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BodyShop Business Editor Visits McLaren Technology Center

Jason Stahl felt like James Bond when he ventured to England for a tour of McLaren’s headquarters.

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Jason Stahl has 28 years of experience as an editor, and has been editor of BodyShop Business for the past 16 years. He currently is a gold pin member of the Collision Industry Conference. Jason, who hails from Cleveland, Ohio, earned a bachelor of arts degree in English from John Carroll University and started his career in journalism at a weekly newspaper, doing everything from delivering newspapers to selling advertising space to writing articles.

Stahl, Jason Stahl. Ever since hitting the tarmac at England’s Gatwick Airport, I’d been looking for an excuse to utter my name just like James Bond. I don’t know what got me thinking of Bond when AkzoNobel extended me an offer to visit England and tour the McLaren Technology Center in Woking, Surrey – probably the fact that A) I’m a huge Bond fan, B) England is Bond’s home country, and C) I might actually get the chance to ride in a Bond-like supercar with gadgets galore.

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The only time I did utter my name like Bond was at customs, where the agent hardly seemed amused. But I did feel positively Bond-like when I arrived at the McLaren headquarters that looked like it came straight out of the movies.

The first thing I noticed, besides the cleanliness of the place, was the vintage race cars in the reception area. One was the car Bruce McLaren won his first race with at age 15.

There was even a “secret door” that opened up to reveal the new P1, a hybrid supercar that costs more than $1 million.

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I also got to meet Ron Dennis, chairman of McLaren Automotive and McLaren Group, who explained that his inspiration for a chrome coating on McLaren Racing’s Formula One car came from his bottle of aftershave.

“Could we achieve that on a coating?” McLaren wondered. “Not a wrap, or a plastic film, but a coating.”

The task seemed impossible, but Dennis said, “We liked impossible. That’s the McLaren way.”

Thanks to AkzoNobel, the impossible became possible. They created a coating with a huge commercial benefit and the look McLaren wanted that was one-third the weight.

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I suspect that if Q had revealed this paint technology to Bond, Bond would have said, “You’re joking.” And Q would have responded, “I never joke about my work, 007.”

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