There are some cars that set themselves apart from the moment they are shown to the world. Among these is, undoubtedly, the rare McLaren F1. Just 64 road cars were produced and this fine example is currently up for sale by auction house RM Sotheby’s

Follow Double Apex on Facebook and Instagram, where we share more car content.

Check out South Africa’s latest online marketplace DotDot Direct by clicking the advert below.DotDot advert

Quick Recap

The McLaren F1 is lauded as being the best car of the 20th century; some may argue, of all time. The car was the brainchild of famed Formula One designer Gordon Murray. South African-born Murray called for full commitment from McLaren to create a no-expense-spared machine that cost $1m when new.

The McLaren F1 famously had three seats and was powered by a BMW-sourced 6,1-litre V12. A near standard car set a speed record that stands until today. The 461 kW supercar achieved a two-way average of 386,39 km/h (240,1 mph) with a peak of 391 km/h. This is still the highest speed ever recorded by a naturally aspirated production car. 

Watch and listen to McLaren’s test driver talk about the F1’s record setting run by clicking here.

Last of the Breed

The last few examples of the McLaren F1 have changed hands for upwards of $20m. This well preserved, low mileage version could set a new record for an F1 when it changes hands. Read about the most expensive car in the world at this link.

The rare McLaren that you see here is car number 59 of the 64 ever made. It was produced in 1998, the very last year that the F1 was built. Fans of this iconic model may have pegged that something is a little different with this particular car.

Watch a gaggle of road and race McLaren F1s on a 30th anniversary tour at this link.

Making it Better

The Achilles heel of the F1 was its headlights. In night-time driving, the stock headlights were poor. Car no. 59 became the testbed to improve this situation. This car has the headlight internals from a BMW Z1 Roadster and the headlight housings themselves were made slightly smaller. Chassis number 059 is the only F1 to leave the factory with this headlight setup. 

Watch a video that reunites the McLaren Ultimate Series cars at this link.

Subsequently McLaren improved the headlights by swapping the position of the low and high beam lamps. In addition they replaced the low beam lamp with a different projector. As these changes could be carried out using the original headlight housings this car is unique among F1s. Other stand out features of this rare McLaren F1 include a factory fitted High Downforce Kit with a fixed rear wing, as well as 18-inch wheels both of which it still wears.

  • Rare McLaren F1 profile
  • Rare McLaren F1 pedals
  • Rare McLaren F1 interior
  • Rare McLaren F1 rear