As you may remember I paid a visit to the weekly Cars & Coffee meet out in the Irvine/Newport Beach area last weekend. While I was there I saw an absolutely beautiful McLaren MP4-12C and even though it was parked next to a white Lamborghini Gallardo and a neon green Murcielago convertible the McLaren stood out, especially with it’s doors up! This was my first time seeing a production MP4-12C in person since McLaren brought a prototype and bare chassis to Cars & Coffee a while back for an unofficial North American debut. After drooling over the car for a few minutes I leared that the owner Nick Jones is actually the Sales Manager of the new McLaren Newport Beach dealership. Nick informed me that the dealership was officially opening to the public later that day and invited me to come check it out.
The first thing I noticed when I reached the dealership was how subtle the exterior and interior design was. It was almost sterile but not in a boring way if that makes any sense. Nick informed me that McLaren takes very strict control over the look of their dealer’s showrooms. Dealer’s simply give McLaren the dimensions of the space that they are in and then McLaren takes over from there bringing in their own contractors to transform the space into what you see in the pictures. Very little is left to choice for the dealer as Mclaren chooses everything down to the smallest detail. Nick told me that all Mclaren dealerships no matter where they are in the world will look pretty much the same. Even down to the placement of display cases!
Besides three MP4-12C’s on display there was also a bare rolling chassis similar to the one brought to Cars & Coffee a while back and a vintage McLaren F1 chassis. In fact the chassis on display at McLaren Newport beach is the same chassis that one the Long Beach Grand Prix (my home race) back when it was a part of the Formula 1 schedule. He informed us that he tried repeatedly to get an Ayrton Senna chassis for his showroom when he visited the McLaren factory in England but was shot down (apparently no dealership will get their hands on a Senna chassis!) but I did learn that he got a preview of the upcoming MP4-12C convertible. According to Nick the convertible will be a hard top and with the lid closed will look exactly like a coupe. He also learned that the successor to the McLaren F1 will be a twin-turbo V8 with a massive power boost and the chassis will actually be smaller than the MP4-12C. That is good to know in case I want to buy one… It could happen! Ok maybe not.
Anyhow I had a great time visiting the dealership and if you are ever in the Newport Beach area you should check it out. If you are actually in the market for an MP4-12c then you definitely want to talk to Nick and tell him we sent you! If you can’t make it out then feel free to enjoy the pictures and our short video tour below.