In 1987, Ferrari had reached its 40th year of operation. The foundation that it had built until around its reputation of performance was certainly very strong. Who could stay unmoved at the sight of a Ferrari 250 GT Berlinetta? Who hasn’t dreamed to sit behind the wheel of a Ferrari Testarossa? Who wouldn’t want to tame the 230 horses of a Ferrari 308 GT4? But one model took Ferrari to new heights, and that was the F40.
The F40 was named to commemorate four decades of work by Enzo’s eponymous car company. The results of their efforts first debuted in 1987 at the Frankfurt Motor Show. The Pininfarina design house created the body of the F40, and production took place exclusively in Maranelo, Italy, spanning five years (1987-1992). Although the initial budget provided for the construction of only 400, the ever-increasing demand resulted in 1,315 examples produced over its lifetime.
The main rival to the F40 at the time was the Porsche 959. However, all the aspiring competitors bowed as no other car could exceed 324 km/hr (201.32 mph). Between 1987-1989, the F40 stood alone as the production car speed champ. In addition to being the fastest “mass produced car,” it was also the most expensive Ferrari at the time, fetching $400,000 ($810,000 in modern currency). It suffered a severe blow in 1990, when it gave way to the Lamborghini Diablo, which accomplished a top speed of 325 km/hr (201.94) mph.
The twin-turbo, 2.9-liter V8 delivered 478 horsepower and was an inexhaustible energy source. It was able to blast to 100 km/h (62 mph) in just 3.8 seconds. The F40 was the last model that the Italian car industry manufactured while Enzo Ferrari was still alive. The F40 was the swan song in the career of the founder, as he died on August 14, 1988 at the age of 90, proud of his final automotive achievement.
Image Credit: RM Auctions
Written by George Psarras