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Burned up McLaren headed to England for repairs

  • 6/2/2009: A1: Rincon Valley Fire Department Assistant Chief John Lantz checks over a McLaren that burned Monday at Airport and Aviation boulevards.

    PC: Rincon Valley Fire Department Assistant Chief John Lantz checks over a McLaren that burned at Air port Blvd. and Aviation near the Sonoma County Charles Schulz Airport.

An exotic super car that caught fire Monday on Airport Boulevard north of Santa Rosa is on its way to England for repairs at the factory that first built it.

The rare silver McLaren F1 road car, one of only about 100 made, was valued by the owner at $2 million before it burned.

Owner and driver Irv Kessler of Minnesota said he was at the start of a roadtrip from Healdsburg to Oregon, where the car is registered, when the car caught fire.

Rare McLaren F1 Destroyed

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As Kessler drove on Airport Boulevard just before 11 a.m. Monday, another motorist noticed smoke coming from the back and alerted him. The engine then caught fire and flames burned the back of the car.

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

Fire officials said the cause of the fire has not been determined.

?It?s fantastic (to drive), it?s a great car,? Kessler said Friday, adding that he had stayed away from the numerous online news stories and blog posts about the car?s demise.

?It?s just so stress-inducing,? he said.

A manager at Canepa Design, a Scotts Valley auto body shop where the McLaren was towed after the Monday fire, said the car was shipped Wednesday to England.

Kessler said insurance experts in the United States gave the car a 90 percent chance of being fully restored. Authorities with McLaren gave it a 50-50 chance or better after viewing photos of the damage, Kessler said.


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