The McLaren F1 Chase! Part 1
The McLaren F1 chase was on! My quest commenced on 10th August 2010. Mmmm… “where do I start?” rushed over me again. Where on Earth do people advertise their McLaren F1 for sale? Would it be a case of chasing off market cars and being messed around by endless laptop car dealers trying it on?
Classifieds adds... that’s where I started. Ok, so they weren’t exactly your average websites but a more trade-based affair that surprisingly brought with it some potential. One that really stood out was a white F1 (turned out to be Marlboro white) that had covered just over 1000miles, perfect! Worth an e mail, why not? The reply was fast, from an American dealer who seemed to have some pedigree with high value cars. The car in question was based in Japan just outside Osaka and in a very short space of time I was on my way to Japan to inspect it.
I find Japan strange but exciting, well worth a visit. I’d already been there many times before in my Formula One days and I felt at ease and familiar on landing into Osaka. I was met by a local with zero English, anyhow with no idea what he was telling me I followed him to my transport (a Maybach no less would you believe). After a 30-minute drive we turn up at a house, nice but in no way overstated from the outside. I was greeted by the owner and his family (wife, kids, Dogs and one other Japanese gentleman) but no American dealer? The only one that spoke English in the family was the 6-year-old daughter, gosh I thought this is going to be fun. Turned out though that other local gentleman was a long time McLaren employee that did speak English (great and phew).
There it was in front of me, the F1 in all its beauty, as advertised in every way. The car was stunning! The inspection also found NO issues (mechanical or bodywork) and the paperwork history file as it should be. It also had full McLaren service history and all the extras where there also (the tool box + tools: for the McLaren flying doctor to use, made to measure luggage for the side lockers, the battery charger & the watch!
Perfect! Could the F1 chase really be this easy? We had already briefly spoke about the expected price before I traveled so even that seemed a formality... I was about to find out how wrong I was!!
After inspecting the F1 in a very ‘showroom’ like room with white walls and white tiled floor being kept company by a Mercedes CLK GTR & Toyota 2000GT. I was then asked if I would like to see the “real collection” … the REAL COLLECTION!!! I thought, what’s is this then?? I was then led down some stairs, suddenly I started seeing red, no not anger (quite the opposite in fact) as a Ferrari collection the likes of I had never seen was in front me, the walls where covered in signed Ferrari F1 drivers Race suits, more Ferrari models & memorabilia then you could ever imagine, as well as the likes of 288GTO + The Prototype, F40, F50, Enzo etc. my eyes turned to 2 Ferrari Formula One cars, bypassing the road cars I headed straight for the F1 cars, both Schumacher championship winning cars and both runners used by the owner stunning!!
Once home, I was straight onto the US based dealer to finish the deal, price set all was looking good! next task the transfer of a large sum of money and the collection of the car in a safe manner that suited all, this is where it all started to go wrong! The US dealer insisted that all funds where sent though his personal bank account, now we were talking about a good few £million so who in there write mind would do that? not us that is for sure. No less than 4 different options of safe payment where put forward by ourselves, all rejected by the dealer (Alarm bells). Around the same time, I had just got married (yes, the trolley dolly as stated in a previous article) and was set for a few weeks of Honeymoon bliss, however with the funds transfer issue, guess what I was doing on my honey moon?! much to my new wife’s disgust! This led to a very heated phone call with my then boss (the potential new owner) & his CEO to step up and sort it out, did they sort it NO!! The US dealer would not move so the deal collapsed, to this day I am sure the F1 owner does not know the truth as to why the deal collapsed, the same car did sell around 1 year later into the USA, so the dealer must have found someone stupid or crazy willing to transfer huge sums of money into his account.
….The F1 Chase to be CONTINUED.