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Hey Jay Leno, Great News, There's A McLaren F1 Ameritech Kit For Sale!

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The reason you don't see any of the seven Ameritech McLaren F1s out there is because there are none left. But that can change, thanks to the wonders of Ebay.

Ameritech converted seven McLaren F1's into single-seaters with a modified bumper and less power in order to satisfy the feds and make the world's fastest car (barely) legal in the US. Here's what Peloton25 knows about this transaction:

Basically as I have been told (and this is depending on who you believe) Dick Fritz of Amerispec Corp used some connections at DOT and the EPA, along with exploiting some loop-holes in the laws governing vehicle importation to somehow become a manufacturer, and in the process imported 7 F1s through a 'Free Trade' zone.

Each one was given a new 'Ameritech' VIN number and supposedly all the cars were converted with some funky looking exterior parts, and the two passenger seats were also "removed" (by fitting them with crude covers) in order to satisfy the regulators. There were possibly other changes required too under the skin, but the ones I mentioned are the ones that were most visible.


Some have even claimed that not all the cars were ever even converted with those parts to begin with. Six of the seven Ameritech F1s were basically silver, and so it would have been easy to present photos of the same car multiple times since most of the cars would not have needed to be inspected first hand, or at least that is my understanding.


Meanwhile, one of these silver McLaren F1's made it into the 1997 December issue of Road & Track to show America what the British were on about. As you would expect, it was a Euro-spec car.

Two years later, the Show and Display exemption came to reality (thanks Bill Clinton!) giving a lucky few the opportunity to push their Porsche 959's to the limit. Just ask Jerry Seinfeld or Porsche turbo fanatic billionaire Bill Gates.


The Ameritech F1's story got a twist too:

One thing about the 7 Ameritech F1s and their 'new VINs' is they were all VIN'd with the letter 'S' in the 8th to last position. That identifies their 'Year of Manufacture' as being 1995. This isn't true in all seven cases though, as while three were 1995s (#042, #044, #045); one chassis was built in 1996 (#055); and the remaining three were all built in 1997 (#062, #067, #074). Their EPA certificates also identify the four later cars as 1995's as well, which allowed them to get around what should have been necessary changes to comply with OBD-II as mentioned.

There is an outspoken critic of the Amerispec importation process who has shared a lot of these details on the F1 forum over the years with his own slant to the story. He's kind of quieted down lately, but I will share a memo below that he obtained and posted which was written in regards to the AmeritechF1s after 'Show or Display' was enacted. At that point, the folks at the DOT or EPA or both seemed interested in cleaning up the records on these cars, as it was apparently no real secret what had occurred with them.

The idea from one organization was to have their owners submit applications for 'Show or Display' approval, and bring them in line with the new law. One would assume this would have meant using the McLaren VINs instead of the Ameritech ones, and of course that would have posed a huge challenge for the four cars built after 1995 in the eyes of the EPA. He stated when he shared this that it was 'legally obtained'.


The amazing thing is that somebody decided to ignore that 'DO NOT SELL' instruction on the box and offers a complete and original Ameritech conversion kit for your F1 on Ebay for only eight grand!

Jay, if you're reading this, I know your car is black, but there must be some leftover paint in that garage...


Hat tip to Peloton25 via Luxury4Play, Photo Credit: Road & Track