LaFerrari, 918 Spyder and McLaren P1 go head to head ... on the auction block

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The P1 is a handsome car, but it's not the most subtle car in this shade of green

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From humble beginnings, hybrid technology has been turned into a weapon of performance by Ferrari, Porsche and McLaren. Unfortunately, anyone who wanted to get their hands on that performance needed a manufacturer's invite for the LaFerrari, 918 Spyder and P1. And all three were only ever built in incredibly limited numbers. After a bunch of upcoming auctions, we're likely to know which of the three holds the most value in the eyes of collectors.

Head to head

Although all three of these hypercars were launched around the same time, the battle between the McLaren P1 and LaFerrari is arguably the most interesting element of these auctions.

The two marques are fierce rivals on the track in Formula 1, a feud which boiled over into allegations of spying and industrial espionage in 2007. A record-breaking US$100 million fine was thrown at McLaren, and the team was excluded from the 2007 Constructors' Championship in the wake of the scandal, which centered on documents shared between Ferrari's Nigel Stepney and McLaren's Mark Coughlan.

Today's McLaren-Honda Formula 1 cars pose little threat to Ferrari, but the rivalry carries over into the road car arena, where the supercars coming from Woking's (still young) road car division are invariably benchmarked against the latest from Maranello. This was at its most prominent with the P1 and LaFerrari, pitched by the media as deadly rivals from warring factions.

But both cars take different approaches to hybrid performance. The Ferrari is powered by a naturally aspirated V12 with an electric boost, whereas the McLaren combines its hybrid power with heavily turbocharged V8. It'll also run in a silent electric-only mode, something the Ferrari can't do.

That said, there are a few similarities. Both produce over 900 hp (671 kW), and both send their power to the rear wheels through paddleshift gearboxes. There were actually less P1s built, with just 375 making it into customer hands compared to the 499 LaFerraris produced.

In the red corner...

There are two LaFerraris going up for auction, both of which have the potential to make their owners some serious money.

Over at Mecum Auctions, one of just three cars finished in Nero DS Opaco is up for sale. It's got just 211 miles (340 km) on the odometer, and the black-and-red interior looks seriously classy in combination with the black-on-black exterior. The team at Mecum is expecting it to sell for somewhere between $3.9 million and $4.5 million.

At Bonhams Auctions, there's a 2014 car up for sale in the traditional Ferrari specification. In other words, it's red and fast. Inside, the black buckets are finished with red piping, and the previous owner specced a carbon dashboard, anti-stonechip film and Prancing Horse embroidery in the headrests. Bonhams is forecasting a sale price somewhere between $3.6 million and $4.2 million.

Even if those cars sell for the bottom end of that price range, the previous owners are looking at a serious profit on their initial $1.3 million outlay.

Meanwhile, in Woking...

Perhaps in the interests of symmetry, there will be two P1s put up for auction this year. The first has been hit hard by the customization stick, which could be a blessing or and curse for Mecum Auctions. Chassis #2 was the first car delivered to a customer, and there's no chance you'll miss it in metallic green with green wheels.

The car was actually delivered with an exposed carbon fiber body, but the owner sent it back to McLaren to have the green body fitted. Interestingly, the sale price includes the original carbon fiber body in three pieces. That price? Expected to be somewhere between $2.5 million and $3 million, less than the LaFerraris on offer, but a hefty increase on the $1.925 million and $1.98 million previous cars have sold for at auction.

Meanwhile, Bonhams Auctions is expecting between $1.9 million and $2.1 million for Chassis #90. With 1,200 miles (1931 km) on the clock, it's covered more ground than the other hypercars being sold at auction, but the McLaren Orange paintjob and black wheels make for an attractive package.

Even though it's less than you'll pay for the LaFerrari, owners can still expect a hefty profit on their initial $1.35 million outlay.

The Weissach factor

It's not a part of the great McLaren/Ferrari rivalry, but the Porsche 918 Spyder is every bit as much a hypercar as the P1 and LaFerrari. Mecum Auctions is putting a matte black and carbon 918 Spyder up for auction with 1957 miles (3149 km) on the odometer.

Fitted with the Weissach pack, the 918 comes with the original window price sticker ($931,975) tag still on there. There's also a matching duffel bag, although you wouldn't want to load it up with anything heavy. After all, the Weissach Package was $84,000 worth of weight saving.

Mecum is expecting between $1.9 million and $2.3 million for the Matte Black 918 Spyder. That's a healthy increase on the $1.76 million Barrett Jackson sold another Weissach Pack 918 for.

So, what does it all mean?

Well, it means anyone lucky enough to be invited onto the owners list is essentially being handed an appreciating asset. These cars have only been around since 2014, but already their values are on the up.

At the moment, owners of the LaFerrari are looking like the biggest winners, but all will be revealed at The Quail and Monterey Car Week when these hypercars go under the hammer.

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