His McLaren Is One of the Hardest Cars in the World to Get

Gil Dezer, 47, a real estate developer living in Miami, in the 2020 McLaren Speedtail, as he told AJ Baime.

In the early 1990s, McLaren brought out a car called the F1. It was the coolest car ever. At the time, McLaren only built racing cars, and this was the company’s first real production road car. The F1 had three seats, one in the front, one in the middle and two in the back. McLaren only made 106 of these cars. I had a poster of him on my wall and dreamed that one day I would be able to own one.

My father has always been a car collector. He built a collection of over 1,800 cars, motorcycles, Vespas and movie cars and I caught the bug from him. But I’m not that into collecting. I only buy cars that I drive, and I currently have 32 of them — almost all of them in a shade of silver or gray.

The McLaren Speedtail has what the company calls upward-opening dihedral doors.

Control buttons above the driver put the Speedtail in reverse, neutral and forward; the driver sits in the car’s only front seat, which is centrally located.

I always wanted to get a McLaren F1. But so few were made, they rarely sell, and when they do, they might go for something like $20 million. But in 2018, McLaren unveiled something called the Speedtail, a throwback of sorts to F1. Like the F1, this car has three seats – one in the front and two in the back. Like the F1, only 106 were made. I tried to buy one but couldn’t. All 106 have already been purchased. However, a used Speedtail was going to be considerably more affordable than an F1.

About a year ago, I started hunting. I found a Speedtail for sale in Japan, but quickly realized how difficult it would be to get it into the country. McLaren hasn’t tested enough cars to meet all US regulations, so you need a special ‘Show and Display’ permit to import the car and drive it. I continued to search.

According to McLaren, the Speedtail is the fastest customer car the company has built.

The Speedtail takes its name from the rear of the car.

I found one in California that was silver with an orange interior that I love. My boat is silver with an orange interior and some of my cars are silver with an orange interior. So this had to be the one. After some negotiations, we closed the deal. The car only had about 700 miles on it.

“People are constantly circling the car and taking pictures,” says Mr. Dezer.

I took possession of the Speedtail this month, got my ‘Show and Display’ permit and have been driving it ever since. Miami has great roads and highways. McLaren’s hybrid engine system delivers acceleration so smooth and instant, it’s bananas. The car is electronically limited to 250 mph, but I’ve heard it would go faster if it wasn’t limited. [According to McLaren, the Speedtail is the fastest customer car the company has built.]

I’m a big guy so a lot of supercars aren’t comfortable for me. But this car only has one seat in the front, so it’s very comfortable and easy to get in and out of. Most of my other cars are two-seaters. This has three seats so I can fit both my kids in it. This was a major reason for buying the car in the first place.

The Speedtail is the closest I’ve come to having my dream car since I was a kid. Ever since it arrived, I can’t stop looking at it. The only downside? When I go out on the road, people constantly surround the car and take pictures. I’m just happy to have it and share it with the world.

Write to AJ Baime at [email protected]

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