One of the unexpected impacts of the current Covid-19 pandemic is that my traditional idea of a daily driver is currently dead. There is a chance that it might get resurrected at some point in the future but right now it is gone. With most offices still closed, and likely to remain so well into 2021, my daily commute has gone from a 30-minute drive to the office, to a 10 second walk down the stairs. While moving and temporary retirement (we use the term “retirement” in our family very loosely, Mrs. SSO has already retired and unretired twice, and the 1st (of several) times my brother, the “Wine Collector” retired he was 35) has had some impact, it’s the lack of the needing to go to an office for any reason that has really altered things. No longer is dropping myself into the driver’s seat of the McLaren 650S Spider one of the first things I do every day.
With the end of the daily driver designation, I now find myself going through a decision tree every time I need to head out. The “where” I am going has taken on much more significance lately. With all the social unrest, for the first time in a very long time, I am hesitant to take a supercar into any area that might be considered even remotely risky. A year ago, this wasn’t much of a concern but in the last several months, things have changed rather dramatically. If there is any question on the “where”, the only car that gets the call is the SUV. The “what” I will be doing is another major sorting question. If it is more of an “errand”, than the McLaren 650S Spider gets the call, if it’s more of a “drive”, then the “with who” becomes a big part of the decision. If the “with who” is Karen (Mrs. SSO) then it normally comes down to the McLaren 720S Spider or 675LT Spider. The McLaren 720S Spider is clearly Karen’s favorite as she has a very high degree of appreciation for just how smooth and quick the 720S Spider is on the back-country roads in our area. On occasion I can talk her into going out in the McLaren Senna but the Ferrari F40 (its currently off for major mechanical work, more on that seperately) is a much harder sell. It seems Karen still has a few scars from the 10 hours I kept her “incarcerated” in the F40 one day when we drove from Bern to Tuscany (F40 Italian Road Trip) a few years ago. As a result, most of my seat time in both the Senna and F40 has been on solo weekend drives this year.
The net result of all of this is the McLaren 650S Spider is seeing less use this year. The other cars are probably seeing more frequent use than they might under normal circumstances even if overall mileage is probably down as we have not done any road trips this year, nor are we attending any events. However, the one car that has been most impacted is the Porsche 911 (997.2) GT3 RS which is basically stranded out in Montana. Due to Covid, we never went back out to Big Sky this summer, so it’s just been sitting quite lonely on its own in the garage. I have tried to get it shipping east but that turned out to be quite difficult given the current situation. I hate to have any of our cars sit unused, but this is quite an extraordinary situation. I’ve even debated flying out to Montana and driving the 911 GT3 RS back east.
So, is this the end of the line for loyal, reliable, and trustworthy McLaren 650S Spider as you certainly don’t need a supercar of this caliber for doing runs to the grocery store? That’s highly unlikely for a number of reasons. First of all, our 650S Spider has been a terrific, very well-built car. It’s been completely reliable and is aging well. I’ve found through experience that when you get a car like this, hold on to it. Second, the 650S Spider now sits on the gentle part of the depreciation curve and the all-in cost (maintenance + fuel + insurance + depreciation) of running it each year now is quite modest. Third, who knows what the future might bring. No one even remotely accurately predicted what 2020 would look like and 2021 is anyone’s guess given the huge number of known unknowns we are currently facing. If I look at a number of professional opportunities I have been discussing recently, almost all would involve some sort of commuting to an office (or airport) on at least a semi regular basis once things reopen. In all the longer-range scenarios, the McLaren 650S Spider will get its old job back. If this turns out not to be the case, given that you can fit snow tires on the 650S Spider and winter mode works well, I might take it out to Montana and keep it there year-round.
In summary, Covid and other recent events have had a significant impact on the way our cars are getting used this year. Frequency across the range has increased while total mileage for the year will definitely be down vs. a normal year given the absence of a few long road trips. Use cases carefully constructed to justify each acquisition have gone out the window and we are now in a situation where it is more about making sure each car is getting used on a regular basis. A return to normal can’t come soon enough.
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