1998 McLaren F1

The McLaren F1 is a wreck just waiting to happen – while names can’t be named, over a dozen cars were crashed by their over-exuberant owners soon after delivery


The idea of creating the ultimate and most exciting road car was conceived as early as 1988. Following a meeting of minds led by designer Gordon Murray, McLaren declared its intention to build the F1 using technology generated in its Formula One racing program, “regardless of cost.”

The result was a most sensational combination of styling and performance. The car featured a 60-degree, 6.1-liter V12 engine with four valves per cylinder and continuous variable inlet valve timing. The dry sump magnesium-cast engine fed power through a transversely mounted six-speed gearbox mated to a triple-plate carbon clutch with aluminum flywheel. Aside from the mechanical specifications, the body was unique, fabricated entirely in carbon fiber, a three-seater that placed the two passengers to the sides and slightly aft of the center-positioned driver, with luggage space in side compartments on both sides of the car.

With a power-to-weight ratio of 560 hp per ton, or 3.6 pounds per horsepower, the F1’s performance was electrifying: 0-60 mph in 3.2 seconds and a top speed of 231 mph, as reported by Autocar.

The prototype was launched in Monaco in 1992, where potential customers were able to choose their personal options and even specify their preferred steering wheel and pedal locations. From this debut it then took nearly two years for the first customer-ordered cars to be delivered. Praise was unanimous.

The McLaren F1 on offer here has been stored in the custody of McLaren Cars since new, and all service and upgrade options have been carried out in its Customer Care Workshops. Its LM-spec engine has covered just over 5,000 km (3,000 miles) since installation and less than 500 km (300 miles) since the last thorough service. The odometer reads just 18,540 km (11,500 miles), but if one takes into account that the chassis is unperishable and the engine is so fresh, it can be regarded as virtually new.

Presented in immaculate condition throughout, this particular McLaren F1 is the “ultimate” example of the model, and with its comprehensive specification and knockout looks should not be missed.

Michael Sheehan

Michael Sheehan - SCM Contributor

Michael is a Ferrari historian and broker with over three decades in the business. He operated a 30-man Ferrari crash repair and restoration shop for over two decades. He has a passion for racing and has competed in the Mazda Pro Series, Trans-Am, IMSA GTO, and IMSA Camel Lite, and has three drives in the 24 Hours of Daytona and 12 Hours of Sebring. His regular column, “Sheehan Speaks,” has been a part of SCM since 1993, and this month, on p. 38, he takes us to a Brunei prince’s compound that holds hundreds of decaying, melting exotic sports cars.

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