Beast legends ep. 1: ferrari f40
Chieftain Clarkson himself described Ferrari as being a scaled-down version of God, so what more do you need?
Not long ago cars were still alive. Today we talk about one of the most alive cars ever made/born, a legend among other beasts. The name of the legend is the Ferrari F40 and, as many of you know, it is the last Ferrari ever, to be signed off by Enzo Ferrari himself. That's right. The man who gave us the gift of Ferrari entirely, was personally involved in making this car. If that's not a legend, I dare you to tell me one.
In the 1980's the V8 gods, and the world, were pleased to see a glorious thing called Group B racing, which involved immense horsepower on insanely light cars that were after put on very questionable roads, to be tortured for our enjoyment. Just as Ferrari was about to enter this heavy-weight battle of the beasts, the group was shut down completely due to alarming casualty and death numbers. Told you it was good!
This sad and somewhat exciting tale concerns us because Enzo, being the practical man that he was, decided to re-purpose the 5 RACE-car prototypes he had developed for Group B, and make a ROAD-car. To match this glorious beast Enzo was about to create, Ferrari's 40th anniversary was just around the corner, so the launch would have real historic importance. And here the origin-story of our best begins. Enzo would use the 5 Ferrari 288 GTO Evolution, left over from the death of Group B, as the base for the Ferrari F40.
288 GTO Evolution prototype
The year was 1987 and Enzo was pleased to unveil the Ferrari F40, the car that could break 200 miles per hour, with a top speed of 201. The beast weighed 1,100 kilograms, had rubber fuel tanks and was produced 1,311 times. Five times as many as Ferrari ever planned to make, thus making it the most profitable Ferrari of all-time. The base price, for the F40, in 1987 was 193.000 pounds. That would be the equivalent of north of 800.000 in today's moneys.(pun intended)
Bolivia's income was expected for the successor of the 288 GTO, and the last analog animal ever made by Ferrari. Legends unfortunately cost, the 6th rule of the warrior talks about that in a way, I believe. At the center of the car we find a 2.9 liter, twin-turbo, V8 that produces way-more then the 478 horse power advertised by the company. Why they wouldn't state it's official numbers will forever boggle me, but I presume it's probably because they knew, in some way, they could never make something as good as the F40 again. "It wheel-spins in 3rd and occasionally 4th" if I were to quote Mark Hales.
What you have to understand is that this car has no traction control and no electronic interface whatsoever. It is purely analog. And the gift it brings with it is that it bonds with you, it plugs you in the speed, your hands become sensors, your feet become sensors and all these parts of your body feed all these inputs to the central computer unit: your brain. It's not a super-car it's THE super-car, and it's alive.
To fully grasp the raw nature of this beast you need to look at the cable that you have to pull to open the door, and the floor which seems to be put together with sealant. There is no radio, no air conditioning, no electric windows, nothing that could weigh more than 4 feathers. The only cars focused as much on the driver and the experience of driving are race-cars, like the one that the F40 is based on.
Although you can see the carbon fibre weave throughout the paint, and the panel-gap is large enough to reach inside the car, those are just reminders of how out of place this beast is. It was not meant for the daily mortal roads, it was supposed to rule at the hands of skillful warriors, on racetracks across the realm. Instead we were lucky enough to have the last of the breed, in our life-times. Probably the best bread there was.
If you remember anything from this beast's legend let it be this: Ferrari is not about the flash and numbers it is today but by the way it shaped the entire industry. Chieftain Clarkson himself described Ferrari as being a scaled-down version of God, so what more do you need?Imagine what that implies for the F40 and pass-on the legend.