What do Audrey Hepburn, an eggplant and a Mercedes-Benz 540K have in common?
They were all inspirations for the McLaren X-1 you see here which, depending on the eye of the beholder, is either refreshingly different or proof that money can’t buy taste.
No, it’s not going to be in your local McLaren showroom anytime soon. The X-1 is a one-off car commissioned by a customer who already owned a McLaren F1, a Mercedes-Benz SLR McLaren and an MP4-12C, and wanted (and clearly got) something unique.
It was built by McLaren Special Operations, a recently-formed division of McLaren Automotive which offers a personalisation service that varies from simple trim changes to a whole new car, the only limit being the customer’s imagination.
As we can see here.
The X-1 is based on McLaren’s MP4-12C sportscar, including its carbonfibre monocell, but with an outlandish new carbon-fibre body that looks like something out of a Batman movie.
All body panels of the X-1 are made from carbon finished in a rich piano black.
The most unusual styling feature is the enclosed rear wheels, an upshot of the owner’s desire to have a car reflecting “timeless elegance”.
The car is longer and wider than the 12C but weighs the same thanks to its lightweight body, while the engine is the same 441kW 3.8-litre twin-turbo.
Where does the eggplant come in?
After meeting with the client, McLaren’s design team brought together hundreds of images from the world of automotive, architecture, fashion, design and even film, and presented them to the customer in a “mood book” full of inspiring images from which the design spirit the unique bespoke car would be derived.
These included the following (see if you can spot them): cars including a 1961 Facel Vega, a 1953 Chrysler D’Elegance Ghia, a 1959 Buick Electra, a 1939 Mercedes-Benz 540K and a 1971 Citroën SM, various examples of architecture including the Guggenheim museums in New York and Bilbao, a Jaeger LeCoultre art deco clock, an Airstream trailer, a Thomas Mann Montblanc pen, a grand piano, a black and white photo of Audrey Hepburn – and an eggplant (apparently the client liked the shiny texture of the finish). - Star Motoring.