The McLaren has been announced as the greatest supercar ever at The Classic & Sports Car Show.
The incredible three-seater 6.1-litre V12-engined Gordon Murray-designed machine beat icons from Ferrari, Bugatti, Lamborghini, Mercedes, Jaguar and a host of other famous names to the title – and the news was announced yesterday at Alexandra Palace by John Surtees CBE, who pulled the wraps off the car to a packed crowd.
It’s the climax to weeks of selection and worldwide voting which has seen 33 supercars battle it out as part of the show’s ‘A Century of Supercars’ centre-piece feature, which celebrates the most pioneering supercars from the last 100 years.
The process to decide which car would be crowned began earlier this year when Classic & Sports Car’s experts drew up a supercar ‘long list’. Three cars from each decade of the past 100 years were chosen – then the roll call was thrown open to the public. Supercar enthusiasts have been flocking online since June to vote for their favourite cars from 11 different eras, ranging from pre-1914 models all the way to modern machines built after 2010.
At the end of September the list of 33 was whittled down to 11 as the most popular from each decade was selected as a finalist:
Up to 1914
Mercedes 1908 GP
Bentley 41/2-litre Blower
Alfa Romeo 8C
Mercedes 300SL ‘Gullwing’
After more than 17,000 votes were cast, the McLaren F1 was the overwhelming winner, taking over 30 percent of the overall vote.
With gold leaf as an engine heat shield, a three-seater layout and the ability to do 0-200mph/0-320kph in 28 secs, the McLaren F1 has always been regarded as one of the most incredible supercars.
The brainchild of genius engineer Gordon Murray, it was officially debuted in 1992 and shocked the world right from the start, being staggeringly light at 1138kg – thanks in no small part to its stunning Peter Stevens-penned carbonfibre body – and hugely powerful with a bespoke BMW-designed 627bhp 6.1-litre V12.
Performance is still incredible in 2016, but in the 1990s it was way beyond other period supercars. With no driver aids at all, not even an airbag or ABS brakes, it was about as pure as it was possible to be too. And its purity is what shines through today.
Alongside the F1, a selection of the finalists in the ‘A Century of Supercars’ feature will be present at Alexandra Palace from 28th-30th October, making for an incredible display worth an estimated collective value £40 million.
James Elliott, Classic & Sports Car magazine group editor, said: ‘The F1’s top speed ‘record’ of 243mph (388.8kph) – with the rev limiter removed – grabbed headlines at the time but it’s the single-mindedness of the whole design that’s still the most remarkable thing about this all-time great. There is no supercar before it – or since – that has such purity of purpose. The F1 has it all: it’s the most uncompromising car ever made, and a fitting winner of the public vote. I hope visitors to Alexandra Palace enjoy our ‘A Century of Supercars’ display as much as we’ve enjoyed putting it together.”
Founded in 1982 and with monthly sales of nearly 67,000, Classic & Sports Car is the world's best-selling classic car magazine, the UK's second best-selling motoring monthly and one of Britain's biggest-selling titles in the USA. It is a truly global brand with the magazine being distributed in 66 countries, plus bespoke editions in Russia, France and Indonesia. It is part of the Haymarket Media Group, one of the UK's largest specialist media companies. India's HaymarketSAC Publishing, renowned for leading publications like Autocar India, Autocar Professional and What Car? India is part of the Haymarket Media Group.