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McLaren’s one-off X-1 concept in horrifying pictures

We’ve seen some hideous cars in our time but McLaren may have taken the cake with its X-1, a concept vehicle created for an “anonymous car enthusiast” with very questionable taste.

McLaren created this one-off concept for one of its wealthiest customers.
McLaren created this one-off concept for one of its wealthiest customers.

The mystery man is a devoted McLaren fan who has already splashed out on a McLaren F1, a Mercedes-Benz SLR McLaren and a 12C. He contacted McLaren’s executive chairman some three years ago and explained he wanted a new model exclusively for himself.

Upon accepting the car enthusiast’s request, meetings were set up to decide on the look, which the client said had to be “timeless” and have “classical elegance”. To aid in the process, a mood book was created with design elements the client favoured, including images of a 1953 Chrysler D’Elegance Ghia, 1959 Buick Electra and non-automotive elements such as the Guggenheim museum.

The chosen design, which was the work of Royal College of Arts graduate Hong Yeo, took 18 months to sign-off. The final product has an odd hearse-like quality from the back, clearly a nod towards those long arches and fenders found on many classic American V8s. From the front, there’s a hint of the Bugatti Veyron bonnet mixed with a splash of Audi R8.

Yeo said of his creation: “X-1 embodies the McLaren value that every part has to have a purpose. No details are simply visual cues, every one has a purpose. Although I like to think the wide body combined with pontoon style rear fenders will ensure the car glides when it’s moving just like a superhero’s cape.”

Externally, only the 12C’s windscreen and windows have been carried over. Everything else, from the doors and roof to the interior bezels and trim, has all been made specifically for the client. Under the bonnet, it uses the same mechanical components as the 12C including the 600hp 3.8-litre twin-turbo engine that helps the 12C go so well. 

The cost for McLaren Special Operations to build your dream car? If you have to ask, you definitely can’t afford it. But the option for the mega rich is there. McLaren Special Operations programme director, Paul MacKenzie, said: “This is the first fully client commissioned MSO car, but it certainly won’t be the last. 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.”

Beauty or the beast? Take a look at the images below and let us know your thoughts.

The X-1's engine and major mechanical components are carried over from the 12C.

But that's where the similarities end.

If you're rich enough, McLaren will make a one-off concept for you, too.