McLaren Special Operations (MSO), a division of McLaren Automotive that's responsible for bespoke projects, has created a one-off supercar for an anonymous customer.
"One of our clients who already owned a McLaren F1, a Mercedes-Benz SLR McLaren and now a 12C, wanted a unique car," said MSO program 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."
That one-off supercar is now real and goes by the name of McLaren X-1 , which, according to the British carmaker, is based structurally on its groundbreaking carbon MonoCell but has a totally unique body.
With McLaren design director Frank Stephenson in tow, MacKenzie met with the anonymous client and discussed the car's design, drawing inspiration from classic cars like the 1961 Facel Vega, the 1953 Chrysler D'Elegance Ghia, the 1959 Buick Electra, the 1939 Mercedes-Benz 540K and the 1971 Citroen SM. Architectural examples were also looked at, including the Guggenheim museums in New York and Bilbao, as well as numerous art deco pieces. In the end, a design by McLaren's Korean-born RCA graduate Hong Yeo was chosen and completed under Stephenson's direction.
All of the X-1's body panes are made from carbon fiber and finished in a rich piano black as specified by the owner, with the body sides done in lacquered visual carbon fiber.
Owing to the car's originality, all its components were tooled exclusively for it, including the unique head- and taillights that were inspired by the McLaren Speed Marque logo. The car's aluminum trims, including the McLaren Speed Marque badge on the nose, are reportedly machined from solid aluminum with a nickel finish being applied after. The same aluminum trim can also be seen on the over-the-shoulder rails as specified by the owner, on the 'eyebrows' over the bespoke headlights, and at the base of the windscreen and the back of the glasshouse, which, incidentally, is the only thing carried over from the 12C. The McLaren Airbrake rear wing is also machined from solid aluminum and nickel-plated to complement the rest of the brightwork.
The most unusual styling feature of the X-1 though are the enclosed rear wheels which is an upshot of the owner's desire to have a car reflecting 'timeless elegance'. The X-1's wheels, which are also unique to the car, are diamond-turned with a tinted lacquer to complement the exterior nickel-plated brightwork.
Despite being slightly longer and wider than the 12C, the X-1's height and curb weight are supposedly almost equal to those of McLaren's current supercar.
While the basic architecture of the X-1's interior did not change from the 12C, personalized features include bespoke Harissa Red McLaren Nappa leather used for the seats, door and roof trim, and switchgear with machined nickel-coated, aluminum bezels. The carbon interior trim also has a titanium weave, while a special andesite tufted carpet covers the floor.
According to McLaren, the X-1 has been thoroughly engineered to be usable and road-legal, and that it "shares the same major mechanical components as the 12C," including the twin-turbo 616hp engine.
"The X-1 showcases the skills of McLaren Special Operations," added Mackenzie. "More and more luxury customers want bespoke or individual features. The X-1 demonstrates that we can provide the ultimate personalization service. It also shows that MSO is not just a technology-led company. The X-1 demonstrates a commitment to perfection and the highest levels of quality."
Car enthusiast James Glickenhaus, the owner of another one-off supercar in the Ferrari P4/5, has seen the X-1 and thought of it as "great," calling its build quality "very high."