We may take hybrid performance vehicles for granted nowadays, but back in 2012 when McLaren unveiled the P1, this, together with its Ferrari LaFerrari and Porsche 918 Spyder peers, was part of the “Holy Trinity” revolution. However, even with such limited-production machines—only 375 production units were made, making this the rarest of the three—some examples stand out. Case in point with this P1 VP4, one of the few validation prototypes used to bring the machine to the world.
The Woking-based automaker found owners for the said 375 units within a month and it took the company two years to deliver the hypercars. McLaren also built 58 P1 GTR racers, some of which were converted to road use with the help of the company’s long-time racing partner (think: McLaren F1 days), Lanzante Motorsport. Oh, and we mustn’t overlook the P1 LM, of which just 6 were made.
However, McLaren also used no less than 22 prototypes when developing the P1, of which just 15 have survived (more on this below), with the rest having been destroyed in crash tests. Of these cars, only five are VPs (validation prototypes) and you are now looking at VP4.
This used to have its carbon fiber body covered in Amethyst Black, featuring gray wheels and a black interior. And, once it completed its testing duties, the machine was sent to the Goodwood Festival of Speed in the summer of 2013, where F1 driver Jenson Button rushed it up the hill in 53 seconds—you can check out the run in the YouTube video below.
Following some other press appearances, this example went into hibernation. However, once production of the P1 ceased in 2015, there were still customers who wanted one, so the British automaker started offering prototypes that could be revamped into road cars.
The McLaren P1 VP4 got a new lease on life as a street-legal monster
One collector grabbed six such test vehicles, including the VP4, with the vehicles being stripped and the VP4 passed on to a collector based in Atlanta, Georgia. As such, the new owner turned to McLaren to have the vehicle rebodied and fitted with a fresh hybrid powertrain, as well as with new options.
Thus, the car now mixes the traditional Vulcano Yellow hue of the P1 with exposed carbon panels for the upper body. It also comes with something called Race Mode 2, which allows it to enter its maximum attack state, albeit without the lowering that normally comes with the “standard” Race Mode. The Euro-style headlights, which skip the US amber reflectors? Also a bonus.
Now, Atlanta, GA-based specialist Merit Partners, who facilitated the final sale mentioned above, is now offering the car once again. This is listed as a 2013 example and has just 5,300 miles on the clock.
The price isn’t mentioned on the company’s website. Nevertheless, but, given the standout nature of the machine, we’ll assume they’re going for the superior part of the P1 market.
And while the “average” transaction of the sort is done for $1.6 million these days, there’s been more than one example selling for over $1.8 million over the years, which is quite a leap over the $1.15 starting price the 903 hp hypercar had back in the day.
The spare hybrid powetrain, suspension, brakes and interior components
Interestingly, the company has also purchased the original prototype parts of the VP4 from the collector who had gotten six test vehicles. So this McLaren P1 prototype is offered with a prototype 3.8L twin-turbo V8, e-motor, 7-speed dual-clutch gearbox, and engine a-frame. There’s no mention of the battery, but Mclaren will sell you an upgraded one that improves performance for $156,700.
In addition, there’s a whole list of mechanical components including the suspension, brakes, and others, as well as a plethora of interior parts.
How about reviving the Hurricane Ian-flooded McLaren P1?
Now, those test vehicles are probably not legal for road use. But what if somebody used them to revive the McLaren P1 that got flooded by Hurricane Ian over in Florida back in late September and turn it into a track toy? For the record, that car has landed on Copart, even though the auction hasn’t kicked off yet.
Sure, this revival talk feels a bit like a dream, as whoever grabs the flooded P1 off Copart might decide the cost of the rebuild is not worth it or try to convince McLaren to supply street-legal parts. For one, it seems there’s nothing McLaren and Lanzante can’t do when it comes to putting P1 on the blacktop. For one, you’ll find the latter’s name in the letter below, which confirms they collected the components stripped from the said six P1 prototypes before these were rebuilt.