Created by McLaren Special Operations (MSO) for an unspecified client with indisputably unique taste, the X-1 debuted today at The Quail, an exclusive event at the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance.
“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.”
It pushes the boundaries of what supercar styling means, though judgement on whether or not that’s a good thing will have to be based on individual discretion. “The key qualities the client desired were “timeless and classical elegance,” Design Director Frank Stephenson said.
In one sense, it doesn’t really matter how anyone feels about the car’s looks. Cars like this are meant to stick in people’s minds, and there’s no question that the X-1 will.
As the most ambitious example of MSO’s work, the car went through extensive testing before completion. Those tests included a full CFD aerodynamic test to be sure the car would be stable at high speeds, and 625 miles of real world testing after which the car was rebuilt by hand.
Far from being a garage queen, the car required its own development program because the owner insisted that it be every bit as capable as an MP4-12C.
All the body panels are made from carbon and the components were tooled exclusively for the car. Essentially a bespoke MP4-12C, the car is 4.29 inches longer than the production car it shares a platform with. It’s also a solid 7.4 inches wider. The interior layout stayed the same, though with plenty of custom appointment like the red Nappa leather you see in the photos below.
The engine is a direct transplant from the 12C, meaning it has a 3.8-liter V8 capable of 592 hp and 443 lb-ft of torque. McLaren also says the curb weight is almost identical to its parent car.