1991 Ferrari F40
Year of manufacture1991
Offered with Ferrari Classiche certification and only 17,000 kilometres from new
1991 Ferrari F40 Berlinetta
Coachwork by Pininfarina
Registration no. F4 ODN
Chassis no. ZFFGJ34B000088446
"The take-up into the next gear is flawless and, with the turbos cranking hard, the blast of acceleration just goes on again and you seem to be in a blur of time conquering distance, gearshifts and noise. It has the tonal quality of an F1 engine, if not the sheer ferocity. From outside, if you stand and listen, you hear the frantic whoosh as the turbos start to drive oh-so-hard." - Autocar magazine, May 1988.
Introduced in 1988 to celebrate Enzo Ferrari's 40 years as a motor manufacturer, the F40 was the ultimate supercar and is historically significant as the first production passenger car to have a claimed top speed of over 200mph. It is also the last Ferrari to be personally approved by Enzo Ferrari prior to his death in 1988. A mid-engined, two-seater berlinetta, the F40 was a development of the limited-production 288 GTO and like the latter - but unlike the preceding 308 series - mounted its power unit longitudinally rather than transversely. Much had been learned from the development of the Evoluzione version of the 288 GTO - intended for the soon-to-be-abandoned Group B competitions - which enabled Ferrari to take the F40 from drawing board to dealers' showrooms in just 13 months. A 2,936cc quad-cam V8 with four valves per cylinder, the F40 engine employed twin IHI turbochargers to liberate 478bhp (approximately 352kW) at 7,000rpm. For the seriously speed-addicted, this could be boosted by 200bhp by means of a factory tuning kit.
Of equal, if not greater, technical interest was the method of body/chassis construction, the F40 drawing on Ferrari's Formula 1 experience in its use of composite technology. A one-piece plastic moulding, the body was bonded to the tubular steel chassis to create a lightweight structure of immense rigidity. The doors, bonnet, boot lid and other removable panels were carbon fibre.
Pugnaciously styled by Pininfarina, the F40 incorporated the latest aerodynamic aids in the form of a dam-shaped nose and high rear aerofoil. Despite the need to generate considerable downforce - and with a top speed of 201mph, higher than the take-off speed of many light aircraft, the F40 needed all the downforce it could get - the result was a commendably low drag coefficient of just 0.34. The F40's interior reinforced its image as a thinly disguised race-car, with body-contoured seats, an absence of carpeting and trim, and sliding Plexiglas windows. When it came to actual competition, race-prepared F40s more than held their own and in the Global GT series proved quicker on many circuits than McLaren's F1 GTR.
Autocar concluded its test thus: "on a smooth road it is a scintillatingly fast car that is docile and charming in its nature; a car that is demanding but not difficult to drive, blessed as it is with massive grip and, even more importantly, superb balance and manners. You can use its performance - the closest any production carmaker has yet come to race car levels - and revel in it. ...there's little doubt it is the very personification of the term sports car." Even today the F40 has the power to impress.
Launched in the UK with an asking price of around £185,000, the F40 was changing hands at the height of the late '80s supercar boom for up to half a million pounds. When production ceased in 1992 only 1,311 of these quite exceptional cars had been completed, all of which were left-hand drive and finished in Rosso Corsa when they left the factory.
Today, much of the F40's enduring appeal is the fact that it is one of the last great 'analogue' supercars, designed and built at a time when the driver was expected to be in full control and before the introduction of electronic interventions in the form of anti-lock brakes, traction control, stability control, and paddle-shift automatic gearboxes, which have since become the norm. It also lacked a brake servo, air conditioning, interior door handles, and power steering... As Ferrari marketing executive Giovanni Perfetti explained: "We wanted it to be very fast, sporting in the extreme and spartan. Customers had been saying our cars were becoming too plush and comfortable. The F40 is for the most enthusiastic of our owners who want nothing but sheer performance." Even so, the F40 could not remain unaffected by the march of technological progress, gaining refinements such as ABS, glass side windows, catalytic converters, and adjustable suspension as development progressed.
A desirable non-adjustable model built to European specification, this particular F40 was delivered new in Italy via the official Ferrari dealer Crepaldi Automobili in Milan and registered on 17th February 1991 to a Mr Benedetto, a local industrialist. Registered in Milan as 'MI 1 T 0114', the car was delivered with air conditioning, glass side windows, and a catalyst-equipped exhaust but is currently fitted with a non-cat sports exhaust system. In 1993 '88446' was sold to its second owner, Oliviero Busetti, another Milanese, who passed it on to the third owner, a resident of Monza, in 1998. '88446' remained in Italy until it came to the UK in July 2012 and was registered as 'H470 JLF'. That same month the F40 was seen in the Cub Ferrari France parking during the Le Mans Classic, and in 2015 was displayed at the Classic & Sports Car Show at Alexandra Palace. In October 2017 the Ferrari was sold by Graypaul to the current vendor and reregistered as 'F4 ODN'.
The most recent annual service was carried out by Graypaul, Nottingham in September 2018 at 17,507 kilometres (invoice on file). Previously, in 2017, Graypaul had replaced both fuel tanks and the cam and ancillary belts as part of a major service. Importantly, '88446' also comes with its original tool kit as well as the original handbooks and service book in their original tan leather wallet.
Reacquainting himself with the F40, F50, and Enzo Ferraris for Octane magazine (July 2014 edition) racing driver Mark Hales declared: "The F40 is for me, the special one. Not just because I have spent so much time in them, but because it was such an explosive, other-worldly creation when it first appeared, and it still retains much of that character." Enough said.