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The mystery of the luxurious McLaren F1 that perhaps belonged to “El Chapo” and disappeared on Mexican soil

It is not clear who the Mexican buyer of the Mclaren F1 chassis 039 was, or where in Mexico it was delivered, although local folklore assures that it belonged to a high-ranking member of the Sinaloa Cartel, whose family in power was headed then – between 2003 and 2004, when the car was seen in Culiacán – by Joaquín ‘El Chapo’ Guzmán, who is currently incarcerated in a jail in the United States ”, says Kristin V. Shaw, specialized journalist and author of this story.

Mexico City, December 30 (However) .– The McLaren F1 cars they are considered by connoisseurs as true jewels and are snatched from them by collectors at auctions. However there is one of these, chassis 039 1995, which has become a myth in Mexico, because after being designed to order, it went to another buyer in the United Kingdom and was seen, between 2003 and 2024, neither more nor less than in Culiacan, Sinaloa, Where, then Joaquín Guzmán Loera, “El Chapo”, moved freely, reports journalist Kristin V. Shaw in The Drive, a site specialized in motorsports and related technology.

According to Shaw, the McLaren F1 chassis 039 It is one of the many supercars hidden around the world and considered a treasure. The one in this particular story was built for Ron Dennis, the legendary McLaren boss; painted Brazillian Brown Metallic with a red interior, it was completed in late 1995.

There are hardly any photos of that car, said Ed Bolian, founder of VINWiki, a site dedicated to reconstructing the history of special vehicles, to The Drive. Bolian said Dennis’s wife never liked the color scheme of that 039, so it was sold to a UK customer who also kept it short.

The fate of the car becomes mysterious when the car turns up in Mexico, after a buyer imported it from the UK and previously asked for the wheels to be painted gold, giving the McLaren a unique feature.

“It is not clear who that Mexican buyer was, or where in Mexico the car was delivered, although local folklore has assured that it belonged to a high-ranking member of the Sinaloa Cartel, whose family in power was led by Joaquín. ‘ El Chapo ‘Guzmán, who is currently incarcerated in a prison in the United States ”, highlights Kristin V. Shaw.

In addition, he adds, when that last buyer died in the late 1990s, an unconfirmed story states that no one could find the keys to the F1, and it is also said that his family hid the super car in a rural area of ​​Sinaloa, but it just disappeared.

It was also rumored, says the journalist, that someone contacted the McLaren company to get a key, but as he did not present the property documents, the request was denied.

Another version is that McLaren denied having made a key for the car due to the dubious importation of the car to Mexico and the owner’s profession, although none of the rumors are confirmed.

“About nine months ago, someone in Mexico contacted Bolian [fundador de VINWiki] and said he believed he knew where to find 039. It had all the makings of a scam, including a request for Bolian to purchase a Jaguar from the contact in Mexico to fund the search. In the end, a war broke out in that area of ​​Mexico and the mission was suspended, ”says the journalist.

However, Shaw says, any thread that leads to a drug cartel may prove worse for those looking for that car. Bolian said in a video that even if he found the car, it would take at least half a million dollars to restore it; The Mexican government could also be the one to recover it, due to the possibility that it is bathed in dirty money, not to mention that there could be a tax of a million dollars, according to Bolian told the also Editora de Fin de Semana in The Drive.

“Despite the exciting stories and rumors that refer to this unit as the McLaren of ‘El Chapo’, it should be noted that sources close to this car and in most Mexican forums about cars, it has always been associated with members of the Guzmán Loera family, and not directly to ‘El Chapo’, because in reality he was more of one more type of truck ”. However, Shaw adds, the “chase of the McLaren F1 of ‘El Chapo'” is an easier and faster story for everyone.


On July 17, 2019, a New York Judge handed down a life sentence to “El Chapo” Guzmán. In February of that year, at age 62, the drug trafficker had already been convicted by a jury of the 10 charges he faced, including participation in a continuing criminal enterprise and drug trafficking charges, among others. The guilty verdict resulted in a mandatory sentence of life in prison without parole.

Shortly before he was sentenced, Guzmán told District Judge Brian Cogan that he was denied a fair trial. He said Cogan did not fully investigate the jury’s allegations of misconduct in the case.

“El Chapo” was found guilty of all charges and sentenced to life in prison. Photo: EFE.

Guzmán probably ended his days in the safest federal prison in the United States, known as “Alcatraz of the Rockies.” It is the Maximum Security Correctional and Administrative Center in Florence, Colorado. Inmates spend 23 hours a day in their cells, with only a small window.

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