Home » The Nichols Cars N1A Is An Analog Featherweight Supercar Built By F1 Royalty

The Nichols Cars N1A Is An Analog Featherweight Supercar Built By F1 Royalty

Nichols Pv
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The 2020s is shaping up to be an interesting decade for supercars. On the one hand, you have electric-powered machines like the Rimac Nevera and McMurtry Spierling re-writing paradigms by offering greater performance than we ever thought possible. On the other, we have a small but devoted group of marques dedicated to celebrating the joy of internal combustion and mechanical connection. Firmly in the latter group sits the Nichols Cars N1A, and if that name rings a bell, that’s likely because you know a thing or two about motorsport history. Yes, the man behind Nichols Cars is none other than Steve Nichols, an absolute legend when it comes to race car construction.

Nichols Mclaren

Vidframe Min Top
Vidframe Min Bottom

See, Steve Nichols’ first race car was the McLaren MP4/3, which would be a bit like if your first shot at fingerpainting ended up in the MoMA. This carbon fiber and aluminum honeycomb monocoque Formula 1 car carried Alain Prost to three wins during the 1987 season, and set the stage for greatness in 1988. For that year, Nichols was the chief designer and lead engineer for the Honda-powered McLaren MP4/4, one of the most dominant cars Formula 1 has ever seen. That season, it won every race aside from the Italian Grand Prix, walking away with the constructor’s championship and helping Ayrton Senna win his first driver’s championship.

Nichols Cars N1a 2

Given Nichols’ history with McLaren, it shouldn’t be surprising that the N1A is a reinterpretation of McLaren’s Group Seven M1A race car, the predecessor of the legendary Can-Am M1B and M1C cars. Light, lithe, and incredibly low, it tips the scale at just 1,984 pounds, 357 pounds less than a new Mazda MX-5. That’s an impressive feat, but it’s almost to be expected from just looking at the thing.

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Nichols Cars N1a Profile

The N1A’s aluminum and carbon fiber body is positively shrink-wrapped over its suspension, engine, and wheels. Roll bar aside, the tallest parts of the body are just high enough to cover its powertrain, tires, and suspension. That suspension, by the way, is double-wishbone at all four corners, and those tires are ultra-grippy Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2s, trackday-ready meats that happen to be road-legal. In fact, the whole car is less than 39 inches tall, a staggering figure for something built in 2023.

Nichols Cars N1a Engine

Power comes from a naturally-aspirated GM-based V8 in three states of hotness. You can have a bog-standard LT1 making the same 460 horsepower you’d expect from a C7 Corvette, a modified LT1 with individual throttle bodies cranking out 520 horsepower, or the top-dog motor, a seven-liter naturally-aspirated V8 pumping out an astonishing 650 horsepower. No matter what engine you choose, it’ll come connected to a gated six-speed manual gearbox, a formula for faithful, old-fashioned speed if ever I’ve seen one. If that’s not enough of a clue that not everyone can hop in this thing and go fast, here’s another — traction control and power steering are optional. Sure, the Nichols Cars N1A comes standard with fuel injection, but it’s about as analog as a new supercar can get.

Nichols Cars N1a Front

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Pricing for the Nichols Cars N1A hasn’t been announced yet, but I suspect it will be both eye-wateringly expensive and worth it. Road cars like this just don’t get made anymore, so something this pure, this extreme, this marvelous is truly a sight for sore eyes. Really, what else comes close aside from an Ultima Evolution Convertible? The N1A isn’t for everyone, and it’s all the better for it. When the streets are abuzz with the unanimous hum of electric motors, it’s cars like these that’ll feel truly special.

(Photo credits: Nichols Cars)

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Ron888
Ron888
10 months ago

Oh come on, fingerpainting is waaaaaaay too fancy for MoMA

ProudLuddite
ProudLuddite
10 months ago

This is the Way

I don’t know what else to say, stunning in concept and execution, most modern supercars leave me cold.

BigThingsComin
BigThingsComin
10 months ago

Needs a better name. N1A suuuuuuucks!

