Home / Social media / News / Ayrton Senna's original 1991 McLaren MP4/6 Formula One steering wheel can be yours for a million bucks.


Ayrton Senna is a legend in the world of Formula One, and even today, 28 years after his tragic death, the man is still regarded by many as one of the greatest Formula One drivers of all time. Senna’s illustrious career kicked off with his debut at the Monaco Grand Prix with the Toleman in 1984. A year later he transferred to Lotus, the team that he won the Portuguese Grand Prix, his first F1 win. In 1988 Senna moved to McLaren and it was with this team that he won his first Driver’s World Championship in 1988, followed up in both 1990 and 1991. In 1994 he joined Williams, the last team he would drive with before his tragic accident at the San Marino Grand Prix. To cement his legendary status, Senna racked up 41 race victories, 65 pole positions, and he won three World Championships. In 1988 with the McLaren MP4/4, Senna had one of the most amazing careers winning 15 out of 16 races. In 1991, the car Senna drove was the McLaren MP4/6, the first McLaren to make use of a Honda powerplant. It was a 3.5 litre lump that was actually quite compact in size considering it was a V12. It was initially rated at 541 kW at a high 13,500 RPM, but after Senna’s input that rose to 581.6 kW at 14,800 RPM. The MP4/6 also used a manual "H" pattern gearbox, which is mad to think about, and it would be the last Formula One car to win a World Championship using a manual transmission. It was also the only Formula One car to win the World Championship with a V12 engine.  

As you can imagine, any memorabilia relating to Ayrton Senna and the championship-winning cars are highly sought after and collectable, not just among Formula One fans, but motorsport fans in general. Authenticated items with reliable provenance, especially when they bear a signature can fetch some pretty mad money. Over the years we’ve seen loads of Senna-related items on sale, even small parts from the car he died in. The iconic yellow and green helmet he wore during his stellar 1990 race season sold on auction some years back for an amazing £142,000, which translates to in the region of R3,375,000 at today’s exchange rate. One of his race suits sold for the equivalent of R1,460,000 a while back too. Another Aytron Senna item is set to go on sale at an upcoming Bonham’s auction, it’s the steering wheel from the McLaren MP4/6. Made by well-known steering wheel manufacturer Personal, the 3-spoke, Alcantara-clad wheel is far removed from the steering wheels we see in modern F1 cars. It’s fitted with just four buttons, including one for the radio to communicate with the pit crew team, and another is an overboost button to deploy full power when the car hit the straights. Senna autographed the wheel, which has added to the value. The wheel is mounted on a carbon fibre base to make it easier to display, and it looks awesome. The sale includes a certificate of authenticity from the McLaren International team signed by team principal Ron Dennis along with another certificate from "The Memorabilia Experience Authentification Department" in Las Vegas, USA. It’s also accompanied by two photographs taken by official F1 photographers during the US Grand Prix in Phoenix on Sunday 10 March 1991 (photographer: Ercole Colombo) and at the Canadian Grand Prix on Sunday 02 June 1991 (photographer: Rainer Slegelmilch). The images show the steering wheel, adding to the provenance. There's also a scale model of the McLaren MP4/6. So how much for this piece of Formula One and motorsport history? Well the clever people at Bonham’s estimate it could fetch between R810,000 and R1,200,000. Daaaamn son!

Take a look at the YouTube video that shows off the McLaren MP4/6 from when it put in some exhibition runs at a Goodwood event a couple of years ago. Nevermind the insane pace, it's that soundtrack that will give you proper goosebumps: PURE SOUND | Ayrton Senna's V12 McLaren Mp4/6 F1 championship winner screams round Goodwood | 78MM | Goodwood Road & Racing

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