What is the status of the Brunei McLarens? - McLaren Life
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post #1 of 29 Old 09-14-2016, 11:45 PM Thread Starter
 
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What is the status of the Brunei McLarens?

Often wondered what is the condition of the cars located in Brunei. As many know the Sultan had amassed a monstrous amount of cars and when the economy headed downhill so did the cars. There was much finger pointing some years ago and I know a great amount of assets had been taken by the Sultans brother. Still don't know who was responsible for all the coach built orders for Bentley, Ferrari and others.

New Britain responded to me way back in the '688 HS" thread.


Brunei: They had I think 8 cars. They are down by at least 3.

One emigrant was a yellow car brought out of Brunei in about 2004 by the former McLaren Cars "Director" of Sales David Clark, who sold it to a client. It was resprayed ages ago and I think is living in US.

A second road car escaped from Brunei more recently. I saw it before it was restored. It was a mess. All sorts of materials had deteriorated badly owing to the extreme heat and humidity which it had suffered since it was delivered 20 years ago.

A third example had a bit of a mishap and is no more.
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post #2 of 29 Old 09-15-2016, 02:13 AM
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StormBringer - Apologies for not getting back to your PM sooner - this might be a better venue anyway since there are a lot of people who are interested and some who might be able to contribute additional details as well.

Now - for those looking for a Brunei F1 history lesson, here it is to the best of my knowledge after years of many people gathering and sharing the details.

The Brunei Royal Family originally acquired a total of 10 McLaren F1s. The cars are of course typically attributed to "The Sultan" but there were other family members buying cars and so I typically generalize the entire collection as belonging to the "Royal Family" since it is hard to know who actually did what and from here on out, let's go with the abbreviation "BRF" to make things easier.

We got our biggest break in the "Brunei F1 story" in August 2006 when a user named 'Citronella' on FerrariChat published a massive list he suggested had been obtained while working in Brunei of many of the cars located in "Garage #5". The list included 9 F1s - their types, their Brunei registration plates, and then their VINs. Here are the details:

Code:
MCL F1 GTR               NONE                 FIGTR009
MCL F1                   BN3388               SA9AB5AC3R1048005
MCL F1                   BN2008               SA9AB5AC4R1048014
MCL F1 LM                KF90                 SA9AB5AC9T1048LM1
MCL F1 LM                BP75                 SA9AB5AC4T1048LM4
MCL F1                   BN73                 SA9AB5AC9R1048008
MCL F1 LM                BM2208               SA9AB5AC6T1048LM5
MCL F1                   BN1954               SA9AB5AC1P1048002
MCL F1 GT                BQ7551               SA9AR5BC8T1048054
There wasn't much more from this mysterious Citronella character besides a few never-before-seen photos of a couple of the F1s that confirmed he wasn't making these things up. After that he disappeared - and hopefully not because "they got to him".

Taking a giant decade-long leap forward, here's what I can say of things today:

So far there are just two F1s known to have left the collection - and we might as well cover their known histories in brief while we are here.

The first was chassis 014 which had been painted yellow. In 2002 it appeared for sale through Taylor & Crawley in London - run by the former McLaren Cars Sales Director, David Clark. There were a number of legal proceedings taking place due to the financial misdeeds of Prince Jefri who had been exiled from the country and I suspect that the judgement against him was what forced the sale in this instance.

Chassis 014 had made a previous appearance at some Salon Prive-type event in the UK presented by David, so it isn't entirely clear how long it had been out of Brunei before it was offered for sale. Rumors that the BRF kept cars in key location around the world mean it could have been in London for quite a while actually. Another indicator of that being the case is a story from someone who visited the collection in the late 1990s and reported that they did not see a Yellow F1. Given that the BRF have acquired thousands of cars over the years, perhaps it was just overlooked?

The car was purchased by a New York collector who has since owned a total of 3 F1s. It arrived in the USA and was spotted at Wide World of Cars in early 2003. Then it was not seen again much at all until he sold the car to a California exotic car dealer called Silicon Valley Auto Group in December 2005. SVAG put the car in their showroom and tried to find a buyer at ~$1.8M, as they had recently sold another F1 for a similar amount.

