1991 Ferrari F40Coachwork by Pininfarina
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.
Developed from the limited-production 288GTO, the F40 was a two-seater, mid-engined coupé that mounted its V8 power unit longitudinally in the chassis (rather than transversely like the 308/ 328) a layout that greatly simplified the accommodation of the twin water-cooled IHI turbochargers. Enlarged from the 288GTO’s 2,855cc to 2,936cc for the F40, the four-cam, 32-valve motor produced 478bhp at 7,000rpm (some 20 percent up on the 288) with the promise of a further 200bhp if the optional factory tuning kit was specified.
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.
Using a wind tunnel and computer projection, Pininfarina produced a body that generated sufficient downforce without excessive drag, while avoiding the aerodynamic excrescences that adorn so many out-and-out competition cars. Nevertheless, there was no mistaking the pugnaciously styled F40’s antecedents as one climbed inside, the body-contoured seats, absence of carpeting and trim, and sliding Plexiglas windows only serving to re-enforce its image as a thinly disguised racecar.
A late-production model equipped with catalytic converters, this F40 was sold new in Turin, Italy to the current owner. The car bas been maintained in a climate controlled collection and, save for the period 2000-2005 when the owner sold the car to a friend and then bought it back after having regrets, has always been looked after as ‘one of our family’ as he puts it. Never used on a racetrack, this accident-free F40 has covered a mere 2,367 kilometres from new and is offered with all books and tools and Italian registration. The cam belts and fuel tanks have been renewed in accordance with the manufacturer’s service schedule and the car appears, literally, as it did the day the present owner first collected it.