Interview with Frank Stephenson
My trip to McLaren Technology HQ and interview Frank Stephenson (Design Director of McLaren).
Firstly I would like to start with Frank. He is the design director of McLaren and worked in Ford, BMW, Mini, Ferrari, Maserati, Fiat, Lancia, Alfa Romeo and McLaren. You can find more information on interview. I had a great time with Frank in McLaren; he toured me around the building and showed every single place. The McLaren is really huge and I cannot define how it looks wonderful! After today, I can clearly say, Frank is a great designer and also a very nice person; and passionate with this work. When you listen to him, you understand the meaning of being a designer. And explain the designing a car with very simple words. I cannot ignore his passion to motorcycle. Honestly, after I had chat with him my perception towards motorcycle are changed. I never approach to them from the perspective Frank described me. You can find more about him in interview where you can find below.
Let’s go back to McLaren headquarters in Woking, UK. Woking is a very nice, small city, silent, relaxing and lots of green. Inside the green, there is the McLaren HQ. The structure of the building totally part of the nature, there is an artificial lake, precisely placed tree. While I was there, the view from the window was like a canvas. The building and nature so well integrated with each other and you would never think that McLaren is producing cars here, but they do.
I want to talk about the building a little bit more. It is a total perfection, everything is perfectly designed, measurement are precise. The air is in same temperature in each room, there is no thermal shock here. You don’t feel the cold weather from outside. And they achieved to isolate the smell in the food court from the rest of the building. By maintaining different air pressures.
The front part of the building is covered with glass and there are some curves. When it was first made, the wind was vibrating the glass. And McLaren F1 engineers designed a metal structure to eliminate this vibration through F1 technology.
And the corridors, when you first get inside you have the feeling that, I am in a James bond movie. Everywhere is perfect white, no dust or dirt at all. You go from tunnels, take lift with circular glass doors. There is nothing can annoy you with the building. Don’t think that, it is just limited with the management part.
I visited the manufacturing site of MP4-12C, where they produce the car. Manufacturing plant is usually involves with dirt, oil, bad odour. However, it looks cleaner than hospitals. I am extremely serious! The manufacturing site is so clean, and you started to question your personal cleanliness.
The paint shop? It is supposed to be dirty but it is cleaner than my five start hotels! Each car is painted by hand with people who are expert on their job. Perfection does not finish here, McLaren does not paint the parts of the cars separately. In order to sustain the same level of paint, all parts are painted together.
Later on, the rain test. I was expecting to see some water but no! They test each car with rain test and no single drop at all. And last, the high speed test inside a glass room. It is also supposed to smell exhaust gas but again there is no smell at all.
I saw manufacturing plants but I have never seen something like this on earth. And possibly cannot see in future as well. Even the manufacturing team wear Hugo Boss dresses from head to toe! They don’t have that ugly dresses like in other companies.
The MP4-12C, I witness to each stage of this car manufacturing. From naked chassis to ready for delivery. The manufacturing is so perfect, there is nothing wrong with the car. It is built like a luxury sedan. Parts are matching with no gap, the door is opened by sliding your fingers. The rear air brake works with hydraulic and acts as a proper air brake like in an airplane. One other example, navigation screen placed vertical to keep the car narrow!
The best part is the front head lights, at night you see the McLaren’s logo illuminated with LEDs and fins of sharks below it.
Lastly, McLaren is going to reveal more models! I don’t want to give more details. But I assure that, Veyron will not be alone anymore.
From what I see today, if you are planning to buy an exclusive sports cars. There is only one choice, McLaren MP4-12C. From design studio to customer delivery preparation, everything is perfect!
Is that all from McLaren, of course not ;) I want to keep some secret…
For more photo: Facebook Gallery
And here is my interview with Frank Stephenson
Mini, Fiat, McLaren