Note: I'm sure if I asked for a show of hands of current people interested in buying any McLaren F1 for $1.8M we could fill a room, but in 2005/2006 no one wanted this F1.

I've been made aware 014 had some paperwork issues which was really the impetus for the NY collector to part with it. When I later saw the car there were some small areas in the paint that needed correction, as well as some of the materials in the interior that appeared to be stretched out/sagging - particularly the alcantara on the upper dashboard and along the tops of the interior door panels. At least as far as the interior was concerned, an overhaul was already required. SVAG held onto the car for the next 8 months, declining a couple of fairly legit offers from what I was told, and at some point chose to take their chances and enter the car in RM's Monterey auction in August 2006. It had been three years since an F1 appeared for sale at auction and the market was creeping upwards - I think they were hopeful of some drama and a great result.

I was there in the room for the bidding and things kind of stalled in the $1.5M range. At that point, my impression is that the Reserve on the car was lifted and the final bid of $1.55M brought it to a final selling price of $1.705M with the Premium. Certainly not the result that SVAG desired since they likely didn't collect all of the $1.55M either, but nevertheless it was the highest public sale price for any McLaren F1 up to that point. The car was acquired by a different New York collector and the following winter was sent back to McLaren Customer Care for them to overhaul the car with new paint, new interior and the addition of the optional High Downforce Kit - I've heard the invoices totaled $600K, all in. The result was a white car with the "LM-look" both outside and inside which has been retained by the same family ever since. It's a frequent attendee to Monterey Car Week and enthusiastically driven - a real crowd pleaser.

= = =

The second F1 known to have been sold by the BRF just left late last year and is chassis 005. It first surfaced in a couple of photos online that were taken in transit at the Hong Kong airport cargo area in November 2015. It was a black car with tinted windows, black wheels and the headlamp covers were severely fogged over. I saw these photos and immediately I was convinced that what I was looking at was a Brunei car. I quickly shared them with one contact and he suggested it was best that I not publicize anything about the car as he was aware of its movement and that the transaction was very sensitive. This wasn't my preferred approach with a piece of news this BIG, but it became clear that the photos from Hong Kong had the potential to be very disruptive to the process so I did keep my mouth shut.

The car was delivered to the UK and was extensively detailed almost immediately. It's black wheels were swapped with silver ones and the broker who had arranged to purchase the car began quietly offering it to potential buyers. MSO then made some time available in their schedule a couple months later to overhaul the necessary items on the car. From one insider in the process I am told that when it landed in workshop was in far better condition than McLaren had been expecting. That could be good news for the other F1s that remain in Brunei, but probably not in every single case.

In July a story appeared online by LoveCars outlining most of the details that had previously been kept under wraps. You can read that and see some photos of the car right here. In the days that followed this F1 made an appearance at CarFest North in the UK - an event that is sponsored/organized by DJ and former new-Top Gear host Chris Evans, parked beside Evans La Ferrari and his Chitty-Chitty Bang-Bang car. It took just one day for someone to confirm him as the buyer of the black F1, and later sources confirmed the same.

For many years I was unsure if chassis 005 still existed in Brunei as during a visit in 2009 by one contact it was not one of the cars he was shown. All the others assumed to be still in Brunei at that time were confirmed besides this car, so it was great to finally see it resurface and I am happy that it has a new home.

Note: Just to be clear, there was a black F1 road car featured in Episode 2 of the new Top Gear show with Chris Evans behind the wheel and that was not chassis 005, but rather 069 which McLaren recently brokered the sale of for a different owner.

= = =

Moving along, there was one McLaren F1 that met a very tragic end at the hands of a mechanic employed by McLaren, who was living in Brunei during the heyday. For many years it was unclear which car this could have been. The story of the crash was not a well guarded secret and at one point more than a decade ago I even exchanged a couple of emails with the driver involved in the crash. He confirmed the car was written off but would not confirm which chassis it had been or supply further details.

There was always speculation that chassis 004 had gone to Brunei. This was stoked by one report of someone seeing a red F1 on the road there and the fact that it had never been known to have been spotted anywhere else in the world over the period of more than a decade. Because of 005's absence in Brunei during that 2009 visit it also remained on the MIA list, so for a large number of years we were left to suggest the F1 involved in the Brunei crash was either chassis 004 or 005.

