Ferrari F40, a living myth

On 21 July 1987, the Ferrari F40 was presented, the first true supercar of the modern era, which brings the appearance and substance of racing cars to the road, thanks to the ultra-light materials that make up the chassis and sheet.

A true symbol of the 80s, an icon of style and performance still today, the F40 represents a great piece of history of the Ferrari house: the car is designed to celebrate the first forty years of life of the Maranello car manufacturer, and the last approved by Enzo Ferrari himself, who passed away a year later.

Success will almost be taken for granted, to the point that production will boast 1.311 units purchased all over the world by collectors, not to mention that it is so exclusive that, originally sold by Maranello for 374 million lire, it will easily reach over 1 billion in auctions. Ferrari even uses the F40 as a benefit / exchange of goods to pay the salaries of its Formula One drivers, Mansell and Prost, and lower the amount due in cash.

Five Evoluzione cars are made for testing purposes: four will be sold later to private customers, while the fifth is retained by the company. When the F40 was announced in 1987, its bodywork left everyone entranced: it was powerful and mean, with lines that resembled a racing model, but the car was homologated for road use. The name F40 originated from the Ferrari F and the number 40, in honor of the fortieth anniversary of the first Ferrari homologated for road use. It was also the last car to boast the presence of Enzo Ferrari at the presentation.

The only traces that remained to testify the distant derivation from the 308 were evident around the profile of the passenger compartment and in the satin black line on the sides of the bodywork; for the rest, the car body was completely new, and presented many new features, such as the materials that made it up.

The low and aggressive front flowed towards the tail in a path dotted with air intakes and vents for cooling. The panoramic rear window, under which part of the engine could be seen, accompanied the gaze up to the large full-width rear wing: in the eighties, this aerodynamic appendage became the greatest icon representing the concept of a very high-power car.

The public immediately acclaimed the F40 designed by Eng. Materazzi and his staff: queues of customers formed with checkbooks in hand ready to register on the waiting lists, despite Ferrari had not yet communicated how many cars would be produced and in what time frame.

The decision was made to try to avoid a repetition of the extraordinary clamor generated by the GTO, but the initiative did not bear the hoped-for results, and the storm of orders became very long. The aesthetics and the innovations brought pushed the public to desire it assiduously. When the supercar boom reached its peak in 1989, some cars changed hands for the equivalent of close to a million euros.

Production continued until 1992 and 1311 examples were built, with chassis numbers in the range between 76624 and 95317: nearly five times the number of GTOs made.

Michelotto from Padua developed the racing versions, equipped with LM and GT-E suffixes, which during the nineties were successful in European GT Racing races.

The car bodies were mounted on a chassis with a wheelbase of 2450 mm, the same size as the GTO, but both tracks grew in size, along with the overall length which increased due to the long, more aerodynamic nose. The frames had internal reference numbers F 120 AB and were all numbered with the continuous sequence of digits that began with chassis number 75000, thus comprising even and odd numbers.

The construction followed a classic Ferrari principle which provided for a tubular steel frame, now with a progressive deformation front section as required by the new regulations in force almost all over the world. In general, the structure was similar to that of the GTO but additional arms were added to improve rigidity, furthermore the composite elements were fixed to the frame using a special adhesive, obtaining a further strengthening of the whole. The F40 was the first production car with body panels made primarily of composite materials. There were only eleven of these panels, thanks to the two large single elements used for the front and rear sections.

While the chassis of the GTO had the rear bolted to simplify the possible removal of the engine, this configuration was not necessary on the F40, thanks to the particular construction of the rear panel of the body that could be removed completely, thus ensuring good accessibility to the engine.

The five-spoke modular wheels were made by Speedline and were fixed to the Rudge hub by a single nut, their measurements were 8J x 17 inches on the front and 10J x 17 inches on the rear train. The wheels hid the large perforated and ventilated disc brakes equipped with double hydraulic circuits and without servo assistance.

The suspensions were independent with oscillating arms made of tubular steel, coil springs, hydraulic shock absorbers, front and rear anti-roll bars. During the production period, the possibility of requesting the height adjustable suspension system, equipped with electronic control, was introduced.

The power unit was centrally mounted longitudinally and was a ninety degree V eight cylinder, as on the GTO. However, the development work carried out in the meantime on the Evoluzione led to a small increase in displacement, coupled with a slight increase in compression which became 7.7:1. Numerous other variations and the increase in boost pressure led to a large number of more horses and a greater maximum torque.

The total displacement reached the value of 2.936 cc with bore and stroke of 81.9 by 69.5 millimeters, the internal reference number was F 120 A. When it was necessary to install the catalytic converters, the internal reference number became F 120 D 040 The power unit had four valves per cylinder, double overhead camshafts per cylinder bank driven by a toothed belt on each side of the V, dry sump lubrication, dual water-cooled turbochargers manufactured by IHI that blew the air. intake at 1.1 bar, through a pair of Behr intercoolers.

There was an integrated Weber-Marelli IAW injection / ignition system and declared power reached 478 horsepower at 7,000 rpm. The differential lock was mounted at the rear of the engine, along with the gearbox with five synchronized gears. A sports gearbox without synchronizers was available on request, for customers who wanted to take the concept of a racing car that can also be used on the road to the extreme.


Coupé bodywork

Tank capacity 120 liters

Mass in running order 1305 kg

Unladen mass 1100 kg


Length 436 cm

Width 97 cm

Height 112 cm

Wheelbase 245 cm


Eight cylinder V engine

Displacement 2936 cm³

Petrol supply with Weber-Marelli electronic injection with double injector per cylinder

Max power/speed 352 KW (479 hp), 7000 rpm

Maximum torque 577 Nm

Rear-wheel Drive

Five-speed manual transmission + RM with self-locking differential


Top speed 326 km/h

Acceleration from 0 to 100 km/h in 4.10 seconds

Simone Pietro Zazza