On this day: Ferrari F40 unveiled
It’s been three decades to the day since the legendary supercar was revealed to the world
July 21 1987 – the day the Ferrari F40 was revealed. Since then, the supercar has left a legacy that will last beyond a lifetime in the motoring world.
Derived from the 308 GTB, it featured a 2.9-litre twin-turbocharged V8 engine that developed 471bhp and 426lb ft of torque. The 0-60mph sprint was dispatched in 3.8 seconds and, with enough room, the F40 would run on to a top speed of 201mph – which, at the time, was a world production car record.
It was also lauded for its unrivalled driving experience and incredible performance, and often seen as "a race car for the road."
Significantly, it was also the final car to be approved by Enzo Ferrari before his death in 1988. It was well known within Ferrari circles that this would likely be the case during its development.
Leonardo Fioravanti, a designer at Pininfarina at the time, said: “We knew, as [Enzo] knew, that it would be his last car. We threw ourselves headlong into the work. Extensive research at the wind tunnel went into aerodynamic optimisation, to achieve coefficients appropriate for the most powerful Ferrari road car ever.
“Its style matches its performance: the low bonnet with a very tiny overhang, the NACA air vents and the rear spoiler, which my colleague Aldo Brovarone placed at right angles, made it famous.”
The car wasn’t born perfect, though. Speaking ahead of the 30th anniversary, Dario Benuzzi Ferrari’s test driver who worked on the F40, said: "The handling of the first prototypes was poor.
"To tame the power of the engine and make it compatible with a road model, we needed to subject every aspect of the car to countless tests: from the turbochargers to the braking system, from the shock absorbers to the tyres. The result was an excellent aerodynamic load and high stability even at high speed.”
Ferrari have put an F40 on special display at their museum in Maranello, as part of the Italian company’s 70th birthday celebrations.