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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Some people worship the McLaren F1. It is a car with credentials: it won Le Mans outright; it held the record for the fastest production car for 12 years. It has that central driving position, and (in its LM guise) the world's most powerful naturally aspirated engine.

Here's Tiff comparing the F1 LM with the Enzo:

I am not a fan of the McLaren F1; I don't like the shape (and shapes are why I collect 1:18 models -- their engines don't run, after all). I don't like the designer, Gordon Murray, who seems to be a pretty big jerk whenever he's asked his opinion of any other supercar than his own "baby." I like the Veyron and the Koenigsegg better than the F1; I also liked the Jaguar XJ220 and Bugatti EB110 better in their own day. The F1's reign at the top was too long; I got bored with it.

But enough about my petty animus against this car. I am a supercar collector. And this was the month that I filled in certain gaps in my collection: cars that I really couldn't be without if I wanted to have a solid collection of the most important supercars in history. So I got myself a Miura, and this old UT McLaren F1 LM. It's an old one, but it's the only option if you want a papaya orange McLaren F1 LM XP1 (there were several different models, but they're all made by UT). This is the particular F1 LM that remains at the McLaren factory, where it has been offered to Lewis Hamilton as a reward for winning another two drivers' championships.

I plan to get the AUTOArt McLaren F1 street version in silver, so when it comes out, I will add it to this review as an oblique comparison. (A direct comparison would require another LM version.)

To the review, then:


My first impression on freeing this model from its box was chagrin. The diecast industry has moved on considerably since the days of UT; so much so, in fact, that this model's level of detail and precision of casting would only be found on a budget model today. The intakes are blacked out with paint, not perforated, still less with any realistic mesh.

The lines of the model are a bit softened, as though it were carved out of soap and run under water for a few minutes. This is less of a problem with the F1 than it would be with, say, a Countach or a Lotus Esprit.

The LM's front airdam is well done, with holes in the orange bodywork leading to blacked-out areas inside. The 1:1 does have mesh in those holes, but the contrast of the black with the orange bodywork is strong enough to hide the omission unless you're looking for it.

The gills over the front wheels are nicely done, with black paint that does a convincing imitation of perforations. The cooling slits on the rear of the car are either completely perforated or (on the decklid) filled with textured black plastic to simulate mesh.

The rear bumper, engine cover, and mirrors are plastic. They match well enough, but the model doesn't feel hefty because of it. The mirrors have a very nice black rim around them, true to the 1:1.

The headlights are well done, though there is some visible glue:

The windshield wiper is loosely attached, and stands off the windshield if posed at full sweep.

Some tiny bumps at the top edge of the rear 3/4 mirror are clearly a deliberate attempt by UT to replicate some feature of the 1:1. The problem is, I haven't been able to find any shots of a 1:1 that has them. I'm going to give UT the benefit of the doubt and assume that they are correct, or were at some point in history.

The rear windows separating the cabin from the engine compartment are very nicely rendered in their metallic frames, and match the 1:1 well:

The compartment (boot?) in the nose does not open. The tiny wing spanning the top edge of the lid is not properly rendered, being a mere step up from the top edge of the intake below it. Compare the 1:1:

The doors are a hugely important feature of any McLaren model. They are complicated things, which swing upward in true racer "butterfly" manner, taking the doorsill with them to ease entry. They are also supposed to be perforated with vents.

On the UT, the vents are blacked out with paint, not perforated. The hinges of the doors are tiny pieces of plastic, riveted on, and they seem to be the Achilles heel of this model. Many is the DXer who has an UT with broken hinges, and there are various suggestions for how to make the repair. Fortunately, mine is intact, and since I don't plan to open it much, I have hope that it will stay that way. But it was a poor decision by UT to use plastic hinges.

The rear wing is made of plastic, and nicely replicates the slitted double-wing of the 1:1. Its supports, however, ought to be body-color (orange) at the edges, but they are not.

The rear grille is plastic; doubtless it would be a photo-etched part is it were made today. The exhaust tips are not very well done either.

