McLaren F1 locked away in Japan for 20 years surfaces for sale
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Few cars are held in as high regard as the McLaren F1 supercar from the 1990s.
Way ahead of its time, it used F1 technology, a carbon-fibre monocoque chassis and a fearsome 6.1-litre V12 engine that made it the fastest road car in the world - a record it held for no less than seven years.
Just 106 were ever built between 1992 and 1998 and only 64 were designated road cars. All of these were tailored to the customer's order and cost each lucky owner between £550,000 and £650,000 (NZ$1,000,000–$1,200,000).
Today, pristine examples are worth more than 20 times that - and this unused version looks could smash the record fee paid for one.
The Dandelion Yellow 1997 version seen here was originally delivered to Japan and has barely moved since.
It's never been driven on the road - not even registered to be used on the public highway - and has covered just 148 miles, all of which were covered by McLaren to ensure everything worked perfectly before shipping the car to the owner.
Now it's back in the UK and being sold by a supercar specialist for a undisclosed fee - though recent sales suggest it should be worth around £12million (NZ$22million).
How box fresh is it? Photos listed by Derbyshire luxury car dealer Tom Hartley Jnr show it still has the protective plastic covers over the interior that have been there since the car left the Woking production line 20 years ago.
It was originally sold on 26 February 1997 and last emerged for sale in Japan in 2013 when Tokyo-based dealership Art Sports listed it after storing the car for 17 years in a temperature-controlled facility to protect its value.
It's not turned a wheel since then, leading many to believe this is the lowest-mileage F1 in existence today.
And now it could be yours, though not for any small sum.
Tom Hartley Jnr has refused to indicate a figure, though recent sales suggest it will be a staggering fee.
Actor Rowan Atkinson famously crashed his F1 not once but twice, resulting in a full - painfully expensive - rebuild costing a reported £1 million. Still, he sold his for eight times the repair bill just two year's ago.
And the most expensive F1 sold in August this year achieved significantly more. The 9,600-miles 1995 example - the 37th F1 built - set a new record when it went under the hammer at the Quail Lodge Bonhams auction in the US, ringing in at a monumental $15,620,000 (£11,760,000).
This model, chassis number 60, should gazump that figure given its untouched history.
Tom Hartley Jnr said it has only had one Japanese owner and remains in the factory protective wrapping as it was delivered - that's some feat considering the covers went on 20 years ago.
Everything else that comes with it is in equally mint condition. That includes a leather-cased owners handbooks and a tool roll of original gold-plated titanium spanners that must be worth a fair whack on their own.
The car is also sold with a Facom tool chest, full luggage set that are still in their factory protective wrapping and an unworn ultra-rare commemorative TAG Heuer watch with the McLaren chassis number engraved on the face.
If you can match the undisclosed asking price the car dealer wants, you even get a spare exhaust and quick release steering wheel that were reserved for track-only GTR-spec examples of the F1.
As well as a raft of other unique design touches requested by the original keeper, the bring yellow McLaren has a hand-painted signature of F1 designer Gordon Murray on the rear right-hand side of the body.
Dean Lanzante, a McLaren F1 specialist, conducted a full inspection of the car in June, concluding that: 'McLaren F1 060 is not only an unused delivery-mileage car, but it has also been kept for over 20 years by one owner in climate-controlled conditions, which is reflected in the condition of the trim, paint and rubbers.'
He added: 'Of all the McLaren F1s I have seen, this is by far the most original and in as new condition.'
Describing the immaculate car, Tom Hartley Jnr said: 'Without doubt this is one of the most important road cars ever to be offered for sale and if preserved is highly likely to be the most valuable road car in the world in years to come.'
The McLaren F1 became the fastest road car ever in 1998 when it clocked a top speed of 240.14mph. It remained the record holder until 2005 when it was beaten by the Bugatti Veyron hypercar, though the F1 remains the fastest naturally-aspirated production car of all time today.
What made the McLaren F1 so special?
The F1 was the brainchild of Gordon Murray - the man who penned Formula One cars for Brabham and later McLaren from the 60s to the early 90s.
After talking former owner Ron Dennis — who recently severed ties with the brand — into the project, Murray enlisted the talents of designer Peter Stevens to create what became a stunning blend of performance and practicality.
It combined incredible power with forgiving suspension and many features that would make it bearable to drive on the road every day - even if some examples, like the one featured here, were rarely used on the public highway.
McLaren's 90s supercar was also unique for being the first high-performance model to feature a three-seat layout, meaning the person at the wheel had the optimal driving position in the middle of the chassis, while there was room for two additional passengers with extra leg room thanks to the flanking seats being positioned slightly further back in the body.
One-up, it had perfect weight distribution rather than being offset by the driver's bulk on one side of the chassis.
It was also incredibly lightweight through the use of light materials in the construction. In total it topped the scales at 1,138kg - around the same as today's superminis.
Powered by a BMW-built 6.1-litre V12 mounted slightly back from the middle of the car, it produced a then unmatched 618bhp and came with a six-speed manual gearbox.
- Daily Mail