McLaren has uncovered a one-off concept car called the X-1 at the The Quail – an exclusive gathering at the Monterey Auto Week. The X-1 is based on the 12C, and the concept was built by McLaren Special Operations (MSO) after being commissioned by its secretive owner.
The car arrives on the crest of a what could become an interesting wave of customer-build cars, similar to the interesting one-off SP12 EC built by Ferrari Centro Stile for guitarist Eric Clapton, and the Lamborghini Aventador J. The X-1’s existence clearly shows just how far McLaren’s MSO will go to give the customer what he (or she) wants.
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 Citroen 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. Looking at the interesting final result, we can’t help but wonder if there was also an extended look at Bob Jankell and Wayne Cherry’s Panther 6 prototype.
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.