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Ride of the Week: Michael Axon and his 2014 McLaren MP4-12C Spyder

Michael Axon stands with his 2014 McLaren MP4-12C Spyder sports car, a recent addition to his collection. Fireball tim Lawrence/22nd Century Media
Fireball Tim Lawrence
6:51 am PDT August 18, 2016

I consider it a blessing to call Michael Axon a friend. A tremendous individual who has spent the better part of his life in the pursuit of the driving experience. When I first met Michael at Malibu Cars & Coffee, we hit it off pretty quickly, and I found out that beside being a very successful business owner as the CEO of LaZerCAD, he also had a unique company called The English Car Company. And that’s what introduced me to the collection.

Among many cars in Michael’s stable, one of the more recent finds is his 2014 McLaren MP4 12C. A 3.8 litre V8 Twin Turbo pushing 616 BHP at 7500 RPM. The transmission also Mclaren designed and built is a seven-speed dual clutch seamless-shift gearbox with pre-cog functionality. The MP4-12C is Formula One-inspired and is built around a unique carbon fiber monocoque. At 3,000 pounds, it uses launch control and will achieve 0-60 in around 2.83 seconds.

Now, I’m friends with Frank Stephenson of McLaren in London and know all about this car. It’s the real deal, but so is Michael.

“We have owned the car for around six months,” he said. “Purchased from a private individual who was kind enough to wholesale it thru Silver Star. The benefit of this was the main dealer safety checked, smogged and registered the car for us, giving us piece of mind.

“We have an English car collection consisting of mainly older cars, so we wanted to add a ‘SuperCar’ also. There are not that many options — Aston Martin, Jaguar XJ220, maybe a Bentley GT or a McLaren. Being the Formula 1 racing fanatics that we are, the decision was easily made. The McLaren MP4-12c was the first car that my wife, Sharon, got involved in choosing, stating that it was the most beautiful object she had set eyes on. With my ego and pride in tatters, I handed over the check and became No. 2 in her life.”

According to Michael and his son James, the best part of the car has to be color, Volcano Orange. Mixed by hand, painted by hand and finished by hand, the three-stage Formula 1-inspired paint was developed to save weight and enhance the cars aero-led design. Plain and simply speaking, when the sun comes out, it looks like an erupting volcano.

“We use the car for pleasure and charity work,” Michael said, “taking it to events to raise money for the needy as well as enjoying the local car shows — Wheels and Waves, Malibu Cars and Coffee and SuperCAR Sunday. We meet the best people at these events with our 13-year-old James, sharing stories with other like minded car people.

And of course, Ride of the Week would not be complete without a best story, so: “Out driving on one of our usual nightly runs thru Old Topanga with my son James, I looked across and said ‘James, how great is this — father, son, beautiful summer evening having a leisurely drive in a McLaren MP4-12c? It doesn’t get much better than this, right?’  

He replied, ‘Hmm, yes it does.’  ‘Really?’ I replied. ‘How?’‘We could be out driving in the 1968 Jaguar E-Type that we restored together. Anyone can go out and buy a McLaren Dad, but they cannot restore an E-Type like we did.’”

“I didn’t know whether to laugh or cry, but the kid was right. I guess we brought him up with the right standards after all.”

For Michael, born and raised in England, the weather determined when and where he could drive. Not so in Malibu. He picks a different car every day and heads off down through the canyons to Malibu. The weather, the scenery and importantly the friendly people of Malibu are unrivaled. 

He told me that he is lucky to have traveled the world, but has yet to find such a unique eclectic community as Malibu. Every shopping trip out in one of his cars to Trancas or the Colony ends up in meeting new people and making new friends.

“Life doesn’t get much better than a Sunday drive out to Fireball’s Wheels and Waves Car Show,” he said. “A spot of brunch followed by a scenic canyon drive back through the canyon to Agoura Hill — and then take my wife out for a drive.”

We have some big plans for Michael’s collection and potential charities. I’m very grateful to ride-along. Big thanks, Michael!