29 Nov 2016

$45 million worth of McLaren supercars roll onto ferry

12:55 pm on 29 November 2016

In what could be the most expensive cargo the Interislander ferry has ever carried, about $45 million worth of McLaren cars have headed across Cook Strait on the Kaitaki.

About 30 supercars, driven from Auckland, rolled onto the 9am Wellington to Picton sailing as part of the brand's luxury tour to celebrate designer Bruce McLaren in the country of his birth.

McLaren supercars on the Interislander ferry Kaitaki.

McLaren supercars on the Interislander ferry Kaitaki this morning. Photo: RNZ / Kate Gudsell

One of them, a 1990s McLaren F1, parked on the lower deck among everyday cars and trucks is said to be worth $20 million alone. That car has been brought over from Australia.

Drivers from around the world are taking part in the trip organised by the UK-based McLaren company.

Formula One driver and friend of Bruce McLaren Derek Bell is at the wheel of a 675 LT supercar emblazoned with a Union Jack.

The car Derek Bell is driving a 675 LT

Formula One driver Derek Bell is driving this 675 LT supercar. Photo: RNZ / Kate Gudsell

He's been to New Zealand twice before, to race.

"To come back on this event, particularly in what it's in aid of and celebrating Bruce's legacy, is pretty spectacular."

He didn't seem daunted by the idea of driving on quake-damaged roads once the cars reached the South Island.

"Everybody keeps saying there's lots of potholes but I mean we're quite capable drivers and probably can miss them. But there were some fairly bumpy roads coming up here."

He was initially concerned when he heard about the earthquakes "and then it came back to us that really perhaps people needed to see something a bit exciting ... to take their minds off the problems."

The 1990s F1 worth about $20m

A 1990s F1 - worth about $20 million, on the ferry deck. Photo: RNZ / Kate Gudsell

And what about leaving the cars down on a ferry deck in among the hoi polloi?

Mr Bell wasn't worried.

"You're going past trucks on the freeway and there's logs and things and rocks coming off the side of the hills - you just drive them because it's a car."

If you're wondering what a McLaren might set you back, the price tag starts at the $300,000 mark for the cheaper end of the range, according to Trade Me.