When the world, and the cars in them, were much simpler things.
Steve Nichols, a past designer for McLaren Formula One MP4/4 from 1988, formed his own company in 2017. No longer in Formula One, he turned his attention to road cars. In his first, the Nicholas N1A, he brings the thrill of a late 60’s Can-Am car to the street, using the McLaren M1A is his inspiration.
As the modern sports car gets faster, manufacturers have been harnessing better technology all aimed, of course, at a quicker car. Many modern road exotics are faster around a racing circuit than a purpose build full racing machines of a scant 10 years ago. Designers would argue that it’s suppose to be that way, that a racing machine’s technology should trickle down their to street cars, making them better, safer, faster.
And while the is no shortage of people willing to part with large amounts of money to get the latest from Ferrari, Lamborghini, Porsche and the rest, there is a growing movement toward retro in the move toward manual shift cars vs the much quicker shifting automatics ( (Pagani V12 manual ) and enthusiast are looking for an engagement unfelt in paddle shift machines. Spoiler alert, this is going to be a short arc, as it costs manufacturers big bucks to fit a manual into a hyper-car originally designed for the much more efficient and faster paddle shift transmission.
Retro is the new buzzword in exclusive. Not just to do with limited quantities, but in the micro-niche car industry, where restomods are now very much accepted as ultra-desirable, marrying the old and new in a way everyone seems to want.
Now there appears the different breed of hypercar. Rather than using an existing car and gutting the old for new suspensions, technology and weight reduction through carbon fiber, small artisans are designing ground-up machines that are clean sheet designs , such as Gordon Murray’s T33, marvelous machines that evoke the past, but with a much better performance.
“Having headed the design team at McLaren during arguably their most successful period ever, I’m a McLaren man through and through. 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.”
“When I was looking for a project to keep me amused in my old age, the idea of taking a fresh look at the very first McLaren, the “M1A”, had great appeal. 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.”
— Steve Nichols – Co founder and Technical Director Nichols Cars LTD
An initial run of 17 launch-spec cars will feature a dry-sump 7.0-litre-develop of the GM LS3. Powering the Nicholas N1A is a 650 HP General Motors LS3 V8 from Langford Performance Engineering, the shop that produced the Jordan 191, the car in which Michael Schumacher made his debut at the Belgian Grand Prix.
- Six-speed manual transmission
- 1984 pounds
- traction control is standard but ABS is an option
- rack and pinion steering as the old days, with power steering optional
- aluminum and carbon fiber chassis
- carbon fiber body
- Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2s, 19 inches at the front, 20 at the rear.
- optional power assisted steering