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A McLaren F1 and an F1 McLaren

If there is one car that is more coveted than the Lamborghini Countach, it’s this, the McLaren F1.  This was the world’s “Bugatti Veyron” 13 years before the first Bugatti Veyron rolled out of the factory.  Simply put, this is the greatest car.  Ever.  

McLaren’s Palo Alto, California, showroom is a simple affair.  It has two MP4-12Cs (a gray one that is curiously not for sale and a used white one that is), a rolling chassis (probably the same one displayed at last year’s Marin-Sonoma Concours), a Cardinal red McLaren F1 (also not for sale), and David Coulthard’s MP4-16.  The new McLaren has been written about to death, so let’s focus on the McLaren F1 and the F1 McLaren.  

All supercars generate amazing performance numbers.  But what sets this car apart is that it is so beautiful and perfectly proportioned from every possible angle.  Standing next to it, it does not appear uncomfortably low or impossibly tiny.  

Although I do not have a copy of Driving Ambition to consult, I can tell you that the front brakes are 13.1″ and the rears measure 12.0″.  That’s plenty of stopping power for a car that barely weighs a ton.

The view from this angle conjures up a combination of Subaru SVX, Acura NSX, and a big dollop of Salvador Dali.

The infamous three-across seating arrangement.  Just remember, kids, the F1 is not the only car with three separate seats.

Look, Ma, two interior rear view mirrors!


In the entire showroom, only David Coulthard’s 2001 MP4-16 was roped off.  He finished second overall in the Drivers’ Championship (65 points) with this car, thanks to a poor year by teammate Mika Hakkinen (37 points) and a runaway year by Ferrari’s Michael Schumacher (123 points).

And while the road-going McLaren is powered by a 6.1 liter naturally aspirated V12, DC’s car has a 3 liter V10 Mercedes powerplant.


Just think, at one point, McLaren engineers hid the aero and suspension bits from competitors as if their lives depended on it.

For more pictures, click here.

Images source: Copyright 2012 Hooniverse/Jim Yu


  • GregKachadurian

    Drool. Next time I'm in the Bay Area I'm going there pronto.

  • PotbellyJoe

    It must be difficult to go through the McDonald's Drive thru in a McLaren F1. Not only does it lack cupholders for the fries and the Liter-of-Cola, The passenger seats are behind you, so you can't reach easily over to grab the next burger.

    Truly a disappointingly designed car.

    • OA5599

      Not to mention that the window only opens a few inches and is an arm's length away from the driver.

    • cheapthrills

      Even worse, you can't fit your drinks through the windows upright. The whole ordeal will need to be done with the doors raised.

      I doubt any car will ever surpass the perfection of the McLaren F1.

      • PotbellyJoe

        Agreed. I'm sorry McLaren, if I'm buying a supercar, I'm not walking into McDonald's just so I can eat in the car while I drive. Have some common sense.

      • Peloton25

        You are correct – it is a door-open affair in the McDonald's Drive-Thru in a McLaren F1. 🙂

        <img src="http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v482/Peloton25/McLaren%20F1%20L/4645603690_b16f431dec_m.jpg&quot; width="600">

        And yes – before you ask, the driver did choose to obscure his face with the old 'Pitch In' trashcan symbol. 😀


        • Thanks for answering me and Alan's questions regarding the car's value. Do you personally know the car's/dealership's owner? Is he willing to show his collection to me? If so, I'd love to check his babies out and do a write-up for Hooniverse!

          • Peloton25

            I have met the owner and he does know who I am but it is not a situation where I could arrange access to his collection for you unfortunately.

            Here are a couple of photos taken in one of his garages by a friend of mine. Besides the F1 you can see there are some very special automobiles in his collection including an Aston DB4 GT Zagato and 1932 Alfa 8C.

            <img src="http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v482/Peloton25/McLaren%20F1%20K/1.jpg"&gt;

            <img src="http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v482/Peloton25/McLaren%20F1%20K/4.jpg"&gt;

            While there are also some important Ferrari's in his collection that are shown in those shots his Ferrari 250 GTO and a couple of others are not included here.


            • Thanks for the photos!

              Is that a Facel Vega?

              If you feel comfortable sharing the collector's name, please email me at milhousevanh at geemail. I can see if my Bay Area contacts can reach out to him.

              Or, are his initials TP?

              • Peloton25

                Yes it is a Facel Vega and no, his initials are not MS.

                With a small bit of effort you could probably discover the answer but I'd be glad to email you shortly.


    • also, how do you show off the 21yr old trophy wife if she's relegated to the back seat?

