You’ve heard it before and you’ll hear it again, the McLaren F1 is world’s best supercar. It’s currently the most expensive modern supercar in the used market and it has a performance pedigree to backup up the heavy price tag.
The story begins in 1988 when partners of the McLaren Cars Ltd – the world’s leading Formula One team, winning 15 out of 16 races – finished their successful season and decided that they should move beyond their current program and go one step further by building the finest road car possible. To them, this meant developing a no comprise supercar, built with nearly endless funds to achieve the highest power to weight ratio but retain usability for everyday driving.
To meet these goals, technical director of McLaren Gordan Murray and stylist Peter Stevens realized that the car had to be small, use the lightest components available and have a large capacity, normally aspirated V12 engine. Little did they know, this design philosophy would break many speed records and win championships it wasn’t even originally intended for.
Four years after the McLaren’s costly development, the first car made its official debut at the 1992 Monaco F1 week where McLaren could finally reveal to world what they had been doing. At Monaco, the targeted customer base learned that only 100 examples would be made, and that the McLaren would be the fastest, most exclusive car in the world. These attributes and gorgeous styling helped potential clients look past the 634 500 GBP price tag and beyond competitors like the Ferrari F40, Porsche 959 and Jaguar XK220.
After its release, the F1’s potential was immediately realized when it reached 0-100-0 in 11.4 seconds and a record top speed of 240.14mph in its XP5 pre-production trim. Although, the success didn’t stop in the record books, as special GTR versions won Le Mans outright in 1995 and took two FIA GT World Championships.
The F1’s success can be attributed the McLaren’s Formula One expertise. The small dedicated team picked by Gordan Murray designed 5000 individual pieces which were predominantly carbon fiber, magnesium, titanium to keep minimum weights. The car’s carbon fiber monocoque was the world’s first and supported BMW’s impressive BMW S70/2, 620 horsepower engine. This engine produced considerable heat, so the engine compartment was lined with pure gold and air conditioning came as standard. But the greatest innovation was its seating arrangement.
To show off McLaren’s dedication and Formula heritage, Murray used a central drivers seat and provided an option for two seats on either side. Like a race car, this provided the best possible view and was the good example of how uncompromising the F1 was. Additionally the McLaren wasn’t equipped with any driving aids which meant it lacked traction control, ABS, power brakes and power steering.
Included with the purchase of every McLaren was bevy of lush appointments including a specially designed lightweight stereo, a tailored golf back, custom fitted luggage and the mother of all full tool boxes, used for McLaren personal to use if they needed to do remote work on the customers car. Included was a modem, which could send data directly to McLaren. With this, one customer in Germany was found to reach 200 mph almost daily on his way to and from work!
After delivering 100 customer cars McLaren stopped production after seven prototypes, 64 road cars, 5 special F1 LMs (built to commemorate victory at Le Mans in 1995), three F1 GTs (road going versions of the long tail 1997 F1 GTR race car) and 28 F1 GTR road cars. Of these, the Sultan of Brunei owns the most, and has two very special black F1 LMs with striking Pininfarina graphics as well as an exact replica of the F1 GTR that won LeMans.
Since delivery, McLaren have stayed committed to the F1 and continue to service the many cars. Almost every car has been returned to the factory and some have received custom modifications to suit the needs of their owners. The most radical of these are the few race cars which were converted back to road cars with the most minimal of changes. Other less daring cars have treatments that include new aerodynamic packages and custom interiors. As these cars get better, they keep the F1 up to pace with modern alternatives.