In July 2014 a representative from MSO essentially confirmed that 004 was the Brunei crash car when he wrote "F1/004 is not lost, it is no longer in existence ". What I've heard from another McLaren source was that the car returned to Woking after the accident and was dismantled, with only the few salvagable parts returned to Brunei to be used as spares. I would hope that the rest was properly disposed of, and if anyone tries to sell you McLaren F1 chassis 004 today I'd advise taking a pass on it.

= = =

So that leaves us with 7 F1s that should still remain in Brunei. I can only be certain that they were all there in 2009 during and seen by the visitor I spoke with. He stated that all the cars he was shown were generally in fairly good condition, noting just one that had a flat tire needing attention. Those 7 cars consist of:

002, the very first production F1 road car, completed December 1993. It was painted Dorchester Grey with a Red stripe on the door ventline. The few photos that exist of this car appeared inside an AutoCar supplement on the McLaren F1 published early in 1994.

008, which was the only F1 road car painted in Cobalt Blue. In studio photos taken in Brunei it would appear this car wears polished wheels.

= = =

GTR 09R, the last 1995-spec F1 GTR. This car was finished as replica of the Le Mans winning GTR because thankfully Ron Dennis was unwilling to part with the actual car that won. There have been stories that this car wears race number '60' instead of '59' but there's been no visual proof to support this. This GTR was never raced and may even have never been driven after its shakedown runs at the factory. It was this car that was said to have the flat tire in 2009.

= = =

LM1 & LM4 - I mention these two together as they are the infamous and mythical "Black F1 LMs". There was enough repeated misinformation published by McLaren (intentionally or just out of convenience perhaps) stating that all five F1 LMs would be painted in McLaren's traditional orange that most people probably believe that to be the case.

What actually occurred with these two cars is they were painted in a treatment similar to the Le Mans winning GTR, with Black over Silver paint (the winning GTR is Black/Grey in case you are scratching your head there) and then some fairly awkward looking yellow and blue graphics were painted around the nose under the headlamps and in stripes down the side of the car. If you have seen any of the few images that exist in the public domain of these things you will definitely be left wondering what the heck the BRF were thinking on these two. They also have black wheels with some yellow or orange marks painted on the curve of each wheel spoke. While they are very unique, and I am normally a champion of originality, I would seriously hope that whoever gets their hands on either one of these two next will rectify the situation with something else; really anything else.

LM5, the last of the production F1 LMs and the only one that the BRF chose to have painted in McLaren's traditional orange paint. Sadly zero photos exist of this one in the public domain. I would judge this one as probably the most desirable F1 in the BRF's collection assuming that it has been well cared. It is the final example and as an added bonus it wouldn't have the stigma associated with the creative color scheme chosen on the other two.

= = =

54F1GT, one of three longtail F1 GT road cars produced. These were the homolgation specials for the 1997 F1 GTR longtail and only two examples were produced for customers. The BRF's example is Black over Black with some orange interior accents. Just one photo exists of it in the public domain.

= = =

That just about covers it - the post would have been better if I inserted some images samples, but I am typing this without connectivity just to get it done and can add some samples later. If you have anything to add to (or subtract from) this story at all, I'm of course always eager to hear it. Especially important are any early details since it is so difficult to go back in time without a DeLorean. If there are any questions I'll field those as soon as I have the time.


Cliff Notes:
10 F1s purchased, 2 F1s sold, 1 F1 destroyed, now (probably) 7 F1s left.

The cars that remain are 2 road cars , 3 LMs, 1 GTR and 1 GT.

>8^)
ER
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Andy Wallace on the McLaren F1 after setting the 240.1 MPH speed record at Ehra Lessien on March 31st 1998:

"I still say this is the best car ever built, ever, and probably will never be beaten."

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post #3 of 29 Old 09-15-2016, 02:28 AM
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Just preserving the post that sparked this thread that originated in the P14 discussion, within the actual thread where the answers appear:

Quote:
Originally Posted by StormBringer View Post
New Britain responded some time ago about the Brunei F1's.

