If there is a single car that best represents the past, present, and future of the automobile, it is the McLaren F1.
The McLaren F1 is the result of an uncompromising pursuit to create the perfect automobile – a Formula 1 car for the road, the brainchild of one of the great minds in the history of automotive design, built by the dominant race car constructor of the era. In its concept and execution, the F1 is unlike any other production road car – a unique stroke of genius that leaves a significant impression to this day. Nearly three decades after it was introduced, it remains the benchmark by which all other sports cars are judged.
Constructed with the same meticulous attention to detail that one would expect from a world-class Formula 1 operation, the McLaren F1 was engineered with elegance and assembled with precision, utilizing the finest materials available including aluminum, titanium, carbon fiber, and even gold. The car’s groundbreaking features, too numerous to list in their entirety, include a carbon fiber monocoque chassis, three-seat central-drive cockpit, and a full ground-effects undertray. While McLaren endeavored to develop most of the car strictly in-house, the independent suppliers involved in the project, such as Brembo, Kenwood, TAG electronics, and Goodyear, were all tasked with producing bespoke components for the F1.
The 6.1-litre DOHC V-12 engine, developed under BMW Motorsport’s Paul Rosche, was also tailor-made to suit the specific requirements of the F1. This naturally aspirated powerplant combines the best of all worlds, producing tremendous reserves of torque, a linear power delivery, and an unforgettable sound. Not only did this engine make the road-going F1 the world’s fastest production car, it also helped McLaren capture an overall win at the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 1995, the 1995 BPR Championship, the 1996 Global GT Endurance Championship, and later served as the foundation for BMW’s own successful endurance racing program.
When it was unveiled in 1992, the McLaren F1 captured headlines in every motor magazine worldwide. In the years since, it has been bestowed with every automotive accolade and has been featured in countless books, films, and television series. Yet, despite its media exposure, it is a rare instance to see an F1 on the road or at a show. Their extreme scarcity makes even the most exclusive supercars seem plentiful by comparison.
The F1 is not the typical overladen modern-day supercar, nor is it a bare-bones, track-day toy; rather it is a lithe, beautifully engineered jewel of a car that is just as capable on a closed circuit as it is on city streets. Were it not for its unique center-seat driving position and the attention the car receives, a driver might easily forget that they are piloting one of the most extreme high-performance automobiles ever built. Professional racing drivers have remarked that the F1 is a true enthusiast’s car – lightweight, nimble, balanced, and refined, with instantaneous responses.
It has been nearly 30 years since the F1 was introduced to the public and more than two decades since the last example was built. In that time, there have been numerous attempts to overtake the McLaren; a few cars have gone faster, many have been more audacious, yet none has ever come close to stealing the F1’s crown as the king of the modern supercar.
Accordingly, fascination with and collectability of the F1 have grown steadily with time. In 2013, Octane compared the McLaren F1 to the legendary Ferrari 250 GTO: “If a modern-era successor can achieve recognition as the future 250 GTO, it has to be the McLaren F1.” There is building consensus that the F1 is headed along the same epic trajectory.
As a continued focal point of the automotive community, the F1’s desirability can be confirmed by the impressive roster of current owners, which includes prominent collectors such as Ralph Lauren, Jay Leno, and Nick Mason. The number of Ferrari 250 GTO owners who are also in possession of a McLaren F1 is certainly noteworthy, as is the significant number of owners who own multiple F1s. Ownership represents entry into one of the most exclusive clubs in all of motoring, and the only way to participate in the prestigious tours and events that are regularly organized for F1s.
The McLaren F1 has become recognized the world over as the prime example of the pursuit for automotive excellence. Perhaps the most talked about car in history, there are few laudatory words that have not been used to describe this exceptional motorcar.
The F1 presented here, chassis 029, is undoubtedly among the finest extant – a stunningly attractive, one-of-a-kind road car in pristine original condition, which has been driven less than 390 km from new.
