Will this McLaren F1 sell for over $12 million at Pebble Beach?

Decades ago, a dominant Formula One team made a few dozen examples of a sports car that was as devastating on the track as it was on the road, and as such, it has become highly sought-after by collectors willing to pay millions – even tens of millions – for the privilege of ownership. We have to be talking about the Ferrari 250 GTO, right? We very well could be, but in this case, no: we're talking about the McLaren F1 – a legendary supercar whose values seem to be skyrocketing in the footsteps of its arch-rival's most iconic classic. And if this latest pre-auction estimate is anything to go by, it will only continue to climb as quickly as it accelerates.

The past couple of McLaren F1s on whose sales we've reported traded hands for over $5 million apiece and we thought that was pretty spectacular, but this latest example consigned to Gooding & Company for its upcoming sale at Pebble Beach has an expected selling price of between $12 million and $14 million.

Chassis No. 031, a 1995 model, is a bit of a rarity in that it's one of only a handful of McLaren F1s painted in white, and the only one in this particular shade of Marlboro White, adopting the color of the grand prix team's title sponsor at the time. It's had only three owners who've put barely over 1,000 miles on the odometer, starting in Japan, where it resided with collector Shin Okamoto for 15 years before he sold it to a collector in Chicago, who in turn sold it to its current owner who's putting it up for auction. The 27th example built, it's said to be in "highly original" condition, was extensively serviced at the McLaren factory as recently as 2008, and comes with all its original manuals, tools and fitted luggage.

Is all of that enough to make this 1995 McLaren F1 worth more than twice what they've been going for? If someone pays it, we suppose it will. But the McLaren isn't even the most expensive lot consigned for the auction. Little surprise, it'll have to compete with a number of much older Ferrari models for that honor: a 250 GT SWB California Spider is estimated to fetch $13-15 million, the estimate for a similar coupe has not even been released, and a rare three-seater 1966 Ferrari 365 P Berlinetta Speciale could go for over $20 million.
Show full PR text
1995 McLaren F1

Estimate: $12,000,000 - $14,000,000
Chassis: VIN. SA9AB5AC7S1048031
McLaren Chassis No. 031
*Please see additional note at end of text.

- Highly Original, Three-Owner F1
- Originally Finished in Striking Marlboro White - the Sole Such Example
- Complete with Manual, Tools, and Fitted Luggage
- Just over 1,617 KM (1,004 Miles) from New
- 2008 Extensive Service by McLaren

- Shin Okamoto, Japan (acquired new in 1995)
- Private Collector, Chicago, Illinois (acquired from the above in 2010)
- Current Owner (acquired from the above)


If there is an automobile that represents the past, the present, and the future, it is the McLaren F1. McLaren ingeniously combined aspects of the greatest cars preceding it with the intent of making a perfect modern motorcar. The resulting F1 was brilliant and remains the benchmark for all other supercars.

Constructed with the same care and attention to detail that epitomizes a Formula 1 operation, Gordon Murray designed the F1 without compromise. The F1 was engineered with elegance and assembled with precision, utilizing the finest materials available, including aluminum, titanium, carbon fiber, and even gold.

The engine, spearheaded by BMW Motorsport's Paul Rosche, was tailor-made to suit the needs of the F1 development team, and the normally aspirated V-12 combines the best of all worlds. It has tremendous reserves of torque, a linear delivery, and an unforgettable sound. Not only did it make a fabulous powerplant for the road-going F1, it helped McLaren win the 24 hours of Le Mans and served in BMW's own successful racing efforts.

When the F1 debuted in 1992, it captured headlines in every motor magazine worldwide. In the years since, it has been bestowed with every automotive accolade and has been featured in countless books, films, and television series. Yet, despite its exposure in the media, it is a rare instance to see one on the road or at a show. Because of their scarcity, they make even the most exclusive supercars seem plentiful by comparison.

The F1 is not the typical overweight hyper-car, nor is it a barebones, kidney-jarring track toy; rather it is a lithe, beautifully engineered jewel of a car that is just as capable on a closed circuit as it is on urban streets. Were it not for its unique center-seat layout and drop-jawed onlookers, one might easily forget that they are piloting one of the most extreme high-performance automobiles ever produced. Professional racing drivers have remarked that it is a true enthusiast's car – lightweight, nimble, balanced, and refined.

