McLaren does some debatable things, like the Speedtail’s mismatched wheels or the entire look that the Senna, like Gretchen Wieners and “fetch,” is trying but failing to make happen. But McLaren also does good things, like not giving into peer pressure and reminding us all that gradient paint will never go out of style.
That last part is courtesy of the new McLaren 720S Spider by McLaren Special Operations, which sounds like McLaren’s covert spy unit but is really just its customization department, that’s at the Geneva Motor Show this month.
Just like when a heroic spy swoops in to save the day in the movies, though, MSO is here to save our day—with gradient paint. Of course, any paint zipping from 0 to 60 mph in 2.8 seconds thanks to a 710-horsepower, twin-turbo V8 could be considered gradient, but this one’s gradient at a standstill, too.
“Gradient paint?” you might ask, as my coworkers did. “I thought we left that in the ‘90s?”
No, we did not, because gradient paint has no decade. While we’re all wasting our time with recycled historic racing paint schemes, stripes, basic two-tone accents and flames, gradient paint is there, waiting for us to see the light.
McLaren claims the paint meant to convey airflow over aerodynamic features carved into the car, as well as show off the “artistic finesse and design subtlety” the company can add to custom orders. But it’s really a subliminal message to remind us that, like most things in the price range of the 720S, gradients will never go out of style. McLaren has become a champion of this, too, with MSO’s 720S Velocity from 2017 rocking gradient red from front to back.
McLaren said the gradient on this 720S Spider is made of three metallic paint colors, which all have fancy names that boil down to blue, different blue and black. It also took more than 260 hours to apply the gradient paint on the outside, according to McLaren:
Parts finished with the tri-tone paint include the front splitter, hood air intakes, front air intakes and side panels, lower door and lower side air intake panels, door mirrors, rear bumper and the underside of the active rear spoiler – all key elements in delivering the exceptional aerodynamic performance of the new Super Series convertible.
The highlights are set off against Meteorite Grey body paint, the newest addition to the MSO Bespoke range of exterior colors and developed specifically for this design theme.
The blue-and-black theme continues into the cabin with leather and Alcantara accents, and, expectedly, there’s carbon fiber all over the car—three things that will probably go out of style before gradient paint ever does, because gradient paint is eternal. Its stylishness will never end.
You see, long after we send this planet into a nuclear winter, the sun dies, the universe contracts on itself, gradient paint will still be there. Even when this planet goes dark, the appeal of gradient paint will not.
At least McLaren recognizes that.