McLaren F1 – the new 250 GTO?

McLaren F1 – the new 250 GTO?

It wouldn’t be an exaggeration to say that the McLaren F1 is considered by many to be the greatest car ever created. Despite this, it still plays second fiddle to the Ferrari 250 GTO when it comes to collectability and price – but for how much longer?

On the 16th October 2017, well-known supercar dealer Tom Hartley Jnr revealed to the public and media that he had a delivery mileage McLaren F1 in stock. Cue a flurry of headlines, social media activity and speculation on the asking price – it was advertised, unsurprisingly, as Price On Application.

This was a special car, even for a roadgoing F1. With just 239km on the clock (all done during the factory pre-delivery test ), it was described as “the lowest mileage F1 in existence. Not only never driven but never registered by the one and only owner”. Still wearing its factory protection and complete with all the original tools, paperwork and even the matching commemorative TAG Heuer watch which bears the same chassis number – 060 – this truly was the opportunity of a lifetime for a serious collector.

The greatest car ever made

The fastest. The most expensive. The most high-tech. The greatest. There aren’t many unused superlatives left that can be used to describe the McLaren F1. Designed by engineering superstar Gordon Murray, the first examples rolled off McLaren’s Woking production line in 1992. Powered by a 630 bhp custom-built BMW V12, it used space-age technologies and materials such as gold leaf as a heat shield, but it was also practical. The central driving position allowed for two additional passenger seats in the carbon-fibre tub, it had air-conditioning and owners will attest to its everyday usability. This was also a car so mind-blindingly fast that it could reach 180 mph in 20 seconds – to put that in perspective, a Bugatti Veyron is only 3 seconds quicker and a Ferarri Enzo a lot slower at nearly 27 seconds. In 1998 it broke the production car world speed record with a top speed of 240.1 mph – a record it held for nearly a decade.

At around £600,000 new it was also eye-wateringly expensive, but the price and the performance made it untouchable. 107 examples were built including a number of prototypes and 28 race cars (F1 GTR). The most desirable cars today are the five F1 LMs, built to celebrate McLaren’s victory at Le Mans in 1995, followed by the 64 road cars. The owners club past and present includes Elon Musk, Jay Leno, Rowan Atkinson, the Sultan of Brunei, Ralph Lauren, Wyclef Jean, Nick Mason, and designer Gordon Murray.

Ferrari 250 GTO

If there is one car that can beat a McLaren F1 in a game of billionaire Top Trumps, it is the Ferrari 250 GTO. Just as the F1 has its fans, many others consider the GTO the greatest sports car ever built, an automotive deity. Designed to be raced hard and then driven home, GTOs won at Le Mans in 1962, 1963 and 1964 – beat that for provenance. Between 36 and 39 cars were built, depending on whose account you prefer, and the last car to sell at auction in 2014 achieved a price including buyers premium of $38,115,000 – a world record for a car sold at auction and a significant increase on the $18,000 it cost new. Considerably less, however, than the $50,000,000 rumoured to have been paid by a collector in a private sale…. But can the McLaren ever hope to take the title of “most collectable car” from the Ferrari?



Ferrari 250 GTO

So few GTO sales are publicly transacted and documented that very little evidence actually exists of prices paid. Bonhams sold 3851GT at their Quail Lodge sale in 2014 for $38,000,000 (£23,000,000) – in fact, this has been the only public sale of a GTO in the last decade. In 2016, 250 specialist John Collins of Talacrest offered chassis number 3387 GT – the second GTO built –  for £45,000,000.

Mr Collins has sold several 250s including 5059GT which he sold to the chairman of Samsung Lee Kun-hee for $3.5 million in 1996. The car then sold in 2007 for £15.7 million before allegedly passing to Foxtons Chairman Jon Hunt in 2008. In 2012 the car was reportedly then sold again, this time for £20.2 million. In the same year, 3505GT – built for but never driven by Stirling Moss – sold for $35,000,000 (£22,600,000) in a private sale. In 2013, Bloomberg reported that 5111GT has been sold for $52,000,000 (£32,700,000). Ask a specialist like Simon Kidston, and he will concur that the right 250 GTO is a $50,000,000 car.

Owners past and present: Ralph Lauren, Nick Mason, Anthony Bamford, Chris Evans, Rob Walton (Walmart).


