31 years ago a very special car was created, a car that captured the hearts of petrol heads everywhere, a car that set the standards for the supercar as we know it. What is this car you’re probably asking well, it’s none other than the legendary Ferrari F40.
The Ferrari F40 was officially unveilled on July 21, 1987 in Maranello, Italy. The F40 was unveiled with a planned production run of just 400 cars and a recommended retail price of US $400,000 in 1987. The F40 was such a popular car for Ferrari 1,311 were produced in total from 1987 to 1992 and today a show winning F40 can cost as much as US $2 million.
The iconic body of the F40 was designed by Leonardo Fioravanti and Pietro Camardella of Studio Pininfarina under the guidance of chief engineer Nicola Materazzi. Chief engineer Nicola Materazzi was responsible for the engine, transmission and other major mechanical parts of the F40. Materazzi had previously designed the body of the Ferrari 288 GTO Evoluzione and that can be seen in the styling of the F40.
The F40 was powered by an enlarged version of the 288 GTO’s 2.9 liter, twin turbocharged V8 engine which produced 471hp (352kW) and 577 Nm of torque as stated by Ferrari. This beast of an engine made it possible for the Ferrari F40 to reach a top speed of over 200mph which has cemented it in the supercar hall of fame.
The F40 was not only a legend on the road but it was also a legend on the race track and in 1989 the F40 LM debuted at the Laguna Seca Raceway for a round of the IMSA, appearing in the GTO category. From 1994 the F40 LM made it’s debut in numerous domestic and international racing championships taking victory at the 4 hours of Vellelunga event. In total only 19 of these race spec F40’s were built.
Ferrari also built a more powerful version of the racing spec F40 LM known as the F40 Competizione at the request of a French importer that wanted to enter the famous 24 Hours of Le Mans. 10 examples of the F40 Competizione were built all at customer’s request with the first two bearing the F40 LM name while the remaining 8 were renamed F40 Competizione as Ferrari felt the LM name tag was too restrictive.
The F40 Competizione had an upgraded version of the stock F40 engine which now produced a whopping 691hp (515 kW) and could reportedly take the F40 Competizione on to a top speed of 228mph (367 Km/h) which is incredibly fast even by today’s standards.
The Ferrari F40 was built to celebrate the 40th anniversary of Ferrari, it was also the last car that Enzo Ferrari himself had a part in developing before his death in 1987. It was estimated in 1990 that only 10% of delivered F40’s would be used for driving with owners anticipating the rise in value over the coming years. As the F40 got more famous it’s value increased and in 1989 it is reported that F40’s on the pre-owned market were being sold for up to 7 times their original asking price.
Well many would love to own or even drive an F40 a very lucky few have, but that doesn’t keep this supercar from the fame it deserves. Today this iconic Ferrari is seen as one of the best Ferrari road cars ever produced and the F40 remains at the top of the list with other iconic supercars such as the Porsche 959. Seeing an F40 would be a life long dream but that will come one day, for now I will just gaze at my F40 wall poster and think of what if.
It has been an amazing 31 years for the Ferrari F40, here is to another fantastic 31 years.