Up close and personal with the McLaren F1

The legendary supercar in the metal
by Vernon B. Sarne | May 23, 2011

In my recent trip to Munich, Germany, for the Castrol Edge Experience, we passed by BMW Classic, a place where really old Bimmers are restored. The top floors of the facility also happen to house all the significant car and motorcycle models that BMW has ever made. One car in particular got my attention: the iconic McLaren F1. Sure, the F1 wasn't manufactured by BMW, but the car (produced from 1994 to 1997) had a 6.0-liter BMW V12 engine in the middle, just behind the two rear seats. Hence, to honor this technical partnership, the F1--which could blast from zero to 96kph in 3.2 seconds--had to be represented here.

Now, while I've seen pretty much all manner of automobiles at various international car shows, this is the first time I've actually seen a McLaren F1 up close and truly personal, minus cordons and burly security personnel. Too bad the unit was locked, so I wasn't able to try the driver's seat on for size. Still, I was allowed to do anything--except obviously put a beverage on the roof--around the car. There was only one thing to do, then: Get the camera and pose like a typical Pinoy tourist beside the car.

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The McLaren F1 sits really low to the ground. It feels surreal just trying to approach it, knowing how so much history is stored in this car. It's not as visually dramatic as a, say, Lamborghini, so if you didn't know any better, you wouldn't suspect that this was a car that obliterated its rivals on the racetrack, most notably in the 1995 24 Hours of Le Mans. Still, this car gives off a rarefied air, such that there's no mistaking it's one of the best cars in the history of motoring. I can't describe the feeling clearly enough, so allow me to just share with you the photos I was able to take of the car.

Photos by the author


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