Nichols N1A Roadster: A supercar fusion of 1960s charm and contemporary engineering brilliance

Nichols N1A Racing Roadster Supercar
Nichols N1A: A 1,985 lb carbon-fiber roadster, powered by a 7.0-liter V8 engine with 650 hp, melding 1960s design charm with advanced engineering. Images © Nichols Cars

The legendary F1 engineer Steve Nichols, renowned for his invaluable contributions to the world of racing in the 1980s and ’90s, has come out of retirement to shake up the supercar market with a bold new creation. The Nichols N1A, a roadster infused with a classic racing spirit, embodies Nichols’ aspiration to experience the racing scene of the mid-20th century. The car’s design is a modernized tribute to the great race cars of the 1960s, specifically, the first-ever McLaren.

Steve Nichols’ career in F1 has been defined by innovative race car development. He left a substantial mark as lead designer at McLaren during the late ’80s and early ’90s. During his time there, he developed the MP4/3 and the famed MP4/4, a car that went on to secure 15 out of 16 race victories during the 1988 season under the deft control of Ayrton Senna and Alain Prost.

However, in developing the N1A, Nichols turned to the charm of the 1960s rather than recreating his previous successes. With his intrinsic McLaren identity, Nichols adopted the McLaren M1A’s iconic design as a conceptual template for his own creation. The Nichols N1A seamlessly marries the classical appeal of 1960s race cars with the technological advancements of the current era.

The Nichols N1A’s design features stand as a testament to its McLaren M1A inspiration. With a length of 169 inches (430 cm), the car boasts a ground-hugging nose, sweeping curves, and high-arched fenders, all reminiscent of the classic M1A. Further echoing the M1A, the N1A features a barely perceptible grille concealed beneath the hood crease, with sunken headlamps subtly embedded in the fenders’ downward slope.

Nichols N1A McLaren M1A Update
Nichols reimagines the classic McLaren M1A, transforming it into a contemporary super-roadster for the modern era.

Having worked with pioneering F1 carbon fiber construction during the ’70s and ’80s, Nichols chose to incorporate this material extensively in his N1A. The car’s sleek body comprises graphene-infused carbon fiber layered over a carbon and aluminum chassis. This lightweight combination ensures the two-seater car weighs just 1,985 pounds (900 kg).

Nichols N1A McLaren MP4/4
The cutting-edge Nichols N1A strikes a pose alongside the iconic McLaren MP4/4.

Performance-wise, the Nichols N1A doesn’t disappoint. The car’s low weight, coupled with a 7.0-liter LS3-block V8 engine that pumps out 650 horsepower, yields an impressive 700 brake horsepower per tonne. The engine’s power is channeled to the rear wheels via a six-speed manual Graziano transmission. Hand-crafted front and rear double wishbones ensure excellent road adhesion, while multi-piston brakes guarantee prompt and reliable stopping power.

Nichols N1A Racing Roadster Windscreen Dials Mirrors
Featuring a compact bubble-shaped windscreen, traditional analog dials, and robust fender-mounted side-view mirrors.

Nichols expressed his satisfaction with the project, stating, “Having experienced amazing racing cars over the decades, I’ve never been able to implement those quirky qualities into a road car, until now. 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.”

In the announcement, Nichols refrained from revealing the N1A’s price. However, given its limited production run – no more than 100 examples are planned – the price tag is expected to be substantial. An even more exclusive top-spec launch edition is in the pipeline, limited to just 15 examples, with each car commemorating an individual MP4/4 victory. Despite the undisclosed price, it is clear that this car’s unparalleled blend of classic charm and cutting-edge technology will keep it in high demand among car enthusiasts and collectors.

Nichols N1A Racing Roadster Steve Nichols and John Minett
Steve Nichols, on the left, and CEO of Nichols Cars, John Minett, stand proudly beside their production-ready masterpiece.

Source: Nichols Cars