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|type||Series Production Car|
|production years||1992 – 1998|
|released at||1992 Monaco F1|
|built at||Woking, England|
|body stylist||Peter Stevens|
|price $||$ 970,000|
|engine||BMW S70/2 60 Degree V12|
|valvetrain||Chain Driven DOHC w/4 Valves per Cyl, Variable Inlet Timing|
|displacement||6064 cc / 370.0 in³|
|bore||86.0 mm / 3.39 in|
|stroke||87.0 mm / 3.43 in|
|power||467.6 kw / 627.1 bhp @ 7400 rpm|
|specific output||103.41 bhp per litre|
|bhp/weight||550.09 bhp per tonne|
|torque||649.4 nm / 479.0 ft lbs @ 5600 rpm|
|body / frame||Carbon Fibre Monocoque w/Front Upper Sub Frame, Active Aerodynamics|
|driven wheels||RWD w/Torsen Differential|
|front tires||Goodyear F1 P235/45ZR-17|
|rear tires||Goodyear F1 P315/45ZR-17|
|front brakes||Unassisted Vented & Crossdrilled Discs|
|rear brakes||Unassisted Vented & Crossdrilled Discs|
|front wheels||F 43.2 x 22.9 cm / 17.0 x 9.0 in|
|rear wheels||R 43.2 x 29.2 cm / 17.0 x 11.5 in|
|steering||Unassisted Rack & Pinion|
|f suspension||Ground-Plane Shear Centre Double Wishbones w/Light Alloy Dampers, Co-Axial Coil Springs, A|
|r suspension||Double Wishbones w/Light Alloy Dampers, Co-Axial Coil Springs|
|curb weight||1140 kg / 2513 lbs|
|wheelbase||2718 mm / 107.0 in|
|front track||1568 mm / 61.7 in|
|rear track||1472 mm / 58.0 in|
|length||4288 mm / 168.8 in|
|width||1820 mm / 71.7 in|
|height||1140 mm / 44.9 in|
|transmission||Transverse 6-Speed Manual w/AP Triple Plate Clutch|
|gear ratios||3.23:1, 2.19:1, 1.71:1, 1.39:1, 1.16:1, 0.93:1|
|top speed||~386.4 kph / 240.1 mph|
|0 – 60 mph||~3.2 seconds|
|0 – 100 mph||~6.7 seconds|
|0 – 1/4 mile||~11.6 seconds|
|designers||Gordon Murray, Peter Stevens|
Auction Sales History
1998 McLaren F1 ‘LM-Specification’ SA9AB5AC4W1048073 – sold for $13,750,000 The most iconic supercar of the modern era. The 63rd and second-to-last road-specification F1 built. One of two examples upgraded by McLaren Special Operations with an LM-spec engine, while retaining its road-specification interior with numerous upgrades, including satellite navigation. Fitted with the additional Extra High Downforce Package. The best of both worlds: a fully street-legal F1 with LM performance and modern upgrades for a fraction of an LM’s price. Auction Source: RM Sotheby’s Monterey 2015
1997 McLaren F1 SA9AB5AC9V1048066 – sold for $8,470,000 A Landmark in Automotive Design. A Highly Original, Two-Owner F1. Finished in Iconic Magnesium Silver Livery. EPA and DOT Certified. A Well-Documented Example with Known History. Fastidiously Maintained by McLaren. Complete with Tools, Fitted Luggage, Service Records, and Much More. Less than 14,000 Miles from New. 2012 Full Service by the McLaren Authorized Service Center. A Rare Opportunity for Discerning Collectors. Auction Source: Gooding & Company’s 10th Anniversary 2013 Pebble Beach Auction
1994 McLaren F1 – sold for $3,575,000 Finished in Magnesium Silver over a black interior, 062 is a pinnacle example of the world’s most recognized high-performance car. In its 15 years, it has never been modified from its original appearance and has seen just enough use to keep it in fine running order without compromising its outstanding cosmetic condition. Unlike many examples, this car has never been abused, modified with GT components or been through a color change. Auction Source: 2010 Gooding & Company Pebble Beach Auction
1997 McLaren F1 065 – sold for €3,251,050 In 2004 McLaren elected to close the Park Lane showroom and chassis 065 returned to the factory where it underwent a full service in preparation for its sale to the current Asian owner. As such, it is the last McLaren F1 ever delivered and, since delivery, has never been raced or driven aggressively. As every McLaren, it has been subject to the utmost attention to detail, with the current vendor even flying a McLaren mechanic to Asia to service the car 12 months ago. It has since been returned to the McLaren factory in Surrey for a full service, and is offered with a full clean bill of health. Auction Source: 2008 RM Automobiles of London
1994 McLaren F1 – sold for $1,705,000 Less Than 3,300 Miles From New and 49 State Legal. complete with all ancillary items as delivered – luggage set, manuals and vehicle build sheet. The beautiful yellow paint and black leather interior are nearly flawless. As a special bonus, Michael Schumacher’s signature (dated 12/03/96) is on the left side doorsill. Auction Source: 2006 Monterey Preview