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When you think about McLaren, a 1925 Ford Model A hot rod racer is more than likely the last thing that will pop into your head. It’s certainly not the last thing to pop into Peter Stevens’s head. Who is he, you ask? Just the dude who designed the exterior of the McLaren F1, Jaguar XJR-15, Lotus Elan M100, Lotus Esprit X180, Subaru Impreza P1, and many others. Along with all those cars, he also built this badass 1925 Ford Model A hot rod and raced it. Now it’s for sale. 

1925 Ford Hot Rod grille and headlights
1925 Ford Hot Rod | Images courtesy of Collecting Cars + Matt Woods Photography

Peter Stevens builds hot rods

There are hot rods, and then there are hot rods like the 1925 Model A built by McLaren Designer Peter Stevens. This is so cool because it is a period-correct build, meaning it was built for beach racing using all the same parts and style people used at the time. According to Silodrome, Stevens raced this car against some of the best period hot rods in the world at Pendine Sands in 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019, and then again in 2022. 

The hot rod started life as a narrowed 1929 Ford Model A frame onto which a modified 1925 Ford Model T “Turtle-Deck” roadster body was fitted. This little screamer is powered by a 3.3 liter Ford Model B engine sending its power to the rear wheels via a 3-speed manual transmission. 

Being that this is a hot rod racer, I shouldn’t have to tell you that the engine is heavily modified. The Model A’s Model B inline-four cylinder flathead was rebuilt with an H&H camshaft, larger inlet valves, polished intake, and exhaust ports. It also has a Winfield head, a Thomas inlet manifold, a higher-flow V8 water pump, an adjustable fuel controller, and dual Stromberg carburetors. The long and the short of it is this thing is much faster than any Model A ever had any business being. Despite its many modifications, the car is road legal and titled as a 1925 Ford Model A. 

Who is Peter Stevens? 

Peter Stevens Hot Rod
Peter Stevens 1925 Ford Model A hot rod | Images courtesy of Collecting Cars + Matt Woods Photography

We mentioned up top that Stevens is responsible for the legendary McLaren F1 exterior and interior design. However, just calling him the F1 designer is selling him a little short. 

He started motorcycle racing with his uncle as a young boy in the mid-late ’50s. In 1961 he went to school to study sculpture at Saint Martin’s School of Art in London. After learning how to make things beautiful, he then enrolled to study Industrial Design at the Royal College of Art (RCA) to learn how to make things work. He spent years circumnavigating the Mediterranean in a Jeep until he landed a teaching gig in 1973 as a lecturer on Vehicle Design at RCA. 

After three years of teaching, he started his own design firm, Peter Stevens Design, where he was contracted to design for Alpine Renault, Cougar Marine, TWR, ERF Trucks, and Brabham F1. By the mid-’80s, he was the Chief Designer at Lotus. In this role, he designed the new Lotus Esprit, the Lotus Excel, the new Lotus Elan, and the Isuzu 400. Dayum. 

Stevens Designed the McLaren F1

Peter Steven's hot rod
Images courtesy of Collecting Cars + Matt Woods Photography

He developed several other famous sports and supercars over the years until his crowning achievement occurred from 1990-1993 when he designed what was then the fastest car in the world, the McLaren F1. He still went on to work for Audi, Lamborghini, Benetton F1, BMW motorsport, Prodrive, Panoz, Reynard, Rolls-Royce, Subaru, and countless others.