- Windsor, Ont
McLaren has uncovered a one-off concept car called the X-1 at the exclusive motoring event 'The Quail'. Based on the 12C, the concept was built by McLaren Special Operations (MSO) - the division of the company that focuses on bespoke projects.
In a similar style to the recently unveiled one-off SP12 EC by Ferrari for guitarist Eric Clapton, and the Lamborghini Aventador J, the car was built to order for a wealthy car enthusiast - in this case anonymously.
Under the new carbon fibre body, the car uses a modified version of the 12C's MonoCell structure, which allows for a different look, while retaining the driving characteristics and twin-turbo V8 of the standard McLaren.
The project began three years ago during a conversation between company chairman Ron Dennis and the anonymous client, who already owns a McLaren F1. He wanted a supercar that suited to his personality.
While designing the X-1, the customer supplied various notes and inspirational objects to MSO chief Paul Mackenzie and design chief Frank Stephenson for ideas. Various cars were also mentioned, including a 1961 Facel Vega, 1953 Chrysler D’Elegance Ghia, 1959 Buick Electra, 1939 Mercedes-Benz 540K and CitroΫn SM.
Hong Yeo is the designer in credited to the styling of the X-1. Korean-born RCA graduate, Yeo was chosen and directed by Frank Stephenson to design the special project.
The X-1 even had its own development programme, because the owner didn’t want a fragile concept car that couldn’t be used. Part of the brief was that it could be driven legally on the road, and capable of travelling at supercar speeds in safety.
The TelegraphIf you're a keen follower of McLaren road cars and already own an F1, SLR and MP4-12C, then what do you buy next? The answer, it would seem, is that you commission McLaren to build a bespoke car especially for you.
That's how the X-1, which was unveiled today at Pebble Beach in Monterey, USA, came in to existence. It's the creation of McLaren Special Operations (MSO), a division of McLaren Automotive that is responsible for delivering bespoke projects.
The car is based on the MP4-12C supercar and so uses McLaren's carbon-fibre MonoCell tub. Paul MacKenzie, MSO Programme Director, explained how the project came to fruition: "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."
An initial meeting with MacKenzie and Frank Stephenson, McLaren Design Director, resulted in hundreds of images covering everything from cars and architecture to fashion and film being presented to the customer, which were then narrowed down to a "mood book".
"The client wanted a competition between external designers – some outside the automotive world – and McLaren's own designers," said Stephenson. Among the vehicles studied were a 1961 Facel Vega, a 1953 Chrysler D'Elegance Ghia, a 1959 Buick Electra, a 1939 Mercedes-Benz 540K and a 1971 Citroën SM, while design classics from outside the automotive world included the Guggenheim museums in New York and Bilba, an Airstream trailer and a grand piano.