THE FERRARI F40: ENZO'S LAST HURRAH
YES, I AM A WEEK LATE, BUT BETTER LATE THAN NEVER. THIS IS THE STORY OF ENZO FERRARI'S FINAL CAR.
At the time of publishing, it has been 30 years, 0 months, 1 week, and 0 days since the Ferrari F40 was revealed to the world. But our story starts as early as 1984.
The F40's predecessor, the 288 GTO, was undergoing development of an Evoluzione variant to compete against the Porsche 959 in the ludicrous world of Group B. Unfortunately for Ferrari, due to deaths of both drivers and spectators, the FIA had to shut down Group B in 1986, thus bringing an end to both the turbocharged monsters and Ferrari's aspirations.
By then, the company had 5 GTO Evoluziones just lying around the factory. Ferrari sold 4 of those cars, and kept one. The remaining car was used to further develop the 288's successor. By then, the company's founder, Enzo Ferrari, was already old and on the verge of death, and he wanted to leave a legacy in his final car. Soon enough, he approves the Ferrari F40, and that would be the last car to ever receive this honor. The "40" symbolized the company's 40th birthday, and the "F"? Of course, we all know that.
The car utilizes a 2.9 liter twin-turbocharged V8 mounted at 90 degrees. Overall, the car produces 478 hp at 7000 rpm, which propels the car from 0-100 in 4.1 seconds. All that power goes to the rear wheels through a synchromesh five-speed manual, although a non synchromesh "sports" version was also offered. The car tops out at 324 km/h, or in glorified American terms, 201 mph, which makes it one of the first cars to go past the 200 mph mark.
The F40's twin turbo V8.
The car has a double wishbone setup for its suspension which was similar to its predecessor, although many things were modified. The body was a new design from legendary design firm Pininfarina and had panels made of Kevlar, carbon fiber, and aluminum. It also used composite materials for its body, making it one of the first production cars to do so.
An interesting fact about the F40 though, is that almost all the cars that left the Maranello factory sported the same color: Rosso Corsa. Although some people say that there were F40's that left the factory in yellow and black. Pininfarina was held responsible for most of the re-sprays, some taking place after the car left the factory.
Ferrari never had intentions to race the F40, but soon enough, the demand for a racing F40 rose. The company soon handed the task of turning the supercar into a race car to Michelotto Automobili. The company turns out the F40 LM, which had a weight decrease by 339 kg. They also modified the engine by fitting larger intercoolers, cams, enlarged turbochargers, and more. All in all, the LM had 720 hp, although that could be stretched to 900 hp for qualifying. Remember, fellow Drivetribers, that this is 1989. Jean Alesi debuted the car in Laguna Seca round of the IMSA championship. The LM finished an astonishing third behind two Audi 90's. Despite the lack of factory support, the car enjoyed a successful season under drivers such as Jean-Pierre Jabouille, Jacques Laffite and Hurley Haywood.
Initially after the F40's release, the car received mixed reactions. Some called it beautiful, others thought the opposite. Car and Driver thought that the car was a "mix of sheer terror and raw excitement". The car was criticized for being extremely uncomfortable, with Car and Driver describing it as "Bangkok debtors prison". When the F40 was put up against the Porsche 959, most reviewers picked the latter. Initially, the car was offered for £140,000, yet cars were being thrown around at auction for more than a million pounds! A total of 1,311 F40's were made, though Ferrari stated that it would only make 400-450 cars.
The Ferrari F40 was a mixed bag when it was revealed. Some say it was the best car ever made, some say it was one of the worst Ferrari's to come out of the factory. Today, it is widely regarded as one of the best cars ever made. Enzo's last hurrah was a success.
Unfortunately for not just Ferrari, but the whole motoring community, Enzo Ferrari died on August 14, 1988 in Maranello at the ripe old age of 90. 14 years later, the Enzo Ferrari was named in his honor.
Enzo Ferrari (1898-1988)
Got anything to say, like suggestions for the next one, or mistakes that I made, or things I missed out? Whatever it is, place it in the comments.
-All images for the car were taken from Ferrari.com.