HomeLuxury LifestyleThis company will help you build the car of your dreams

This company will help you build the car of your dreams

James Banks. Picture: LaSource

From time to time, you will meet a company that will arouse your curiosity and then make you fall in love with its business. LaSource is such a company. LaSource was founded by a man who loves cars infinitely, and has taken the car brokerage business to a whole new level.

Generally, in the brokerage business, there are varying degrees of contact between potential buyers and sellers. This is almost never a simple negotiation between buyers and sellers. LaSource aims to provide this process with what it lacks most: personal connections. LaSource offers an exclusive membership program that allows car enthusiasts to connect and conduct seamless transactions. It also undertakes custom commissions and restoration projects, and provides expert advice on the purchase and sale of rare cars.

To learn more about this interesting company, we interviewed its founder James Banks, who has been in charge of McLaren’s traditional and custom car plans for many years. He told us about his love of cars, all the content of LaSource and what he thinks is the direction of the automotive industry.


Brabham BT621. Picture: LaSource

You have a successful career with McLaren, a British supercar manufacturer, but you decided to leave the company and set up LaSource. What is your motivation?

When I was at McLaren, I actually spent many years in engineering and later managed their customer commissions within their custom department, which allowed me to do more customer-oriented work. The few projects we developed for these customers are real one-time, two- or three-time cars. Over the years, I have built a lot of very solid relationships with people through these commissions.

Fast forward to 2019 and I established LaSource. I want to build a network between the world’s most passionate car collectors so that they can buy and sell directly between car owners and buyers—no middleman. We want to make the whole process completely credible and transparent.

The reason is that with the rise of Instagram, people who are passionate about cars can share their passion with others online. Suddenly, it is possible for a stranger to come into contact with a billionaire car collector and establish a certain degree of rapport. “Bedroom broker” is a term you may have heard of in the past.

People will come to you and say, “I have an X, Y, or Z for sale.”-Almost always a very popular thing. As the transaction begins to progress, the original claim begins to change. Before you know it, it discovers that the broker actually knows a broker, and he knows another broker who claims to act on behalf of the seller, and you don’t correspond to the seller’s agent. I have seen extreme situations where the car evaporates while paying a large down payment to the broker!


Brabham BT622. Picture: LaSource

So, what exactly does LaSource provide?

The core of the LaSource product is actually three things. The first is the sale of iconic performance cars between private buyers and sellers in the high-end market, which includes the sale of construction slots. In the latter case, if the buyer may not want to own a car they have built slots for some reason, we will help them carefully transfer it to interested customers.

Secondly, we are the official sales agent and consultant of many manufacturers, including Brabham Automotive, CALLUM and Gordon Murray Automotive, as well as classic car business Thornley Kelham. Finally, we build to become your trusted partner through customized construction. With my background as an engineer and my few modification experience at McLaren, LaSource can help you debug your dream car.

How do you become a member of LaSource, and what are the specific benefits of membership?

The members of LaSource must be people I know, or they must apply through the website. For our members and the services we provide, each member is sincere, which is very important, so there will be some due diligence.

These full members will have access to the entire list of vehicles on LaSource, including many vehicles sold “off-site”, that is, vehicles that are not available anywhere in the public domain. Essentially, they have the opportunity to buy these rarely sold cars before others. Members also have the added benefit of being able to sell their cars to large but cautious collectors.

LaSource provides a virtual showroom for its members. How is it different from operating a physical supercar showroom?

LaSource does not actually hold any physical inventory, and it does not operate like a physical supercar showroom at all. In most cases, our cars will be sold to customers on the other side of the world, so test drives or viewings are usually not organized. On the contrary, because we trade at such an elite level, we have a certain degree of trust in the product and LaSource.


Gordon Murray t50. Picture: LaSource

How do the supercar manufacturers view your current operations?

Every year, several niche high-performance manufacturers contact LaSource for our help. Large companies like Ferrari will have a network of 150 global dealers who will have no problems finding buyers for their vehicles. A small company cannot justify this approach, and this is where LaSource can enter and build these relationships with the right people.

Usually, the services we provide for these companies are also extended to more consulting roles. Currently, we represent CALLUM, Brabham Automotive, Gordon Murray Automotive and Thornley Kelham. We are also working behind the scenes with several companies that are not yet ready to publicly announce their plans.

