Smoke began billowing from the back of the exotic sports car as it travelled down Airport Boulevard late Monday morning. By the time the driver had exited through his gull-wing door to check on the trouble, flames had engulfed the rear.

But this was no ordinary car fire.

A $3 million rare silver McLaren F1 road car, one of only about 100 made, was ruined, shortly before 11 a.m.

The car, with Oregon license plates, was owned and driven by Irv Kessler, 53, of Minnesota. But he declined to discuss the incident.

"It hadn't been driven in six months," said John Lantz, Rincon Valley assistant fire chief. "They took it out yesterday and today and started having some kind of problem with it," Lantz said he was told by Kessler.

As Kessler drove on Airport Boulevard, someone noticed smoke coming from the back and alerted him. The engine then caught fire and flames burned the back of the car, Lantz said.

Rincon Valley firefighters found the car still burning and quickly doused it before it spread to the passenger compartment.

"It burned the back of the car off," Lantz said.

The F1 coupe was built in 1995, reportedly one of about 100 versions of the supercar, and features the driver's seat in the middle of the cab, with two seats behind the driver.

McLaren's website says the car was built as "the world's first production road car to feature an all carbon composite monocoque and body structure," using Formula One racing technology on the road.

Information provided by a representative of the insurance company indicated that the McLaren was worth $3 million and was insured for $2 million

CORRECTION: The dollar estimates cited in this story were updated on Dec. 20, 2011, due to updated information provided by a representative of the insurer.