Claimed by some to be the finest car of all time, the esteemed McLaren F1 is to go to auction this month, expected to fetch upwards of £7m.
The 1995 chassis 031, having only completed 1004 miles, will be sold at the Goodings sale on August 16 and 17. The auction takes place during the annual Pebble Beach classic car gathering in California. Set to be a McLaren F1 auction record, it is expected the car will be sold for between $12m and $14m (£7.1m to £8.3m).
Regarded as one of the best cars made in the modern era, the McLaren F1 supercar was conceived by the Formula 1 team’s technical director, Gordon Murray, in the late 80s. Having entertained the idea of a three seater ‘ultimate car’ for some time, Murray sketched out a design template at the airport after the Italian Grand Prix in 1988 and showed it to team boss, Ron Dennis.
Having persuaded Dennis to back the project, the pair went to see Honda, at the time the F1 team’s engine partners, with the support of one Ayrton Senna. The Japanese firm eventually rejected the proposals, however, and after Isuzu’s initial interest turned sour, the future of the supercar appeared bleak.
The only white McLaren F1 in existence. Manufactured in 1995, it still looks the part. Photo: Brian Henniker / Gooding
That was until a chance encounter between Murray and BMW’s then engine expert Paul Rosche. The pair engaged Paul Stevens to design the car, and eventually produced a vehicle that was lighter and more streamlined than most contemporary cars despite having an extra seat.
Produced between 1992 and 1998, only 106 cars were ever manufactured. The F1’s engine develops 627bhp at 7,500rpm which, coupled with the car’s excellent aerodynamics, provided a top speed of 231mph to break the world record in 1998. In 1994, the car was named by Autocar as “the finest driving machine yet built for the public road…one of the great events in the history of the car”.
The car going to auction is the only known example finished in Marlboro white, while it received an extensive service by McLaren in 2008 and is to be sold with bespoke fitted luggage as well as the original manual and toolkit.
At the same sale last year, Goodings sold the McLaren F1 chassis 066 for $8.47 million (£5m).