Score: 5.5/8


Well, there is no underspray. Every area is covered.

Unfortunately, in the wrong light, the car is a mass of orange peel. And given that it is actually orange, the overall impression is pretty fruity. My impression is that paint quality has improved in even budget models over the years since this one was made.

The shade of paint seems to be a good match for all the photos of the 1:1 car that I've seen. But since I've never seen the 1:1 in the metal, it's hard to make a definitive judgment.

Score: 4/8


UT gets points for a nice windshield decoration reading "F1LM McLaren F1LM"; for the XP1LM tampos just ahead of the rear wheels, and for the well-applied front and rear "McLaren" and "F1" and "LM" badges.

Not so well done are the indicator lights, which are mere paint, just like the AUTOart Diablo's; also the door-release buttons, which are touched up with silver paint, but not very convincingly.

Score: 6/8

Here's a shot of a wheel from the 1:1:

And here are the front and rear 1:18's:

As you can see, the tires are nicely marked with branding that matches the original Michelin Pilot SX. (The 1:1's tires have doubtless since been replaced with some more modern offering.)

The brake rotors are pitted with tiny indentations intended to mimic drilling. They do not quite capture the pattern of the 1:1, but they look very nice.

The wheels themselves are branded "OZ" -- a very nice touch. They do a fair job of capturing the 1:1's wheels' shape. Missing are the release pins and the color-coded locking nuts. These would be nice details for an enterprising modder to add with a bit of wire (say, a staple) and some metallic red and blue paint.

There are no calipers, sadly, which holds the UT's score down to a 6. If it had had calipers, it would have scored a 7 or higher. (I'm a sucker for marked tires. The concept Veyron scored an 8 on this category.)

Score: 6/8


Here's a shot of the 1:1 so we can see what UT was aiming for:

And here's the 1:18 UT engine:

As you can see, there are quite a few missing details, but not more than is usual on a mid-range 1:18. I'd have liked to see carbon fibre on the air intake thingies. It's also a real shame that the second engine compartment hatch doesn't open to reveal the cats and exhaust system. UT actually has molded the exhaust lines leading out to the tips at the rear of the car. They are without any mufflers. I'm not sure how true this is to the 1:1. In race trim, the exhaust might be completely unrestricted. But the picture of the 1:1 above shows mufflers and cats, presumably required to make the LM street legal.

The orange body-colored lattice separating the engine bay from the exhaust parts is nicely done on the UT. So are the orange-painted manifolds, with their "BMW M Power" labels. Missing is the "GTR" lettering in its little circle.

Score: 5.5/8


This isn't a flashy interior on the 1:1 either, so I'm cutting UT some slack. A boring interior cuts down on the need to open the flimsy doors, right?

I haven't been able to find a shot of the 1:1 that shows a single-piece, unsegmented bucket seat like the one on the UT. This is typical of what I've seen:

Here's the UT:

Nice touches: the fire extinguisher, the painted buttons, the pedals, and the full rollcage (which didn't make it into my shot).

Points off for bas-relief rendition of the racing harness instead of using real belts; for uninspired overuse of undecorated black plastic; and for lack of carbon fibre rendering. But overall, not bad, especially considering the age of the model.

It would have been a really nice touch to include the noise-cancelling headphones, but alas, UT did not do it. This might be a fun mod for some enterprising DXer to do.

Score: 5.5/8

Casting 5.5
Paint 4
Decorations 6
Wheels: 6
Engine: 5.5
Interior: 5.5

Overall: 5.41 average (32.5 in 6 categories).

This score puts the UT McLaren F1 above the Motormax Zonda C12S, the Mondo Motors Lamborghini Reventon, and the AUTOart Lamborghini Diablo 6.0. It also beats all the budget models in my collection past or present. But it really isn't on the level of a modern AUTOart or Kyosho model. It looks good on the shelf, but the missing brake calipers, the low-detail interior and engine, and the orange-peel paint hold it down just above the budgets. It's right in between the old AUTOart Diablo VT and the new AUTOart Diablo 6.0. And that strikes me as about right.

