Who Wants A Stock Supercar Anyway?

There was a time when just owning a supercar was enough.

Sure, there were companies taking the latest and greatest offerings from Porsche, Ferrari, Lamborghini and the like, and making them their own for those with extra money to burn and a need to stand out, but for the vast majority of supercar buyers, the factory specification more than sufficed.

For the most part this still rings true today, but since the advent of social media, the art of supercar personalization has been taken to a whole new level. For many, it’s an absolute must.

Some buyers are content with a wrap, wheels, suspension and an exhaust – upgrades that pretty much any custom shop anywhere in the world can now take care of – while others take things a step further, putting their supercar under the knife for a wide-body conversion. In any other year, right about now we’d have had more than our fill of these creations from the annual SEMA Show – some stunning, others shocking.

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As the demand for supercar personalization has grown, so to has the business around it. Speccing your car from factory to your own taste has become the norm, as have special limited edition models.

But just because supercar manufacturers are getting in on the act doesn’t mean that boutique aftermarket companies aren’t thriving in this sector anymore. In fact, it’s only making ultra-exclusive machines like this Novitec N-Largo McLaren 720S even more prevalent.

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So who is Novitec? Based in Bavaria, Germany, the company was founded 31 years ago by Wolfgang Hagedorn. Novitec got its start producing aftermarket styling and tuning parts for Fiats and, soon after, Alfa Romeos, but in 2003 its focus turned to high-end Italian cars. First it was Ferraris, then in 2007, Maseratis, and in 2013, Lamborghinis. In 2020, you can purchase single parts through to complete car packages from Novitec, with its product range now extending beyond Italian carmakers to McLaren, Rolls-Royce, and Tesla models too.

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This specific car has just been completed in South Africa by Kyalami-based RACE!, and it really is something special – just 15 Novitec 720S N-Largo kits were produced and all were pre-sold before it went public.

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A few nights before seeing the completed car, I popped by the RACE! shop where the team was busy finishing off the build. I wasn’t going to pass up the opportunity, because the chance of me seeing another McLaren like this in person is pretty much zero – let alone with an MSO (McLaren Special Operations) Senna parked alongside.

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With the Novitec kit, lightweight moulded carbon fiber body parts are used to add an extra 2.3-inches to the front end and a not-so-subtle 5.1-inches to the rear. Carbon side skirts have also been added to the mix, as have mirror covers, and a new hood and roof scoop.

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Around the back, the added girth is hard to miss – the vented rear fenders stare you squarely in the face.

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What makes the N-Largo kit even more special is the fact that it was wind tunnel-tested and optimised before being put into production, allowing it to at least maintain the aerodynamic, performance and cooling fundamentals that make the 720S a supercar in the first place. A larger carbon wing, which is actually said to increase downforce, is included, and a diffuser, center rear air intake, and engine cover are all on the upgrade list too.

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As for the paint, this is not a McLaren color option. Both the retained (original) bodywork and Novitec parts have been sprayed in a custom silver hue featuring plenty of metallic flake.

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The Novitec forged wheels – 20×9-inch with 245/30R20 tyres up front, and 21×12-inch with 325/25R21 tyres out back – are custom-made by Vossen in the USA, and sit tight but functionally under the fenders thanks to a 30mm drop via Novitec sport springs.

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A Novitec exhaust is standard fare with the N-Largo, but RACE! opted to go with a Fabspeed de-cat system featuring anti-thermal blankets, an x-pipe, and those beautiful burnt tips.

RACE! also installed a Novitec ECU, which raises output from the 4.0-liter twin-turbo V8 engine to 592kW (806hp) – hence the ‘806NL’ badges – and 878Nm of torque. Novitec says this equates to a 0-100km/h sprint in just 2.7-seconds, 0-200-km/h in 7.5-seconds, and a top speed of 346km/h (215mph).

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As you’d expect, the interior accents match the exterior, so the cockpit is a nice place to be when you’re doing 300km/h+.

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The Novitec N-Largo McLaren 720S is a prime example of how far you can go with your supercar. This particular example’s South African businessman owner really loves ultra-rare machines, including previously a white Zonda F Clubsport and an extravagant Mansory Bugatti Veyron, which was a one of one, built just for him. In his garage today he also has two Liberty Walk Lamborghinis, one a Huracán and the other an Aventador.