MaximillianMeen
MaximillianMeen
10 months ago

I’ve often fantasized about having a streetable version of the McLaren M1 and Lola T70 Can-Am cars. Now that one exists, I need to get busy making my first $1B…

Arthur Flax
Arthur Flax
10 months ago

Filed under pet peeves:

Whenever I see a car with open injector stacks…Or carburetors if we are talking Webers and the like, I always wonder if the manufacturer or owner pulled off the air cleaner for the beauty shot.

I would hope the manufacturer throws in an air filter. At least as an extra cost option.

I mean, there’s a lot of stuff in the air. Just drive a motorcycle or open car for a couple miles without goggles and you will find your eyes sandblasted.

Anyway, an engine sucks in thousands of pounds/kilos of dirty air through its valves, pistons rings, gaskets, etc., etc., all of which will be torn up in short order if the air isn’t filtered. That might be fine for a race car that only goes 200 miles between rebuilds. But if I spend a million bucks for a car, I want to drive it a bit. I can’t believe the owner would just let airborne grit grind down their engine in a thousand or so miles, but maybe I’d feel different if I were richer and could afford the time and money to keep an unfiltered engine running.

Those open stacks sure are pretty.

MaximillianMeen
MaximillianMeen
10 months ago
Reply to  Arthur Flax

If you can afford this car, you can afford a mechanic that will rebuild it every time you take it out. Hell, it’s an LT1. If you can afford the car, you can afford ten years worth of replacement engines from pocket change.

Freelivin2713
Freelivin2713
10 months ago

That’s not the point

Theotherotter
Theotherotter
10 months ago

I think I grew more hair on my chest just reading about it.

Toecutter
Toecutter
10 months ago

I love this thing. There needs to be a fastback coupe version, dammit.

Amberturnsignalsarebetter
Amberturnsignalsarebetter
10 months ago
Reply to  Toecutter

And a shooting brake.

Toecutter
Toecutter
10 months ago

A Ferrari Breadvan style would suit this perfectly. I love aero slipperiness.

Dani B. Molina
Dani B. Molina
10 months ago

Those mirrors!

Cheats McCheats
Cheats McCheats
10 months ago

Sure is a pretty girl. Would love some photos of the interior.

Hugh Crawford
Hugh Crawford
10 months ago

Interior here
https://images.squarespace-cdn.com/content/v1/61e568681a0fa753c37dbb3d/30d9d097-02da-4164-bae1-b892fb9f7216/DSD_9995.JPG?format=750w

But no pix of doors open. Are they as ridiculous as the ones on the original? One of the few cars where opening the “doors” made it more difficult to enter much less get out.

Collegiate Autodidact
Collegiate Autodidact
10 months ago

“The N1A’s aluminum and carbon fiber body is positively shrink-wrapped over its suspension, engine, and wheels”
Strongly reminiscient of the Porsche/VW-based cars that Otto Mathé built and raced in the late 1940s and ’50s:
https://prototyp-hamburg.de/wp-content/uploads/2018/06/Otto-Mathe-Fetzenflieger-Copyright-Automuseum-Prototyp-1800×800.jpg

Joshua Christian
Joshua Christian
10 months ago

Dear God, what is that thing!?

Gordon Mitchell
Gordon Mitchell
10 months ago

This article does not contain enough pics for how beautiful the car is

MATTinMKE
MATTinMKE
10 months ago

This is the correct take.

Hugh Crawford
Hugh Crawford
10 months ago
Reply to  Hugh Crawford

Meant this https://www.nichols-cars.com/gallery

Edit not working on iPhone ☹️

TOSSABL
TOSSABL
10 months ago
Reply to  Hugh Crawford

Beautiful pictures: thanks! Imagine cruising with those horns playing behind your head.

But the blurb reads like AI: that line about “this beast that stands tall”

Gordon Mitchell
Gordon Mitchell
10 months ago
Reply to  Hugh Crawford

You da real hero!

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