While its history may be enigmatic, this 201mph missile’s condition makes it truly special, says Richard Gunn.
Even among Ferraris, the F40 stands out as a true great – a pin-up model for the late-Eighties and one of the world’s most revered supercars. A total of 1311 were built but only around 80 came to the UK, all in left-hand drive. Others have since joined them, like this one.
It has seen very little use during its 26-year life, showing just 20,316 kilometres (12,623 miles) and is in original condition save for a sports exhaust, fire extinguisher and racing harnesses.
However, there is no history beyond its most recent service. It was a comprehensive one though, undertaken by a Ferrari specialist in Italy to the tune of £22,000. Two of the big jobs taken care of – cambelts (which should be replaced every two years) and rubber fuel cells (ditto every 10 years). This F40 has next to flawless paintwork. Go in close and you’ll spot a few isolated stonechips on the nose, plus what looks like a small patch of touch-up paint on the driver’s side rear wheelarch edge adjacent to the engine lid. Aside from the driver’s door edge standing a little proud, panel fit is excellent. The rubbers in the doors and surrounding windows haven’t perished at all. Very good Bridgestone Expedia tyres are fitted and are, correctly 245/40-17 at the front and road-roller-ish 335/35-17s at the rear. The polished Ferrari alloys they surround are mark-free.
You need two people to lift and prop open the substantial engine lid. But it’s worth the effort, for the V8 on this F40 is finely detailed, with no grime or grease. Climb over the substantial sills and settle in the figure-hugging bucket seats and you’re confronted by a spartan environment – no carpets, not even mats and a boltedover glovebox aperture. However, the stark lack of trim means there’s very little to wear and aside from a few shoe scuffs to the floor and the odd loose stitch, the interior is immaculate.
It’s difficult to describe what the F40 does as anything less than awe-inspiring, even intimidating. This one fi res up enthusiastically. But, like most supercars, it needs to warm up properly before the driving experience becomes properly rewarding. So the five-speed transmission is initially recalcitrant to shift but frees up once water and oil temperature gauge needles swing towards the centre. They stayed healthy throughout, with no signs of overheating. The clutch is a leg-full, but is very smooth and direct, with no slipping detected. Though not power-assisted the steering is light, which is correct. There’s no hint of play, and the brakes are ferociously effective and stop this F40 quickly in a straight line. It feels like this car has barely covered 12 miles, let alone over 12,000. It’s that good.
CHOOSE YOUR F40
Ferrari commemorates its 40th anniversary by launching the F40 in 1987, a mid-engined supercar sporting a 2936cc twin-turbo V8 engine good for 478bhp. At £197,000 it is the most powerful and expensive car the marque has ever sold to the public. Raw interior shows bare carbonfibre tub. Traditional roll-down windows are adopted after the first 50 cars sport sliding Perspex windows. The LM model, built by Michelotto and boasting 850-900bhp, sees the F40 enter racing in 1989. Modifications take the form of wider wheels, reinforced chassis, deeper front airdam, plexiglass lights, stiffer suspension and uprated brakes.
Further evolution results in the #Ferrari-F40-Competizione
. A catalytic convertor is fitted to 1991 model-year cars. Height adjustable suspension also becomes an option. Ferrari ups the power to 515bhp to combat the extra weight gain inflicted by these additions. Production of the F40 comes to an end in 1992 after 1311 are built.
CAR #1989 #Ferrari-F40
Contact Tom Hartley, Overseal, Swadlincote,
Derbyshire (tomhartley.com, 01283 762762)
Engine 2936cc V8, QOHC
Power 478bhp @ 7000rpm
Torque 425lb ft @ 4000rpm
Top speed: 201mph
Fuel consumption: 16mpg
Length: 4430mm Width: 1981mm
COMPREHENSIVE, 5000 MILES PER
YEAR, GARAGED CALL: 01277 206911
Bare, race-bred cockpit looks like it’s hardly been sat in. Seats are no-nonsense Nomex. Low-mileage engine has had an expensive cambelt service. That’s ‘expensive’ as in £22k.