  • Three.

    • If it's carrying three passengers, where does the driver sit?

      • pj134

        Well, beneath the hot chick who sat on his lap.

        • Peloton25

          Funny you'd mention that. I've participated in such a scenario in an F1. We only went a few hundred yards this way because the lady was nursing a bad ankle and needed a ride to another car. I had offered her my seat but everyone insisted this would be fine, so that's how it went. It was definitely a pretty funny moment.

          <img src="http://farm3.staticflickr.com/2735/4311563271_0c87f0a603_z.jpg?zz=1"&gt;


      • Oops. Misread. Long week…

  • Scandinavian Flick

    I nearly ran off the road when I first saw those in the new showroom. A friend of mine who used to work at pretty much the only shop in the area that worked on these cars said the red one is either chassis #016 or #042. The guy who owns it has two…

    • Does your friend know if the McLaren 'ship shares service staff with Fisker next door? Damn, must be nice to have Silicon Valley money.

      • Scandinavian Flick

        Unfortunately, he recently moved out of state, hence the "used to work" part of that… Since he moved before they opened the dealership, I doubt he would know.

        That would be a damn sweet job though. Even to be just a service writer for them and get to hang out around that much awesome all day… It's a beautiful dealership too.

    • Peloton25

      The car in the showroom is actually chassis #028 and belongs to the owner of the dealership.

      Of the two cars you mentioned #042 would be the red one but it also has red interior making it easy to distinguish from the car pictured here. Chassis #016 was painted Aubergine – sort of a gray/purple blend originally chosen by its first owner in Japan. That particular car left the USA for a new owner in Hong Kong back in 2007. The same gentleman in the Bay Area does still own #042 though.


      • Scandinavian Flick

        I stand corrected. Thanks for the info!

        If you happen to read this; how do you know this information?

        • Peloton25

          With the help of some like-minded individuals around the world I have spent nearly the past decade studying all that I could learn about these great cars. While I do not know everything, I certainly know quite a bit more about them than I ever expected. I didn't start out with the mindset of getting to this point, but life's journeys sometimes lead you in intersting directions. So far I have seen 14 F1s in person and I intend to continue what I've been doing and just see where it leads me. It has been quite a lot of fun so far.


  • mr. mzs zsm msz esq

    Though it's more bloated like most newer cars. I do admire the dedication to a single wiper though, but really did The Peel need the 'passenger' side mirror? The writing was on the wall it seems.

  • I'm usually not easily amazed by seeing rare/expensive cars in real life, but if I ever got to stand next to a McLaren F1, I'm sure it'd be a memorable moment.

  • Manic_King

    Favorite supercar for me too, but I remember that not too long time ago someone (Needell?, Clarkson?) in TV or in print media commented that because of shortness and smooth body with not too much downforce, roadholding isn't ideal, that it is twitchy and somewhat unpredictable? Newer, a bit tamer version of Porsche's 930 "the widow maker" maybe. Rowan Atkinson who as enthusiast can probably drive lost control of his F1 in August 2011, spun off the road and hit a tree before catching fire. And racing version had long tail and huge wing to help with downforce. Is it a case of " do not never think that your dream car is as good in real life as you've been thinking?" Naah, it still is great achievement and nearly perfect, not in this red though, needs metallic paint.

    • skitter

      I doubt anyone endorses blitzing an F1 like a hyper-agressive lunatic in an Evo, or tossing one around like a rented Mazda 2. Most things I've seen suggest that doing something stupid, in the McLaren, is exceptionally stupid. On the other hand, I've never read a description remotely close to 'boring'.

    • Peloton25

      Clarkson is the one who calls it twitchy, but he barely knows how to drive. 😉

      It's a 2,500lb supercar with over 600hp and no driver aids – of course it will be twitchy. People also say it is easy to lose control of an F40 too and it has that massive wing on the rear that should provide downforce. It's just the nature of a car like that to be a bit uncontrollable when pushed.

      Atkinson's accident in his McLaren F1 last year happened during a quick change in weather conditions that resulted in a heavy downpour not far from his home on a road he knew quite well. I'm sure taking the car out that day, or those few seconds of driving just prior to the crash, are ones he wishes he could do over. Also, the fire that was initially reported at the scene was untrue. The engine did separate from the car and there was likely some fuel spilled but the car did not catch fire. While it still ended up a bit of a mess, McLaren are in the process of putting his car back together for him now and I have no doubt he'll be back to driving it more miles than most do.


  • Manic_King

    Google served above this following link: http://mclarendriver.com/
    Small world of McL owners with their problems, like firmware updates.