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20-year-old Compaq Laptop Required to Fix McLaren F1

by Shane McGlaun
20-year-old Compaq Laptop Required to Fix McLaren F1zoom in

The McLaren F1 was so ahead of its time that it is easy to forget the car is about 20 years old. The age of the car and the fact that it is highly computerized means that it needs specific technology to repair the car if things go wrong. In fact, McLaren built a custom interface card that only works in a very specific Compaq laptop computer.

Specifically the computer is a Compaq LTE 5280. Considering there are still a number of McLaren F1 cars on the market and they are worth millions of dollars, maintaining these historic cars falls on McLaren and its ancient laptop.

This is a perfect example of why you shouldn’t chain yourself to specific technology that might not be carried into the future. I wonder if McLaren has tried to buy up as many of the Compaq LTE 5280 notebooks it can find. It would be a shame if a 20-year-old laptop finally dies and F1 supercars become expensive paperweights because of it.

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