Words by Raj Hunjan
The Ferrari F40 was designed and built purely to be the fastest road car of all time. The fact that it is achingly beautiful is only a bonus. Ferrari desperately wanted to break the 200mph top speed barrier with the F40. It was the first road legal car to conquer this milestone, by 1mph. The F40 was built to mark the 40th anniversary of Ferrari, it is also the last supercar to be signed off by Enzo Ferrari himself. The F40 is a true race car for the road, bare carbon panels on the inside, Nomex covered bucket seats are unapologetic. Who needs an in-car audio system when you have an 8 cylinder, twin turbo orchestra at your command via your right foot – positioned directly behind your ears?
Prices of the F40 have traditionally lagged behind the Porsche 959 of the same era, mainly due to the high build numbers of the Ferrari supercar and it’s relative simplicity. The tables are turning, collectors are seeing the value of a pure supercar and this is being reflected in F40 prices across the globe.
REASONS TO BUY A FERRARI F40
- Low weight and high power are impossible to replicate in the modern regulations.
- Just as fast as any modern supercar.
- Iconic design is revered by many, purist form of supercar shape.
- Dream supercar for many people around the world ensure they will alway be desired.
- Availability of cars and more importantly parts make this an ideal collectors purchase.
- Prices have risen dramatically and will continue to do so along with other pivotal Ferrari models.
- The last supercar to be released during Enzo Ferraris life, the last one he signed off on.
- V8 twin turbo is a reliable power unit if maintained correctly.
FERRARI F40 FACTORY OPTIONS
The F40 was deliberately built with as little equipment and luxuries as possible. However air conditioning and wind down windows (rather than perspex items) could be specified from new. There were two seat sizes offered to customers and also fitted Schedoni luggage The F40 could also be ordered with a non-synchromesh gearbox. Our advice is to get a perspex window car without air conditioning that is a non-catalyst, non adjustable suspension as they are very rare the most sought after variants by collectors.
The F40 was only available in one colour from the factory, Rosso Corsa. If you come across an F40 in any other colour it will have been resprayed at some point in its life. Check the quality of the paintwork very carefully.
The fixed bucket seats were flocked in fire retardant Nomex red material. The dashboard and transmission tunnel were covered in black felt. The floor had bare untreated carbon.
FERRARI F40 BUYERS CHECKPOINTS
The V8 twin turbo engine is very reliable if properly maintained. Make sure there is no oil leakage as the turbos get hot and can easily ignite it with catastrophic consequences. The original ceramic turbos can wear and fail. If there is excessive black smoke when they spool or if power is down on a drive then they are likely to be on their way out. Likewise if they are noisy then the vanes may be damaged. Most owners replace the ceramic turbos with more durable ball bearing turbos.
Suspension & Steering
The non adjustable suspension is more desirable because there is less to go wrong and perish. The adjustable system also has parts that are hard to source.
Clutch & Gearbox
To get the gearbox working at it’s optimum it has be warmed through. There were two types of gearbox, a synchromesh and dog leg straight cut box for track orientated cars. Clutch life is highly dependent on the style of driving, some have been known to last as long as 20,000 miles.
The standard brakes are only suited to fast road use, track use will soon see them being stretched beyond their limit. Check that the original brakes are included in the sale.
Wheels & Tyres
The original split rim wheels can corrode around the rim bolts, so check them carefully. Ensure that there is even wear on the tyres and plenty of life left in them.
Bodywork & General
The carbon-kevlar bodywork should be visible through the paintwork, if it isn’t on any part of the car then it has been resprayed. The underside of the panels should still be bare material, unpainted. Check the underside thoroughly for any damage, especially at the front where it is easy to catch.
Servicing should be carried out annually and the cambelt should be changed every two years. Non US cars are fitted with rubber fuel tanks, which degrade over time. Ferrari recommend replacing them every ten years.
WHAT THE MOTORING PRESS SAID
Everywhere, the precision and beauty of the F40’s engineering is breathtaking: the suspension; the plumbing and wonderful manifolding of the engine; the wheels; the front underpan when the bonnet is raised. Inside – in a cabin that is deliberately stark but lacking nothing that really matters – the race car impression is emphasised by the drilled alloy pedals.
“It looks like a race car that made a wrong turn at the end of pit lane. Its nose droops to shovel air out of the way. Its Kevlar body is pockmarked with enough air scoops to inhale a flock of sheep. A wing fit for a Formula 1 car sprouts from the rear deck no wimpy spoilers here. The F40’s midship-mounted, twin-turbocharged 2.9-liter V-8 is on display under a lightweight plexiglass rear window that’s been slotted to allow hot engine – compartment air out.