It has been just over 20 years since the F1 was introduced to the public and more than a decade since the last example was produced. In that time, there have been many attempts to overtake the McLaren. Some may have gone faster, been more audacious, had a more dramatic combination of letters and numbers in their title, yet none has ever come close to stealing the F1's status as the king of the modern supercar.

Accordingly, fascination with – and the collectability of – the F1 have grown steadily with time. The 2013 Octane comparison of the F1 and the legendary Ferrari GTO recently declared, "If a modern-era successor can achieve recognition as the future 250 GTO, it has to be the McLaren F1." There is a building consensus that the F1 is headed along the very same, epic path. This position, however, overlooks the fact that the F1 was a legend almost immediately, with the GTO earning its praise as a collectible later in life.

The McLaren F1 has become recognized the world over as the prime example of the pursuit for automotive excellence. Perhaps the most talked about car in history, there are few laudatory words that have not been used to describe the McLaren F1. Praise alone cannot satisfy the F1's effect on the motoring community.

Chassis 031 is one of the finest McLaren F1 road cars extant.

Chassis 031, the 27th road car, was fnished in Marlboro White with black leather and Alcantara to match, fnished with red stitching. Notably, Marlboro White was special ordered as a true ode to the marque, given its use by the contemporary and successful Marlboro-sponsored Formula 1 team. While silver may be the more iconic finish, many have applauded the choice of white upon seeing 031 in person. The car's presence is unmatched.

Chassis 031 was sold new to Japanese enthusiast and collector Shin Okamoto in 1995. Carefully maintained, 031 was driven minimally during Okamoto's ownership and its regular care remains evident today. The McLaren was stabled amongst some of the modern era's finest supercars, including an F40, F50, 288 GTO, 333 SP, and an F50 GT. The McLaren F1 was no doubt the centerpiece.

After 15 years of single ownership, the McLaren was sold to a respected US private collection in the Midwest, which encompasses one of the finest assemblages of McLarens in the world. Prior to changing hands, the F1 was sent to McLaren's head facility in the UK in late 2008, where it was thoroughly inspected and serviced; a receipt accompanies the car. Stabled alongside another F1 and a growing collection of the marque, chassis 031 was well cared for, seeing limited use.

More recently, the McLaren was acquired by the current owner, a marque enthusiast with a stable of road and racing McLarens. Most recently, the car was fitted with a set of new factory wheels finished in black with new tires also acquired from McLaren, further enhancing the car's sleek appearance. It should be noted that the original silver wheels and Michelin tires accompany the car. In an effort to preserve the car's fantastic condition and shockingly low mileage, the McLaren was minimally used and treated as a work of art.

Chassis 031 is particularly complete and retains the McLaren original owner's manual in its leather-bound case, service and warranty book, spare key (numbered 031), factory luggage (also numbered 031), gold-plated titanium tool kit and roll, and Facom F1 rolling toolbox complete with keys.

Today, 031 remains an outstandingly pure example. Unlike many F1s, 031 is not known to have been damaged or repainted in its 19 years and was never fitted with the high-downforce kit, a common modification. This McLaren has been collector owned since new and has been prized for its singular appearance and significant originality. Showing roughly 1,617 km – 1,004 miles at the time of cataloguing – the F1 has accumulated very little mileage, a notable trait for 031.

As a continued focal point of the automotive community, the F1's desirability can be confirmed by the roster of owners that includes prominent collectors, such as Ralph Lauren, Jay Leno, and Nick Mason. The number of Ferrari 250 GTO owners also in possession of a McLaren F1, as well as the numerous owners of multiple F1s, is also noteworthy.

The Marlboro White McLaren offered here boasts just three owners from new and a fastidious presentation. This particular F1 surely ranks among the finest and lowest-mileage examples. Chassis 031 welcomes the established and foundling collector alike with any and all expectations of what its ownership holds. The presence of any F1 on the market is of note; and this unique opportunity demands attention.

* As is customary with all McLaren F1s properly imported into the United States since 1999, the consignor and any Buyer will be required to comply with NHTSA and other applicable requirements and complete additional paperwork in order to effect transfer of ownership, including a show/display permit application.

Share This Photo X