1990 Ferrari F40 BerlinettaCoachwork by Pininfarina
“…When I’ve been asked to name my favourite steer, as motoring journalists are with the same sort of frequency that you brush your teeth, I’ve always automatically parroted ‘F40’. When it came out in 1987, the F40 was the fastest car in the world, quicker and more powerful than its rival the Porsche 959, and the first car ever to have a three-digit top speed which began with a ‘2’…But soon the time came to find out whether reality matched the memory or whether the F40 was now no more than a nice old thing with a bit of poke.”
“It is nothing of the sort…This is not symphonic like the best Ferrari V12s- it is flat plane crank savage but no less intoxicating for that…For once my memory had not been playing tricks on me. The only thing which feels old about the F40 is the level of interaction it affords the driver. I took it back, aghast that my time in it was over and wondering when, if ever, it might come again. It had been every bit as good as I remembered: not just the best Ferrari I have driven, but the best car, period.” Andrew Frankel, MotorSport magazine, June 2007.
Announced in 1987 to celebrate Enzo Ferrari’s forty years as a carmaker, the 200mph F40 was the ultimate supercar of its generation. Inevitably, comparisons were made with the rival Porsche 959, but whereas its German rival represented a cutting-edge, technological tour de force, the F40 exemplified traditional Ferrari values. A relatively straightforward car, the F40 relied on enormous power, low weight, race-bred suspension, generously sized tyres and excellent aerodynamics to achieve a level of performance even better than that of the infinitely more complex 959.
In one of its aspects the F40 did rival the 959 for innovation, and that was the method of body/chassis construction, which represented a new departure for a Ferrari road car. Drawing on Ferrari’s considerable experience in the use of composite technology in Formula 1, the F40 chassis comprised a tubular steel spaceframe with bonded-on panels of Kevlar, resulting in torsional stiffness greatly exceeding that of a metal-only structure without the penalty of excess weight. Carbon fibre was used for the doors, bonnet, boot lid and other removable panels.
History has shown that with most great production cars, the earliest and purest, or the last and most evolved models, are those which rise over time to become the most desirable. In the case of the F40, which twenty years after its launch is now well established as an iconic supercar (Jeremy Clarkson placed it ahead of the latest Ferrari Enzo for driver satisfaction during a recent Top Gear programme), it is the early cars, without restrictive exhaust catalysts to rob a few extra horsepower, that look good value today. This pre-catalyst example was built at the end of 1989 and, like all F40s, was finished in Rosso Ferrari (300/9) with the model’s trademark red Nomex covered seats and carbon fibre interior. It was invoiced on 9th March 1990, at the height of the supercar boom when new F40s were immediately worth over half a million pounds on the open market, to UK importer Maranello Concessionaires. Their client was first owner Ross Hyett in the UK, for whom it was registered with the appropriate private number ‘F40 AUM’.
This is believed to have been the first F40 to race in the UK, albeit in a club event at a small circuit totally unsuited to the F40 where Mr Hyett placed near the bottom of the field despite probably being the centre of attention. Three years later, on 25th June 1993, the F40 was sold via JCT600 Specialist Cars to well known Ferrari collector Modi Enav of Hampstead, London, still with only 3,294km covered. A year on Mr Enav transferred the car into Ferrari Holdings Inc, a company created to hold his collection, before selling it via London dealer Paul Baber (SWB Ltd) to third owner Stephen Elliot in December 1997 at just 3,673km. His tenure was brief and the following August the F40 entered its fourth ownership via Graypaul Motors, passing to one Kieran Hickey, now with 6,046km covered.
The fifth owner comments: “The current condition is perfect for a car of this nature, it is not a 500km car which has been collecting dust in a garage but an F40 which has been used, looked after by its own mechanic and has had all the work done that needed to be done to keep it in great condition. You could argue that I should not have put a fire system in it, but to anyone that uses these cars, it makes perfect sense. It is also quite easy to take out if needed…I believe that its value is appreciating on the basis that the comparable offering from a quality of driving prospective is substantially more expensive (Zonda etc), or unimpressive (Enzo?).”
We conclude with an excerpt from a recent issue of CAR magazine (June 2007): “F40s have previously been conspicuously good value, but prices have started to rise beyond the £200k mark.” Priced at £193,000 new in the UK almost 20 years ago, it seems likely that as F40s make the transition from old to classic supercars, their values will continue to rise until the original list price is just a distant memory.
‘F40 AUM’ is missing nothing and nothing needs doing. It is the ideal F40 for a driver or collector.