Car and Driver, 1991
So how does the F40 stack up as a road car? It is sensational, no doubt. Both to look at, and to drive. Probably the most sensational sports car ever unveiled. It is certainly the most accelerative. The most exhilarating. Never before has a machine so overtly aping Silverstone machinery, had the opportunity legally to drive down to Sainsbury’s. It is also beautifully made, a joy to examine in detail, and to touch.
Motor Trend, 2005
1987 – The F40 was a race car for the street, embodying all the finest elements of automotive engineering. It was released for sale in 1987. The F40 was an evolution of the 288 GTO in both form and concept. The F40 was the fastest, most powerful and most expensive car that
Ferrari had released to date. Ferrari took race car engineering and applied it to the F40, lightweight carbon fibre and kevlar bodywork over a oval-section tubular steel made the car rigid and lightweight. The F40 was given a low nose, a flat floor, a large rear wing and numerous NACA ducts to ensure it would be stable at high speed. You could specify the F40 in any colour, so long as it was Rosso Corsa. To keep weight down, the composite body panels were left unfinished in many areas, such as inside the doors, the cabin floor, and the door sills. The F40 has a 2.9 litre twin turbo, alloy V8, which produces 163bhp per litre and 424lb ft of torque at 4500rpm. The IHI turbochargers were water-cooled. The F40 has a unique exhaust system with three large tail pipes located centrally between the twin rear undertray diffusers.
1989 – Unlike the 288 GTO, the Ferrari F40 was never intended to be raced professionally. However, the car debuted on the circuit in 1989 as a non factory backed entry, at the Laguna Seca round of the IMSA Championship. The F40 appeared in the GTO category with a LM evolution model driven by Jean Alesi. It finished third to the two faster space-framed four-wheel drive Audi 90. However, it did beat a whole host of other factory backed space-frame specials.
1992 – Ferrari initially only planned to build 400 cars, however demand was so great that they produced over three times as many by the end of production in 1992.
FERRARI F40 PARTS ANALYSIS
Below are the parts prices for the Ferrari F40 sourced online from Eurospares, with the exception of the tyre prices which are sourced from Camskill. All prices should be used as a guide only. Prices from Ferrari and specialists may be different to those quoted below.
The Ferrari F40 is a relatively simple car by modern standards, however this isn’t reflected in the price of the components of the car. Parts are readily available
Clutch Kit £1360
Front Wheel Bearings (each) £592
Rear Wheel Bearings (each) £55
Front Dampers (pair) £2650
Rear Dampers (pair) £678
Front Springs (pair) £165
Rear Springs (pair) £1351
Front Brake Pads (pair) £265
Rear Brake Pads (pair) £481
Front Brake Discs (pair) £3486
Rear Brake Discs (pair) £2550
Manifold (each) £2771
Turbo Outlet Pipe (each) £177
Rear Silencer (pair) £5886
Front Tyres – Pirelli P Zero (pair) £227
Rear Tyres – Pirelli P Zero (pair) £588
Front Wheels – 17” Alloy Wheels (each) £1820
Rear Wheels – 17” Alloy Wheels (each) £2104
Oil Filter £26
Headlight unit (each) £1608
Rear light unit (each) £240
Starter Motor £820
BUYING A FERRARI F40
Prices for the Ferrari F40 start at around £900,000 and go all the way up to £1,100,000. Price is dependent on the history, mileage, originality and factory specification. The early non catalyst cars with non adjustable suspension are the most desirable, our recommendation is to find one of the these cars with a complete service history.
cylinders / capacity
8 / 2936
CO2g / km
bhp / rpm
471 / 7000
Miles Per Gallon
lb ft / rpm
426 / 4000
Wheel & Tyres
Width / Sidewall / Diameter
245 / 40 / 17
335 / 35 / 17
Front : Rear
41 : 59
0 – 60
Front / Rear
1595 / 1610
0 – 100
5 speed manual
Power to Weight
Engine position / Driven wheels
Mid / Rear
Length / Width / Height
4430 / 1989 / 1130
1987 – 1992
Read our Ferrari F40 Investment & Owners Experience Article: click here
Buy MotorStars Magazine #50 which contains our full 20 page article about all aspects of buying, owning, the factory options, available colours, technical specification, part prices for the Ferrari F40: click here