McLaren X-1 mystery machine

CHRIS HARRIS
Last updated 05:01 21/08/2012
McLaren 12C GT Can-Am Edition
The McLaren 12C GT Can-Am Edition.
McLaren MP4-12C Spider
McLaren MP4-12C Spider

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McLaren's $600,000 12C supercar is no Toyota Camry in the exclusivity stakes, but that hasn't stopped one anonymous customer from taking individuality to the extreme.

Unveiled at the weekend during the Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance in the US, the one-off McLaren X-1 is based on the Ferrari-fighting MP4-12C, but boasts a unique, carbon fibre body that's sure to split opinion.


Click on photo above to view more shots of the McLaren X-1 while at left are galleries of other McLaren 12Cs.


The car was designed and built by the British sports car brand's bespoke projects team, McLaren Special Operations (MSO), which typically handles colour and trim combinations, but rarely complete cars.

With only its glasshouse and scissor doors visually shared with the 12C, the McLaren X-1's most unusual styling feature is the enclosed rear wheels, an upshot of the owner's desire to have a car reflecting ''timeless and classical elegance''. The wheels are accessed by carbon panels.

The X-1 also shares most mechanical components with the 12C, including its 441kW 3.8-litre twin-turbo V8, mounted behind the cabin.

''One of our clients who already owned a McLaren F1, a Mercedes-Benz SLR McLaren and now a 12C, wanted a unique car,'' MSO programme director, Paul MacKenzie says.

''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.''

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 Citroen SM.

The McLaren X-1 took 18 months to design and two and a half years to build, requiring several bespoke items down to the lights and wheels. It also had to be a usable, road legal car and capable of travelling at supercar speeds.

After its show debut, the X-1 will return to McLaren's headquarters in the UK to be checked over before being handed over to its secret owner.

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