Ex-McLaren Designer Un-Retires to Create Beautiful '60s-Style Roadster

An aerospace engineer by training, Steve Nichols’ real dream was to design Formula One cars. Nicholas spent the 1970s designing rocket engines for Hercules Aerospace, gaining valuable experience working with carbon fiber. His knowledge of the material allowed him to join McLaren’s design department in 1980. Working his way up the ladder, seven years later Nicholas became McLaren’s Chief Designer.

During his time at McLaren, Nichols designed the MP4/4, the wildly successful beast that dominated the 1988 F1 season, driven by Ayrton Senna and Alain Prost.

Listen beautiful relax classics on our Youtube channel.

Nicholas retired in the early 2000s. But in the years since, he’s grown bored. “When I was looking for a project to keep me amused in my old age,” he writes, “the idea of taking a fresh look at the very first McLaren, the M1A, had great appeal.” The M1A is the car that put McLaren on the map in the 1960s:

Image: DoomWarrior – CC BY-SA 3.0

By 2017, a consumed Nichols began designing an homage to the M1A. This year he finally unveiled his creation, changing one letter to dub it the N1A:

“Having headed the design team at McLaren during arguably their most successful period ever, I’m a McLaren man through and through,” Nichols writes. “With the Nichols N1A I’ve gone back to the very first McLaren for inspiration, combining lots of classic lines with modern engineering for a car of extraordinary performance and presence.”

“Initially intended as a prototype, but time and registered interest has meant pursuing it with the aim to turn it into a beautifully finished vehicle worthy of its, and my, McLaren roots.”

“The new Nichols N1A is a stunning piece of sculpture which brings M1A design language thoroughly up to date. Not a single panel is the same. The N1A has a significantly more aggressive stance from its ground stroking nose to its abrupt and purposeful tail.”

“Underneath the skin the N1A is thoroughly modern featuring a bonded extruded aluminium and carbon fibre chassis. The pontoons on the side of the cockpit are also load bearing. They are made from carbon fibre sheeting, with a separate bonded infill, also in carbon fibre to produce a double skin.”

Listen beautiful relax classics on our Youtube channel.

“Sat in the fully reclined driving position, you get an idea of what Senna and Prost experienced in the MP4/4; the main difference being that it is possible to experience the N1A on the open road.”

The N1A weighs just 1,984 lbs (900kg), but is powered by a 7-liter V8 that produces 600bhp. It will be going into small-batch (i.e. hand-built) production.

The price is “If you have to ask….”

Source: core77

No votes yet.
Please wait...