The Nichols N1A is a Can-Am car for the road, and it’s about to jump from a mere toy to a production model that you can buy.
The man behind the project is Steve Nichols, an aerospace engineer who was with the team responsible for building the McLaren MP4 / 1 F1, as well as leading the technical team in MP4 / 3 and MP4 / 4, the most successful F1 vehicles of all time.
Inspired by the McLaren M1A, the N1A features an aluminum chassis embedded in a carbon-fiber body. The extended shape with a ground-hug front nose and pronounced fender hunch was honored in the air tunnel for balanced aerodynamics and downforce.
Even the wheels are replicas of the units that used to be worn in the M1A competition, but are now 19 inches longer on the front and 20 inches longer on the back. The result is a great tribute to McLaren’s first race car, but it is also a fully modern and capable machine.
Read more: This McLaren Elva celebrates Bruce McLaren’s iconic M1A since 1964
The inspiration is a Chevrolet LT1 V8 crate engine that produces 460 horsepower on the rear wheels. Buyers have two options to upgrade to a 520 horsepower V8 with separate throttle body injection, or a 7-liter large-block V8 that produces 650 horsepower.
These large displacement engines seem even bigger when you consider that the car weighs only 900 kg (1,984 lbs) including liquids. All engines are mated to a 6-speed manual transmission made by Nichols, with an “Army-inspired” gear knob.
The N1A not only gets its look from McLaren, but is also part of the original story:
“We did not intend to go into production,” Nichols said. “It simply came to our notice then. In the end we thought we could create one and see how it turned out. Once people saw it on the street, the reaction was incredible. It’s a bit like the original M1A that started the whole McLaren story. Bruce McLaren made it solo for his own personal use. Then people started asking him if he could produce more!
Nichols N1A will make its official debut in the second quarter of 2022, after which the price may be announced. While the car will be best used on the track, it will also be valid for UK roads.