This is the weekend of the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance, in Monterey, California (U.S.A.). This is the place to be for anyone that loves cars and likes to see the kind of stuff that one normally will never see.
I should know, I attended this show back in 2005 and simply loved it. It is the best car show on the planet by a long way.
Because of the attention and the clients this show pulls in, you’ll see manufacturers come to this event with their latest and greatest creations.
For 2012, British supercar maker McLaren is at the event in full force. They will be launching the MP4-12C Spider to the public for the first time, as well as the Can-Am racing version of the MP4-12C coupe.
However, the big story this weekend is the surprise unveiling of a McLaren, which was ordered by an anonymous collector. This one-off machine is called the X-1, and while it shares its chassis, mechanicals and interior with the stock MP4-12C (the car with the world’s most annoying name), the body is completely unique.
This car was prepared by McLaren Special Operations (MSO), a division that typically customizes and retrofits anything you might want in your McLaren. But the X-1 is more than just some tweaks to the body, it gets an entirely new body that seems to be inspired by Darth Vaders helmet.
Do I like it? I’m not fully convinced. From certain angles it looks good, but downright awkward from others. I don’t like the nose particularly, and I’m not crazy about the busy detailing on the tail either. Overall, I think it looks like a pumped up first-generation Honda Insight.
However, my opinion does not matter here at all, because this is a one off car built for a man who certainly has not been affected by the credit crunch. I’m sure the owner of this car loves it, and probably feels it is worth whatever price he paid for it (McLaren didn’t mention how much they charged him, but I’m guessing it’s probably worth a few $-million).
Mechanically, it has the same motor as a regular MP4-12C, so that means 625-hp from a 3.8-liter, twin-turbo, V8.
I got to drive an MP4-12C a few months ago to see how it feels on the road. I loved the sound and the speed, but wished it was easier to get into and it would have been better still if a proper manual gearbox was available as an option.
If not, now you know you can go to McLaren with a blank cheque and have them make you a car that will satisfy your needs. Being rich must be fun.