As promised, McLaren is creating new dream machines
McLaren Special Operations (MSO), the division of McLaren Automotive responsible for the delivery of bespoke projects, unveiled a rather special one-off design at the recent Pebble Beach weekend in Monterey, California. Called the McLaren X-1, and based structurally on the company’s groundbreaking carbon MonoCell, it was created for an anonymous – and obviously well-heeled – car enthusiast.
According to Design Director Frank Stephenson, the client was looking for a unique vehicle characterised by “timeless and classical elegance”. Intent on delivering just that, the design team brought together hundreds of images from the world of automotive, architecture, fashion, design and even film. These were presented to the customer, then narrowed down to a “mood book” full of inspiring images.
Inspirational cars included a 1961 Facel Vega, a 1953 Chrysler D’Elegance Ghia, a 1959 Buick Electra, a 1939 Mercedes-Benz 540K and a 1971 Citroën SM. There were various examples of architecture – including the Guggenheim museums in New York and Bilbao – plus a Jaeger LeCoultre art deco clock, an Airstream trailer and a grand piano. Oh, and an eggplant. “The client liked the shiny texture of the finish,” explained Stephenson. In the end, a design by McLaren’s Korean-born Royal College of Art graduate, Hong Yeo, was chosen, and completed under Stephenson’s direction.
The X-1 is the most ambitious example yet of MSO’s expertise. Everything is bespoke, right down to the lights and wheels. Components tooled exclusively for the car, which took two and a half years to build, include unique head- and taillights, and enclosed rear wheels – an upshot of the owner’s desire to own a car reflecting “timeless elegance”. The X-1 shares the major mechanical components of the 12C, including the twin-turbo engine, which delivers breathtaking acceleration and formidably high speeds.
Wallpaper >New on the block (October 2012 issue)