MAY 09th 2014

McLaren three times more investable than gold... and much faster!

McLaren F1 values take another sharp rise

The first time I saw a McLaren F1 wasn’t through the window of the famous Park Lane showroom or under the bright lights of a motor show. Instead, it was at a kit car track day here at Goodwood in the early 1990s. If that sounds incongruous enough, then remember this was the pre-Revival days; prototypes XP2 and XP3 were unloaded from humble transporters into the crumbling, pre-restoration paddock. They drew an instant crowd.

I’ve no idea why they were there (final testing, presumably), but I remember the aura those pre-production hypercars had. Not that I would have used a word like ‘aura’ at the time; I was only about 10. Given that I was at an impressionable age, the F1 will always be my favourite supercar. I’d walk over a 918, LaFerrari and P1 for a closer look at one. Sadly, though, it looks as if I’m too late to start saving for one; they now sell for more than 1000 percent of the original £540,000 retail price. (Gold, from which some of the F1’s components are made, has increased in value by only 300 percent in the same period.)

Now a UK buyer has forked out a record-breaking $10.5m (£6.2m) for chassis number 28, once briefly owned by Mario Andretti. It beats the $8.7m (£5.42m) paid for another F1 at Pebble Beach just last year, while there are rumours that one owner has turned down an offer of $12m.

The most recent sale is one of only two red F1s in existence, and it was originally built for Andretti as a sweetener for his early departure from the McLaren grand prix team. The car wasn’t road legal in the States at the time, so he sold it to a collector in Japan after only a year. In 2002, the car moved to the USA where it has had three owners. It’s now coming back to the UK. The deal was secured for the new owner by DK Engineering, the same company that found two Ferrari F40s for us to use as pace cars at the 72nd Members’ Meeting.

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