According to factory records, 029 was the 25th F1 built at McLaren’s workshop in Woking, England, and the final example built in 1994, having been completed on December 23. This car is particularly notable for its elegant metallic brown livery, a unique color not shared with any other F1.
This attractive one-off color was named Creighton Brown, in honor of the commercial director for McLaren Cars Ltd. who, together with Gordon Murray, Ron Dennis, and Mansour Ojjeh, was part of the famous 1988 Linate airport meeting that served as the foundation for the F1 road car project. Mr. Brown was also intimately involved with the company’s dominant racing program, having been a partner in Ron Dennis’ Project Four Racing, which took over the McLaren Formula 1 team in 1980. During Mr. Brown’s time as a director for McLaren, the British team won seven Constructors’ and eight Drivers’ World Championship titles.
To complement its one-off exterior color, the cockpit of 029 was specially upholstered in light tan leather and Alcantara, with contrasting Brazilian Brown leather accents and brown carpeting. Completing the F1’s cohesive and tasteful presentation, the four-piece fitted luggage set, handbook folio, and tool roll were all trimmed in matching light tan leather.
Upon completion, 029 was delivered to its first owner, a private Japanese collector, in 1995. Over the next 17 years, this F1 was primarily kept in static museum display, admired for its technical and aesthetic achievements, and driven sparingly. According to one account, most of the mileage that the McLaren accrued while in Japan was added during a promotional filming session at a test course near Tsukuba.
McLaren has confirmed that 029 had preventative maintenance work carried out by the local authorized F1 service center during summer 1998, in accordance with factory recommendations. Factory records also confirm that this F1 received annual services every year from 2003 to 2006, with the last official service performed in 2008. A McLaren representative visited 029 in Japan in 2010, and carried out a visual inspection, reporting that the F1 presented very well and displayed only 297 km.
The F1 remained in the hands of its original owner until 2012, when it was sold via well-known Japanese exotic car dealer Art Sports, to Shinji Takei of Tokyo. Photos taken at the time of his acquisition show the F1 in pristine original condition, complete with its factory-delivered accessories.
In 2013, Mr. Takei sold 029 to the current American owner, a gentleman whose car collecting philosophy can be defined by the simple phrase: the best of the best.
As noted in the Department of Transportation declaration on file, 029 entered the US in April 2013, with its odometer reading just 316 km. Imported under the Show or Display exemption, the F1 was immediately entrusted to JK Technologies of Baltimore, the leading US firm specializing in EPA conversions of exotic supercars.
Under the direction of the consignor, JK Technologies serviced 029 and made it US-emissions compliant, accruing as few miles as possible and taking extra care to preserve any original components replaced during the federalization process. All records, receipts, and correspondence for this work are included in the car’s history file, and 029 is accompanied by its original European catalysts and heat shields should a future owner decide to return the car to its exact, as-delivered specification.
Since this work was completed in January 2014, the F1 has not been driven any distance, nor has it been publicly exhibited. At the time of cataloguing, the odometer displayed just 387 km, approximately 240 miles. To maintain the F1 in running order, the current owner runs 029 to operating temperature once a month and has carried out fluid changes on a regular basis.
A credit to the foresight of its three private owners, 029 is presented today in exceptional original condition. In all respects, this is a benchmark, time capsule example of the definitive modern-day supercar. Not only does this McLaren retain its factory-applied paint and interior finishes, its various identification plates and labels also remain intact. Even its Goodyear Eagle tires, specially designed for the F1, are the original ones supplied with the car when new, as confirmed by their 1994 date codes. Similarly, the F1 still retains its January 1995-dated Premier fuel cell manufacturer’s label and the original McLaren Track Record plaque, with the last line acknowledging the team’s 104 Grand Prix wins in 1993.
Consistent with its extraordinary presentation, 029 is offered with important accessories and spares. Included with the sale is the French-made FACOM tool chest – complete with the famous communication modem and torque wrench – together with the smaller leather tool roll, which features goldplated titanium components. The car’s cleverly integrated storage panniers contain the four-piece fitted luggage set, together with the serial-numbered leath