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London Classic Car Show to celebrate the McLaren F1

Published 07 January 2016

It was an attempt to build the best engineered driver’s car ever made and has been called the greatest car of the last century. Now both the McLaren F1 and its creator Gordon Murray will be celebrated at February’s London Classic Car show.

Produced between 1992 and 1998, just 106 examples were built. Of that figure a just 64 were standard road cars – so next month’s show is a good chance to see one up close.

Five F1s will be on display at ExCeL on 18-21 February - two standard road cars, two GTR racers and a ‘long tail’ F1 GT road car.

‘Last year we paid tribute to Adrian Newey with an amazing display of his world beaters; this year we are putting the spotlight on Gordon Murray and, in particular, the amazing McLaren F1 he fathered,’ explained event director Bas Bungish.

Mc Claren F1 (3)

‘All those involved in what’s clearly going to be a very special homage to the F1 believe it will be by far the best, and most complete, insight ever put together for the public – thus something no car enthusiast will want to miss.

‘As well as Gordon himself, we are working very closely with those at McLaren’s own MSO Heritage and acknowledged F1 specialists Lanzante to ensure this fabulous display is as comprehensive and detailed as possible.’

To give visitors a unique insight into the world’s first ‘million dollar motor’ – the McLaren cost £634,500 when new – one of the road cars will be displayed with its doors, bonnet and engine cover open, while one of the racers will have its exterior panels removed to show what goes on under the skin.

The showcase will be completed with a number of F1-related artefacts including the race suit worn by JJ Lehto when he won the 1995 Le Mans 24 Hours in an F1.

Mc Claren F1 (5)

Also on display will be the road car’s bespoke luggage, a BMW engine block, one of the TAG Heuer watches given to each owner and engraved with their car’s build number and an example of the car’s bespoke tool kit, made from gold-plated titanium no less.

Technical drawings, photos and special films produced by McLaren to celebrate the car’s 20th anniversary its famous Le Mans 24 Hours victory in 2015 will also be shown.

Murray said, ‘When we started work on the F1 we benchmarked all the existing supercars from Ferrari, Lamborghini, Porsche and so on, as well as aspects of cars as varied as the contemporary Honda NSX and the 1960s Lotus Elan.

‘The idea was to better the performance, vehicle dynamics, handling and ride comfort of all of them at the same as producing a car that could, genuinely, be used every day.

Mc Claren F1 (2)

‘We achieved it all… except perhaps the steering. The F1 gets very close but doesn’t quite better the purity of the Lotus Elan’s steering,’ said Murray.

Partly because each car took three and a half months to build and partly because it is crammed full of exotic materials including gold leaf, titanium, magnesium and Kevlar, McLaren lost money on each car made despite that heady price tag.

Those with the foresight and wherewithal to buy the car when it was new, however, couldn’t have made a better investment. Last August a 1998 McLaren F1 LM sold at auction in America by Sotheby’s for close to £9 million.

Tickets for the London Classic Car Show are on sale now and start at £23 (including booking fee) for single adult entry on Friday, Saturday or Sunday and rise to £65 for entry to Thursday’s Premium Preview Evening.

Visit the London Classic Car Show website for more.

Mc Claren F1 (4)

The London Classic Car Show

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