In the early 1990s, British supercar and Formula One powerhouse McLaren created a masterpiece. The McLaren F1, just over 100 of which were produced between 1992 and 1998, held the record as the world’s fastest car for over a decade until 2005 (toppled by the Bugatti Veyron). With a three-seater layout, a 6.1L V12 sourced from BMW and the world’s first carbon-fibre monocoque chassis, the F1 was an engineering marvel and a beautiful sight to behold. Equally gorgeous, but much less publicised, was McLaren’s owner’s manual for the F1.
The manual, an art book given to each McLaren F1 owner, was entirely hand-drawn by Mark Roberts, now the company’s manager of design operations. The owner’s manual was only one of several things that Roberts was assigned to for the pre-production of the F1, but with its pencilled illustrations and very selective use of colour, it is absolutely beautiful. As well as references to the car’s then-maximum 231mph top speed, and a Bob Dylan Street Legal CD in the 10-disc changer, the manual just has some of the most attractive automotive art we’ve seen.
It’s one of those things that reinforces an already brilliant car as an object of myth and lust for car geeks the world over. As well as an amazing piece of technology and engineering, you also get actual art. (Plus, Tesla Motors’ Elon Musk owned one.)
If you don’t have the time to watch the video, here are a selection of pieces of beautiful art from the handbook:
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