News : McLaren X-1 one-off unveiled in USA

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 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 Citroën 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.


Keith Adams


  1. Wow! The ‘sponson’ like wings which are demarked by that chrome trim line remind me of 60s Lincolns. Would love to see the same design language translated into saloon car…

  2. looks like some Japanese kit to transform a tired old 300zx into a supercar
    wonder who commissioned it?
    rowan atkinson maybe?

  3. Erm, blimey.

    It reminds me of one of those ‘head in the clouds’ American motorshow concepts.

    Its not a thing of great beauty, is it?

    Somehow the ‘anonymous’ owner is hardly likely to remain anonymous driving something like that, unless he’s going to be wearing a lycra leotard, a mask, and a cape.

  4. Fabulous really, I’d say the owner feasted on a diet of 80′ s prototypes as a kid, and has commissioned the dream picture in his mind. A perfect compliment to his bench made shoes, hand cut suit and precision watch. I really like it indeed.

  5. OBVIOUSLY built for someone with no taste… I would have thought that it was built for some rapper etc, etc… Anyway, the engineering’s all there, the stylist has done a reasonable job but it’s certainly not up my strasse…

  6. Well, as the topic title refers to the ‘unveiling’ ceremony, could I suggest that they follow that with an official ‘veiling’? And permanent storage in a barn somewhere?

  7. Wealth and good taste are not natural bedfellows. But, then again, if it keeps people in jobs who are we criticize?

    The day that bad aesthetics becomes a “hate-crime” then we are all doomed to conformity.

    The Sultan of Brunei kept RR/Bentley, Aston-Martin and Ferrari in business for years and his commissions where, at the very least, an “acquired” taste!

  8. A stunning design and it definitely reminds me of the Panther 6 which I have always had a fascination for.

    It certainly does not look like a pastiche of some old supercar from a bygone era, thank goodness. Eccentric it might be, but it is one of those supercars that, once in a blue moon, I end up liking.

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