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.
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.
?I?m very pleased about that,? he said.
Kessler said Friday the car was insured at $2 million, instead of the $3 million originally reported. His insurance agent was not immediately available Friday evening.
Keld Christenson, service manager at Canepa Design, said the car could be worth more than $3 million.
?There were very few of these made,? he said. ?For car enthusiasts this car represents something special.?
Employees at Canepa Design typically see a McLaren F1 ?once every couple of years,? Christenson said.
Christenson said his shop had been told the car suffered a small fire, but when it was removed from the tow truck that carried it to the Santa Cruz County shop it was evident that it needed much more work.
?Everyone underestimated the extent of the damage,? he said. ?The extent goes beyond what we could do.?
The car was shipped to England, where the McLaren F1 was manufactured, Wednesday, he said.
?A car with that sort of value, if it costs a million dollars to fix it, they?re going to do it,? Christenson said of the repairs.
The damage has caused grief in the exotic cars blogosphere. A google search for the terms ?McLaren F1,? ?fire,? ?Santa Rosa? and ?blog? returned 4,770 results Friday afternoon.
Wrote Noah Joseph, one such blogger posting on autoblog.com, ?Flames shooting out the exhaust of a supercar? Awesome. Flames billowing out of the entire engine bay? Uh-oh. So seeing a McLaren F1 ? in the United States, no less ? going up in smoke is a real tear-jerker.?
Kessler said he has owned the car for two years and uses it primarily for long-distance trips. The drive from Healdsburg to Oregon behind the wheel of the exotic car is one of his favorites, but he has also shipped the car to the United Kingdom for a driving tour there.