HomeThe MarketMcLaren F1 selected as 'greatest supercar ever'

McLaren F1 selected as ‘greatest supercar ever’


McLaren F1 takes the title as 'greatest supercar ever' | Classic & Sports Car show photos
McLaren F1 takes the title as ‘greatest supercar ever’ | Classic & Sports Car show photos

In conjunction with the opening day of the Classic & Sports Car Show at the Alexandra Palace in London, the McLaren F1 was honored as the “Greatest Supercar Ever” in a voting process that included more than 17,000 votes from the car-enthusiast public around the world.

The three-seat McLaren beat out the likes of the Jaguar XK120, Mercedes-Benz 300 SL “Gullwing,” Lamborghini Miura and Countach, and Bugatti Veyron.

The process began earlier this year when Classic & Sports Car magazine created a supercar “long list” that includes three cars from each decade of the past century. In September, the original list of 33 cars was trimmed to 11, including one from each decade.

McLaren F1 seats three, with driver in the middle
McLaren F1 seats three, with driver in the middle

Those cars were:

Up to 1914 — Mercedes 1908 GP
1914-1925 — Bentley 4 1/2-liter Blower
1930s — Alfa Romeo 8C
1940s — Jaguar XK120
1950s — Mercedes-Benz 300SL “Gullwing”
1960s — Lamborghini Miura
1970s — Lamborghini Countah
1980s — Ferrari F40
1990s — McLaren F1
2000 — Bugatti Veyron
2010 — McLaren P1

Examples of each of those cars will be part of “A Century of Supercars” exhibit within the show, which runs through the weekend.

The McLaren F1 dominated the voting as the choice of 30 percent of those casting ballots. The car was designed by Gordon Murray with carbon-fiber bodywork by Peter Stevens and debuted in 1992. The driver sat in the middle of the car with a seat on either side for a passenger. The engine was a 6.1-liter BMW V12 that provided 627 horsepower to propel the car to 200 miles per hour in just 28 seconds.

The scene at the show
The scene at the show

“Performance is still incredible in 2016, but in the 1990s it was way beyond other period supercars,” show organizers said in a news release. “With no driver aids at all, not even an airbag or ABS brakes, it was about as pure as it was possible to be, too. And its purity is what shines through today.”

‘The F1’s top speed ‘record’ of 243 mph – with the rev-limiter removed – grabbed headlines at the time but it’s the single-mindedness of the whole design that’s still the most remarkable thing about this all-time great. There is no supercar before it – or since – that has such purity of purpose,” said James Elliott, Classic & Sports Car magazine group editor.

“The F1 has it all: it’s the most uncompromising car ever made, and a fitting winner of the public vote.”

1977 Tyrrell six-wheel F1 racer on road with London skyline
1977 Tyrrell six-wheel F1 racer on road with London skyline

The show was opened Friday by long-time Jaguar test driver Norman Dewis. John Surtees took the cover off the McLaren F1 as part of its recognition.

A pre-show highlight was a parade of cars on public roads led by a six-wheeled Tyrrell Formula 1 racer from the 1970s.

Larry Edsall
Larry Edsall
A former daily newspaper sports editor, Larry Edsall spent a dozen years as an editor at AutoWeek magazine before making the transition to writing for the web and becoming the author of more than 15 automotive books. In addition to being founding editor at ClassicCars.com, Larry has written for The New York Times and The Detroit News and was an adjunct honors professor at the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Arizona State University.

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