How many do you believe are still present in Brunei? I sold one company that had ties to Brunei after my children were born. I did get a chance to pull out a few cars some years ago because of my company, basically referring many special forces personnel to work there. Paperwork is almost non-existent dealing with the lower level staff. I did get a chance to visit the garages of nephews of the Sultan along with the well publicized main garages. One of the nephews is visiting LA this fall and I'm going to ask him if anything is left. It was a while ago but I remember an Orange LM that was almost new. One black & silver(not sure of the model) looked like a sand storm hit it. I know they gave away many of the Mercedes and auctioned some lots off at different times.

I know one of my managers showed me a website that kept track of the Sultans cars but I lost track of that some time ago.

I know mcl1.com tries to keep track but not sure if Brunei cars are track able.

Thanks
I've seen one image of the Orange LM5 and not knowing exactly when it was taken I can say that indeed it appeared to be in good condition.

The Black & Silver car as mentioned above is another of the F1 LMs. Was this a sand storm on all sides of the car because there was some story about one of them being a kept outdoors, or maybe in a large glass display case in some garden that was not climate controlled. The climate in Brunei along the Equator with its high heat and levels of humidity is just not the place to leave a car like that so its condition shouldn't be surprising if either of those stories are true.

>8^)
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Andy Wallace on the McLaren F1 after setting the 240.1 MPH speed record at Ehra Lessien on March 31st 1998:

"I still say this is the best car ever built, ever, and probably will never be beaten."
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post #4 of 29 Old 09-15-2016, 05:23 AM
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Threads are better with photos and I am properly online now, so let's add some.

Chassis 002:




Chassis 004 - McLaren's original Genesis factory.




Chassis 005 lurking in the unspeakable place:




Chassis 008:




Chassis 014 - now and then:




GTR 09R - second from Right in between what appears to be a XJR-15 and Dauer 962,




LM1 & LM4:




LM5 - [File Photo - aka, not really LM5, actually LM2]




54F1GT:





>8^)
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Andy Wallace on the McLaren F1 after setting the 240.1 MPH speed record at Ehra Lessien on March 31st 1998:

"I still say this is the best car ever built, ever, and probably will never be beaten."
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post #5 of 29 Old 09-15-2016, 06:38 AM Thread Starter
 
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OK don't bother sending a PM since I saw this post. I wasn't sure if there was a history of these cars here. I know there are elsewhere with basman or baseman? Sorry I was rushed for time and my composition not very good in starting this topic. First off I had a business relationship with Brunei at the time so I will be careful in some of my observations. I made a notation and will get back to this topic in depth because I have to go over some log books which are better than memory for images.


The glass building is probably the roof-top building which was on top of the F1 building where the F1 cars are stored. I know that entire compound so I believe that is the one you are speaking on. I think the Le Mans GTR car is/was there. You may be speaking about another building. The one with the flat tire I think was the Orange LM.


I know the New York collector I thought you were going to say RL but it's GS. Is that the car that had Schumacher name but was lost due to the repaint? I think so.


This may not be a focus on McLaren but gives people a good idea of how things looked some time ago. The article was reprinted but did not have everything the second time around.


http://www.gizmodo.com.au/2011/03/th...ar-collection/


Love those watch boxes as described in the article.


I know there was an aerial view of the compound posted publicly if you can post that when time allows people will have a better picture in conjunction with the article.


I know some McLarens are slowing entering Brunei because of the younger generation any confirmed?


Thanks so much for the time and effort and I will get back to this. Trying to get some recording work done but have to get up at 5am because my daughters wake up 30 minutes after that for school.

PS I received a text from one of my guys and he said Citronella? is still active on the Ferrari board.

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post #6 of 29 Old 09-15-2016, 07:22 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by StormBringer View Post
I wasn't sure if there was a history of these cars here. I know there are elsewhere with basman or baseman?
basman007 had curated an amazing collection of images of cars owned by the BRF from sources all around the world. His entire collection was hosted on Supercars.net which has gone through a platform upgrade in the past year or two. Someone please correct me if I am wrong, but I think all those old members galleries have been lost.

Quote:
The glass building is probably the roof-top building which was on top of the F1 building where the F1 cars are stored. I know that entire compound so I believe that is the one you are speaking on. I think the Le Mans GTR car is/was there. You may be speaking about another building. The one with the flat tire I think was the Orange LM.
Yes, it has been referred to as the "Glasshouse" by those who know and was where some of the BRF's greatest cars were kept.

