We’re beginning to wonder whether the guys at the McLaren drawing boards ever get any sleep. In the not-too-distant past they’ve brought us the 12C Spider, the supercars of the future (sort of), the latest MP4-12C GT3, and the 12C Can-Am Edition. Now the silver-sleeved boys and girls at Woking have unveiled the new McLaren X-1.
First things first, this is just a one-off model, due to make its first appearance at this weekend’s Pebble Beach Quail concourse event in the US. And it has been designed specifically for an unnamed customer who already owns a McLaren F1, a McLaren-Mercedes SLR, and a McLaren 12C (I think we can see a pattern emerging).
Key points of the brief included ‘timeless and classical elegance’, ‘had all the capacity of a 12C’, and ‘reflected his needs and personality’. A tough ask. Indeed, the design from the McLaren Special Operations division (MSO) alone took 18 months to complete and took influence from a 1961 Facel Vega, a 1953 Chrysler D’Elegance Ghia, a 1959 Buick Electra, a 1939 Mercedes-Benz 540K and a 1971 Citroën SM.
The new X-1 – which underwent over 1000km of testing with chief test driver Chris Goodwin – features a carbon MonoCell, the components of which are all bespoke designs: the head and taillights for example were both inspired by the McLaren logo. The over-the-shoulder rails were also a customer request, but perhaps the most notable aesthetic feature are the unenclosed rear wheels, which are still accessible through the hinged carbon panels.