Here's why McLaren needs this ancient laptop to run the most valuable supercar in the world
The McLaren F1 is regarded my many to be on of the greatest cars ever made. Powered by a BMW-derived V12 engine, the F1 spurts out just under 620 horsepower mated to get this, a manual transmission!! Not only that but the rear-wheel drive supercar has no driver aids to be spoken of, let alone AWD.
However, for these reasons the F1 is regarded as the best cars ever made. It represents the epitome of the manual supercar; no driver aids, manual transmission, and rear wheel drive. The McLaren was brought to l by the legendary designer Gordon Murray, who opted for a 3-seater configuration, two in the back behind the driver, and one central seat for the best possible driving position.
Now, with all of this simplistic, back to basics analogue stuff you might imagine that the only thing needed to keep an F1 on the road is a set of screwdrivers, and some Scotch Tape. However, you would be wrong, because despite being built in the 1990s' the McLaren F1 relies on this to keep it moving:
A Compaq LTE 5280 laptop from the early 1990s, running a bespoke CA card. Amazingly, McLaren one of the most technologically advanced car companies on the planet uses a DOS-based software to service the remaining hundred or so McLaren F1s out there, cars which can be worth up to $25 million.
Now at this point you might be wondering why McLaren a car company which seemingly cannot go five seconds without sticking an iPhone onto something would still be using a piece of technology from the 14th century.
Well here's what McLaren will tell you:
“The reason we need those specific Compaq laptops is that they run a bespoke CA card which installs into them,” a spokesman from MSO told Jalopnik in an interview. “The CA card is an interface between the laptop software (which is DOS based) and the car.
However, MSO went on to say that they are indeed developing a new system to keep this cars going. As the aging Compaq laptops become less and less capable of keeping a $23 million car on the road.