McLaren’s MSO department now gives you many options to personalise your 710hp supercar
Barely a day after revealing the new 720S, McLaren unveiled another 720S. It’s called ‘Velocity’, and it’s a 720S modified by McLaren’s 120-person strong team at McLaren Special Operations to showcase the breadth of what’s now on offer from Woking’s bespoke department.
The main change is the funky paintwork, which took an astonishing 300 hours to layer. It’s two pearlescent hues of red split over the car: Nerello Red is used on the front and upper body panels of the car – including a very trippy graduated fade from red-tinted bare carbon fibre bonnet into red – then fades into a vivid Volcano Red that covers the sides and rear of the car.
These shades of red are contrasted with new metallic bronze lightweight alloy wheels, and wherever fresh slabs of carbon could be added, they have been added. There’s a red carbon fibre bonnet, a gloss carbon rear deck vent, gloss carbon fibre ‘service cover’, a gloss carbon rear aero bridge and a satin carbon full-length sill cover. Inside, there’s more carbon and luxury, all in contrasting black and red trim.
Personalisation though, is big business. For the 675LT, 65 per cent of buyers posted their cars to MSO for some mods. This can range from having their key painted to match the body colour, to revisions that cost £1million (S$1,726,000) plus over the basic price. And consider this: within the first few hours of unveiling the 720S Velocity, six customers slinked into McLaren’s VIP backroom and snapped them up straight away. Ker-ching!
MSO will literally build you anything you desire, but customers often struggle to come up with an innovative or different design. “Unless you’re Frank Stephenson [McLaren’s Director of Design] it’s very hard to imagine something from a blank piece of paper and be creative,” James Banks, Head of Bespoke Cars at McLaren Special Operations tells us.
That’s why MSO are now offering Velocity as well as four other default options (above) from MSO for the 720S to help get customers creative juices flowing. These are: ‘GT’, ‘Pacific’, ‘Track’ and ‘Stealth’, and are all meant to appeal to different buyers with different tastes and interests.
You may remember that MSO launched in 2011 with relatively simple trim, colour and aesthetic changes (carbon bumpers, spoilers and Dulux colour match style paint jobs), but also with the eye-scrambling X1. Y’know, the radical art deco 12C inspired by architecture, Jaeger-LeCoultre clock, an Airstream trailer, a grand piano and an eggplant. This scale of tame paint to what-the-bloody-hell-were-they-thinking opened up a large chasm of possibilities for MSO to fulfil and showed to customers that anything was possible. The limiting factor being the limit on the customer’s American Express account, rather than their tastes. But does that still apply?
“We’re blessed with the Monocage,” James says. “So we can basically operate like the coachbuilders of old and there are one-off commissions that we do that are never seen.”
But no matter how many suitcases of money you take to MSO, will they ever say no?
“We’re not the taste police,” James says. “And it’s very easy to apply our tastes on another culture’s tastes, and we have to work very hard to avoid doing that. Occasionally, we’ll guide somebody. They’ll come with their specification and we will present three options to them and guide them as to what would be the most elegant, not only for our taste but for the local market taste and so forth. We try not to say no. And we have to work within the law of course, and what’s right for our brand, so occasionally we’ll say no but it really saddens us when we do.
MSO has now filtered its interests into different departments. There’s ‘MSO Defined’ that covers all the visual extras which can be added to regular production McLarens, from aerodynamic addenda to carbon fibre trim. Demand from track day users has also led to a new instrument cluster option, complete with F1-like gearshift lights. Thumbs up for that. ‘MSO Limited’ is responsible for limited-run, lightly fettled models - essentially production cars with a range of MSO Defined bits added - while ‘MSO Heritage’ works as a care programme for owners of older McLarens, namely the mighty F1 and the McMerc SLR. But the most intriguing cars will roll out of ‘MSO Programmes’ and ‘MSO Bespoke’. The former takes care of the P1 GTR, while the second is in charge of the new three-seater, the BP23, which we found out will be the fastest and most powerful McLaren ever.
“MSO can do anything, and will do anything,” James says proudly. “Be that a simple paint job like the Velocity 720S, or one-off commissions – we’re seeing more and more demand for one or three or five of personally commissioned cars. And we’re more than happy to build them.”
So if you want to have a blue-spotted 720S inspired by kale and your favourite lawnmower, MSO can make that a reality. Tell us then: if you did have the sufficient cash flow, how would you spec your 720S?