Quote:
I know the New York collector I thought you were going to say RL but it's GS. Is that the car that had Schumacher name but was lost due to the repaint? I think so.
Yes, that repaint of 014 eliminated the signature on the inside door jamb, but they had it replaced by one from Lewis Hamilton at the end of its refit. Unfortunately not quite the same. For those left wondering about this tangent, the BRF would occasionally invite Formula One driver's to autograph their cars and somehow Michael Shumacher's ended up on that McLaren F1.

Quote:
This may not be a focus on McLaren but gives people a good idea of how things looked some time ago. The article was reprinted but did not have everything the second time around.

http://www.gizmodo.com.au/2011/03/th...ar-collection/

Love those watch boxes as described in the article.
I have scans of a magazine article that covers this boom-bust aspect of the story pretty well. I'll could dig them up again if anyone is interested?

Quote:
I know there was an aerial view of the compound posted publicly if you can post that when time allows people will have a better picture in conjunction with the article.
This is the image you recall, with labeling.



Quote:
I know some McLarens are slowing entering Brunei because of the younger generation any confirmed?
Prince Hakeem has a McLaren P1 - looks like it could be Amethyst Black. I don't know if the chassis number has been determined. Not aware of any others, but it wouldn't surprise me if there was more than one over there.

Quote:
Thanks so much for the time and effort and I will get back to this. Trying to get some recording work done but have to get up at 5am because my daughters wake up 30 minutes after that for school.

PS I received a text from one of my guys and he said Citronella? is still active on the Ferrari board.
Sure thing - I compiled 98% of the first post without any access to reference material, so it was a good test of this old memory of mine.

Looking at Citronella's posting history he made the majority of his Brunei related posts in 2006-2008, then just two more towards the end of 2009. After that just four more posts in 2011. He has been back posting on FChat about unrelated matters in recent years but hasn't made any worthwhile contributions to that long-running Brunei thread he first engaged with back in 2006. If anyone is interested in burning a couple of hours, that almost 60 page thread starts here.

>8^)
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Andy Wallace on the McLaren F1 after setting the 240.1 MPH speed record at Ehra Lessien on March 31st 1998:

"I still say this is the best car ever built, ever, and probably will never be beaten."

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post #7 of 29 Old 09-15-2016, 03:34 PM
 
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This thread delivers.

Those coordinates are good 4°57'10.04"N 114°50'16.32"E, google maps shows a prettier map and a decent restaurant a stone's throw away.

The whole Brunei thing is just so fascinating. These cars are just a drop in the bucket.

Very cool to find out that that white F1 is a Brunei rescue!
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post #8 of 29 Old 09-15-2016, 07:52 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Craigy View Post
This thread delivers.
TYVM It's fun to revisit this stuff from time to time.

Quote:
Those coordinates are good 4°57'10.04"N 114°50'16.32"E, google maps shows a prettier map and a decent restaurant a stone's throw away.
Satellite technology, or at least the images they are willing to release to the general public, has definitely improved over time. Unfortunately the contrast on that newer version from Google Maps is awful. I often find the imagery produced by DigitalGlobe and supplied through Bing Maps is much better, and that is certainly true in this instance again.



Quote:
The whole Brunei thing is just so fascinating. These cars are just a drop in the bucket.
I recall being fascinated by the whole thing when the stories first surfaced in the 1990s. However, the more I have read about what actually transpired, and of course what was allowed to occur after the party ceased to be a party any longer, the less impressed I am by it all unfortunately.

Quote:
Very cool to find out that that white F1 is a Brunei rescue!
When it first appeared for sale at SVAG they supplied this photo of this label affixed to the car which appears related to some sort of vehicle tracking system in Brunei. Must have been difficult keeping track of all those sets of keys.