EVO magazine has "The Knowledge" section, and Road and Track and Car and Driver have compendiums of their test results. Just so, I'm planning to make a thread with a link to all my reviews. Perhaps one of the moderators could do me the favor of making it a sticky under the Review section?

Next up: Kyosho Miura P400. In the meantime, here's a list of my reviews, so you can see how the UT McLaren F1 stacks up with the others:

AUTOart Lamborghini Countach 5000S: 7.4
Kyosho Ferrari F40 Street version: 7.33
AUTOart Production Bugatti Veyron: 7.25
AUTOart Lamborghini Reventon: 7.2
AUTOart Koenigsegg CCX: 7.0
Kyosho Lamborghini Countach LP400: 6.9
AUTOart Concept Bugatti Veyron: 6.58
AUTOart Lamborghini Murcielago: 6.25
Maisto Lamborghini Murcielago Roadster: 5.08
Exoto Motorbox Porsche 959: 5.7
AUTOart Lamborghini Diablo VT: 5.5
UT McLaren F1 LM XP1: 5.41
AUTOart Lamborghini Diablo 6.0: 5.3
Motormax Pagani Zonda C12S: 5
Mondo Lamborghini Reventon: 4.6
Mondo Motors Pagani Zonda F: 4
Maisto Lamborghini Diablo SE30: 3.6
Bburago Ferrari F40: 3.17

Discussion Starter · #5 ·
No, my ratings are independent of price. Otherwise the Mondo Reventon and the Maisto Murcielago would be much higher, and the AUTOart CCX and Veyron much lower.

One of my goals is for my reviews to serve collectors as they ponder their next acquisitions -- and I want it to serve all sorts of collectors, both those on a tight budget, and those who don't care about cost, as well as those who want to maximize the detail they get for their dollar. I figure that the prices of models are much more variable than the quality and detail categories I evaluate. And I want my system to be informative even for a cost-no-object collector. My system puts an old Bburago and a new AUTOart on the same playing field. We might discuss how to use the scores to calculate an index of value-for-dollars: divide the score by the price, and multiply by some factor based on a past model that won value model of the year in this forum's MOTY contest, perhaps?

The major drawback of my system is that it is limited to subject matter that I actually like. It thus takes no cognizance of the likes of CMC and Exoto, who would, I'm sure, blow the ceiling off my scoring system. That could change if those companies start making Koenigseggs and Lambos. But as long as their offerings are open-wheeled cars from the 50s, liveried Le Mans racers, and a bazillion variations of the Ford GT40, it looks like AUTOart and Kyosho are going to hog the top spots on my list of reviews. (A shame: the Ferrari F50 is my favorite exotic after the Koenigsegg, and I would have shelled out Exoto money for it, but fat chance now of it ever being made. If I ever get my hands on a model that makes my system look pitifully inadequate to recognize its quality, I'll award it 9's and 10's. Right now, the system tops out at 8.)

· Registered
3,957 Posts
Makes sense - yes I doubt that Exoto will produce any of their contemporary offerings - Vanquish, GTO, F50 or Phantom which is a real shame. Nevertheless I think the McLaren F1 LM is sensational and hope that AUTOart release a more detailed model, though the UT isn't half bad.

· Registered
5,889 Posts
Unfortunately, in the wrong light, the car is a mass of orange peel. And given that it is actually orange, the overall impression is pretty fruity. My impression is that paint quality has improved in even budget models over the years since this one was made.
Unfortunately, in the wrong light, the car is a mass of orange peel. And given that it is actually orange, the overall impression is pretty fruity.

Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Good thing that both Minichamps and AUTOart are planning to make the F1
I'll give Minichamps a chance, but the photos they've shown are very underwhelming. And I'm not buying any more black models except the Vector.

The AUTOart McLaren F1, on the other hand, looks like it would be the new star of my collection if it's as good as the photos seem to show.

