|The result was the F1, introduced in 1993 and a modern classic that has still to be displaced in many enthusiasts’ hearts by the even faster, yet less pure, Bugatti Veyron|
With the rev-limiter removed, the car would go even faster – Andy Wallace took XP5 to 244.5mph in 1998 – but to obsess about top speeds is to miss the point. The F1 was never intended to set records or win races. Its designer, Gordon Murray, had merely set out to build the best possible road-going driver’s car. He did that by following Colin Chapman’s famous dictum ‘add lightness’, but also by building-in a quality of engineering that the Lotus boss would never have countenanced.
The result was the F1, introduced in 1993 and a modern classic that has still to be displaced in many enthusiasts’ hearts by the even faster, yet less pure, Bugatti Veyron. Powered by a BMW-built 6.1-litre V12, the F1 had a fighter-pilot style central driving position and dramatic lift-up doors. Perhaps more significant was what it didn’t have – power assisted steering, power brakes, ABS or traction control. All for a price tag of more than half-a-million pounds in 1993.
You either got the F1, or you didn’t – but all true petrolheads did. McLaren built just 100 cars between 1993 and 1998. To own one, or just to aspire to one, marks you out as an enthusiast of the first order.
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