Last year, McLaren Special Operations began its F1 Certification program, an initiative dedicated to restoring, documenting, and preserving McLaren's most iconic road car by the folks that brought it to us in the first place. The program kicked off with the restoration of a Gulf-liveried F1 GTR Longtail that once raced the 24 Hours of Le Mans, but that was just the beginning. McLaren announced that MSO has completed its second restoration, a 1997 F1 that has been rebuilt to perfection.
Nearly 3,000 hours went into restoring and certifying this car, F1 chassis no. 063. To obtain its coveted certificate of authenticity, 063 was stripped to its bare chassis and immediately had its unique Semi Aniline leather interior reupholstered, trimmed in Woking Grey with red Alcantara accents. After the interior was done, MSO spent 900 hours repainting the F1's body in its original Magnesium Silver finish.
Leaving no stone unturned, MSO completely rebuilt the car's 6.1-liter V12, finishing it off with a dyno test to make sure the car made its original 618 horsepower on the dot. The car's shocks, hubs, and driveshafts also made a visit to their original manufacturers for a rebuild. "Thorough" doesn't even begin to describe it.
The entire procedure took 18 months and was completed in June. When the owner collected their completely refreshed ride at the McLaren Technology Center, they also received its priceless certificate of authenticity, plus a 3D-scanned scale model of their car and an illustrated book documenting 063's full history.
MSO's F1 Certification isn't just about the restoration process though—it's McLaren's way of documenting and verifying the originality and history of its first and arguably most significant road car. All 106 F1s are eligible for the program, including its 64 road cars, 28 GTR race cars, and a smattering of Longtails and prototypes. McLaren won't specify how much this service costs, but considering how much F1s sell for these days, the answer is probably in the realm of "astronomical."
Chassis 063 will be on display in all of its rebuilt glory at the Concours of Elegance at the Hampton Court Palace in England, which runs Sept. 6-8.