· Registered
1,541 Posts
Another great review. I think this looks like an excellent model considering its age - in particular I love the tire branding - ALL models should have this, no excuses!

I am very surprised that you dont like the shape of the F1, I think it's shape has dated better than any other car I can think of. The only feature that dates the road car are the relative fatness of the tires and the smallish wheels. Not a fan of anything else Peter Stevens has been involved with but this is the supercar perfected - it doesnt look like its trying too hard and yet is still visually arresting. I particularly like the way he took the visual weight out of the flanks with those very elegant diagonal lines. The Koenigsegg, which I think has taken several design cues from the F1, looks very slab-sided and oversized in comparison.

Looking forward to your Miura review.

Discussion Starter · #15 ·
I think the XJ220 is a far superior design, and it has aged better than the F1. (It's also Peter Stevens' work, if I recall aright.)

It seems to me that about the only thing the Koenigsegg has taken from the F1 is the headlights on the CCR and CCX -- and they started out very different on the original CC concept car and the CC8S.

I have two major objections to the F1's styling:

1. It is to be too narrow to be properly imposing as a supercar should be. Contrast this with the width of the CCX, Veyron, Diablo, Countach, Testarossa, Zonda etc.

2. I hate the angled reverse strakes on the sides.

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2,130 Posts
Whenit first came out for the price it was a good model but I can not see why people spend the asking price off them now as they were never great model to start with. They have been forgiven a lot due to the subject and being the only version availble. It must be one of the most hyped models selling today, I fro one will be pleased to see the Minichamps version of the Unio Clinic race car if its suitable one may just be added to my collection if no I'll wait untill CMC or GMP do it in ten to twenty years time.

Discussion Starter · #17 ·
I tend to agree, Super Snail. It was rather hyped, and I was caught up in it to a certain extent.

I'm entertaining trades right now, but it's also tempting to keep the LM.

I miss my green Murcielago!

· Registered
8,909 Posts
I am very surprised that you dont like the shape of the F1, I think it's shape has dated better than any other car I can think of.
I agree with you. I still really like the styling...even better than the more recent designs.

Nice review, Matt...I would definitely like to find one of these myself, but knowing what the UT Macs are like (I have 3 racing versions), can't really see paying any sort of premium for it. UT's are nice models, but I haven't paid over $45 shipped for any of mine (30 models)...which to me, is about what they're worth.

· Super Moderator
5,917 Posts
Great read as always Matt, and in that picture with the Zonda F, the 2 go absolutely perfect with each other.

I think this is one of the best 1:18 models out there for supercar collectors. The F1 LM is just such an awesome car, and UT did so good at capturing the look of it, which is what matters most to me in a model. Yes, $200 is too much for this model, but it's also too much for AutoArt models, not to get into that though.

BTW, you're thinking of the Jaguar XJR-15, that's the one that was designed by Peter Stevens. As you may know, it was the rarer, more expensive, V12 powered alternative to the XJ220 and the shape actually looked like a leaping jaguar. I want a 1:18 XJR-15 so badly.

Discussion Starter · #20 ·
Great read as always Matt, and in that picture with the Zonda F, the 2 go absolutely perfect with each other.
I think the Zonda is the spiritual successor of the McLaren F1. It hews to some of the same hallmarks: natural aspiration, V-12, low weight, great handling. Certainly far closer than the Bugatti Veyron. The CCX is a different animal entirely.

BTW, you're thinking of the Jaguar XJR-15, that's the one that was designed by Peter Stevens. As you may know, it was the rarer, more expensive, V12 powered alternative to the XJ220 and the shape actually looked like a leaping jaguar. I want a 1:18 XJR-15 so badly.
Right you are. I too would love an XJR-15 in 1:18. But it seems unlikely.

Do you know who styled the XJ220? It's somewhat similar to the XJR-15 in a sort of oversized way, and has also aged very well, perhaps the best of all the 90s supercars except perhaps the Diablo.
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