Before the McLaren Speedtail made its full production debut, the brand showed off a prototype named Albert that was a throwback to the original McLaren F1 development cars. The Albert prototype featured the Speedtail's near-production body but a slapped-on 720S front end, and a wild camo wrap with a lined motif that represented the flow of air on the car. The Speedtail is now near the end of its production run, and McLaren Beverly Hills unveiled a one-off version of the hypercar, also called Albert, that pays tribute to the prototype.
While the production Albert Speedtail has a lined livery very similar to that of the prototype, it's no camo wrap -- what you see here is an actual paint job that took 12 weeks to fully complete. McLaren says it's one of the company's most complex paint jobs ever. Albert was built with an exposed gloss carbon-fiber body, while the colors chosen for the livery were Magnesium Silver, the color worn by the F1 road car when it made its debut in 1992, and Ueno Grey, which was featured on the F1 GTR that won Le Mans in 1995.
Before any painting could actually be done, McLaren's Special Operations division had to do a whole lot of testing. The team created a number of test panels to check the feasibility of the design, also working digitally on renders to perfect it. Those renders were then printed out in full size, with two specialists using them to mask off the stripe livery on the real panels. The masking process took two weeks, and it had to be done with the body panels on the car and the wheels fitted to ensure all the lines would match up perfectly. In total, over a mile of tape was used to complete the design.
Then the car had to be painted, which took six weeks. To do so the car had to be disassembled again so the MSO team could achieve the perfect finish. The two paint colors fade together, with the Ueno Grey mostly covering the front end and the Magnesium Silver bringing up the rear. McLaren says that after the first run of paint, the body panels were refitted to make sure everything was perfectly aligned before the final clear coat was applied. Then an additional four weeks was needed for everything to dry and the rest of the car to be fully assembled.
The final result is quite spectacular. The stripes aren't paint -- because they were masked off as part of the design prepainting, they're actually the original visual carbon-fiber finish of the body panels. The contrast between the super sparkly paint colors and the 1K finish carbon is incredible, giving Albert a look unlike that of any other hypercar I've seen before -- and I've witnessed a lot of interesting carbon-fiber finishes.
In addition to the livery, Albert has a number of other details that set it apart from "regular" Speedtails. The carbon-fiber door sill is marked with a darker script that says "MVY02-BP23 Hybrid Prototype," a reference to the codename for the original Albert prototype. The pedals are finished in gold in reference to the F1, and the interior has a two-tone orange and black scheme.
Albert is one of the last Speedtails to be built in the car's 106-unit production run. With the Speedtail already starting at over $2 million, this one likely cost its unknown owner -- apparently a top client of the Beverly Hills dealership -- closer to $3 million, if not more than that. If you live in the Los Angeles area, you can catch Albert at the Sunset GT cars and coffee event on Sunday, Aug. 8.
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