>8^)
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Andy Wallace on the McLaren F1 after setting the 240.1 MPH speed record at Ehra Lessien on March 31st 1998:

"I still say this is the best car ever built, ever, and probably will never be beaten."
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post #9 of 29 Old 09-15-2016, 10:00 PM
 
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Originally Posted by Peloton25 View Post

I recall being fascinated by the whole thing when the stories first surfaced in the 1990s. However, the more I have read about what actually transpired, and of course what was allowed to occur after the party ceased to be a party any longer, the less impressed I am by it all unfortunately.
Yeah back in the '90s it was definitely impressive. Nothing quite like it. Having custom-commissioned Ferraris built before that was ever really a thing. Not just one of everything, but a handful of everything. Lots of junk but almost every 80s and 90s supercar there was and more. Thereafter it became a mystery, and then after that a very sad mystery at that when we found out that not only the cars were sitting, but rotting away, some even melting under the heat. It's strange how there can be so much wealth, yet bumps in the road, but not so bad that they have to liquidate these cars, but bad enough that they can't keep the aircon on.... Yet every so often a car manages to escape.

Personally I don't get angry at the Sultan et al like many tend to do for hoarding all these cars, since these are essentially all extra cars that never would have been produced without the Sultan ordering them. I'm sure many of the cars in his collection would have found other homes, but I would guess that we have maybe an extra half dozen F1s in existence thanks to him than would have been commissioned otherwise.
And of course with every extra F1 out there I'm infinitesimally closer to being able to own one myself, right?
Love that "Magic No. 775" whatever that means
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post #10 of 29 Old 09-16-2016, 02:36 PM
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Mike Sheehan did a piece on the Brunei cars a few years ago: https://www.ferraris-online.com/page...=SCM_201103_SS
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post #11 of 29 Old 09-16-2016, 03:40 PM
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Mike Sheehan did a piece on the Brunei cars a few years ago: https://www.ferraris-online.com/page...=SCM_201103_SS
In the article, Sheehan says that he agreed in 2002 to buy two F1s from BRF and that he had an option to buy some more. As per Peloton's post, I don't think we have seen any of the cars surface bar the yellow one which came out via Taylor & Crawley in about 2002 and the other one more than a decade later. Wonder what happened to the cars that Sheehan supposedly was going to buy...?
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post #12 of 29 Old 09-16-2016, 04:18 PM
 
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Quote:
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Mike Sheehan did a piece on the Brunei cars a few years ago: https://www.ferraris-online.com/page...=SCM_201103_SS
Post #5 had the longer version of the article which gives a better overall view of things in Brunei. You posted the shorter version.

http://www.gizmodo.com.au/2011/03/th...ar-collection/
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post #13 of 29 Old 09-16-2016, 06:11 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by New Britain View Post
In the article, Sheehan says that he agreed in 2002 to buy two F1s from BRF and that he had an option to buy some more. As per Peloton's post, I don't think we have seen any of the cars surface bar the yellow one which came out via Taylor & Crawley in about 2002 and the other one more than a decade later. Wonder what happened to the cars that Sheehan supposedly was going to buy...?
I wonder that too. He even says "all of which I had pre-sold."

The Sheehan article suggests that they were never able to buy a car out of the collection (i.e., presumably he had no part of even the yellow car) since no officials were willing to issue export paperwork. To me it sounds like nothing was ever really for sale in the first place, and his "importer" contact was selling something that wasn't really his to sell.

How 014 and 005 made it out seems to be the more interesting question. Presumably they emanated from the Abode of Peace under some legitimate means otherwise McLaren wouldn't touch them for refits. Hopefully that will happen a few more times soon before these cars disappear.
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post #14 of 29 Old 09-16-2016, 06:29 PM
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Yes, Sheehan walked away empty handed. He wrote:

"While my trip to Brunei was an amazing cultural and automotive experience, we were never able to get a car out of the collection."

Also his visit was in 2002, pre-dating my last source who had eyes on the cars still in Brunei in late 2009. Since then is anyone's guess, with 005 being the only known departure as far as F1s are concerned. I was made aware in a discussion last year that there was a car among the group of (then) 8 which McLaren were eager to get back, but I do not know if there has been any progress in bringing that one home since then.

>8^)
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Andy Wallace on the McLaren F1 after setting the 240.1 MPH speed record at Ehra Lessien on March 31st 1998:

"I still say this is the best car ever built, ever, and probably will never be beaten."
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post #15 of 29 Old 09-16-2016, 06:37 PM
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OMG, what a great thread. I feel like I've just taken a masters' course in mclaren F1. Peloton, thanks so much for the history lesson, you rock man.
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