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The McLaren F1 is more than just a car, it is legendary, it is mythical. It stunned the automotive world when its concept burst on the scene in 1992 and was unlike anything that came before it. Everything about it was hyperbole, and its credentials seemed almost too good to be true. It sat three, with the driver in the middle, its engine compartment was lined with gold for better heat dissipation, and with its BMW-built V12, it could top 230 miles per hour.
McLaren was no startup or flash-in-the-pan manufacturer. Since the 1960s, it had been one of the premier racing manufacturers in the world, with success in Formula 1, Can-Am, and at the Indianapolis 500. By the late 1980s, the company was riding especially high. Thanks to an engine partnership with Honda, its white and red Marlboro-sponsored cars dominated Formula 1 throughout the decade, and its MP 4/4 cars owned the 1988 season, taking 15 of 16 races. Company founder Bruce McLaren had wanted to build a road-going car using racing technology in the late '60s, but plans were scuttled after his death testing a race car in 1970. As a result of the 20 years of success since, McLaren technical director Gordon Murray believed that the company had the know-how to create the ultimate road car, but he wanted to do it in a way that had never been done before.
Gordon Murray had begun to think of possibilities outside the track. For the F1, Murray wanted to combine the handling and ease of Honda's NSX with the extreme power that could still blow the doors off supercars like the Ferrari F40, Lamborghini Diablo, and Jaguar XJ220. Murray was quoted as having said, "To my thinking, the ideal car is one in which I could get in the driver's seat and be out for a drive in downtown London, and then want to continue straight on to the South of France. A car that you can trust, with functional air conditioning, and retains daily drivability. No offset pedals allowed. No high dashboards restricting your view either. Having a low roof hitting your head every time you go over a bump in the name of aerodynamics and styling is out of the question. It is essential that a supercar be a pleasure to drive, and anything detracting from that must be excised."
Even today no car can turn heads like an F1, neither can any car claim to be as driver focused as the F1 - The F1 is a groundbreaker, claims made today that the F1 represents the best car ever built are perfectly justifiable.
Turbocharging and supercharging were both dismissed by Murray outright as being too needlessly complex and heavy, as were airbags, anti-lock brakes, and power steering. But for all the F1 didn't have, it made up for it with cutting-edge technology: It was the first production car to use a monocoque carbon fibre chassis, making it incredibly strong and stable at high speeds - and incredibly lightweight. Murray put together the ultimate team, the member of which came from many different backgrounds; they were obsessed with the ultimate design in every respect.
The F1 was a sensation when it debuted, and easily took the "fastest production car" title away from the XJ220 (in 1998, a prototype set a world record with a top speed of 248 miles per hour). But despite the car's capabilities, and McLaren's pedigree on the track, Murray had no desire to take the F1 racing. After pressure from owners and racing teams, the company relented and released the competition-ready F1 GTR in 1995. Lightened and lowered (despite having to be detuned to compete in the BPR Global GT Series), the F1 GTRs were an unprecedented success. At that year's 24 Hours of Le Mans, the cars joined the pantheon of racing legends, finishing first, third, fourth, fifth, and thirteenth overall. A legend had already been born but mythical status had now been achieved as a result of this lightly modified road car attending and winning the fabled 24 hour race at La Sarthe first time out of the box.
Production started in late 1994 and by 1998, production ended on the F1 after merely 106 had been built. For its first attempt at a road car, McLaren set out to build the best, and astonishingly, it did. Since its debut, the F1's legend looms as large as ever before, and has become the standard by which all supercars are judged. There have been prettier, more advanced, more expensive, and even faster exotics in the decades since, but none have had an impact that comes anywhere close to the F1 putting the F1 on a level peg with the Ferrari 250 GTO.
Of the 106 cars built only 64 were built and supplied as road cars, the last "new" car remaining in McLaren's Park Lane showroom until late 2003. The road cars are very much more sought after as a result of their iconic three seat setup (unlike the GTR with space for just two), air conditioning and operational side windows.
In the eyes of McLaren F1 experts this example is often regarded as the "Holy Grail", the "Ultimate McLaren Road Car", completely hidden from the public eye by the car's one and only owner, very low mileage and extremely original.
Produced by McLaren in 1995 this car, #005, was the fifth car built and was ordered and supplied to the one of the most famous car collectors of all time who, it is generally thought, had the largest car collection in the world. Following completion #005 was freighted to the museum of the owner in Asia where the car has remained ever since. Very few people have ever seen this car in person and virtually no photos exist of it in the public domain.
It was ordered and finished in Jet Black with Black Leather seats and gray alcantara headlining and dash; this is the exact specification which it is presented in today. Just two cars out of the sixty five cars were completed in solid "Jet Black" (without flake). Only 4 Cars in total were black. Throughout the car one can find hints of the original owner by means of his Logo specially positioned and embedded on the wheel centres, doors, gear lever, steering wheel and even the data connection points.
Since completion the car has remained under the same ownership until now and has covered just 2,900 Miles from new (4,700 kms). Many F1s have been repainted, retrimmed and customised over the years. However, and rather unusually, this example remains as it was ordered which fortunately presents as one of the most tasteful and timeless combinations of the 65 road cars supplied; probably the main reason for it remaining in an unmolested state. During its current ownership the car was been frequently been maintained by McLaren technicians who over the years were sent out to the collection within which the car was housed to service this example and other similar models. In recent years the car has been used very infrequently and the subsequent sale will of course be complimented by a full service at the agent of the buyer's choice, most likely MSO, the cost of which will be included within the price.
There is no denying that this car is a unique opportunity, very few F1s remain with their original owners and the specifics surrounding this car, its condition and provenance render it a genuine once in a lifetime occasion.
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