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Highlighted car: 1998 McLaren F1


By: RM Sotheby's

Added to the database by Sandro Nannini, this F1 that is offered by RM Private Sales during the Monterey Car Week.

Chassis number 059 is the only F1 to leave the factory with a unique headlight setup, making it a true one-off within the 64 road cars constructed and instantly recognizable to those in the know. McLaren would later improve headlight output in existing F1s by swapping the position of the low and high beam lamps, as well as replacing the low beam lamp with a different projector, all of which could be done within the original headlight housing, cementing this car’s status as unique amongst its peers.

Students of motorsport history will be keenly aware of the auspicious nature of this car’s chassis number, 059, as it shares that number with the race number of the F1 that took overall victory at the 1995 24 Hours of Le Mans, further affirming the F1’s significance in automotive history. With this car having been completed and delivered in April 1998 as the 97th McLaren F1 built (making it amongst the very last), this fact would not have been lost on its first owner, who was no stranger to McLaren and the F1.

That first owner was John Studholme of Boston, Lincolnshire in the UK. Studholme founded Dynamic Cassette International which manufactured typewriter cassettes and would later transition to producing printer inkjet cartridges. This was not Mr. Studholme’s first F1, as he traded chassis number 017 into McLaren upon his purchase of this car, nor would this be his last F1 as he also owned the F1 GTR 14R. Opting to finish his new F1 in Magnesium Silver over a black Alcantara and leather interior, chassis number 059 was first registered in the UK in Studholme’s name in May of 1998 and the car was immediately pressed into use with him. Service records on file show that seven months after delivery, the F1 was serviced by McLaren Special Operations and fitted with the High Downforce Kit as well as 18-inch wheels, which it still sports today.

At the time 059’s first service was carried out, it had already been driven some 4,676 miles. Its service records make for fascinating reading as McLaren went to excruciating detail to ensure that the F1 would always perform at its very best in any circumstances. Nothing was overlooked in servicing, a regimen which included pre- and post-service testing on closed circuits, and even what CDs were present in the bespoke Kenwood six-disc CD changer were noted upon arrival at MSO (Queen, Elton John, and Fleetwood Mac were clearly favorites of Studholme). The car was serviced regularly during his ownership, with invoices on file for each service from 1998 to 2012, verifying the car’s present mileage of less than 16,400 miles as authentic. Importantly, these records show that while the car was used by Studholme as McLaren would have intended, the car was never abused and always returned to the factory to be properly looked after.

The F1 was acquired by its second and current owner in late 2012 and was exported to the US under the show or display exemption to reside within his world-class collection, where it would spend some time sitting alongside yet another McLaren F1. In this time, it has accrued less than 300 miles on its odometer and remained largely in climate-controlled storage, the additional mileage a result of occasional exercise within storage.

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