Blog > A Trip to the McLaren Factory

A Trip to the McLaren Factory

Back in January Jalopnik featured my photos of the Bugatti Veyron in the secret Tunnel. Those pictures were rather popular and quite a few people ended up seeing them. Off the back of that I got an email from the head of PR at McLaren asking if I’d like to meet him the following week for a chat about potentially doing some photos in the McLaren Production Centre and outside the McLaren Technology Centre. So the next week I had a full private tour of the new McLaren Production Centre and discussed ideas for a shoot.  Fast forward to the end of March and the shoot was fully organised and it was time to do the actual shoot.

I had invited PistonHeads along to the shoot to write an exclusive on the evening there and I had also invited 3 of my MP4-12C owning clients, while PH invited a 12C owner they knew.

So the plan was for my assistant and I to arrive at 2pm to shoot the actual production line while it was still in action, shoot all afternoon then the PistonHeads staff would arrive at 6, the 12C owners arriving at 6:30 and I’d photograph their cars for a while before a lovely dinner in the McLaren Technology Centre

So I will begin with the pictures inside the McLaren Production Centre while the workers were still there:

When you walk into the Production Centre, this is the first view you see. Pretty amazing I think you’ll agree!


In the above picture you can see the production line. It starts with the carbon tub, parts are added, then the cars go into paint before final assembly and testing which can be seen on the left in the picture above. The car is built in stages and each stage takes 45 minutes and there is a green button which must be pressed before the car is released and moved onto the next stage. Pretty amazing to see in action!

What is really interesting in the production line is seeing the car in various states of build. To start with it’s just the carbon tub.

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Using both big machines (as seen in the picture below), which to me looked a bit like transformers, and very clever humans parts are added to the tub such as the crash structures, the windscreen and the first of the body panels, notably the rear arches.

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Next up we look at the paint.

First they primer it, then here you can see them putting a layer of Volcanic Orange on.


There were lots of Volcanic Orange cars going through at that time!


Lacquer time

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Machine polishing


Inspection time!


So after paint, the final assembly of the car takes place:

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‘Upskirt’ photo…


Quite a lot of wires in there! The 12C uses special hexagonal aluminium wiring which saves four kilos over circular wiring though. (got to love that fact)


The dashboard before it has been installed into a car


One of the speakers


A choice of brake disks. Only at McLaren would they have such a cool rack for them!


What colour caliper would you like?


Engine ready to be put in the car


Front brakes on


Engine & exhausts installed


Isn’t this a rather special view


Engine testing


And nearly done!


So there you go! My photographic tour of the MPC. Next the owners arrive at the MTC and I can work my magic!

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And to finish it off here are two photos of the 12C owners’ cars inside the MPC after McLaren kindly washed them

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After these photos McLaren laid on a lovely dinner for us in the Technology Centre. The owners of the cars gave us feedback on the cars and we just had general chit chat. It was very interesting to hear from the owners, especially now they’ve had the cars for a little while. I’ve also spoken to the McLaren owners since the day and they really enjoyed the evening at McLaren and were very impressed with the facilities and more so the staff. It’s interesting having been there that while a lot of people seem to think that McLaren is very clinical, they’re actually in reality very friendly and always happy to chat. Ron Dennis even came out when we were there and asked the owners what they thought of the cars!

So in conclusion, I think this has been my most incredible shoot to date and it’s going to be hard to beat, but I’m certainly going to try.

Thanks to McLaren for being so accommodating to us and for inviting us, thanks to the owners for coming along and thanks to Pistonheads for their fantastic article.