1996 Ferrari F50
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The Ferrari F50 was unveiled at the Geneva Salon in 1996 to celebrate the Scuderia’s 50th anniversary. The accompanying press packs exclaimed the car to offer “Formula 1 for the road” and under the careful guidance of Paolo Martinelli for power-train and Carlo della Casa for suspension and brakes. The result was undeniably faithful to the design brief.
Underneath the carbon fibre bodywork sat a high-revving 4.7-litre V-12 engine, which was directly related to the unit that powered Alain Prost to five victories in the 1990 F1 World Championship. As in Prost’s Ferrari 641 Formula 1 car, it was also employed as a stressed member of the chassis, a first for a road-going Ferrari, which enabled extreme torsional rigidity and substantial weight saving. The carbon fibre tub, to which the engine was bolted via solid mounts, weighed just 102 kg and housed an aircraft grade Sekur bag fuel tank, whilst the dampers from Bilstein were independently active to improve the performance of racing-inspired pushrod suspension. The ‘no compromise’ approach was even extended to the suspension bushings; anything rubberised was considered parasitic to feedback and so solid rose joints were employed throughout.
Whilst early contemporary reviews questioned the performance of the F50 compared to the F40, the numbers are irrefutable: 513 bhp and over 200 mph flat out in a chassis weighing just 1,230 kg, with a torsional rigidity figure in the region of 25,500 lb-ft per degree. The result was a lap which was a full four seconds quicker than the F40 around Fiorano.
This particular F50 was produced in February 1996 and was originally sold through Charles Pozzi on 19 March of the same year. During its life in France, it was serviced regularly by its supplying dealer and was shown at various meetings, including the Ferrari Days at Spa-Francorchamps. In 2001, the car revisited Charles Pozzi for its 10,000-km major service before a further major service took place in May 2005 at 20,000 km at Aux Chataux du Sud-Ouest.
From 2005 the car has been used sparingly and in 2013 it was brought to the UK. Since then it has been serviced in 2016, 2017 and 2018 by Greypaul Ferrari of Nottingham under the stewardship of three further owners. It is worth mentioning that it also benefits from a new clutch, which was fitted along with new tyres in 2015 by renowned specialist Bob Houghton. Presented in pristine condition and appropriately specified in Rosso Corsa over Nero, it is accompanied by its original books, hard roof, soft roof, roll hoops, fitted luggage set, flight case and Classiche Binder, which confirms that it still retains all of its original major mechanical components, including engine and gearbox.
Very few cars, either before or since the F50, offer such a compelling combination of thoroughbred performance and engineering pedigree, not to mention scarcity; it is rare that such a fine example is offered for sale. To view this car and others currently consigned to this auction, please visit the RM website at rmsothebys.com/en/auctions/pa19.