Presented by RM Sotheby’s – When unveiled to the global public at Monaco’s Sporting Club on 28 May 1992, the McLaren F1 was heralded as the ultimate development of a roadgoing supercar. Collectors and critics alike fawned over the F1’s distinctive design, revolutionary construction, and record-breaking performance. Nearly thirty years on, the McLaren F1 is still the undisputed pinnacle of any collection fortunate enough to retain one of its 106 examples produced between 1992 and 1998.
Yet technology is constantly progressing, and a company like McLaren certainly cannot afford to rest on its laurels; to do so would not be in its character, to say nothing of its long-term interest. Drawing on the spirit of the F1, and incorporating everything the Woking, England-based automaker has learned in the intervening decades, the 2020 McLaren Speedtail once again pushes the automotive envelope. Limited to just 106 units, the same as its predecessor the F1, the futuristic Speedtail is an exclusive offering on the cutting edge of 21st-century hypercar performance.
REINTERPRETING A LEGEND: FROM F1 TO SPEEDTAIL
Like the F1, the Speedtail is built around a lightweight, carbon fiber tub. This time, the composite material is reinforced with titanium strands and sculpted into a more dramatic “teardrop” shape surmounted by a one-piece glass canopy. The F1’s signature three-person seating configuration and vertical-dihedral doors have also carried over to the 2020 design, this time making full use of lighter materials unavailable to McLaren in 1992.
Despite the reverence for its predecessor, the Speedtail is unreservedly a car of the 21st century. Nowhere is this revelation more evident than its hybrid powertrain. The 4.0-liter twin-turbocharged V-8 engine is an evolution of the McLaren P1’s engine and features a revised piston design along with enhanced cylinder head cooling, enabling it to produce over 750 horsepower. The Speedtail’s electric motor and battery, meanwhile, are both units developed by McLaren’s Formula E technology group. The motor smooths out power delivery at low engine speeds, providing an additional 312 horsepower; the dielectric cooled and insulated 1.647 kWh battery was, at its debut, the most power-dense unit ever fitted to a production vehicle. Total system output is a formidable 1,035 horsepower, propelling the Speedtail to a reported top speed of 250 mph.
The Speedtail’s sleek, elongated carbon fiber bodywork is underpinned by an adjustable, multi-link suspension composed of aluminum alloy. This system works in tandem with the Speedtail’s cutting-edge active aerodynamics (which include remarkable deformable carbon fiber ailerons), distinctive static wheel covers, bespoke Pirelli tires, and carbon ceramic brakes to keep the 16.8-foot-long vehicle glued to the ground. The design’s incredibly low drag coefficient maximizes the Speedtail’s fuel efficiency, especially when paired with its regenerative braking system.
As with the F1, the central driving position of the Speedtail offers an uncompromised driving experience unlike anything else on the road. From the central seat, the driver has an unobstructed view of their surroundings; with both A-pillars out of their line of sight, they can more accurately place the car on the roadway. A defining feature of the F1, this central driving experience is uniquely implemented by McLaren and feels entirely natural. In addition to offering optimal visibility, the central driver’s seat allows for two additional passengers to enjoy the exhilarating ride of the Speedtail.
Further, the Speedtail replaces side mirrors with hideaway cameras, which retract back into their respective panels during activation of the Speedtail’s exclusive “Active Velocity” mode—which lowers the car several inches and changes the aerovane configuration, thus streamlining the silhouette for extreme stability at high speeds. The mode was on full display on 19 December 2019 with a McLaren Speedtail prototype reaching 250 miles per hour over 30 times during testing at the Johnny Bohmer Proving Grounds—part of the NASA’s Space Shuttle Landing Facility in Orlando, Florida.
All told, the Speedtail is the fastest, most aerodynamic, and most technologically advanced McLaren ever made, pushing the frontier of what is possible in a road car. On public roads, its futuristic design and length of 16.8 feet give it a presence like nothing else. More than its exclusivity or any styling similarities, it is this that makes it a true successor to the legendary F1.
SPEEDTAIL NUMBER 36
The Speedtail offered here is the 36th example produced; it is a uniquely presented specimen which presents with over $170,000 (137,711 GPB) of bespoke and optional equipment, as confirmed by the McLaren Automotive Order Confirmation document. Ordered on 20 July 2020, it was delivered new to McLaren of Philadelphia in the fall of 2020.
This chassis’ dramatic exterior is clad in a bespoke shade of MSO Heritage Atlantic Blue, further enriched by a set of Bespoke Exterior Painted Pin stripes which are color-matched to the lightweight alloy wheels and cost £39,711 (~$53,600 USD). The front wheel covers have been specified in Gloss Visual Carbon fiber, while the engine cover and brake calipers have been paired with black paint. The Speedtail’s exhaust system, which is integrated into the rear diffuser and nearly hidden, wears the aptly named “Stealth Titanium” finish.
A comprehensive suite of Zircon trim and Satin Visual Carbon Fiber flourishes add a uniform appeal to both exterior and interior. Inside, the Speedtail’s next-gen dashboard and distinctive three-seat cockpit are trimmed in stunning vintage tan Aniline leather finished with bespoke contrast stitching. The Satin Visual Carbon Fiber steering wheel is appointed in matching upholstery; it fronts a suite of five digital displays and the two elements are interceded by a steering hub clothed in Alcantara and a pair of billet titanium paddle shifters.
It is safe to say that the revolutionary Speedtail’s saga is only getting started; like its predecessor the F1, the Speedtail is predicted to capture the public’s attention for decades to come. With each of the 106 examples being purchased by pre-selected customers before the model’s announcement, the availability of this Speedtail, number 36, offers an exciting opportunity to partake in the most advanced roadgoing vehicle that McLaren has built to date. The Speedtail is an engineering triumph combining the best of McLaren’s past with extraordinary technology of the present. Its moment in the spotlight has just begun.
Now offered showing just 30 miles at the time of cataloging, this 2020 McLaren Speedtail is accompanied by its Order Confirmation document, a fitted suitcase front trunk, as well as serialized, lightweight gold-colored titanium tool set.
This vehicle will be offered at RM Sotheby’s 22nd annual Arizona sale, kicking off its 2021 auction calendar at the OTTO Car Club on Friday, 22 January. It will join approximately 80 blue-chip motor cars, and the sale will be a live event with limited attendance; online and phone bidding options are available by contacting RM Sotheby’s.