Gawp at this immaculately restored McLaren F1

By topgear, 31 August 2019

Any day with a McLaren F1 is a Good Day.

Agreed, and this is a really Good Day, because this isn’t just any old McLaren F1, but one fresh from an 18-month restoration undertaken by the good people over at McLaren’s Special Operations division.

Welcome then, to number #63.

STORY Vijay Pattni

Talk to me Goose.

The first step was to completely strip the body and drivetrain from the F1, which we can’t show you pictures of because a) it’ll likely be NSFW, and b) we haven’t actually got any images of this particular part of the process.

And then what happened?

MSO (for McLaren Special Operations) took this opportunity to completely retrim the interior, in one-off, semi-aniline leather. Rather than usinh basically any other exciting hue, McLaren chose to use the colour of a grey British sky. 

No, really, it’s called Woking Grey, apparently named because of the miserable colour hanging over McLaren’s old premises (and the current location of MSO).


Still looks bloody clean and decent, mind. All the carpets were renewed, the mats piped with grey leather, and the steering wheel replaced from MSO’s stock of original parts. History, innit.

Is this the point the body goes back on?

Yup. The body panels were repainted in Magnesium Silver “to a meticulously high standard” that took a whopping 900 hours to finish, and then laid back over the bones of chassis 63.

And what about the very best bit?

The 6.1-litre V12, you mean? Ah yes, that was totally rebuilt. Stripped back down to its core and built back up again to ensure it kicks out the same 626hp it had back in the Nineties. GOD IT LOOKS GORGEOUS.

An engine, you will remember, capable of punching the McLaren F1 to 390km/h. Yippee kay yay, etc etc.

Any other points of note?

The dampers were sent back to Bilstein itself for refurbishment, and the driveshafts and hubs sent back to the original supplier for a rebuild.

Once everything was bolted, screwed, and no doubt jimmied back into position – we suspect the knuckles of those poor MSO workers may be slightly grazed – it was sent out onto the road and the track for a final shakedown.

All in, 3,000 hours of work across 18 months was poured into this grey, 390km/h dream machine.

Great. Does it get a sticker?

Nope, a certificate, one only McLaren is allowed to grant to proper, certified F1s. Not only that, the owner of chassis #63 also gets a frickin’ LASER-scanned F1 scale model. Because having the ACTUAL CAR clearly isn’t enough.

Remind me how many F1s McLaren built, just in case, y’know, my money tree finally comes good.

There were 106 in total (including prototypes) with 64 standard road going cars – like this one – and 28 GTR race cars.

And, um, you better have a big tree: the last F1 that came up for auction sold for £19 million.

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