Rowan Atkinson's McLaren car repair costs insurers almost £1 million
ROWAN Atkinson landed his insurance company with a £910,000 repair bill after crashing his beloved McLaren F1 supercar, it has emerged.
The actor and comedian span off the road and crashed the high-powered vehicle into a tree in August 2011, suffering a fractured shoulder blade in the process.
Technicians spent four weeks analysing the damage in a bid to determine how much it would cost to repair.
Atkinson’s insurance provider was then left to decide whether to repair the car or to replace it, eventually realising that it would be cheaper to repair.
The car then spent more than a year in the hands of McLaren's expert technicians in Woking, Surrey.
The avid car enthusiast bought the 240mph vehicle for £640,000 in 1997 with the proceeds from his first Mr Bean film.
But its value has significantly increased over the last 15 years - with one sold last year for £3.5 million.
After getting back behind the wheel 16 months after the crash, Atkinson said it was “like putting on a familiar sweater”.
He told this month's Classic and Sports Car magazine that he was not a fan of hiding cars away like toys and insisted they should be used.
"I'm not a collector. I don't like the toy cupboard syndrome that causes so many good cars to evaporate," he said.
"It depresses me that they are hidden away like investment art, or gold ingots in a Swiss vault.
"The McLaren is just so usable, it is a crime not to use it. No gritted teeth, you just get in and drive."
Atkinson crashed the car on the A605 near Haddon, Cambridgeshire, not far from his Northamptonshire home. No other vehicles were involved.
He first crashed it in 1999 when he collided with a Rover Metro driven by a 62-year-old.
McLaren manufactured just 64 F1s when production began in 1992.
Its 6.1-litre BMW engine can take the car from 0-60mph in 3.2 seconds.
Atkinson is well known for his love of fast cars and recorded the fastest lap time in Top Gear’s Star in a Reasonably Priced Car when he appeared on the show in August 2011.
He told presenter Jeremy Clarkson he was keen on racing and was currently driving a 1964 Ford Falcon.
But his racing expertise did little to quell his nerves before taking on the challenge, he admitted.
In a clip of the show Atkinson said people would “assume that in the reasonably priced car I will be very good when there's absolutely no guarantee of that whatsoever”.
But the Blackadder actor notched up the fastest ever time on the show, completing the circuit in 1 minute 42.2 seconds.