought into the US and registered for road use under the Show or Display exemption. This law, passed in 1999, allows for certain cars that don't comply with federal standards to be brought into the US for, well, show and display. Cars imported can be registered, but only driven 2500 miles a year, though it's unclear how strictly that law is enforced.
Funny enough, the McLaren F1 wasn't initially US-legal either, since it lacked necessary front crash protection and side markers. A company called Ameritech was able to federalize seven examples, while the rest can be brought in under Show or Display.
McLaren confirmed to Motor Authority that 35 of the 106 Speedtails to be built are going to American buyers. You can assume some of those 35 will come to the States, while others may stay in Europe because, as Motor Authority points out, if you can afford a $2.25 million McLaren, you can probably afford to keep it overseas.
Plus, American Speedtail owners will be able to drive their cars freely in the country. . . in 2045, since under current US law, any non-federalized car over 25 years old can be registered for road use. McLaren says Speedtail deliveries commence in 2020, so 25 years from then, they'll be able to drive around this great country as much as their owners want.