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Well you know that it is fast right? And you know that the drivers are pretty handy behind the wheel, but what do you actually know about the car itself? There are a few facts let slip by designer Gordon Murray that you may never have heard before about this iconic four wheeled speed demon.

Quite Interesting Facts

From the design elements that make the car so iconic through to the people that have owned one, the McLaren F1 is widely regarded as one of the best cars ever made.

  • George Harrison of Beatles fame owned one and during its construction is said by Murray to have practically lived in the McLaren factory. Harrison watched the entire construction of the car and got to know the entire build team in the process. Unique to Harrison’s care were the fourteen special Indian characters and symbols that he had included during the build, including on the main chassis. He also kept an extra set of wheels in matt black.
  • With weight saving ever important the designer’s choice of metal washers came into question, with Murray having to argue his case for the thicker kind rather than the lighter and thinner ones.
  • The leather in the cockpit of the F1 was shaved until it was half of its original thickness as part of a weight saving exercise, it managed to shave a full 5kg off the overall weight.
  • One of the main engineering stumbling blocks revolved around the car’s central air intake. A specialist system had to be designed to stop the engine filling with water when driving in the rain behind large vehicles.
  • McLaren F1 owners can complement their vehicle with a luggage set, golf bag and Tag Heuer watch that are all engraved with their cars unique chassis number.
  • There is an F1 out there with Murray’s signature on the car’s rear flank, as once he had been asked to sign the car for the owner then lacquer sprayed the car to preserve the signature.

Pushing the Button

For those who do not know about the way that the F1 starts, rather than the turning off a key a button is pressed. The inspiration for the starting mechanism actually came from a fighter plane from World War II, where the flap over the firing button needed to be raised in order to open fire. So in order to hear the engine of the F1 fire up the flap over the button needs to be lifted before the button can be depressed. Once pressed there is a slight delay between the button being pressed and the starter engaging so that the driver can hear and appreciate the sound of the V12 engine firing up. As the car starts the needles on all of the gauges in the cockpit do a sweep of the dial before settling at the point of accuracy, a design feature which many manufacturers have copied. When asked if there was anything about the design that he would change the only suggestion Murray could make was for a slightly larger steering wheel.

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