McLaren brought one of the three homologation specials for the longtail F1 to the New York Auto Show. I was in its presence. I smelled it.

Seriously, I smelled it. McLaren told me to.

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They asked if I wanted to open the door. I said yes.

They told me to put my head inside and smell it. It sounded kind of kinky. I complied.

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The interior smelled like a handmade leather shoe. It smelled like a multimillion dollar car. It smelled of speed, and luxury, and exclusivity.

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It is an experience to be even near a longtail McLaren F1. They are about as rare as cars get, a light weight low drag high downforce development of the already light weight low drag high downforce McLaren F1. This was designed to allow McLaren to run an evolution car at the 24 Hours of Le Mans.

It was back when supercars raced at Le Mans.

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It is a car born from an over-the-top, wasteful, excessive period. It is glorious.

Here is, by contrast, the current P1 GTR placed just behind.

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And here are the details of the F1. Look at the simplicity of the forms, the evenness of the curves, the glimpses of mechanical guts beneath the painted skin.

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Photo Credits: Raphael Orlove


Contact the author at raphael@jalopnik.com.