HomeThe MarketFirst U.S.-legal McLaren F1 going to Bonhams' Quail sale

First U.S.-legal McLaren F1 going to Bonhams’ Quail sale



The first of only seven 1995 McLaren F1 three-seat supercars to be federalized, and thus street-legal for the United States, will be offered for bidding August 18 at Bonhams’ annual collector car auction at the Quail Lodge during Monterey Car Week.

The car is a one-owner vehicle, Bonhams notes, and the first one to be imported to this country.

Bearing chassis No. 044, the car going to auction was the 37th F1 built by McLaren. It is being sold with 9,600 miles on its odometer, with half of those miles reportedly racked up soon after its delivery in July 1996, when the owner and two friends took the car on a driving tour of Europe.

On the track at Lime Rock Park
On the track at Lime Rock Park

After that trip, the car was returned to the McLaren facility in Woking, England, for its first service. It then was shipped to New York, where Dick Fritz and the Ameritech team did the U.S. federalization.

Bonhams reports that the car since has been returned to its original factory specification, but all of the federalization parts are included in the sale. Bonhams notes that only seven of 64 F1s built underwent the U.S. federalization process.

The McLaren has been maintained regularly by BMW North America LLC at the National Workshop-East, the auction house says, with new fuel cells installed in its fuel tank in 2002 and 2009. McLaren F1s were powered by a 6.1-liter 12-cylinder BMW engine.

“The McLaren F1 went into production looking and sounding like nothing else,” Bonhams said in its news release. “Boasting an unconventional three-seater configuration, a staggering array of no-compromises engineering, and an obsessively tailored vision for extreme performance and outright speed, the McLaren F1 made no apologies for its audacious road presence and take-no-prisoners performance.

“Designed by South African Gordon Murray, the F1 was created with exotic materials and advanced construction, incorporating such novel features as a centrally positioned seat for the driver and twin Kevlar fans to create downforce.

“Featuring the world’s first carbon-fiber reinforced plastic monocoque, the F1 spared no expense to achieve its goals for road supremacy.

“Furthering the cost-is-no-object philosophy, gold insulating foil was installed around the engine bay to ensure optimal heat containment – all of which helped the street car achieve a world record top speed of 243 mph (391 kph). Only 64 street-legal F1s were built, paving the way for a remarkable but relatively brief career in racing.

“Similar to the legendary Ferrari GTO, the McLaren F1 dominated and defined an era. Today, these rare, world-changing supercars almost never come up for sale – let alone one that has never had an accident – and it is very likely there will never again be an opportunity to purchase a single-owner F1 with such provenance and history.”

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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