Rowan Atkinson’s McLaren F1: from twice-crashed mess to £8m icon

Published: 10 June 2015

Rowan Atkinson McLaren F1 sold
► Price estimated at $12 million (£8m)
► Twice crashed, but a stunning example

Dyed-in-the-wool car enthusiast Rowan Atkinson has sold his McLaren F1 supercar for what is believed to be a £7 million profit. The car was for sale at specialist dealer Taylor and Crawley for $12 million (£8m) and a buyer has paid close to the asking price.

It must be one of the most interesting secondhand cars money can buy: the acting legend behind Mr Bean, Blackadder and more comic legends has owned the seminal supercar since new for 17 years.

In that time, he has had two severe shunts – the latest of which reputedly cost nearly £1m to repair, making it one of the UK’s most expensive ever insurance claims – and covered 41,000 miles.

A very well loved McLaren F1

That milage is telling: Atkinson has used the car as its inventors intended, on school runs, cross-Continental holidays and just for ‘pootling about’ to the shops. It’s good to see such an idolised, and expensive, supercar being used so vigorously.

Atkinson told the Daily Telegraph: ‘Look at a modern supercar of comparable performance and it will be vast, heavy and offer little or no space for your luggage.

‘By comparison the F1 is tiny, yet it will seat three, store enough for you all to go on holiday and still finds space for a proper, normally aspirated 6.1-litre V12 engine. And it weighs the same as a shopping car. Nothing has ever been designed before or since with such imagination and clarity of thought.’

Click here for 12 facts you may not know about the McLaren F1.

Rowan Atkinson's McLaren F1 comes with its own luggage set, a model and a £1600 mat he saw on a visit to the factory

Atkinson’s McLaren F1 crashes

In 2011 Atkinson crashed the P-reg McLaren near to CAR’s offices in Peterborough; he used to live in Northamptonshire and he had a large shunt on the A605 near the A1 junction in pouring rain.

The picture above reveals the extent of the damage; but the car was painstakingly restored by McLaren Special Operations, meaning it is now probably one of the best examples in the world.

Atkinson’s burgundy F1 is number 64 out of the run of 107 McLarens ever made and has a unique dark burgundy red paint finish. ‘I bought it for the quality of thinking that went into its design, and now it has become a thing of value, it is time for it to be enjoyed by someone else,’ he said.

It’s been a shrewd investment by the comic actor, who paid the list price of £540,000 for it in 1997. The timing of its sale may be no coincidence, since Atkinson is currently undergoing an expensive divorce from his wife…

Read CAR’s original McLaren F1 review here.

Some interesting facts about the McLaren F1

By Tim Pollard

Group digital editorial director, car news magnet, crafter of words