Search Cars for Sale

Video | The McLaren F1 Is the Greatest Car Ever Made

I recently had the chance to check out Jay Leno’s McLaren F1. This was a hugely important moment for both me and for my viewers, who have been clamoring for me to review a McLaren F1 for as long as I can remember. For months, I’ve simply ignored these requests, thinking I would never have the chance to review a McLaren F1 — but then, it happened.

I'll go over the details of how it happened and what it was like to spend the day with Jay and the McLaren F1 in a separate post, but for now let's talk F1 -- and, specifically, let's talk about how it's the greatest car ever made. We'll start with my basis for saying that: because it's the most expensive modern car in existence. We all love the Ferrari F40, but you can pick up one of those for $1.2 million. A Porsche Carrera GT is $700,000. Even a Ferrari Enzo is $3 million or so. But a McLaren F1? If you can find one available, you'll pay close to $20 million for the privilege of owning it. Before we even get into the driving experience, we already know the market seems to think it's the greatest car ever made -- or at least the greatest modern car.

So now let's discuss why the F1 is so valuable. One reason is because the F1 is so rare: only 64 examples of the regular McLaren F1 road car exist. But the Lincoln Blackwood is rare, and yet it's not valuable -- so that's not all it is. The other reason is, of course, that the McLaren F1 is just insanely special. One major reason is the top speed: the F1 will reach over 220 mph, and it was the fastest car on the planet for over a decade. It's still the fastest naturally-aspirated car. And then there's the 3-seat setup: one in the middle, two on each side. The gold plating in the engine bay that acts as a heat shield. The pure and complete focus on making it the ultimate driver's car, cutting down the weight and purpose-building every possible item.

But if you're a car enthusiast, you probably know most of this stuff. What you don't really know is what this car is like to drive -- and neither do I. Jay called me to let me film this video and told me I can't really drive it, due to the insurance situation: you have to go through a lot of approvals to let someone else drive your $20 million car. I told him I didn't really want the responsibility of driving it anyway, but I asked if he's drive me around in it. So he did, for 40 minutes.

And, indeed, Jay really let it loose. He spun the tires very briefly in fourth gear. He got it well into some exciting speeds on the 805 freeway, and he hit redline and bounced off the rev limiter. He really gave me a thrilling ride in the car, all the while explaining his story with it (he paid $800,000 secondhand back in the 1990s), and telling me details about his ownership experience -- like how often he drives it (once every few months) and how his shop technicians have performed some work on the car over the years, including major servicing.

The McLaren F1 is generally considered to be the greatest sports car of all time, and with good reason: it's simply an amazing vehicle, with a design carried out from start to finish using very specific principles and a very focused vision. I still haven't driven the F1, so I can't precisely tell you my thoughts on the driving experience -- but now, in this video, you have Jay Leno's take, and he knows cars a lot better than I do. It's an amazing car, and spending time with it really is an amazing experience. You're in awe of it from the moment you first lay eyes on it, and that awe continues inside -- regardless of what seat you're sitting in.

Here's Why the Koenigsegg Agera RS Is Worth $10 Million
I Bought the Most Unreliable BMW Ever Made
Autotrader Find: 1990 Subaru Legacy With a Landau Roof

Sign up for Autotrader newsletters

The best cars and best deals delivered to your inbox

Email Address 

By subscribing, you agree to our privacy policy

Where You Can Buy

Loading dealers...


  1. If I remember my F1 lore correctly, the taillights and rear turn signals are also parts bin, specifically shared with a bus. The F1 needed road-certified lights, the bus had road-certified lights, problem solved.

  2. Such a great video, Doug. So cool to see you and Jay Leno together. It’s like the melding of two YouTube car universes! I’m glad there was no rift in the space-time continuum. I’ve seen lots of videos about the F1, yours certainly went into the most detail. My favorite part were the four back windows. With the engine cover up, looking at that 2nd set of windows from the outside, the F1 looks like the space shuttle (like those two little windows that look into the cargo bay). I loved it when Jay was like, “it’s warmed up now” and hit the throttle. I felt like I was in the F1 with you guys.

Leave a Comment

Doug Demuro
Doug Demuro
Doug DeMuro writes articles and makes videos, mainly about cars. Doug was born in Denver, Colorado, and received an economics degree from Emory University in Atlanta. After graduation, Doug spent three years working for Porsche Cars North America. Eventually, he quit his job to become a writer, largely because it meant that he no longer had to wear pants. Doug’s work has been featured in a... Read More about Doug Demuro

Most Popular Articles

Best New Cars for 2022

Here is our list of the best new cars for 2022 (presented in alphabetical order by manufacturer).

2020 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid: First Look

The 2020 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid jumps to the head of the hybrid class.

Best Car Deals: November 2022

This month's best new car deals include several attractive offers for qualified shoppers.

Search By Style

More Articles Like This