We only represent people, companies or products we believe in, and we spare no effort to review companies before representing them. Before recommending their products or services to our members, we at least inspect their facilities, meet with senior management and review their business plans in detail. One thing I want to say is that we are all enthusiasts; we all have a deep passion for cars, and I just like to share these cars with people who are lucky enough to buy them. I have always said that I have never sold a car in my life-if you just share a passion, it is not sold.


Brabham BT62. Picture: LaSource

What are your thoughts on the future of electric supercars?

As an engineer, I have never fully believed in the trend of producing electric supercars-in terms of design, they must be very heavy, and it is obvious that you will lose a lot of vibration and noise, and these vibrations and noises make high-performance cars An all-encompassing stimulus.

However, I recently experienced the Pininfarina Battista circuit in the hands of professional drivers and I really appreciate the potential of this technology. Acceleration is anything else I have never experienced. Each wheel is controlled by its own independent motor. You can create a torque vectoring system that is more flexible than traditionally powered super sports cars.

I think the current electric supercars, such as Rimac Nevera, Pininfarina Battista and Lotus EVIJA, are very collectible vehicles and represent the peak of performance at that time. Just like McLaren P1, Ferrari LaFerrari and Porsche 918 have done.


McLaren P1 5th Anniversary Picture: LaSource

You have been processing custom supercar orders. What is one of the most extravagant requests you have received and successfully processed?

Maybe not the most extravagant, but it is definitely one of my proudest commissions. It should be during my time at McLaren that I created the McLaren P1 GTR inspired by Ayrton Senna, which later became known as the “Beco” car. Beco immediately marked it with a red and white paint, which was inspired by the McLaren MP4/4 that allowed Senna to win the championship for the first time. It was modified in almost all aspects.

We developed new aerodynamics, overhauled the engine to significantly increase displacement and power, and added a lot of incredible small details, chiefly a tribute to Senna’s time at McLaren. For example, the Alcantara on the steering wheel matches the color of the MP4/4, while the engine compartment is equipped with a 24-carat gold heat shield, and the carbon fiber bathtub has Ayrton Senna quotation marks, which you can see when you enter the car.

What do you think of the amazing resurrection of Bugatti in the past 20 years?

Bugatti is such an interesting brand. Obviously, it has an impeccable motorsport tradition, it has produced some of the most extraordinary cars in the world, but it has also gone through many different iterations. It basically disappeared in the 1950s, then reborn again in the late 1980s, and then became publicly owned in the late 1990s. Of course, in the latter era, we have witnessed Bugatti’s engineering prowess, constantly making cars that set new standards for speed, usability and luxury.

But now, with the merger of Bugatti and the Croatian electric supercar company Rimac Automobili, a new chapter has appeared in Bugatti’s story. It will be very interesting to see how Bugatti maintains its identity, when electrification becomes an important part of its future, it is built around the powerful W16 four-turbocharged engine.


McLaren Speedtail Image: LaSource

If you were asked to name your favorite classic car, which one would you be?

The value of most cars ebbs and flows between generations; unfortunately, for example, the younger generation has little interest in pre-war cars. Currently, people are very interested in cars from the 80s and 90s, including myself. If counted as a classic car, I would say that my favorite is McLaren F1. Yes, it is almost the most expensive car you can buy right now, but with a guaranteed legendary status, very limited production and no signs of abating demand, I want to say that it still has a way to go. It is very similar to the Gen X 250 GTO, which was recently sold out at Pebble Beach for more than 20 million U.S. dollars.

What is your favorite car-related museum in the world?

A few years ago, I took a very special trip to the Peterson Museum in Los Angeles, and it has been my favorite ever since. The exhibits truly celebrate the full scope of car culture in the most amazing way; the story of the supercar can be traced back to the Jaguar XKSS based on the D-type, and the evolution of F1 is through the collection of Juan Gonzalez or Pininfarina’s most beautifully designed celebration to tell. Some of our customers also store their vehicles in Peterson’s “vault”, which in itself is worth a visit.

If you were to name a mentor who inspired you in your life and entrepreneurial path, who would it be?

I have always admired Henry Royce’s work and wisdom. Many of your readers know that he is half of the founding partner of Rolls-Royce. His spirit is perfectly summarized in his famous saying: “Doing the right thing, no matter how humble, is noble.” I don’t believe in doing it. Anything, unless I do it well.

Learn more about LaSource here.

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