McLaren F1

While the prices for the 250 GTO may be higher, the appreciation curve for the McLaren F1 has been near vertical since 2012. In the early noughties, an F1 would have cost a buyer around £1,000,000, but prices began to rise in 2007/ 2008. RM Auctions sold a one owner F1 for a world record £2,530,000 ($4.1 million) at their London sale in October 2008, easily eclipsing the $1.7 million they received for another F1 in 2006.


A handful of examples sold in the public eye between 2008 and 2012 with prices appearing to soften slightly, until Gooding & Company sold chassis 066 at auction for $8.47 million in California in 2013. The very next year, chassis 031 – estimate $12 to 14 million – failed to sell but was still bid to an impressive $10,750,000 (which of course does not include a further 10% buyers premium).

January 2015: Rowan Atkinson’s well known and factory repaired F1 (following accident damage for £900,000) was offered for sale in the UK by Taylor & Crawley for a reputed £8 million. The car sold in June for an undisclosed sum.

It then was down to RM Auctions to once again redefine the F1’s price bracket by selling an “LM-specification” car (upgraded by McLaren SVO) for an unexpected-by-many $13,750,000 at their Pinnacle Portfolio hypercar auction in August 2015.

18th August 2017: Bonhams sell chassis number 044 for $15.6 million (£11,900,000) at their annual Quail Lodge sale in Monterey making it the most expensive McLaren F1 ever sold at auction.

Chassis 060

Originally delivered to Japan, 060 is finished in Dandelion Yellow and comes complete with everything that one could hope for when purchasing an F1 including all the original tools, luggage and ownership documents as well as a spare GTR style steering wheel. Still wrapped in its original factory protection, this is almost certainly a one-off opportunity to acquire such a car.

The price? Our sources indicate that the asking price was £19.9 million and we’re certain that the new owner will feel that they have made a very sound investment, despite the potential re-commissioning cost which would run into the £100,000s if the owner requires it. That’s right – it’s sold already.

The reality is that the car will have been sold well before it made it onto Tom Hartley Jnrs website – transactions of this size don’t take a week to complete – but there’s nothing wrong with a bit of publicity!

Financing a McLaren F1

Yes – it is possible. We’ve drawn up an example based on a price of £19,000,000 after negotiations…


FACILITY: Balanced Payments Plan (Variable Rate)
 AGE: 1997
COST:  £19,000,000.00
DEPOSIT: £5,000,000.00
 AMOUNT OF CREDIT: £14,000,000.00
TRANSACTION FEE: £9,995.00 Payable with first Payment
OPTION TO PURCHASE FEE: £250.00 + VAT Payable with Final Payment
 FINANCE HOUSE BASE RATE:  0.50% [Assumed for duration of Agreement]
This is a non-regulated facility. The above quotation is based on a Balanced Payments Plan.  This is a variable rate deal linked to Finance House Base Rate (FHBR) with fixed monthly instalments calculated on an assumed base rate. The above option is only for corporate entities ie limited companies and LLPs. If the interest rates change throughout the course of the agreement, the term will also alter to cover any accrued/overpayment of interest on the loan. .Settlement penalties apply to this facility should you decide to pay the balance off early.  This equates to 4% of the outstanding capital balance in the first year and reduces by 1% on each anniversary of the agreement, i.e. 4% in year one, 3% in year two, 2% in year three and 1% in year four.

This is an indication of our terms and is subject to credit status and full underwriting from the finance companies we pass business to.  As part of the process, a credit search will be carried out with a credit reference agency.  The loan is secured against the asset unless other guarantees are required, in which case they will be specified before proceeding.  

McLaren F1 prices – the future.

We predict that F1 prices will continue to rise, for the very best cars at least. and with those rises it is likely that more cars will become available for sale, even though they will remain in the shadow market.  The Mac is an icon to a generation of buyers who are now beginning to replace those who worshipped at the altar of the mighty 250 GTO. Will F1 prices ever eclipse those of the 250 GTO? Yes, there are more of them but we wouldn’t bet against it.

Click here for more information on McLaren Finance.



Images courtesy of Tom Harley Jnr /  Laurent Chauveau/ Wikimedia Commons/ Talacrest/ RM Sothebys.


John Collins of Talacrest and 3387GT