Still more replies to McLaren F1 questions and com

Still more replies to McLaren F1 questions and com

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flemke

Original Poster:

22,618 posts

196 months

Thursday 5th August 2004
quotequote all

Thanks again to you who have replied to these postings. This will be my last for a while because there are a number of other things that I need to be doing in the next few days.
For those patient souls who may still have flickering interest in the subject, here goes:

chaparral (is paint flat or gloss?) -
A solid colour with top coats of clear, then polished.

maranellouk (250GTO/what looking for when buying?) -
The market price for a 250GTO these days is at least 3M. You could get a few F1s for that money.
I was mainly looking at a car's mechanical condition. Because most all the servicing is done by the factory, they can give you a good idea of how a car has been driven and cared for. Best to avoid cars with no mileage - that may be even worse than one that's been neglected, depending.
The silver car that overtook you in Germany could have been mine, although there are several cars in Germany.

Raify (do they depreciate?) -
They certainly could. McLaren originally aimed to sell 300 cars, and barely managed to get to 100 even after adding in the racers. The official line is that after its alliance with Mercedes, McLaren thought it inappropriate to continue the F1 project with a BMW motor. My hunch is that they couldn't sell many more than they did.
Not long after production ceased in '98, there were a couple cars offered for sale in public media for 10-15% below the final list price of a few months before. That's hardly a sign of strength.
There are theoretically hundreds of thousands of people around the world who have enough money to pay for a car, but when you get to asking for the actual payment, surprisingly few people are prepared to cough it up. This is particularly true for a car with a narrow focus, "odd" driving position and few safety features. Just look at how Porsche are struggling to get commitments for the final few CGTs, and then factor in that in current money the CGT is one-thrid the price of an F1, and everybody recognises and is comfortable with the Prosche marque, servicing issues, etc.
In the second half of 2000, demand for the F1 grew importantly when it became possible to import one into the US under the "Show-or-Display" law. The fact more than half the cars that have changed hands since the law came into being have come to the States suggests the influence that this incremental demand had on prices.
I expect that the price of the cars will trend upwardly, but you never know. Once the Greens are done with their handiwork, we may all be on buses.

ApexClipper (preference for an Enzo) -
As is a CGT, an Enzo is certainly quicker around a conventional circuit than an F1 is. Then again, an Imprezza is quicker than maranellouk's 250GTO.
I must share with you a true story. Last summer at the Nurburgring a German car mag was doing a photo shoot with an Enzo, CGT, Gallardo, and others. Each car had been brought to the place by a factory man. The weather was fairly hot.
At about midday I was having a bratwurst at the local service station when the Enzo pulled in to refuel. The driver hopped out and went to unscrew the fuel cap. An instant after he touched the cap he jerked his hand away, spun around and plunged the hand into a bucket of windscreen-washing water. After a bit of hand-quenching, he hoisted the bucket and dumped all the water onto the fuel cap. He then unscrewed the cap with his other hand.

Guydw (speaking in defense of London) -
Nothing against London - it's the nicest big city in the world. I said that the F1 showroom was about the best reason to visit London, not the only reason.

wolves wanderer (other anecdotes about grannies?) -
I have tried to think of other "slice-of-life" F1 experiences that another person might like to hear. The problem with an anecdote is that the person telling it usually find it more interesting than his listener does. With that in mind, I humbly offer the following three items:

