Vehicular preservation is a bittersweet thing. Sure, the low-mileage, mint-condition car remains a time capsule for future generations to see what it might have looked like when new, but remaining stationary is entirely opposite of the intended purpose.
This is exacerbated when the discussion turns to sports and supercars, whose entire existence is defined by the miles put behind the wheel. Of all the mothballed exotica we’ve seen over the years, none sting quite as much as this 1997 McLaren F1 that wears just 148 miles on the odometer.
Offered for sale through Tom Hartley JNR, this Dandelion Yellow McLaren F1 is likely the lowest mileage example in existence, wearing only testing and delivery miles. The one-owner car arrives just as it did back in 1997, including the protective foam padding and painter’s tape covering the interior for dust and grime prevention.
Long-term sedation can be hell on mechanicals, and there’s no word on the current state of the engine and electrical systems. Hopefully, the 6.1-liter BMW S70/2 V-12 will only need fresh fluids, seals, and a dust-off to spit out the same raucous 627 hp and 480 lb-ft as it did 20 years ago.
As is the case with most F1s that come to market, this one arrives with a truckload of extra accouterments and accessories. The gold-plated titanium tool kit is included, as is the leather-bound owners handbooks, and bespoke luggage kit.
The seldom-seen TAG Heuer 6000 McLaren F1 Owners watch is included in never-worn condition as well, the face of which bears the chassis number of the car. Interestingly, a LM-style exhaust and steering wheel are included, but were never installed.
This is a private dealer, so the price is available on request, but Hodinkee reports the price tag could be as high as $33 million. This is hardly surprising, given that moderately-used, non-LM F1s have recently changed hands for upwards of $16 million. As the seller notes, if the new owner tucks the F1 away in a climate-controlled, padded, hermetically sealed environment, the value could conceivably continue to rise, perhaps eventually becoming the most valuable road cars, ever.
That would be a tragedy. You’ll take a strong seven-figure hit if you put on any sort of mileage, but this is the McLaren F1, the progenitor of top-tier modern supercars like the Bugatti Chiron and Koenigsegg Agera. Nothing quite matches the mystique of the F1, which is reputed to be one of the greatest driving cars to ever put rubber to pavement.
If you’re itching to fill that F1-sized hole in your garage, just wait for the next F1 to come up for grabs. It won’t be wrapper-fresh like this one, but there is a significant chance it is in perfect mechanical and cosmetic condition, considering the fanatical manner in which top-tier exotics are maintained.
Head over to Tom Hartley JNR to check out this one-of-a-kind 1997 McLaren F1 before some other oligarch grabs it.