In the lead-up to the Formula 1 Grand Prix in Las Vegas, the Wynn Resort threw a spectacular concours on its golf course fairways. Tens of millions of dollars in sheet metal and carbon sparkled under the desert sun, anchored by a stunning array of McLarens, including several P1 GTRs, some Sennas, a duo of windscreen-less Elvas, and even Albert – a Speedtail festooned in a stunning $300,000 paint job.
Much of that glimmering McLaren collection was sold via O’Gara Coach, a high-end dealership based in Beverly Hills, and the "coach" inclusion in the name isn’t merely a throwback to yesteryear. Customers can work directly with O’Gara and manufacturers to spec custom dream machines with unique paint, upholstery, and design options to suit a single individual taste.
O’Gara recently opened an experience center within the Wynn Resort in Vegas, where visitors can try their hand at a racing simulator designed by F1 driver Lando Norris’ brother, buy whatever’s on display (when we visited, a custom green P1 was on offer), and spec an array of McLarens that customers can order directly from the factory in Woking, England.
I took a crack at customizing a new 750S, a fun process that got me curious: What are an actual owner’s considerations when configuring the nigh-unobtanium strata of supercars? Turns out, all you have to do is ask. I walked around the concours lawn with Kevin Hooks – the man who owns an Elva, a Senna, Albert the Speedtail, and one of those street-legal Lanzante P1 LMs – as he explained his choices. I also caught up with Dean Lanzante, the man behind Hooks’ P1 build, and Parris Mullins, the director of motorsport for O’Gara, who has a heavy hand in helping Hooks and other clients bedeck their beauties.
Albert, 2020 McLaren Speedtail
"This is such a cool spec," smiles Hooks, motioning to his steed. "It’s the longest paint job in the history of automotive; it took four months and cost more than $300,000. It took [McLaren] forever because they had to keep redoing the stripes, but the finished effect is wild."
Hooks points to Mullins from O'Gara as leading the design choices for Albert and admits that he didn’t have many guidelines. "I just said make it completely different from anybody else’s Speedtail."
Mullins recalled the gray-to-white fading wrap worn by the development prototype – which engineers flogged on Albert Drive in Woking, thus giving the custom Speedtail its name – and went to the McLaren Special Operations customization team.
"I want that but with a lot more details; more lines," Mullins said. "They sent back renderings and it looked like a globe, all these random lines, so we talked it out and settled on lines that mimicked the wind flow over the car."
"I just said make it completely different from anybody else’s Speedtail."
The fade is an homage to the McLaren F1. It starts with Ueno Grey, the color of the McLaren F1 car that won Le Mans, and morphs into Magnesium Silver, the color of the road car when it debuted in Monaco. When it came to the wind tunnel lines, Mullins told us that McLaren has a guy named Graham who was getting excited and said those lines had to be exposed carbon fiber.
Others at McLaren expressed their skepticism. To pull off the look, the Speedtail would have to be finished completely in exposed carbon, then mask off the stripes and paint the rest.
"And I said, 'Yep, let’s do it.' They pulled it off. It’s amazing."
Hooks was blown away when he first saw it in person. "It was a true WTF moment," Hooks recalls. "I’m really into seats; you need to see them through the windshield. On one of my Bugattis, I used an Hermes orange because it’s got to pop. So here, in Albert, we wanted the side seats to fall out of the way, and see that bright Papaya orange center seat first. And we added a splash of orange on the piping, too."
The pedals are gold, a further nod to the F1, and the special Speedtail wears a special badge that eschews the normative denotation of a production number in favor of a badge that just says Albert.
"We hit a home run," Hooks says. "Everybody talks about this. I love silver, but I wouldn’t have done an all-silver car, so the fade is five-star."
Hooks’ only lament? Wishing he got to drive Albert more. "You can’t just go and get a tank of gas in this," he laughs. "Instantly, you’ve got 20 people around you. You have to get up at six AM on a Saturday morning when no one’s around. I take it out around Red Rock Canyons, and it just comes alive. This is one of the fastest cars I have, too."
