You've heard it before, you'll hear it again: The McLaren F1 is one of the fastest, most powerful and most expensive road cars ever. It was developed by McLaren Cars Ltd, a subsidiary of one of the world's leading Formula One Teams. Much of the experience gained with the team's F1 effort, combined with Gordon Murray's motivation to make the best road car regardless of profits, helped the McLaren F1 become the car it is.
Emphasis on the design was to get the highest power to weight ratio possible in a comfortable, road worthy machine. Lightweight F1 composites and metals were used throughout the car. Every detail, such as weight and response of the Kenwood stereo components, were given close attention.
The McLaren F1 was the first production to use a complete carbon fiber chassis and body. Such lightweight construction, combined with the BMW S70/2, 620 horsepower engine, helped the McLaren achieve 240.14mph in its XP5 pre-production trim. The success didn't stop on the road however, with special GTR versions winning Le Mans outright in 1995 and taking two FIA GT World Championships.
After the initial production run 100 cars, McLaren have continued to maintain and add custom appointments to customer cars. Treatments such as new aerodynamic packages and custom interiors have been ordered by customers and McLaren has been happy to comply for right price. One such car is chassis #073 which has recently been sold by Christies Inc.
Christies on F1 #073, `Extra High Downforce'
#073, a stunning one owner example was delivered by McLaren in 1998 and this particular collector wanted a unique car which combined the best of both worlds; the performance of the LM with the internal comforts of the standard model thus giving the uncompromised option of everyday road use.
After the car was purchased, McLaren offered to undertake this extraordinary project in their workshops in Woking, England. It began with the fitment of their GTR-inspired High Downforce Package which dramatically improved high speed road holding and stability. Later additional improvement was requested to increase the aerodynamic capability of the car in an effective but visually subtle manner thus it was decided to add louvres to the tops of the front wings and balance the rear end of the car with a 4mm 'Gurney flap'. Documented testing at Bruntingthorpe proving ground in May 2000 evaluated these additions and the conclusion was the following; `The additional downforce enhances the existing levels of grip and stability and provides a great feeling of confidence and security, particularly at high speed.' In addition to this, McLaren installed larger radiators and a sports exhaust system along with a set of forged multi-spoke wheels (exclusive to this car) brandishing suitably colossal Michelin tyres all round. To complete this marvel an updated LM engine was installed; producing an astonishing 691bhp at 7500rpm and 735 NM of torque (dyno test sheet can be provided upon request) it makes a significant performance improvement. It is important to acknowledge the significance of this upgrade as there is only one other McLaren F1 roadcar with this engine.
An additional fax sent from McLaren in August 2000 complimented this astonishing car even further; McLaren's most experienced test driver commented that this car was `the ultimate F1 variant, having the best combination of performance, stability, grip and handling, whilst still being practical for road use'.
Unbelievable to think it possible for the greatest Supercar of all time, but with performance raised to an uncompromised optimum level, seemingly there could be no further necessary requirements. However thanks to the comprehensive options and upgrade packages offered by the McLaren factory to this privileged individual, it was decided to respray and retrim the car to his desired combination. A unique dark tangerine metallic colour was chosen, as the studio photography shows, the result is absolutely mesmerising and for long-term protection from stonechips Armourfend (a ultra thin, transparent film) has been applied to the most prone areas such as the nose, headlights and wing mirrors. In complimentary contrast, the interior was trimmed to 'GT specification' with a magnolia alcantara headlining and magnolia wilton carpets, the drivers seat was privileged with magnolia nubuck leather with beige alcantara inserts and the passenger seats were mirrored in beige alcantara with magnolia nubuck leather inserts. To finish and sharpen the visual appearance the dashboard was trimmed in black alcantara and black wilton overmats adorn the footwells.
Also uprated is the air conditioning system. In the cockpit there is a 14 inch leather-trimmed steering wheel and a Phillips satellite navigation system nestles in the left footwell within a custom-made carbon fibre casing. Notably the carbon fibre instrument panel incorporates a gear change light and the chassis number is engraved into the rev counter. Whilst in the car, you have the ability to listen to the stereo, the two-way radio Motorola communication system, the navigation satellite and/or converse with each other whilst on the move (with or without using the helicopter-rated intercom system and Peltor headsets). Other factory upgrades on this most select McLaren include gas discharge headlights, lightly tinted side windows and as a custom request the F1 motifs on the doors and the sides of the rear wing have been painted silver. To complete the astonishing achievement Gordon Murray himself has hand-signed this supercar on the carbon fibre area in between the chassis plate and the gear stick in silver permanent marker.
On December 2nd, 2003, Christies sold #073 for 731 250 GBP or $1 259 00 USD. At such a price this transaction has been the highest price paid at auction for a motor car in 2003.