If you've got the cash to place on the hood (or nose cone, as it were), most any Formula One team will sell you one of their old race cars. After all, they're not using them anymore, and it's a good way to raise funds to develop next year's car. But not McLaren. The team from Woking – one of the most successful in the series – doesn't sell its old cars, though with 176 grand prix victories, twelve drivers' championships and eight constructors' titles, you can bet they'd fetch a pretty penny. Instead, it keeps them all warehoused at a facility, location undisclosed, simply called Unit 2.
The warehouse contains some 75 grand prix cars, an untold number of the team's sports cars from other racing series (like Le Mans, Can-Am and Indy), and various road cars it's produced over the years, like the legendary McLaren F1, the SLR it built for Mercedes-Benz, and the new MP4-12C. But while none of these cars are for sale, Unit 2 will soon be depleted of much of its stock.
Their destinations? The 35 global dealerships that McLaren Automotive has opened or will open by year's end, like the one pictured above in Düsseldorf. Each showroom is to get a racing car to display alongside the road cars it has for sale, and many of them will be location-specific. The dealer in Monte Carlo, for example, will display the 1993 MP4-8 that Ayrton Senna drove to victory at the Monaco Grand Prix. The dealer in Brussels will reportedly display the 2004 MP4-19 with which Kimi Raikkonen won the 2004 Belgian Grand Prix. And the Philadelphia showroom will display the 1976 M26 that James Hunt piloted to victory at the US Grand Prix that year.
So if you want to see a piece of McLaren racing history, better call up your nearest dealership and find out when their show car is due to arrive. Just don't go looking for Unit 2, because even if you can find it, chances are they won't let you in.