Personally, I love this Novitec McLaren, but I’m keen to hear your thoughts on modified and limited edition builds of already rather exclusive cars. Are they cool, or just pretentious and attention-seeking?

Stefan Kotzé
Instagram: stefankotzemedia



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Wow! I thought McLarens were nice stock. There is a dealer in New Jersey. Saw a reddish/burgundy 675LT in NY the other day. Only British car I would ever consider. Upgrades Novitec made are nice! I want one!


It's an inspirational question - "How would I modify my exotic car?"

I have an unorthodox answer: Instead of the lastest offering from Ferrari or McLaren all decked out in a body kit and wheels, I'd get a Testarossa or pre-facelift Diablo and figure out what parts I'd need to modify or replace to make it daily-driver reliable.

Does it need a new custom wiring harness with sensors from a Crown Vic or Taurus? Can I replace the clutch with one from a Trans Am or a Mustang? Convert the timing belts to chains? Standalone engine management with Toyota injectors?

I want a Testarossa or Diablo I can put 250,000 miles on.


This is a great answer. I'd want to attempt to keep the original engine, but I would also be OK with replacing with another from the same manufacturer with the same cylinder count. Jonathan Ward at Icon4x4 would do a brilliant job of it, I think.

This sentiment is a growing one, too. Jeremy Clarkson recently mentioned being tired of mega-power supercars. Alfaholics, Singer, and Eagle are all doing great things modernizing the vintage cars we love.


Lol bro i thought you where going to add that you'd want to do a a 4a-ge swap in the diablo or test one time .

Rich E Wavy Kariuki

Damn! Anyone wanna loan me a mill or two? I swear I'm good for it!


This looks like the owner has turned every AutoSculpt slider up to 100 and it's amazing.


I'm really torn when it comes to McLarens in general, they look absolutely killer but in my nearly 6 years of working for Aston Martin, everyone I've ever dealt with that has experience with McLarens all say the same thing, that they're (some how) built worse than Astons & you need to be REALLY into them to own one and no get rid of it due to sheer frustration at things going wrong on it every 50 miles.



So you are saying that McLarens need a lot of "upkeep?" As in they're not such good cars and will be in the shop more than on the road? Wow! Didn't know that! For that kind of money, you would expect it to run like a Porsche, my favorite car. Shaking my head...


All the actual upkeep items going wrong of their own accord afterwards is just standard. But when the "upkeep" is stuff that has gone wrong directly from the factory due to a lack of overall build quality, yeah, I don't think anyone could be blamed for being upset about it. Especially at the the costs most "luxury hand built" cars go for.


Making normal cars 'faster than a supercar' was what a lot of modifying used to be. And it was fun trying with some awesome ingenuity creating wicked builds along the way - who doesn't love seeing an Evo or similar trounce a Lambo. Even funnier when it's something like a Golf.

Modifying supercars/hypercars just seems a bit vulgar and pointless - we all know a supercar is fast and worth a lot of money... so who are you trying to beat or show-off too? If it's instagram followers or other supercar owners, well, just keep throwing money at these tuners who have cottoned on to the fact they can add a zero onto the end of anything they sell you and the willy-waving contest can continue.

For me though, when I see modified supercars (or standard ones) at shows they just bore me and feel like they're taking valuable space away from cars that have had real soul put into them and have great stories behind them. People may disagree, but this article for example... nicely enough written, but 100 times less interesting than Ben's story about picking up his Merc 190e Cosworth from the US!

So, basically, modifying supercars... I just don't get it!


I get it. Not all supercar owners are superficial. Some love driving their cars to the limit. The point of modifying a supercar is that no kid in a modded Golf or modded Civic has a chance to open their mouth and talk shit about a much superior car. Thats all their is to it. Imagine how annoying a kid in a 500 hp Civic would be if they beat your stock Gallardo. Imagine all the trash talk and arrogance. It makes total sense to me when people modify their supercars. UGR is the best example. They shut all the GT-R fanboys up. They shut all the Supra fanboys up. They literally shut everyone up with numbers. Thats what's so nice about modding supercars.


I feel like "not all supercar owners are superficial" doesn't really make sense with the rest of the paragraph where you explain how tuned supercars are great because they're faster than normal tuner cars.
I think you missed the point of the previous comment. What I read was someone seeing supercar tuners through a slightly cynical lens, and having greater appreciation for labors of love rather than vulgar displays of wealth. Still, it's a weird line to walk, given that car culture is thriving most when big companies and certain individuals decide to start throwing around money for fun.
I dunno. I get where you're coming from, but for me at least there's only so much one-upping that can happen before I just stop caring. There's always some other guy with a bottomless pit of cash and the willingness to spend more on engineers and artists, and the race to be at the top of that pile feels pretty braindead.


