This is McLaren’s surprise debut for the 2012 Pebble Beach Concours, a one-off custom version of the MP4-12C designed and built by McLaren Special Operations (MSO). Turns out these guys are capable of more than just painting your car in a funny color or putting more letter in it. The X-1 is not particularly pretty, but it’s unique and sort of clever, and that makes it priceless.
McLaren X-1 is reportedly built for a Middle Eastern client who already has a McLaren F1, a Mercedes-Benz SLR McLaren and a 12C in his collection. But he wanted something one-of-a-kind based on his dreams, and the MSO was more than happy to give him one. They say the design of the car is ‘timeless and elegant’ but it sort of looks like those futuristic cars you see in 1970s Sci-Fi movies.
But that is because the designers used a bunch of unique classic cars as inspiration. They included 1961 Facel Vega, a 1953 Chrysler D’Elegance Ghia, a 1959 Buick Electra, a 1939 Mercedes-Benz 540K and a 1971 Citroën SM. They also drew inspiration from architecture such as Guggenheim museums in New York and Bilbao, and even a Jaeger LeCoultre art deco clock.
The McLaren 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.
Apart from the body, the rest of the car is identical to the MP4-12C, which means you get the same sort of chassis, interior and 625 horsepower engine. But all parts have been retuned and extensively tested to cope with the new body.
Cars made based on dreams and desires of just one man are always astonishing, and this one’s no exception.