TL1 | The Inspiration
The McLaren F1 was Gordon Murray’s brainchild, originally conceptualized in an airport lounge, to be the ultimate drivers car, no expense spared, they succeeded through very tight coherence to that target.
It was the first road car to use a carbon fiber monocoque, had a power-to-weight ratio that was unheard of at the time, and a top speed that nobody could touch. The McLaren F1 broke far into new ground.
The entire car was designed around an ethos of driver first. The driver was placed in the center of the car, with un-impeded visibility and a Formula 1 style seating position. The controls were all analog, no ABS, power steering, or traction control, it was strictly driver and machine interface.
The Ultima was originally designed by Lee Noble of Noble Motorsports Ltd. in England. Lee went on to produce the Ultima Mk1 and the Ultima Mk2 up until 1992, when Ted Marlow, who at that time was a customer with an Ultima Mk1, purchased the rights to the name, design, and tooling of the Ultima.
Ted teamed up with his brother Richard, who began developing the Ultima to be an affordable supercar with exceptional build quality and engineering.
The Ultima has evolved into the GTR and a few other sub-models, and has earned itself numerous world records for acceleration and track performance. Interestingly enough, the Ultima GTR was used by McLaren Automotive when first developing the F1 as a test mule for many of their designs.
The Factory Five Roadster was based off of the ubiquitous 1960’s Shelby Cobra, tubular steel chassis, powerful V8 engine, and lightweight rear wheel drive platform.
In 1995 Mark and Dave Smith designed the FFR Roadster to be affordable, high performing, and well engineered, in many ways, improved upon the original design.Throughout many iterations, the FFR Roadster became the component car to build by over 5,000 people.
I built mine back in 2003, as the rawest, purest, analog experience Cobra I could. Independant rear suspension, solid mounted suspension, fully adjustable coilovers and anti-roll bars. Pure driving excitement.
The McLaren P1 is the latest expression of supercar design & performance. Nearly as focused as the original F1, the P1 takes certain concessions based on production requirements and shared architecture with the 12C and the 650s.
The P1 takes the hybrid concept to a whole new level, utilizing it to enhance the driving experience, versus simply using it for efficiency. Combined with the small, lightweight, twin turbo 3.8L turbo V8, the McLaren was able to package the car with virtually little restrictions.
‘Designed by Air’ is the concept they used when styling the P1, and I love how purposeful, muscular, but also the beautiful shape they have developed it into. My only problem with the design is the price tag, at over a million dollars, and the fact that they lost the F1’s central driving position.