Skip to content

Nichols N1A: Can-Am inspired road rocket announced

Ayrton Senna’s former engineer has launched a road-legal ‘Can-Am’ car inspired by the McLaren M1A. The rear-wheel-drive Nichols N1A weighs just 900kg, boasts a naturally aspirated 7.0-litre V8 and a six-speed manual gearbox. Its mastermind is Steve Nichols (interviewed in Octane 178) and the first 15 examples will be an individually numbered series, each celebrating a specific victory of Steve Nichols’ McLaren MP4/4 Formula 1 car.

Nichols was made lead designer at McLaren in 1987 masterminding both the MP4/3, which Alain Prost took to three victories, and the all-conquering MP4/4, in which Senna won the first of his three Drivers’ Championships and which triumphed in 15 out of 16 races in the 1988 season. He set up Nichols Cars in 2017 to create a true driver’s car. The result is based on a carbonfibre and aluminium chassis with bodywork made from F1-grade graphene-infused carbonfibre, sculpted in a the wind tunnel at MIRA.

See a round-up of other great limited-run cars launched in 2023

With 700bhp per tonne, power comes from a GM LS3-derived 7.0-litre all-alloy dry-sump V8, hand-assembled at Langford Performance Engineering. The six-speed manual ’boxes are from Dana Graziano, formerly Graziano Trasmissioni. Suspension is by double wishbones, and traction control is standard, with power-assistance for the rack-and-pinion steering and switchable ABS optional.

Steve Nichols

Having experienced amazing racing cars over the decades, I’ve never been able to implement those quirky qualities into a road car, until now…

Nichols Cars N1A Nichols N1A steering wheel

Having experienced amazing racing cars over the decades, I’ve never been able to implement those quirky qualities into a road car, until now…

Steve Nichols said: ‘Having experienced amazing racing cars over the decades, I’ve never been able to implement those quirky qualities into a road car, until now. 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. 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.’

John Minett, CEO of Nichols Cars, added: ‘The Steve Nichols name is one that needs no introduction in the motorsport world. To be able to work with Steve as well as a number of talented industry professionals is an absolute honour and the N1A is an excellent example of the incredible work from everyone involved. We always strove to make the N1A an unforgettable car – both to experience from afar and from the driver’s seat – and, from the N1A’s aerodynamics to its fully-customisable interior, we have now reached that point, and it’s incredible to see.’

Visit nichols-cars.com for more info.

Get Octane Magazine straight from publication to your door with a subscription

Print + Digital 12 months single payment £72 Print + Digital 12 months £70 Print + Digital 6 months £36 Digital 12 issues £40