- Back when the car was living in and registered in the UK, a buddy mentioned that he had a traffic police friend who was a devoted F1 fan (big poster on the conjugal bedroom wall) and who he was sure would hugely appreciate going out in mine. I was happy to make the offer.
The three of us went out on a Sunday a.m. run. I was aware that this gentleman (the policeman) drove his personal car very quickly when conditions allowed and thus on our morning together I could be uninhibited. Indeed, I saw this excursion as giving me an ultimate "Get-out-of-jail-free" card for that day, should I be stopped by the police.
After a while we swapped places and the policeman took the wheel. Considering that he had never before driven anything like an F1, his driving was really impressive. His gearshifts in particular were superb. The policeman drove for a couple hours and then we stopped for lunch. During our lunchtime chat he asserted that as an officer he had a big problem with anyone driving at 50mph in a village, but he had no problem with someone driving 150mph on an open road if the conditions were right. (Sounds like a good candidate for Chief Constable for North Wales, doesn't he?)
The day ended without event a few hours later. A week later, however, I got a letter from Thames Valley Police - 41 in a 30 on that Sunday. After checking the time and location, it proved to have occured when the officer was driving.
I phoned the fellow with the bad news. He took it like a man, commenting that it was "well worth it", and received his first-ever three points.
I believe that he requested the photo evidence.

- Also in the U.K., I think it was the late spring of 2001 when there had been many months of accumulating wetness. Although by this point it had not rained for a while, there were still many places where water stood in fields.
A friend who knows a lot about driving and is a broadly-capable man and I took the F1 out for a drive. Knowing his local roads, he directed me to a "shortcut" between two good driving roads. There were quite a few cars using this shortcut.
After half a mile we approached a big puddle of standing water that ran the full width of the road. It looked deep, and I was minded to undergo all the nuisance of a nine-point turn and head back, even though as we crept up to the puddle several cars had collected behind us. He on the other hand was confident that we could make it through the water safely.
He then flipped open his gullwing door and leaned way out of the car to get as good a view of the depth of the water as he could. Hanging out of the car, he kept encouraging me, shouting, "It's fine, keep going, it's fine!", while I drove as slowly as I could do.
After maybe ten seconds of crawling (this was a BIG puddle), I began to feel dampness at my feet. Not a good sign, but at this point there was definitely no turning back, and he continued to assure me that everything looked fine.
We finally made it to the other side. My feet were wet, and the carpet was squishing under them. As our pace increased and the car experienced modest G-loads, I could sense water sloshing around beneath me. We drove on looking for a good place to stop.
A few minutes later the car's interior began to get warm, as though the a/c were failing, and the water temperature needle was rising ominously. Further driving exacerbated the problem.
We pulled off the road, popped open the engine cover (as you do, even though your chances of ever identifying and fixing a problem are miniscule) and poked around. I phoned the F1 24-hour emergency number and discussed things with them, but they didn't have any effective advice except for me to drive the car in intervals after it had cooled and they would collect it in due course. Okay, fair enough.
Just then a car drove up behind us and stopped. The F1 has a distinct look, especially with the doors open, so it was obvious what car we had parked there. This stranger got out of his car, walked up, and announced, "Hi there. I work for McLaren and was just passing. You seem to have a problem; can I be of help?"
"What luck!" I thought. I explained that we had gone through the puddle, the car afterwards was overheating, and so on. He replied, "Oh. Well, I just work in the Accounting Department, so I really can't help you there."
It was, however, nice of him to stop.
I got the car to a secure place and the next day McLaren collected it. It seemed that the water had been so deep that a radiator fan fuse had shorted, and so on. It took them a day just to dry out the carpets and clean out the silt.
I thought that that would be the end of it, but a few weeks later I was with two friends on another country drive. One was driving and he suddenly said that he couldn't move the gearstick. He got the car pulled over and I had a try. Sure enough, the gearstick was frozen. You could disengage the clutch but the gearbox was stuck in third gear. After some conversation we agreed that I would try to drive the car back towards one of our homes. With two passengers I was easily able to drive over 100 miles, limited to third gear, to get the car back to base.
McLaren discovered that the floodwater had dissolved the grease where the gear linkage fit to the transaxle; hence the linkage had jammed.

