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Would you draw on a $300,000 McLaren? Alex Alpert did.

Head to Classic Car Club Manhattan with me and see a one-of-a-kind McLaren get hand-drawn on by Alex Alpert, an artist from New York.

Alex Alpert McLaren

I’ve always known what I’ve wanted to do with my life: you’re reading it right now. How I got here is a story for another day, but suffice to say it’s been a challenge. Part of that challenge comes from trying to explain just what I do (you shoot cars for fun? Eh?), and yet for a single evening at Classic Car Club Manhattan, I didn’t feel so alone.

Alex Alpert was there, and he gets it – he was drawing on a $300,000 McLaren in front of a crowd. No one was stopping him either.

Car art, line one

Classic Car Club Manhattan

Believe it or not, I’ve never been inside Classic Car Club Manhattan before. But I’ve always loved the concept of a car club inside a city that is actively trying to destroy them (hence my book). And to be honest, I had no idea I’d be going when I woke up that morning.

But then friends Mike and Elvis from J&B Bodyworks called – “Want to come through tonight?”. They hired an artist to work on a McLaren that was on display at the New York International Auto Show, and he’d be finishing the piece at the club.

Classic Car Club Manhattan

Located off the West Side Highway, the club is easily marked with a gigantic logo outside, but you don’t really know what to expect as you walk in. I could tell there was an event that night – the lot outside was full of beautiful things, from a Ferrari to an M6 Coupe.

But I had no idea what was in store.

Inside Classic Car Club Manhattan

Classic Car Club Manhattan

Walk past the bar (and the delicious-smelling food) and enter what can best be described as a gigantic man cave. There’s a ton of atmosphere, with various cars and bikes on display, even old F1 races playing on TVs all over in the background.

Classic Car Club Manhattan
I usually shoot right over there.

There’s also a nice outdoor patio, and it’s weird to see New Jersey from this side (I usually shoot the other way). J&B had also brought a Porsche 911 shell that is being restored for Joe, the shop foreman and owner’s son.

J&B Porsche
Joe’s Porsche 911 shell
J&B Porsche J&B Porsche
J&B Porsche
Marked up – butcher style.
J&B Porsche J&B Porsche

BMWs? Sure – ironic that they had a classic 2002 beautifully finished next to the worst M car made in the last 20 years. An original NSX, 911 GT3 and a few Lambos and other exotics round out the garage display. The cars change all the time, but they form a nice backdrop to a bar area that makes a great place to network.

Classic Car Club Manhattan Classic Car Club Manhattan

However, it was clear which car was the star tonight.

Don’t be so one-dimensional

Classic Car Club Manhattan

The McLaren 600LT that Alex Alpert would be working on is owned by Joe Sr, the owner of J&B. The project is a brainchild of Mike Izzo (Joe’s son, and other Joe’s brother. Italian families, you know), work had begun inside the shop and continued at the Auto Show.

Classic Car Club Manhattan Classic Car Club Manhattan Classic Car Club Manhattan

Let’s introduce you to Alex. He’s a creative director based out of New York City, and he’s what’s known as a “stream of consciousness” artist. It means he’s not sure how the art will take shape as he draws. He’s done work for F1, Red Bull, Nike, even AMMO NYC – all big things. I’d call his style distinctive, and I was curious how he’d apply it to not just a car, but one with so many curves, cuts and vents. Very three-dimensional.

Classic Car Club Manhattan

Finishing touch

Alex Alpert McLaren

The car itself was nearly complete by the time it reached Classic Car Club Manhattan, but I watched (and filmed) for the next few hours as Alex completed his work.

It begs to be examined up close, with all kinds of details. Yet when taken as a whole piece, it all incredibly flows together. Crowds gathered and filmed as he drew, and he often paused to take pics with everyone.

Alex Alpert McLaren

These are the kinds of projects I love: art and cars coming together. Everyone at J&B gets it, and it’s always nice to work with people that do.

If only my teachers at SVA could see me now.

Thanks to Joe Sr., Joe, Mike, Elvis and Alex for letting me tag along!

Want to work with with J&B or have them fix your car? Check them out here. Want to work with Alex – here’s his info. And if you’d like to join Classic Car Club Manhattan, visit them here.

Alex Alpert McLaren Alex Alpert McLaren Alex Alpert McLaren Alex Alpert McLarenAlex Alpert McLarenAlex Alpert McLarenAlex Alpert McLaren Alex Alpert McLaren Alex Alpert McLaren

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I use Nikon camera bodies and lenses, a Westcott Ice Light 2, Manfrotto tripod, B + W filters and an iMac Pro to make the art you see here.

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