In the world of innovation and creativity, the intersection of different art forms often leads to breathtaking results. Such is the case with the unique collaboration between Dean Gordon, a luthier based in Miami, Florida, and the iconic McLaren Speedtail ‘XP2’ prototype. At the 2023 National Association of Music Merchants (NAMM) show, music and automotive enthusiasts witnessed the birth of a one-of-a-kind custom guitar inspired by the remarkable McLaren Speedtail.
The McLaren Speedtail, introduced in 2018 as McLaren‘s first Hyper-GT, is a masterpiece that seamlessly blends beauty, cutting-edge technology, and unrivaled performance. The ‘XP2′ prototype played a pivotal role in validating this extraordinary car, reaching speeds exceeding 250mph over 30 times on the Johnny Bohmer Proving Grounds’ space shuttle landing runway. Finished in the exquisite Saragon Quartz, a shimmering champagne hue, the XP2’s exterior is a work of art in itself. The three-seat, central-driving position cabin features sumptuous aniline leather and aniline nubuck, with an Oxblood Red finish, and is adorned with visual carbon fiber elements and machined aluminum trim.
Dean Gordon drew inspiration from the Speedtail’s bespoke features to create his Virtus guitar model, designed to embody the car’s essence of sleekness and innovation. Gordon’s attention to detail is evident throughout this unique instrument. The guitar’s body is crafted from old stock lightweight alder wood, ensuring both playability and resonance. The neck, a crucial element of any guitar, is made from master-grade flamed maple, providing exceptional tonal characteristics. Notably, the lower horn of the guitar is milled from aircraft-grade aluminum, enhancing the guitar’s aesthetics and reducing its weight.
The fretboard, constructed from luxurious ebony wood, adds a touch of sophistication to the Virtus guitar. Subtle details, such as the carbon fiber backplate and hand-stitched leather lower horn cover, pay homage to the Speedtail’s design. Inside the guitar’s wiring cavities, one can find leather detailing that matches the XP2’s Oxblood Red upholstery, creating a harmonious connection between the automotive and musical worlds. The guitar’s finish is inspired by the Saragon Quartz paint of the XP2, while the neck features a black satin finish with carbon fiber laminate on the back of the headstock, echoing the XP2’s satin carbon door sills.
Even the pickups’ covers bear the mark of precision and artistry, with laser etchings that mirror the Speedtail’s engine cover and rear exterior details. To complete the homage, Gordon incorporated additional red accents into the guitar’s design, a nod to the XP2’s interior. As Gordon himself puts it, “McLaren being synonymous with cutting-edge design and pushing boundaries made it a no-brainer choice of inspiration for my ‘Automotive’ inspired line of guitars. The Speedtail was the perfect muse.”
Much like the Speedtail’s exclusive production run of only 106 units, the guitar inspired by this exceptional car is a limited masterpiece. The Speedtail boasts the highest maximum speed of any McLaren to date, reaching an astonishing 250mph, thanks to its aerodynamically efficient design. This parallels the guitars’ design philosophy, which adheres to the McLaren ethos of functional design that tells a visual story while being crafted from lightweight materials.
When viewed from above, the Speedtail’s distinctive teardrop shape maximizes aerodynamic efficiency, while its sleek silhouette ends in an elongated tail when seen from the side. Flush shutlines minimize turbulent air, creating both an aesthetically pleasing and high-performance vehicle.
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