- On the French Autoroute last year I stopped at a rest area to use the gents'. I parked the F1 out in front. A couple minutes later as I was about to leave the building and walk to the car I saw that two gendarmes were standing next to it, alternatively looking at the car and then scanning around in all directions. I elected to wait until they lost interest and then I would return to it.
They just kept waiting and waiting, poring over the car for brief periods and then looking around the car park. I got a sandwich and sat down to pass the time. This continued for half an hour, with no change in their behaviour. I may have been driving fairly quickly before I stopped, but it hadn't been anything outrageous. Can these guys, I wondered, really be lying in wait to do me for a speeding offence? Nothing else came to mind.
Finally I tired of waiting and decided to bite the bullet. I walked up to them and asked if there was a problem, because this was my car and I needed to get moving. One of them then explained that they had never seen a car like this before, and would I please start the engine and rev it so that the other guy could phone his girlfriend on his mobile and let her hear the engine note?
Ah yes, our European protectors hard at work.

Sorry, WW, but those are all that come to mind at the moment.

anniesdad (Z1 mirrors) -
Agreed that the Stradale mirrors, and a few others, would be an improvement. Not sure that the result would be worth the effort of re-fashioning the joint between shell and stem.
By the way, I asked my friend if I was sweating on the max run. He said no.

lotus lad (why no car before cerbera?) -
Until I was middle-aged I lived in big cities, from which decent places to drive were too difficult to reach. Also, I did not have much free time.

admiral (opinion of cerbera?) -
I wish that it had cost fifteen grand more and that TVR had put the money into improved build-quality. Doesn't everybody think that?

nel (F1 homologated in France?) -
Don't know if it was ever officially approved for France. There was definitely only one F1 that was crash-tested (intentionally, that is), and that took place in the UK. As of the mid-'90s, the F1 was the only car that was driveable away from its crash-test.
nel, did Ferrari crash-test two Enzos for access to the French market? Will the great French marque Bugatti be required to sacrifice two Veyrons?

Rob P (after getting used to the power, is it less impressive that it was?) -
To be honest with you, no. That's probably because you almost never use all the power.

ettore (Frazer Nash LM Rep/Alfa33/3) -
If I was thinking along those lines, I'd prefer, respectively, an Alfa 8C and a 312M.

whatever (F1 v. Cerbera/why not two small water rads?) -
The F1 is two or three increments more accelerative than the Cerbie, I'd guess.
On the rads, I believe that the larger one, which was developed as a retro-fit item, barely squeezes into the space available and is in a slightly-more efficient design. You only need the larger one if it's in the high 20's and you're pushing hard.

Neil H (approach to cleaning/any tricky moments at the wheel/any negative reactions?) -
I just wash it. I don't know much about wax.
The two worst moments were, first, at Bruntingthorpe, where over time the car had done numerous 200mph runs, but once day at 180 the car took on this strong low-frequency "wave" motion from the rear that seemed to be beyond the influence of steering inputs. It was one of those experiences that we've all had in principle, when you know that your problem is caused by speed but you also know that to lift off would be disastrous. It was a stomach-churner. We later discovered that there was a problem with the front ride heights.
The second was when I was experimenting with understeer at the limit on a curving slip road, I eased off a tiny bit (really), and it snapped into violent oversteer.
I have never had a negative reaction of which I was aware.

hobo (any daughters?) -
No children, I'm afraid.

anniesdad (different wheels on the orange F1?) -
You can get a wheelmaker to keep the centres solid and then machine them to fit the F1's centre-lock hubs. BBS have already agreed to do this for me for three-pieces so that we can experiment with different wheel widths.
I would like to end up with one of the two original designs that were used on the production cars (exclusive of the Long-tail, which wore those hideous multi-multi-spoke OZ racing wheels).

s works (what car to buy with 20K?) -
I don't have an intelligent answer to give. What would anyone else buy?

greg D (line of work?) -
The stock market.


rico (daily driver/favourite circuit?) -
P 993 Turbo S.
The Nordschleife is incomparable. The odd thing is, in Germany you seem to come across two camps of enthusiasts, those who love it and those who, despite great driving skill, won't go near it.
I don't take the F1 to a circuit very often. You can have much more fun on a circuit in many other cars.