I think they are cool & pretentious & attention seeking at the same time. Most supercars, and most expensive luxury items for that matter, are attention seeking, that's part of what people are paying for. The owners want to get people's attention, and this Mclaren has absolutely gotten mine. I think it's a really neat car.


325/25R21? Oof...


Chris Harris said it best when he tested a GT class McLaren agains the Senna--

You could do a few years of actual racing in the GT car for the price of a Senna. So why don't supercar owners do this?

After coaching a lot of them you realize they aren't real car guys! The whole point of ownership for them is egocentric. Nothing to do with driving ability...which is why most of these cars just sit around doing nothing.

Real drivers aren't modifying their super cars, they are kids in go karts or Formula Fords reading books. It's a dying breed for sure, but some still exist.

My thoughts on this car? Scrap it and give me a Formula Atlantic: a real car that requires a real driver to master.


I agree, but dying breed? As long as there are things to tinker with, the breed will never die, no need for the melodrama.


Matt - listen to my podcast with a 9 time world champion and Atlantic driver to get more insight. Definitely a dying breed. Modifying cars is very cookie cutter now with few people really doing things that actually matter or make a difference. A lot of it has become instabuilds (largely what drives traffic and money to this site). I think you'll gain a lot more insight once you listen.

Ben - you are proving my point. We are shying away less from competition and more to "respect all builds" which is basically what you are saying in a different way. Relating back to my base point, you could buy this car or go racing. The fact we are seeing an emerging market with the super rich for vehicles like this as opposed to competition based cars is further proof.

As I said, the real stuff is still out there, but you guys wouldn't get one advertising dollar if this site switched to proper race cars. Let's not confuse the need to run a business with what is happening in the industry :)


@matt - couldn't agree more


No need for the melodrama.

If you got to somewhere like the Nordschliefe, there's plenty of modified 'supercars' mixing it with VW Golfs, Peugeot 205s, BMW M3s/M2s, all sorts of Renaults. These people sometimes drive there, bang out 20-laps in a day and drive home after. They're real drivers, in supercars, that have been made modified to specifically be faster around tracks like the Nürburgring, Spa, Portimão Circuit.

I've seen 70-year old dudes in modified GT3s with open face helmets at the ring lapping all day long. You'll see Ferrari, McLaren and Lamborghini models with software tunes, spicy suspension set-ups, exhausts, bespoke roll cages and a RaceNavigator stuck to the windscreen in car parks around the Green Hell.

Car culture like this is going down like this all around the world. The real drivers are the ones who are enjoying themselves. For me, it doesn't matter if you're in a small hatchback or a Novitec tuned Ferrari, as long as you're enjoying yourself, then that's what cars are about.


Its actually owned by his son


I'm getting kind of numb to these high end cars only because they really start to look and sound alike. When I see them at the C&C, I just glance at em, what I really like to see are the older cars and restomods done well or just some plain ole daily driver thats made it 20 or 30 years. Not that this is not a slick looking product or a fast car, no doubt.


Here's another thought. This is exactly what I'd do.

Go get your Aventador or 812 Superfast and instead of going the body-kit-and-wheels route, spend that money on high-performance driving lessons.

I can't see risking my half-million-dollar car because I didn't want to pop for fifteen grand in pro instruction.


Exactly this! If you've got the money for a brand spanking McLaren, a 1 in 15 bodykit for it, plus all the other parts listed (and more I'd imagine) then you have money for tuition, probably even a dedicated track car too. I hate this idea that once someone has money, they're no longer a car guy/girl the love is the same, the toys are just more expensive! and this is coming from someone driving a 14 year old 1 series diesel so I'm not trying to protect my own here! People buying cars and making them what they want them to be will always be fine by me


Ice Age - I hear you. But if you've got the money for the supercar and the aero/bodykit, then you've likely got the money for the driving tuition/coaching as well. Just do everything! haha


If they want to they should DM me on Instagram lol. That’s what I do!


It is a good looking kit. Now the owner won't try to get in the wrong car in the Wall mart Parking lot.