2014 McLaren P1 GT Lanzante Coupe
What makes this P1 GT special is really the build of the car itself, the mechanical and functional options rather than the cosmetic ones.
“We wanted to use the styling cues of the F1 Longtail for this,” says Lanzante. “The louvers, the snorkel, the longer tail, the swept-back wing; we wanted to put all that onto a P1. We built four, and this one, the black GT, was specced after an original F1 GT ordered by the Sultan of Brunei. All black with pops of red in the interior.”
Focusing on the car’s inherently lightweight design, the P1 runs carbon-fiber wheels, saving 16 pounds of unspring mass relative to the aluminum ones. The five-spoke design borrows a note from the F1, and the custom Pirelli Trofeo Rs are larger than what’s found on other P1s – 335 millimeters in the rear.
"We wanted to use the styling cues of the F1 Longtail for this."
McLaren added a slightly longer front splitter to balance out the increased downforce from the swept rear wing. Designers penned all the styling, then engineers ran it through computational fluid dynamics software and wind tunnels to ensure all the aero was in balance.
“Because we’re using a larger front splitter and wheel arch louvers, we don’t need the dive planes you usually see on a P1 GTR,” Lanzante says. “We’ve had customers ask us to include the dive planes, but then the aero balance will tilt towards a front-end bias, so we don’t do it.”
The sideview mirrors retain power adjustability, but the design is quite similar to a P1 GTR – just a bit larger. The aforementioned long-tail design is also custom and about 6 inches longer than on a regular P1 GT. That alteration posed a legislative challenge, because the curvaceous rear fenders are too low for the taillights to be legal. As a result, there’s a subtle upkick that puts the razor-thin lighting elements in a police-friendly location. And because the rear profile is so much lower, McLaren had to put the exhaust at the bottom, instead of the P1’s traditional high-center location.
“While this example doesn’t have it, there’s an option we offer to enlarge the engine to 4.0 liters, Lanzante says. “We don’t overbore, so it’s all through stroke: different crank and titanium connecting rods, different pistons, and titanium valves. Because the whole car is carbon and we’re lightening a lot of elements, all our additions end up with a curb weight exactly identical to the P1 donor car. It’s not an ounce heavier.”
If you’re interested, this very car is currently for sale through O’Gara. Expect it to run well north of $3 million, given the custom design and engineering on offer.
McLaren P1 GTR 18 Lanzante
Hooks owns this, but he didn’t design it
"You may say, 'Okay, that’s a little out there, bro,'" the owner says. "That’s fair. I wouldn’t have the cojones to spec this." But Hooks bought it anyway because "it looks like a Hot Wheels car, and I had a lot of Hot Wheels cars when I was a kid."
The design adheres to Hooks’ overall aesthetic tenets: Never look like any other car, never black (“that’s far too plain”), break up the wheels, and make the seats pop. And Mullins had a hand for the original owner back in 2019.
"It looks like a Hot Wheels car, and I had a lot of Hot Wheels cars when I was a kid."
“We were taking the P1 GTR and making it this long tail with the big roof scoop, an homage to the F1 LTs,” Mullins says. “[Dean] Lanzante built it and thought it had to have an extreme livery, and the most iconic livery on a McLaren Long Tail was the Gulf livery, so away we went.”
Later, Hooks and Mullins were speccing something completely different and Hooks mentioned wanting to do just the most ridiculous livery. Mullins told him about the Lanzante P1 and brokered the sale, with Hooks displaying the P1 GTR 18 at The Quail right afterward.
Suddenly, Hooks’ single-color Senna GTR (pictured below) looked a bit boring and pedestrian.
"I told him to send his Senna back to the United Kingdom and have it done in a matching livery, so that’s what’s about to happen," Mullins says.
When the work is complete, the Senna GTR’s glass panels and roof will be deleted, and Hooks is just starting to get some 2D renderings, which he’s digging.
"When it’s done, we’re going to send these two – along with the original McLaren F1 in this livery – all up the hill at Goodwood Festival of Speed next summer," Hooks smirks. "That’s going to be insane.”