One owner from new

1996 McLaren F1



  • One of the last remaining F1s in its first owners hands
  • Offered with books and accessories including its watch
  • Rare Brilliant Metallic Blue livery and factory GPS
  • Just 10,269 accident free km and McLaren serviced

“For perennial teenagers deeply imprinted in youth by 250GTOs, the wealth to acquire one provides entry to the coolest of private clubs.  This remarkable useability – the GTO being equally at home on road or track, in historic motor race, club rally, concours, shopping trip or (if you’re rash enough) pub crawl – will remain the GTO’s prime asset as long as governments permit private motoring. 

“But if there’s a modern-era successor rapidly achieving recognition as the future 250GTO, I think it has to be the McLaren F1.  This carbon-composite V12-by-BMW-engined wonder offers – albeit in a more variant-dependent manner – as much of the 250GTO’s useability as 21st century traffic law can concede.  And if we compare it, inch by inch, by record and charisma, with the 50-year old Ferrari…the parallels become quite fascinating.

“So it is with eminently good reason that the carbon-composite McLarens of the 1990s are now increasingly highly valued by an emergent new generation of knowledgeable car connoisseurs. I vividly recall the day, early in the F1’s test programme, when Creighton Brown let me drive the works prototype homeward from its proving ground, and in Milbrook village - as we took a sharp right at a junction – we saw a dog-walker coming towards us on the footway.   And the instant he saw that new grey McLaren snuffling into the corner, he threw up his hands, dropped to his knees and salaamed energetically in our honour…”

Doug Nye, GTO vs F1: Will The McLaren Ever Replace The Ferrari As The Ultimate Classic? Octane magazine, 2013

The importance of the McLaren F1 is not that it was, for seven years, the world’s fastest production car, nor that it remains the fastest naturally aspirated production car. Its importance comes from its unique blending of innovative design, advanced materials and exceptional adaptability and drivability. The McLaren F1 is a pure driver’s car conceived and perfected without the myriad technical gimmicks that all of its competitors rely upon to supplement the experience of driving. Combined with its peerless Le Mans winning race record, it is considered by many experts and collectors as the latter day Ferrari 250 GTO.

Deliveries began in 1993 and only 65 examples of the definitive road version were built from a total of 107 F1s, which includes six prototypes, five LM versions, three GT long tail road cars and 28 GTR racing cars. Of course, the racing cars do not feature the distinctive three-seater configuration and nor can they be modified to such as the electronics occupy the right hand passenger seat. Aside from the ultra rare F1 LM (one of which was recently sold for an undisclosed amount believed to be circa $20m) the F1 road car remains the one to have and the model which every enthusiast and collector covets. They are seldom offered for sale.

Performance is breathtaking. In addition to a top speed of 372 kph (231 mph) in its standard configuration with 7,500 rpm rev limiter, one of the prototypes with the rev limiter disabled clocked 391 kph (243 mph) at 7,800 rpm. Acceleration has been timed at 3.2 seconds, 0-60 mph, and 6.3 seconds to 100 mph. It will swallow a standing kilometre in 19.6 seconds with a terminal velocity of 285 kmh (177 mph).

Chassis ‘048’ was built for the current owner as a 50th birthday present from his wife and delivered by McLaren on 4th December 1996. The Brilliant Metallic Blue livery has to be seen in person to be fully appreciated: subtle, elegant and distinctive, it makes a welcome change from the usual colour palette, especially when combined with matching blue leather upholstery and carpets.

The car was immediately imported and registered in Switzerland, where it has lived ever since in climate controlled storage with rare outings including a holiday to the South of France, but otherwise this has been one of the least-spotted F1s. Servicing records (the factory maintenance book is fully stamped) show that the car was used sparingly but- more importantly- regularly until its last visit to McLaren Special Operations in Woking last October, the invoice for which shows just over £20,000 (ex VAT) of normal work.

‘F1/048’ has never suffered accident damage and its factory books, tools (including both the fitted pouch of magnesium tools for the front compartment and the large, Facom workshop tool chest) and other accessories remain with it, including the quaint TAG Heuer watch given to every owner at delivery. McLaren have also installed, in carbon fibre to match the cabin trim, a neat GPS system.

Offered exclusively by Kidston SA, and never for sale before, this is an immaculate one-owner example of the greatest supercar of all time, with impeccable provenance and a superb specification. Every world class collection should have one: sadly for the others, only 65 ever will.