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Robb Design Portfolio: Superstar Supercar

Robert Ross

The McLaren F1 is perhaps the most fastidiously engineered automobile of the 20thcentury. Some 100 of these English supercars were made between 1992 and 1998; of these, 65 were road-going versions like number 038 (pictured). The rest were built for competition in various states of tune and trim.

What set the McLaren apart was the designers’ no-compromise approach to concept and execution. Gordon Murray and Peter Stevens realized a three-seat Formula One racer for the road, delivering speed, finesse, and safety in a tidy package that looks as modern today as it did in 1988, when Murray envisioned it.

The McLaren’s carbon-fiber monocoque chassis—the first in a road car—supports a mid-mounted BMW 6.1-liter V-12 engine that generates 627 hp. Long the world’s fastest production car, the 240-plus-mph McLaren remains one of the most highly valued. It may also be the only investment-caliber production car made since the 1970s: A 2008 auction result for one lucky seller topped $4 million.

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