RM Sotheby’s just sold a McLaren F1 for $19.8m

In front of a jam-packed and expectant saleroom at the Portola Plaza in Monterey, RM Sotheby’s hammered away a McLaren F1 ‘LM specification’ for 18m US dollars – that’s an incredible 19.8m dollars including buyer’s premium…

RM’s Monterey headliner failed to disappoint when it crossed the block yesterday evening. The grey McLaren F1 built to LM specification – i.e. it has the high-downforce aerodynamic body kit and an unrestricted 680bhp V12 – was arguably the most hotly anticipated car of the entire week. And someone was willing to pay 19.8m US dollars (including premium) to drive the three-seater supercar home. 

Although the hammer price was well short of RM’s pre-sale estimate of 21–23m, the all-in total still marks a new world record for the marque at auction. It seems the zero-compromise F1 really is following in the footsteps of the hallowed Ferrari 250 GTO in the desirability stakes. We wonder how long it will take before examples are traded for north of 30m dollars. 

Besides the F1, RM had a strong opening night, selling 52 of the 75 cars offered. While some of its heavy hitters including the 1961 Ferrari 400 Superamerica Aerodinamica, 1954 Maserati A6GCS/53 and 1962 Ferrari 196 SP failed to sell on the night, the 1966 Ford GT40 Roadster prototype realised an impressive 7.65m dollars all in. Perhaps more remarkable is the 962,000 dollars somebody paid for the as-new 2017 Ferrari F12TdF. 

The biggest surprise on the night, however, was the very first lot, a dinky little 1967 Ferves Ranger. Against an estimate of 30,000–40,000 dollars, the car hammered at a spectacular 175,000 dollars (196,000 dollars including premium). We imagine the car’s owner indulged in a very expensive meal in Carmel-by-the-Sea afterwards. That’s the magic an auction can conjure. 

All eyes will be on RM’s Porsche Type 64, a car Porsche has very publicly stated is not, in fact, a Porsche, when it crosses the block this evening. Could it surpass the McLaren to claim the overall Monterey crown for 2019? 

Update: On Friday evening, the RM saleroom descended into farce when a communication error saw bids for the Type 64, what is believed to be the oldest car to wear the Porsche badge, skyrocket to 70m dollars, much to the amazement of the hundreds of guests. In reality, the person operating the figures on the screen had misheard auctioneer Maarten ten Holder, thinking he’d said 70 when in fact he’d said 17. When the bids were corrected, boos rang out through the audience and, as a result, the bidding ceased. 

It wasn’t all bad for RM on the night, however – the 2006 Ferrari FXX that formed a part of the Ming Collection sold for 3.525m dollars all in, and the beautiful 1962 Ferrari 250 GT ‘Short Wheelbase’ hammered away at 7.4m dollars, that’s 8.145m dollars including premium. 

Photos: Rémi Dargegen for Classic Driver © 2019

You can find all our Pebble Beach and Monterey Car Week 2019 coverage listed here