Yes, I said, ” the McLaren Automotive’s X-1 Concept Car has macabre grace in the title.” When you look at it long enough, it’s something almost sinister. At the very least, it’s something special and bizarre built by a company who usually avoids that kind of thing.
After the MP4-12C, McLaren has absolutely nothing to prove when it comes to their technical prowess and superb workmanship. It is a case study in rolling perfection – with one exception, the esthetics. It’s attractive, but not particularly sexy.
You would think that the designers at McLaren were more obsessed with the technical bits over artistic interpretation. That is: until you see the astounding X-1 Concept. It is, simply put, one of the most outrageous design ideas to come out of McLaren.
This vehicle was built for an anonymous patron who wanted something that engaged the senses in a timeless wrapper.
McLaren Special Operation’s designer Hong Yeo’s creation was chosen and completed under McLaren’s Frank Stephenson. Under its skin, you basically have a McLaren 12C. 1953 Chrysler D’Elegance Ghia, a 1971 Citroën SM, a 1939 Mercedes-Benz 540K, a 1961 Facel Vega and even a 1959 Buick Electra were automotive inspirations for the design. Other items, like an old photo of Audrey Hepburn, grand piano, Jaeger LeCoultre art deco clock and an eggplant (among other items) assisted in the design theme as well.
“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.” – – McLaren Automotive Limited
Is there a possibility for mass production? No. This is a one-off car that was properly tested (about 625 miles of testing), dismantled and rigorously reassembled to the high standards of the Pebble Beach Concourse. Still, this could be the instigator for more sensuous design to infiltrate McLaren’s technical prowess.
Sure, the X-1’s bones are from a MP4-C12, but that in its self is high praise. Even the interior’s overall layout is similar to the “regular: C12, but this interior has Harissa Red McLaren Nappa leather and a mixture of titanium mixed with carbon and it’s woven together. Andesite carpeting adorns the floor and finishes off a radical departure for the simple and logical interior of the MP4-C12.
Love it or hate it, you must admire the design gall of McLaren to produce such an interesting exercise in vehicular sensuality.
Speaking of sensuous cars, check out The Fast Lane Car’s trip to Italy to drive Lamborghinis!
While the basic architecture of the interior did not change, personalisation includes bespoke used for the seats, door and roof trim, and switchgear with machined nickel-coated, aluminium bezels. The carbon interior trim has a titanium weave, to give a magical 3D-like effect. Special Andesite tufted carpet covers the floor.
“The carbon fibre MonoCell chassis used in the 12C, is not only stiff and light, it allows for great flexibility in body styling and provides an affordable structure from which MSO can develop unique cars, as is demonstrated with X-1” – – McLaren Automotive Limited
The bottom line is, what will vehicles like the X-1 do for McLaren? I think it will do for McLaren like what the Audi R8 did for Audi… it will give it a soul. If nothing else, it will bend a few of the design rules McLaren established with its new production car and, maybe, create something special – again.
Check out this video of The Fast Lane Car playing with an Audi R8. We have yet to receive a McLaren to play with… sorry. Enjoy the video!