McLaren Automotive has built a one-of-a-kind car for an anonymous car enthusiast that wouldn’t look out of place in the latest comic book blockbuster.
Based on the mid-engined MP4-12C sportscar, the X-1 as it has been coined features a completely unique design and was built by McLaren Special Operations (MSO), the division of McLaren Automotive responsible for the delivery of bespoke projects.
“One of our clients who already owned a McLaren F1, a Mercedes-Benz SLR McLaren and now a 12C, wanted a unique car,” says MSO Programme Director, Paul MacKenzie. “The conversation began with our Executive Chairman Ron Dennis almost three years ago - before the 12C was even launched. The client wanted a machine that had all the capability of the 12C but wrapped in a unique body that reflected his needs and personality.”
More than just a unique design, the whole body is made up of advanced materials. Everything is bespoke, even down to the lights and wheels, requiring new testing meaning the car took two and a half years to build.
Even the design process wasn’t straightforward with the client demanding a competition to find the perfect interpretation of the brief. So external designers and McLaren’s own designers began to work on a variety of looks. In the end, a design by McLaren’s Korean-born RCA graduate Hong Yeo was chosen: “X-1 embodies the McLaren value that every part has to have a purpose. No details are simply visual cues, every one has a purpose. Although I like to think the wide body combined with pontoon style rear fenders will ensure the car glides when it’s moving just like a superhero’s cape...”
The unique body of the X-1 means most dimensions have changed from the 12C. The X-1 is 4658mm long – 109mm longer than a 12C. Width is 2097mm (with mirrors) – an increase of 188 mm. Despite the revised roofline, the height remains the same, at 1199mm. Kerb weight is almost identical (about 1400kg), as the lighter carbon body panels compensate for the greater length and width.
Inside, the basic structure remained unchanged, however there are bespoke Harissa Red McLaren Nappa leather used for the seats, door and roof trim, and switchgear with machined nickel-coated, aluminium bezels. The carbon interior trim has a titanium weave, to give a magical 3D-like effect. Special Andesite tufted carpet covers the floor.
All these changes ensured the X-1 needed special homologation for road use. The car has been thoroughly engineered to be usable and road legal. The X-1 shares the same the major mechanical components as the 12C, including the twin-turbo 625PS engine.