In April this year McLaren unveiled a very special 650S from their Special Operations division, a rather mysterious department where creativity oozes and revolutionary ideas are mulled over. MSO works from a top secret location just a stones throw away from the infamous McLaren Technology Centre and allows customers to add their own personal touches to their cars. This could be anything from the bespoke colour of their McLaren P1™ stitch to a full re-spray of their immaculate F1 and maybe even a full MSO overhaul for their Mercedes-McLaren SLR.
Back to the McLaren Special Operations 650S! The car that has just returned for a long stint parading various dealerships in China was the very first 650S to undergo the MSO treatment, hence ‘Concept’ being attached to its name. The 650S, in standard form, is already a very striking car. When we first saw it at an exclusive press launch we loved the McLaren P1™ inspired face and the extensive use of carbon around the car. The MSO car visually takes the 650S’ visual aggression to a new level.
Just 50 examples have been commissioned and they will be a blend of changes first seen on the 650S MSO concept along with the personal influences, design cues and wishes of McLaren Automotive’s Design Director, Frank Stephenson. The MSO 650S will be going in to production later this year and we were invited to take an exclusive peek behind the scenes while the car being put together with the all-new MSO parts. 50 individuals will be able to get their hands on the MSO 650S in either coupe of spider guise and at the time of writing this article more than half were already accounted for.
Among the new Carbon Fibre parts, there is a unique set of MSO Carbon Fibre Side Blades and the agressive MSO Rear Diffuser inspired, again, by the McLaren P1™. All of the MSO carbon has been finished in satin, a semi-matte finish which visibly accentuates the weave and looks great against the gloss finish of the rest of the car, more on colors and finishes soon!
The wheels use a design that was first seen on the 12C, a car that is no longer being produced, the Super Lightweight wheel that have been refreshed with a gloss Palladium finish with unique diamond cut detailing to the inside of the spoke edges. The wheels are complimented by the addition of MSO developed lightweight Titanium Wheel Bolts.
The changes are not all in the carbon and accentuated design. MSO are constantly experimenting with new paints and finishing techniques and the 650S has provided the perfect opportunity to showcase two new colours. The first, Agrigan Black has previously been seen on the concept, a finish that incorporates a subtle ruby red metallic flake that glimmers under the sun, but looks black in the darkness.
Papaya Spark is a modern interpretation of the historic Papaya Orange with a beautifully complex metallic overlay. Finally there is colour that the 650S Spider that we have seen features, Sarigan Quartz, a vibrant metallic silver that has been given a warm hue with the addition of a golden metallic infusion, a much more subtle and understated colour that looks great against the new wheel colours.
The changes are not exclusive to the exterior. The interior features satin carbon fibre, a theme throughout the car, with gloss black switchgear, bezels and instrument cluster surround that look brilliant against the satin finish of the centre console. The glowing red ‘START’ button instantly grabs driver and passenger attention.
As you lift the iconic McLaren dihedral door the McLaren Special Operations branded Carbon Fibre Sill Panel reveals itself, again finished in matching satin lacquer to complete the theme. Finally a dedication plaque mounted to the driver’s door panel signifies and commemorates MSO’s collaboration with McLaren’s Design Director.
The MSO 650S takes the smart 650S and finishes it with a handful of changes that make the car look feel even more special both inside and out. We will be live at the official unveiling of the car at this weekend’s Goodwood Motor Show so stay tuned for more! A massive thanks to Francis and McLaren Special Operations for allowing GTspirit have an exclusive look behind the scenes!