Amanda Toh - Steckler talks to David Khoo about the McLaren 'Ultimate Series' super-sportscars in her collection of exotica
Singapore - The Top Trumps brigade may beg to differ, but super-sportscars are a lot more than just a litany of technical specifications, equipment and features.
We like to believe that the stuff of our fantasy garages transcends the empirical in favour of the emotional and evocative, because these cars are deep in the category of ‘wants’!
When you’re in a position to indulge in ‘wants’, the technical nitty-gritty ceases to have any real meaning and believe it or not, even ‘regular’ supercars can become too… ordinary!
In such a rarefied realm where one’s fantasy is another’s reality, it’ll take an even rarer extraordinary exotic to sing to your heart and stir your soul.
However, before you go digging deep into the nooks of your washing machine and crannies of your couch for some loose change, you should understand that there’s a lot more than just stumping up the three-, six- or nine-million big ones for a hyper-exotic.
In a segment flush with moneyed collectors with the means to indulge their flights of fancy, having the hard cash is the minimum price of admission, but scoring an allocation is another matter entirely.
After all, such extraordinary special models are allocated only to the extraordinary and the individual behind the order is far more important than dollars and cents – remember what we said about emotional versus empirical?
We’re in the company of philanthropist and investor (she’s also brought the Killiney Kopitiam chain to the USA) – the lovely, candid and high-energy Amanda Toh-Steckler and her tasty selection of rather rare McLarens she’s shipped into Singapore (from the USA) for a family affair.
As a side-note that should interest exotic car spotters and petrolheads, her super-sportscars will stay on till the Singapore Grand Prix weekend (30th Sept to 2nd Oct) for a mega McLaren showcase called 'McLaren: The Legacy Lives On', which is open to the public and will feature a smorgasbord of at least 15 other models.
Mind you, these are just the McLarens – Amanda’s collection is diverse and encompasses the likes of Pagani, GMA (yes, THAT Gordon Murray of McLaren F1 fame) and Koenigsegg, as well as the more limited models from Lamborghini and Ferrari.
Naturally, we have to ask, “So, how did you first get into fast cars?”
“My lovely husband Vince introduced me to supercars and the McLaren brand in 2013 and my first-ever McLaren was a Volcano Red 12C Spider – I loved the curves and the colour. In fact, I still have the 12C Spider today, even though I’ve since added several of the McLaren ‘Ultimate Series’ super-sportscars to my collection,” she tells us.
She’s not just a high-profile petrolhead and passionista for special edition super-sportscars, because something that’s important to her is the concept of legacy.
In the same way the McLaren brand is Bruce McLaren’s legacy to the automotive world, Amanda hopes to support children (through the Magical Bridge Foundation that builds all-inclusive playgrounds, with one slated for Tampines in Singapore) and empower women with various philanthropic initiatives and contributions, especially in the field of technology through an Innovation Fund.
In case you’re wondering, the current tally (and the four cars we have here) includes the Senna, Speedtail and Elva, as well as a very limited Sabre.
She is also awaiting delivery of the recently-unveiled Solus GT, the brand’s single-seat track-only hypercar that was born in the virtual racing world of Gran Turismo made real.
Save for the most hardcore McLaren anorak, many of you might not have heard of the Sabre. Well, the Sabre is a 15-unit USA-only special edition with the Senna’s powertrain and platform (but not the aero – it has its own body with over 70 per cent of its parts unique to the car) that will touch 350km/h, which makes it the fastest two-seat McLaren ever (don’t forget, the 400km/h Speedtail is technically a three-seater!).
You're probably wondering if any of her cars see the light of day outside a climate controlled garage vault and you'd be surprised to learn that this petrolhead drives them whenever possible, because she really enjoys her fast cars and the company of the car community.
“By driving my cars out and about, I hope to share my cars and passion with everybody. Many buyers keep their limited edition cars locked away and then try to make ‘quick’ money by selling them. My cars aren't garage queens – I make it a point to drive all of them. They go on track and I take part in club drives as well, in Singapore/Malaysia, the USA and in Europe. I think that they (the brands) want people like me who keep the cars, actually drive them and participate in the brand activities.”
If anything, we reckon this is a large part of the reason why Amanda is a prominent candidate for scoring high-demand car allocations in a largely male-dominated hobby that also often sees coveted models flipped for quick profit.
And what is it about McLaren that appeals to her? “My love affair with the brand started when we began going on drives with the McLaren community after getting our car. I enjoy gathering with other people over a shared passion for exotic cars – it’s like a close-knit family.”
“My late husband and I have done road drives, track drives and even ice drives with the brand and having experienced what the cars are dynamically capable of makes me want to collect the best of the breed, which is embodied by the McLaren special edition models,” Amanda explains.
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