When I first saw the MP4-12C at its Pebble Beach unveiling in 2010 I was entirely underwhelmed. For months I studied the photos of the car, examining every vent and curve. Eventually I set it aside as a car that was not going to grow on me in the looks department. About a year later a friend pulled up to my office in his brand new “Fire Black” McLaren. I retired for the day and inspected the car for an hour as the sun was fading away. From that moment on I was in love. Some cars have a subtle beauty that take time to sink in. These cars also tend to, for whatever reason, not be entirely photogenic. The Ferrari 599, the Ferrari P4/5 by Pininfarina, even my now retired Corvette C6 Z06, are all cars that often leave much to be desired in photos, but in the flesh they are nearly perfect. These are the cars that most appeal to me and now the MP4-12C has joined that group. Lamborghini and the like haven’t done much for me after the difficult year I started shaving. The Aventador is spectacular to look at, but would you really want to drive such a thing for more than a day? I wouldn’t, but it appears some people would. Those people would also like to own a McLaren but aren’t entirely in love with the looks of the MP4-12C. In an effort to satisfy these owners who likely still have posters of Pamela Anderson hanging in their bedroom, McLaren of Chicago have teemed up with McLaren’s Special Operations to create six visually “entertaining” special editions. These six cars, three of each color, will be known as Project Alpha.
The vehicles are all fitted with items already available in the MSO catalog which you can pick and choose from when ordering your own MP4-12C. The items added to the Project Alpha vehicles are a gloss black roof, front splitter and rear deck lid, louvered front fenders, carbon fiber air vents, gloss black/diamond cut wheels and most noticeably a gloss black GT3 “graphic” on the rear bumper. On the interior you’ll find pieces of black alcantara and carbon fiber along with a brushed steel badge announcing it as a one of six Project Alpha vehicle. These vehicles will have no more power than their more subtle siblings. In fact these six are 2012 models with the free 2013 performance upgrades.
While I am very impressed with all that the MSO has done in this short time span, I hope it doesn’t get out of control. I miss the days when a special edition was truly special. Now we have 16 variants of the Gallardo and 81 or so, I lost count, variants of the Veyron working hard to take the word special out of special edition. McLaren, I beg you not to follow the same practices, especially at the hands of the dealers. No word on final MSRP but should you find yourself interested in a Project Alpha car contact McLaren of Chicago at once. While this car doesn’t do it for me I’m certain that many people find it “hot”. Personally if I were about to place an order for a MP4-12C I’d customize it myself with a far more tasteful design such as my family crest on the door. Yes they have that.
What do you think of the Project Alpha?