By now I think that we all must be F1-ed out. I hope that some PH'ers found this worth their while. If you found the anecdotes, in particular, tedious, unfortunately they were the best that I could come up with.

Cheers.

rico

7,916 posts

214 months

Thursday 5th August 2004
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Just skim read it (will read in full now) but i just had to thank you. So generous of you to spend so much time reading and answering all our questions.

slinky

15,704 posts

208 months

Thursday 5th August 2004
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Another cracking post..

Thanks for the insight into the world of F1 ownership..

I sit here with a Seicento and a Smart sat on the drive, and I dream...

slinky
off to dream some more

S3am

1,383 posts

211 months

Thursday 5th August 2004
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Wow, thank you; exhaustive and illuminating.

Sam

rich1231

17,299 posts

219 months

Thursday 5th August 2004
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Flemke, can you adopt me please :-)

maranellouk

2,066 posts

222 months

Friday 6th August 2004
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Well stone the crows! Two posts in one day. I was planning on having the first post last me for at least a week.

Thank you for getting around to answering my questions. I suspected that the garage queens would be one's to be very wary of.

Well, hopefully we won't have to shell out for the 250 and it will be handed down, without a bloody struggle, but I'll stay in training just in case

Now, as if you didn't know, I have another question for you. Let's say for arguments sake the F1 was your ultimate dream car. Having aquired the thing, do you see it the same way you did when you didn't have it? Let me put it another way, do you still have a desire for the car now that you have it?

My weakness is cars and those bloody gadgets that sing the sweet siren's song. With the gadgets I lust after and tell myself I need, after I aquire them I wonder what all the fuss was about. Don't experience this so much with cars as 1. I don't have much time to drive them and 2. I always feel that I can learn something everytime I sit behind the wheel of a car.

Also, what do you have in your CD player when you venture out in the F1 and what would you play for a spirited run (if anything)?

Cheers,

MARA - MaranelloUK is a mouthfull

Muncher

11,795 posts

208 months

Friday 6th August 2004
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Thanks very much for that, it's been a pleasure reading all 3 of your posts so far

flemke

Original Poster:

22,618 posts

196 months

Friday 6th August 2004
quotequote all
If I may, I'll get back to you next week, either on this thread or, if necessary, on another new one.
Thanks.

maranellouk

2,066 posts

222 months

Friday 6th August 2004
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Once your in, you'll never leave

Good luck and stay healthy.

MARA

vixpy1

42,432 posts

223 months

Friday 6th August 2004
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maranellouk said:
Once your in, you'll never leave

Good luck and stay healthy.

MARA


MARA, why do you have a 355 AND a 360? just curious.

nel

4,649 posts

200 months

Friday 6th August 2004
quotequote all
flemke said:

nel (F1 homologated in France?) -
Don't know if it was ever officially approved for France. There was definitely only one F1 that was crash-tested (intentionally, that is), and that took place in the UK. As of the mid-'90s, the F1 was the only car that was driveable away from its crash-test.
nel, did Ferrari crash-test two Enzos for access to the French market? Will the great French marque Bugatti be required to sacrifice two Veyrons?


More good stories - particularly like the policeman getting points on his virgin licence - you bet it was worth it the lucky devil!

With the gradual roll out of Europe wide homologation and the NCAP tests, despite French lassitude in actually enacting EU law, it may now be the case that the frogs no longer have to destroy vehicles to accept their registration/sale in France. However, this was certainly not the case back when the F1 was being built.

Enjoy your cars.

GreaseNipple

230 posts

200 months

Friday 6th August 2004
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I cant beleive you let so many people drive it! I poo myself when i let friends drive my mini in a car park and your giving friends of friends have a go!

maranellouk

2,066 posts

222 months

Friday 6th August 2004
quotequote all
vixpy1 said:

maranellouk said:
Once your in, you'll never leave

Good luck and stay healthy.

