1990 Ferrari F40
Among the most iconic cars ever made, the F40 represented Ferrari’s embrace of both the latest technical advancements of the 1980s and the extroverted aesthetic of the burgeoning supercar craze. Unveiled to tremendous anticipation to celebrate Ferrari’s 40th anniversary in 1987, the car redefined the performance landscape. 0-60 mph took just 3.5 seconds and it was the first car whose top speed eclipsed the 200mph mark. These figures marginally bettered the car’s closest performance match, the Porsche 959, which like the F40, was also turbocharged and used composites extensively, but there the similarities end.
While the 959 is an extension of the 911 Turbo philosophy of delivering speed in a refined, civilized, even luxurious fashion, the F40 is comparatively elemental. The composite structure of the car is covered with aggressively styled Pininfarina coachwork (also composite) covered in vents and NACA ducts, and of course the famous rear wing, all presented with dual clamshells for competition style accessibility. Racing buckets are trimmed in red cloth, the dash has basic grey fabric, while the car is free of even carpets, proudly displaying the composite chassis. Central locking, electric windows, interior mirror adjustments, even interior door handles are all absent. It is a focused, bare-bones car that creates an exceptional experience sitting still and when underway.
This particular car is a European-specification example that was sold new by Auto Especiales of Mexico on 31 July 1989 to its first owner (a resident of Mexico) who had it plated on Italian EE (foreign tourist) plates. The car was spotted in the paddock at the Nurburging Historic Grand Prix a few days later, on German plates by that point. A year later, it was sold to a German owner. The car remained in Germany until 2018 when it was exported to the United States.
A relatively early car, it is equipped in the purest fashion: racing style sliding Lexan windows, no catalysts, and without adjustable suspension. In 2018-2019, the car received an extensive service which was aimed at making the car drivable on contemporary roads and addressing any risk of fire by replacing all fuel lines, filters, and fittings, as well as renewing the fuel bladders. A timing belt service was also performed. The exhaust system and turbochargers were removed to accomplish this work, together with oil feed and return lines and wastegate. The transmission was also removed and a new clutch fitted. The work was completed at a cost of approximately $57,000. The car is currently (Fall 2021) in the process of being Classiche certified.
The car is in very good condition, presenting strongly with minor wear and aging to the paint from use. With 30,000km and the functionality upgrades, the car is in ideal condition to use and enjoy, and a recent compression check confirmed excellent, even compression on all eight cylinders. This is wonderful news because the F40 is an absolute sensation on the road. While the F40 appears to be a roadgoing race car and is therefore intimidating initially, the reality of the driving experience is that the car is impressively refined and civilized. The car is less demanding to drive than a Countach, and enjoys a magnificently compliant ride, tractable motor and sensible control weights, all of which will impress the first-time F40 driver. Yet unleash the remarkable powertrain or negotiate a corner, and the car immediately identifies itself as a driver’s car, a wonderfully direct and exciting experience whose performance is still impressive today and contrasts sharply with the almost insular character of the 959. The car has a sure-footedness and dynamic prowess that isn’t typically present in Ferraris of this era and this is one of the most exciting parts of the F40 experience: it doesn’t demand sympathy or accommodations from the driver when pressing on, just light the fuse and go.
This is an ideal F40 to drive, which is exactly what the car excels at. It is mechanically sorted, thoughtfully upgraded, and cosmetically attractive, but not to the extent that the new owner can’t use the car as much as they like with a clear conscience. It comes with Massini report, service records from the last 15 years, tool roll with tools, books set, and spare tire repair kit.