McLaren F1

When first built in 1994, the McLaren F1 was the fastest and most expensive car.  But even though it was built over 25 years ago, it has an amazing top speed of 240 mph.  Reaching 60 mph in 3.2 seconds it still a top super car and out performs many other super cars.  While the initial price was around $970,000, today the car can sell for twice that amount.  And it’s likely that their value will only increase with time. If you can’t afford one, perhaps check out a scale model.

More than just a fast car, the McLaren F1 has made its mark in automotive history.  The engineering of the McLaren F1 when it was released was a watershed moment in the automotive industry.

In 1994, in a road test Auto Car said that “The McLaren F1 is the finest driving machine yet built for the public road.” and that “The F1 will be remembered as one of the great events in the history of the car, and it may possibly be the fastest production road car the world will ever see.”

The McLaren F1 was design by Gordon Murray who had also designed Formula 1 cars for Brabham and McLaren.  The blueprint of the car was simple: light, streamlined and with a host of technologies other manufacturers took decades to match.

The time tested formula for performance vehicles is a combination of high power and low rate.  The McLaren F1 was the first production car to use a monocoque chassis made from carbon fiber.  Additionally other car components such as the body, interior and more were made from lightweight materials such as carbon fiber, titanium and Kevlar.

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With a unique three-seater configuration, the driver is situated in the center with the two passenger seats flanked behind.  This gives the driver maximum visibility.

Wanting a naturally aspirated engine that would be more reliable and easy to manipulate, Murray and the McLaren team chose a BMW-design 60.0 liter V12 engine that generates 627 horsepower.  Knowing a powerful engine generates a lot of heat, McLaren had the engine compartment plated with gold foil as insulation.

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The McLaren F1 set a standard in the sports car industry featuring many innovative techniques that were way ahead of its time.  Gordon Murray had indeed succeeded in building the ultimate road car.  In all, 106 cars were manufactured with some variations in the design.

Production of the McLaren F1 stopped in 1998, but McLaren still maintains an extensive support and service network.  Throughout the world there are eight authorized service centers.  On occasion, McLaren will actually fly a specialized technician to the owner of the car.  All of these technicians have undergone extensive training in the service of the McLaren F1.  If there is major structural damage, the car can be returned to McLaren for repair.

Super cars are often the choice of hobby or indulgence of celebrities.  Rowan Atkinson of Mr. Bean fame is no exception.  But in August, 2011, the comedian had an unfortunate encounter with his McLaren F1 when he met up unexpectedly with a tree and a lamp-post.  No, this wasn’t a seen from his latest Mr. Bean movie.  Fortunately, he walked away from the crash with an injured shoulder.  The car however, wasn’t so lucky. Read more here.

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Atkinson bought the maroon McLaren F1 following the success of the Mr. Bean movie.  Apparently the accident happened when he spun off the wet road and hit the tree and lamp post.

Just a few weeks prior on BBC’s Top Gear show, Atkinson had clocked the fastest guest star lap on the show.  He said of the McLaren F1, “You’ve got to live with it.  I have lived with it for 14 years. I’ve done a lot of miles in it.  I’ve done 37,000 miles, which for a McLaren is a lot.”

Atkinson is reported to own a 1980s Aston Martin V8 Zagato, an Audi A8 and, a Honda Civic Hybrid.

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