There were only ever 64 F1 road cars built, so they’re all rare in their own right. But, this one is a little different. It’s got a unique headlight configuration that’s a bit different from all the other F1s. Okay, to be honest this sounds like one of those “my Corvette is rare because X, Y and Z” things, but it’s still pretty neat. This car is also chassis number 059. That means it was made right at the tail end of production in 1998.
According to Sotheby’s, the factory went with these slimmer headlights in an effort to increase output at night. The company says the F1’s achilles heel was shitty headlights.
“During night-time driving, output of the stock headlights was noticeably poor, not something that one wants to contend with at 240 mph.”
To rectify the dim problem, McLaren replaced the internals of the F1’s headlights with those from the BMW Z1 Roadster. They also made the headlight housings themselves slightly slimmer. This car – chassis 059 – was the testbed for this experiment. It may not look totally noticeable at first glance, but when you compare it to a “regular” F1, you can certainly see the difference.
The way the car is being auctioned is also a bit peculiar. According to Autoblog, this F1 will be sold “alongside” the Monterey lots. There will not be public bidding. Instead, all bids will be sealed. Once the bid is submitted, the auction house will let you know where you rank in the bidding. If you want to place a bid, it’ll have to be done in $50,000 increments. Bidding takes place for 48 hours starting at 4 p.m. Pacific on August 18.
This particular F1 is a two-owner car with less than 16,400 miles on the clock – with the second owner having bought it ten years ago. Could the third owner be you? Probably not, but it’s nice to dream.
It’s also here under show and display laws since it’s less than 25 years old, so you’ll have some annoying hoops to jump through. But what do you care? You just bought a McLaren F1.