MARA



MARA, why do you have a 355 AND a 360? just curious.


Never liked the 360 in yellow Seriously though, why not? They are two different cars. Granted not worlds apart but enough that I wouldn't like to be without either. Reading this back it will probably sounds greedy but I really love me motors I do

I think you will find fans for both cars. Personally, the 355 is by far the more beautiful of the two. It feels more organic when you are driving it. I'm hoping a 355 to 360 owner will back me up on that point (or I'll sound like a dodgey journo.......organic........I ask you).

The 360 feels more instant. Not that the 355 is sloppy in anyway but I do not push as hard in the 360. The 360 feels more precise and the response seems, not artificial but more mechanical. Then again, I'm not a race driver so me explaining things probably doesn't help much. The 355 always feels like the day car and the 360 the night car. This is how they are normally used anyway.

Oh bugger this, let me try another approach. If you know fashion you'll understand.

360: Black Dior suit
355: Cream Armani suit

MARA

flemke

Original Poster:

22,618 posts

196 months

Friday 6th August 2004
quotequote all

Ettore - I obviously should have written 312PB, not 312M.

ApexClipper

18,050 posts

202 months

Friday 6th August 2004
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Cheers for that again mate

The Enzo story was an interesting one to say the least!


Take it easy

stackmonkey

5,025 posts

208 months

Friday 6th August 2004
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Muncher said:
Thanks very much for that, it's been a pleasure reading all 3 of your posts so far


Nuff said!

Given your words doubting your competence as a wordsmith, and your excellent posts disproving your words, who DO you regard as being an excellent wordsmith?

ettore

2,983 posts

211 months

Friday 6th August 2004
quotequote all
Well if you fancy a 312PB and/or an 8C Alfa you may as well stump up for a 908!.

Thanks for the posts - v.interesting.

Guydw

1,651 posts

242 months

Friday 6th August 2004
quotequote all
Excellent stories, in many ways I prefer them to technical details - I spose this is really why we are into cars, for the experience. The way I look at it, if something like an F1 has some imperfection , who cares, it doesn't detract from what it is IN ANY WAY !

By the way, my tongue was firmly in my cheek over London ..... anyhow I've just moved to Gloucestershire ;-)

I have to say that although I'm as interested in the F1 as the next man, Mara has got my attention re: 250GTO - now that truly is my holy grail !!!!!!!

There was one at Goodwood, driven by an American guy, who could not have been more friendly and helpful in showing us round the car. A rare privelege. So Mara, do I understand that for you to have a GTO is not entirely out of the question? If that is the case may I be first in line to come and gawp ? lol IMHO the GTO is the perfect car - proper racing pedigree, yet usable .....

I have to disagree with the valuation of 3M though. The problem with GTO values is that so few change hands, and they are all owned by people who are complete enthusiasts, and none of whom have as great a need for 3M as I do (for example), so if one were looking to buy one, I'm sure current owners would want way over the odds. On the other hand if one were put up for sale I'm sure there would be something of a feeding frenzy.

Ideal solution is to have a GTO AND an F1 - step forward Nick Mason....lol

Rob P

5,706 posts

223 months

Friday 6th August 2004
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Thanks again for the post.


3 days running I have come to work to find a fantastic F1 thread. I actually enjoy coming to work now!

tonyhetherington

32,086 posts

209 months

Friday 6th August 2004
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I've not posted on any of the previous threads - I would have a million questions and so didn't want to clog them up!

Just a quick message to say thanks Flemke - really enjoyed reading your 3 posts, and look forward to reading more in the future.

You are driving my dream car (truly so), and to hear about it not from the mouths of journalists-in-it-for-a-day, really is a joy.

Thanks again,
Tony

PS: I beleive it was mentioned on another thread, but www.eurohoon.com if you fancy meeting a few of us (with or without your car, I stress!)