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The McLaren F1 Is The Most Expensive Car Sold at Auction

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This elusive McLaren F1 was sold for US$20.5 million, making it the priciest car sold in 2021.

By Sarah Ridzwan

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mclaren f1 Image: Gooding & Company

The McLaren F1 has become the most expensive car sold at auction in 2021.

The F1 — one of the most prized collector cars for its rarity and place in auto history — became the most expensive car auctioned last year, when it was sold for US$20.5 million at Pebble Beach. It also became the most expensive McLaren F1 ever sold.

The McLaren F1 is the creation of Gordon Murray, who has been regarded as one of the greatest automotive engineers of all time. One of the reasons why the F1 is highly desired is its engine: a 6.1-litre naturally-aspirated V12 engine developed and built by BMW.


f1 mclarenImage: Gooding & Company

Developing the BMW V12 is a story of its own. Murray did not have enough budget to develop his own engine for the F1, so he sought out some of the best engine builders in the world to do it instead. Murray had a list of requirements for the engine and wasn’t willing to compromise on any of them. He initially went to Honda, but was rejected. He then turned to Paul Rosche at BMW M, who is a personal friend of his, who ended up taking on the challenge.

The requirements were that the engine needed to be a V12, naturally aspirated, with at least 100 horsepower per litre, and high revs. The BMW M team managed to tick all of Murray’s boxes, and the free-breathing V12 they created has been lauded as a masterpiece and one of the best engines of all time.

f1 mclarenImage: Gooding & Company

The F1 is considered by many to be the first hypercar and with just 106 built between 1992 and 1998, it’s among the most prized vehicles in the world today. This F1 featured here is finished in a Creighton Brown paint job, which is offset by elegant light brown and tan interior. Unsurprisingly, the car has been used sparingly, with just 243 miles registered on its V12 engine.

In other hypercar news, the Petersen Automotive Museum in Los Angeles is currently hosting a two-part exhibit titled, “Hypercars: The Allure of the Extreme”. The first part of the exhibit is running until September 22 featuring a Bugatti Veyron 16.4, and McLaren Speedtail. The second part will run from September 17, 2022 to May 14, 2023.

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