The downside of Classic supercars

When you have driven around your Mclaren F1, Mercedes CLK-GTR, Porsche GT1 for a couple of days, it’s time for the inevitable service. That’s the huge downside of the supercar-based-on-racecars. You basically need a race team to take care of the car when you are not using it. Take the Mercedes CLK-GTR for example. To keep the car running you need to service the car every 1000km, so you need to service it two times if you want to drive it to the Nürburgring from Stockholm. That’s actually quite often for a road legal car and it’s not like you can turn up at your local Mekonomen service center in Uppsala with a GT1 racecar, it would have been interesting to see how they would have reacted though. For the CLK-GTR some boffins from HWA, which is the guys that built the car will catch a flight from Germany to your location to service the car and tinker with it for about 3 days. For a cost of about 35.000. Euros. That is actually a pretty expensive way to service the car. Imagine if they would send some technicians from Japan each time you needed to service your Toyota. The thing is, Toyota has about 300 billion cars on the roads, so they can have service centers in every country. There is 26 examples of the CLK-GTR in existence and it’s simply impossible to have a “HWA-center” in every country.

With the Mclaren F1, the service time could be around 6 weeks since usually the cars go to Mclaren HQ in England for a service. Luckily there was actually one guy in Sweden that was certified to work on it so that saved several weeks when you wanted to service the car. It was still quite alot more expensive than to give my Golf an oil change.

Nice, but expensive to run

A “normal service” with a regular oil-change is about 6.000€ on the Mclaren F1 roadcar and the big service could be well above the 11.000€ mark. Remember not to hit a nail or anything else to get a puncture. The guys at Mclaren wants to replace the damaged tire and the other tire on the same axle. That’s about 5.000€. Compared to the Mclaren F1 GTR roadcar, service of the “normal” F1 was quite cheap. A big service on the GTR car was around 43.000€.

Very nice as well, but eye-wateringly expensive to run

First of all the technicians that serviced it had a paper with every part of the car written down. Every single part was weighted and analyzed and given a score from 1 (broken) to 10 (pristine) representing its condition. If the part had a score below 6 the part had to be changed. Whether you like it or not. So basically, they rebuilt the car every service. After the service, that paper with the numbers on them are signed by the technician and of course his boss.

Service on the F1 GTR...

You can service the car or buy a nice M3.

Another example is the mesmerizing Porsche 911 GT1. When it was time for service after around 1500km, the car was sent for some specialists that basically does not exist anymore and the car is, quite literally, disassembled to atoms.

This is a "normal service"

Every service is like an overhaul and it’s not like you can take a coffee and wait until the service is done, since it usually takes several days. So if you are interested in buying a supercar legend of the 90s, remember that they are excruciatingly expensive to keep running, not counting the price of the car itself. You can’t really get away from the costs by letting the car stand in a garage, since they need service even if they are stationary.

The supercars of today are still expensive to run, but not as crazy as the hypercars of old. The cars of today are actually able to go further than 1000km before they need service.

But the old legends sure have their moments. In the sunset, on the highway, in a Mclaren F1 just climbing over 5000rpm and the V12 breathes fully. That is the fuel of dreams.

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