McLaren to showcase 3000-hour resto at Hampton Court Concours d’Elegance


Let’s say you’re among the lucky folks who own the 106 McLaren F1s that were made in the 1990s. Since this F1 recently snagged near $20 million, you might be hoping to sell yours at a big profit. However, now that your hypothetical F1 is getting a bit long in the tooth (the last was built more than 20 years ago) it needs a little freshening up before any hypothetical sale, and you’re not sure just whom you can trust with the job. Well, that’s one first world problem you won’t have to worry about. 

McLaren Automotive will be using the upcoming Hampton Court Concours d’Elegance next week to display F1 number 63, the recipient of a meticulous 18-month, 3000-hour restoration performed by McLaren Special Operations. It isn’t the first F1 that McLaren has restored and the firm is hoping that it won’t be the last. In 2018, the company restored #25 in connection with launching its F1 Certification authenticating program, and entertainer Rowan Atkinson previously had the firm restore his F1 after a wreck.

McLaren says that MSO continues to develop and manufacture parts for the F1. That task was made easier by Gordon Murray’s timeless design. According to Hagerty’s valuation team, every part on the F1 was engineered to be either restored or remade from scratch. There are no specially molded unobtanium parts.

To start the restoration, the body and powertrain were removed from the carbon-fiber monocoque chassis. First, the interior was reupholstered in the same Woking Grey semi-aniline leather as it had when it left the factory, said to be inspired by the color of the sky above McLaren’s original facilities in Woking, Surrey, UK. The leather used came from 10 full hides, hand-selected to make sure the grain would match. Matching grey Alacantara was used for the dashboard, while the seats were accented with perforated red Alcantara center panels. The finishing touch was a brand new steering wheel from MSO’s inventory of new-old-stock parts, though the original wheel was retained for the owner.

McLaren Rear

After the interior work was completed, the body panels were rehung on the CFRP monocoque and repainted in #63’s original Magnesium Silver paint, a job that took almost 900 hours by itself.

As all of the cosmetic work was being done, MSO’s engine technicians gave the naturally aspirated 6.1-liter BMW V-12 a complete rebuild, tested with a dynamometer pull indicating an up-to-spec 618 horsepower.

Some components, like the F1’s custom Bilstein shock absorbers and the rear hubs and half-shafts, were returned to their manufacturers to be refurbished, as required by the F1 Certification program.

The work was completed in June, with the finished F1 and a bespoke book documenting the car’s history and restoration handed over to its owner in a ceremony at the McLaren Technology Centre in Woking.

In announcing the completed restoration of F1 #63, Ansar Ali, Managing Director, McLaren Special Operations, said, “It’s an honor to now display chassis 63 at the Hampton Court Concours d’Elegance. With the work the team has carried out, this car will continue to fulfil the original brief for the McLaren F1; to create the world’s finest road car.”

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