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McLaren launches bespoke service for MP4-12C

MP4-12C customers offered in-house customisation by McLaren Special Operations

31 Aug 2011

GIVING well-heeled customers exactly what they want is the aim of British supercar brand McLaren's new Special Operations division, which offers bespoke customisations over and above what is available on the official options list.

McLaren Automotive managing director Antony Sheriff described the division's motto as “never say no”. “We just say how much and let the customers decide,” he said.

The new customisation unit was launched at the recent Pebble Beach event in California, where a demonstrator MP4-12C model – known simply as the 12C – finished in a satin semi-matte version of the car's signature Volcano Orange paintwork was used to exhibit examples of what one-off additions are possible.

The show car featured a gloss-black roof, diamond-cut two-tone alloy wheels, branded carbon-fibre sill panels, a carbon-fibre steering wheel, louvred front wheelarches, carbon-fibre engine cover and rear deck vents and a wiper system cover.

McLaren Automotive programme director Paul Mackenzie – who is responsible for the Specal Operations division – said that although McLaren already offers “extensive” personalisation options, it understands that some customers have “specific tastes”.

“We have the knowledge and capability to design, engineer and produce almost anything a customer may desire for their 12C.”

42 center imageThe orange 12C wasn't the only exclusive McLaren on show at Pebble Beach on the anniversary of its North American debut.

Also taking pride of place on the concept lawn was a version sporting the same chrome-like finish as the Vodafone McLaren Mercedes F1 cars.

The special AkzoNobel coating is designed to be lightweight, fast-drying and reduce wind resistance and was applied by McLaren Racing specialists.

Design director Frank Stephenson said the coating is “not the cheapest way to paint your car but definitely one of the most dramatic”.

“It is a very delicate operation that only the professionals can do,” he added.

The 12C has been a sell-out success in Australia and first local deliveries of the half-million dollar two-seater begin in October.

A spokesman for local McLaren importer Trivett told GoAuto all of 2011's local allocation of 10-12 cars is already sold out and the company is “well into” its 2012 allocation, which the company hopes to be at least twice as large.

The 12C's mid-mounted, bespoke 3.8-litre V8 punches out 441kW and 601Nm, can rev past 10,000rpm and catapults the 1300kg coupe from 0-100km/h in 3.1 seconds and to 200km/h in 10 seconds.

The car was designed to be better in every measurable way than the Ferrari 458 although numerous reviews have revealed it to lack enough character to beat the Prancing Horse on more subjective terms.

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