Why You'll Hardly Find Any McLaren F1s On The Road

Have you ever driven past a McLaren F1? The chances are you probably haven't. When it was released, the F1 was a work of engineering genius sitting at the pinnacle of performance. Its 6.1-liter V-12 engine is capable of producing a staggering 627 horsepower. That amount of grunt is capable of launching the McLaren from zero to 60 in just 3.2 seconds. It held the record for the fastest road-legal car from its release in 1993 right up until it was knocked from the top spot by the Bugatti Veyron in 2005 — 12 years in total.

It was designed by Gordon Murray and hand-built in Woking, England during the '90s. As the name suggests, the car took a lot of inspiration from high-powered Formula One racing cars meant for the track. Beyond the technical specs, you can find evidence of this in the interior of the car. The unique layout has the driver's seat and steering wheel positioned in the middle of the vehicle, with two passenger seats flanking it.

The McLaren F1 Owners Club has included the likes of billionaire Elon Musk, Beatle George Harrison, and comedic actor Rowan Atkinson — who crashed his twice and still managed to sell it for a profit.

Made for the street, but not often hitting the road

The McLaren F1 is one of the rarest production cars in existence. A total of 106 examples were built between 1992 and 1998, and only 64 of those were made to be road cars. As a result, their owners aren't keen to part with them. They rarely appear in auctions, and when they do, they're expected to sell for a premium. One appeared at Gooding & Company's Pebble Beach auction in 2021 with an estimated price tag of $15 million. It eventually blasted past the estimate and went for an incredible $20.5 million, making it one of the most expensive cars ever sold.

Overall rarity, and the price tag, mean not many people have one to take out in the first place, and those that do may not want to risk even mildly scuffing the paintwork on their pride and joy. Because of their nature, they do end up upside down in a ditch from time to time, which increases the scarcity (via Car Throttle). The three McLaren F1 owners we've mentioned by name have a total of three McLaren crashes between them — though none of those involved George Harrison. Mr. Bean managed to stack his twice, and Musk wrote his vehicle off completely during a moment of optimism and overconfidence (via The Drive). Elon was uninsured and his vehicle ended up on the scrap heap, while Atkinson paid over $1 million for a repair job after one of his wrecks (via ITV).

If you really want to see a McLaren F1 in the wild, you may have to visit one of the more affluent parts of the world, like Silicon Valley or Dubai. It's not something you'll likely encounter during a Wednesday morning traffic jam on Route 50.