Watch: Inside Elon Musk's uninsured $20 million McLaren F1 crash
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Long before Elon Musk was sending electric cars around the Nurburgring, and even before he was sending astronauts into orbit, he was a software developer that was doing pretty well for himself.
Well for himself is actually an understatement, considering that at just 28 years old, he sold his first company 'Zip2' to the now-extinct Compaq for around $500 million, of which Musk pocketed $34 million.
Like any other petrol head would do in 1999, Elon took that profit straight to his local McLaren dealership, and bought a brand new McLaren F1. When new, these road rockets retailed for about $1.2 million.
Again, like a good petrol head, Elon used build #67 as his daily driver around San Francisco and the Bay Area, clocking up an impressive 17K kilometres within his first year of ownership.
Unfortunately, good things don't last forever, and Musk soon learned what happens when 467kW at the rear wheels goes wrong.
While driving to a meeting about PayPal with investor Peter Thiel in one of the passenger seats, Musk was asked to show was the F1 could do, and uttered the famous last words of "watch this".
In an interview that took place in 2012, Elon openly admits that he "didn't really know how to drive", but that didn't stop him from planting the accelerator and attempting to change lanes.
Thanks to the lack of traction control in the British-built beast, the 6.1-litre V12 spun the rear wheels with ease, and the F1 was thrust head-first into an embankment before spinning "like a discus" through the air.
When it finally crashed back down to earth, the windscreen, body, and suspension system was destroyed. Thanks to the ground-breaking carbon fibre monocoque, the passenger compartment and BMW-built power plant were unscathed.
"It was a miracle neither of us were hurt," Thiel said back in 2017. "I wasn’t wearing a seatbelt, which is not advisable. Elon’s first comment was, ‘Wow, Peter, that was really intense.’ And then it was: ‘You know, I had read all these stories about people who made money and bought sports cars and crashed them. But I knew it would never happen to me, so I didn’t get any insurance.’ And then we hitchhiked the rest of the way to the meeting."
On top of all this, Musk's McLaren wasn't insured. This remains a mystery as it wasn't like he couldn't afford the insurance, and was pretty dumb thing for an extremely smart man to do.
According to a recent report, the Tesla CEO ended up paying to get the car repaired, and held onto it until 2007, when he (unsurprisingly) managed to sell it for a tidy profit.
Despite increasing demand for the incredible supercar, Musk decided that selling it before he launched an electric car brand was probably in his best interest. As you know, a 6.1-litre V12 isn't overly efficient.
Ironically, a couple of electric vehicles in Tesla's current line-up are able to embarrass the F1's 0-100km/h time of 3.2 seconds — including the performance variant of the Model X SUV.