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RM Sotheby’s Headlines New Private Sales Program with McLaren F1

1998 McLaren F1 is one of just two upgraded to LM engine spec by the factory

RM Sotheby’s is a name that is synonymous with high-end collector car auctions, but the company has announced that it is also breaking into the private sales business, offering unique cars in a direct sales format. The headlining car of this new venture is a 1998 McLaren F1, the famed three-seat supercar known to many as a sort of Ferrari 250 GTO from a more modern era due to the car’s performance, rarity, road/race pedigree, and soaring values.

This particular McLaren F1, chassis #073, is one of just two road-going versions converted to the more potent LM-spec by McLaren Special Operations (LM for Le Mans, which an F1 GTR race version won in 1995). The LM spec boosts power to 680 hp at 7,800 rpm, using genuine GTR parts including cams, pistons and more.

This car was also converted to Extra High Downforce spec, with a larger rear wing, revisions to the nose, and extra front wing vents. A 4 mm Gurney flap is was also a factory addition, along with a color change from the original AMG Green Velvet to Brilliant Orange Metallic.

This car was kept at the McLaren factory in Woking, U.K. by its first owner and was also upgraded to a GT-spec interior with leather and Alcantara upholstery, plus LM-style handbrake and instrument cluster. Needless to say, these upgrades and many more must have cost the owner a pretty penny.

The car’s designer, Gordon Murray, also signed both the owner’s manual and the car’s transmission tunnel. This F1 was always serviced by the factory and the car has just under 6,000 km (approximately 3,700 miles) on its engine since upgrades.

McLaren F1s cost just under $1 million when new in the late 1990s, but demand at the time for such an expensive supercar was not strong, especially when Ferrari’s contemporary F50 supercar rang in at roughly half that amount. Just 106 cars in total were built, with only 64 of those being road versions. This has helped boost prices for what many view as the ultimate “analogue” supercar, with the last version to sell at auction bringing a huge $15,620,000 at Bonhams’ Quail Lodge sale last year. For a price on chassis #073, you’ll likely have to present yourself as a serious buyer to RM Sotheby’s.

Other vehicles currently available under RM Sotheby’s Private Sales division include a 2003 Ferrari Enzo, an Aston Martin DB AR1 Zagato from the same year, and a 1928 Mercedes-Benz 680 S with coachwork by Saoutchik.

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