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The creator of the legendary McLaren MP4/4 has built *this*

This being the Nichols Cars N1A, a 7.0-litre V8 tribute to the original McLaren M1A

Published: 26 Jul 2023

Well this looks fairly spectacular, doesn’t it? It’s called the N1A and it’s the work of Steve Nichols, who designed the MP4/4 that won 15 of 16 grands prix at the hands of Ayrton Senna and Alain Prost in 1988. Only the most dominant F1 car ever, then.

Except it’s not here to pay homage to F1. No, this is a tribute to the mid-engined M1A of 1963; considered the first true McLaren and one which went on to race extensively in the Can-Am series.

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The headline facts are thus: a 7.0-litre V8 engine generates 650bhp, and having started as an LS3 block from General Motors it’s been bored out to make room for new steel liners. Custom pistons and conrods have been added, as have drive-by-wire throttle bodies atop a dry sump system.

All of that work is being overseen by Richard Langford, one of the key people behind the scenes at Cosworth when its DFV engine ruled F1 like a tyrant between 1968 and 1981.

You get a choice of transmissions from Dana Graziano, but a six-speed manual is standard with drive sent to the rear. Rack-and-pinion steering and multi-piston brakes give the driver as much connection to the road as possible, claims the company, while low-profile Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2 tyres (19s front, 20s rear) aren’t exactly known for their lack of grip…

There’s independent suspension front and rear, with double wishbones and anti-roll bars both standard. Traction control is included too, although power steering and switchable ABS are optional.

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Both options we’d tick, given the N1A weighs just 900kg and has a better power-to-weight ratio than you got from the McLaren P1. Cripes.

The panels have been created with aero efficiency in mind, and are made from an F1-grade, graphene-infused carbon fibre. Inside, the interior is finished with leathers, fabrics and aluminium machined from solid billet. The gear knob, apparently, is inspired by Senna, though we’re not entirely sure how.

“Having experienced amazing racing cars over the decades, I’ve never been able to implement those quirky qualities into a road car, until now,” said Nichols. “Taking into account all the people that have worked on the N1A, I’m incredibly proud that the car is part of the next chapter in sports car history and is the next step for us and Nichols Cars.

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Nichols Cars N1A Steve Nichols

“The process from pencil to production model has been extremely gratifying; this should be a reminder to the entire automotive industry that combining the past, present and looking to the future, is the way forward for this entire community.”

The first 15 N1As will be numbered in series, each celebrating one of the MP4/4s victories from 1988. After that, production will be limited to 100 units to ensure exclusivity. You can have any livery you like too, says the company.

Come on then, what are you having?

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