Born in the late 1980's as a joint venture between the McLaren racing team, and designer Gordon Murray, their stated design goal was to build the best sports car. Ever.
The team was determined from the outset to one-up Ferrari in terms of attention to detail, a goal anyone who looks under the hood of a McLaren F1 and sees the gold trimmed engine will agree they achieved.
This attention to detail proved the undoing of the McLaren F1 as a commerical enterprise; by the time the vehicle went into production in 1993 the cost per car had skyrocked to almost £ 550,000. With VAT and road use taxes, an F1 could cost its owner more than £ 700,000.
The McLaren has a top speed of about 240 mph, and can accelerate from 0 to 100 mph in roughly six seconds; even now in September 2000, this was the fastest production car ever built, and given increasingly strict emission standards it is unlikely that these milestones will ever be surpassed (Urban Myths about rocket cars notwithstanding).
An interesting piece of historical trivia is the simple fact that the McLaren F1 won LeMans at its first attempt - something never before done.
A grand total of 65 F1s were built and in the UK the asking price currently starts at about £ 800,000.
Even F1 replicars are in high demand. Recently I saw an LM (an F1 replica) advertised with bids accepted starting at £ 150,000. FOR AN F1 REPLICA.
For the more automotive minded Noders here are some of the salient facts I've collected about the F1.
And yes, I'm looking for a car but I can't afford an F1. I think SmartCars are cool (and next Christmas will buy one for my girlfriend), but I'm in the market for a Lamborghini Countach. It suits me, and my girlfriend is Italian. She'll love it when I rev the engine and it sounds like the world is ending.
About the F1 though :
Weight: 2341 lbs
Displacement: 380 cubic inches
Power: 680 horse power