In the late ‘80s and early ‘90s, the world’s great manufacturers were churning out the world’s greatest production cars with a noticeable target in mind: claiming the title of world’s fastest production car. As the speeds grew, so did the prices—and the need for lightweight materials. This race for the top finally hit its peak in 1993 with the McLaren F1, a car costing $960,000 and capable of a speed of 231 mph. The price and speed are stunning even by today’s standards, as was the car’s fully carbon-fiber monocoque and bodywork, the first supercar to make such extensive use of the lightweight material. (This title was almost taken by the 1992 Bugatti EB110, which uses an all-carbon-fiber monocoque but with aluminum panels.)
To truly understand the sticker shock of the McLaren, you need some perspective. The 201-mph Ferrari F40 was around $400,000. The 212-mph EB110 $480,000-or-so. Even the outrageously priced, 217-mph XJ220 was $350,000 less than the F1. So, why did the prices and speeds suddenly stop growing with the McLaren? In short, the supercar market’s bottom fell out. McLaren wanted to sell 300 or so F1s originally, but the lack of buyers caused it to cease production at 100. It took another 10 or so years for the market to produce another million-dollar car with a top-speed record.
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Article by: Ben Greene