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The Mysterious Case of the 7 Missing McLaren F1s—and One Theory About What Happened to Them

A new video from Car Throttle attempts to solve the mystery of the missing F1s.

There are rare cars and then there are McLaren F1s. In production from 1992 and 1996, only 106 examples of the Gordon Murray-designed supercar were ever built. But of that extremely limited run, seven are unaccounted for.

So where exactly are the “missing” F1s? A new video from Car Throttle (via Jalopnik) on the eventful history of the storied supercar attempts to answer that. And as far as they can tell, those cars are currently in the collection of the Sultan of Brunei.

Known for being in possession of one of the most ridiculous, if not the most ridiculous, car collections in the world, the Sultan absolutely had to have an F1 when it first came out in the early 90s. But whereas the most rabid and deep-pocketed collector might have purchased one or two examples of the car, the Sultan bought 10, or about nine percent of the F1s ever made. Of those cars, half were road-legal while the other half were meant for racing.

For the more curious car enthusiasts out there, Car Throttle was able to piece together a decent picture of what happened to those 10 F1s, three in particular. A red road car (chassis no. 004) was crashed during the mid-90s and was broken up and used for parts to help service the rest of the collection. Two of the others, a black road car (no. 005) and yellow road car (no. 014) were sold during the early part of the 2000s, the former to actor Chris Evans and the latter to a collector who had the car painted white and outfitted with the high-downforce kit.

But things get a little murkier when it comes to the remaining seven cars, which is why they’re now considered missing. The two remaining road-legal F1s include one in grey (no. 002), which is the first production version of the car, and one in blue (no. 008). Meanwhile, the other F1s include three of the six total LM-specification variants made (nos. 1, 4 and 5), one of the three F1 GTs ever made (no. 54F1GT) and an F1 GTR (no. 09R) painted to resemble Tokyo Ueno Clinic car that placed first at Le Mans in 1995. It’s unclear exactly where those cars are today, but considering what is known about what happened to the other three cars, Car Throttle believes that the remaining are currently in the Sultan’s many garages where they’re likely “to never see the light of day” again.


Luckily, not all of the stories up end the same. Others include Rowan Atkinson’s up-and-down history with his burgundy road car (no. 061) and track version (no. 11R) purchased by Mercedes-Benz for use as a test car to help fine-tune the aerodynamics for its own race car.

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