Lot Number

1990 Ferrari F40

Sold For £302,400

Inclusive of applicable buyer's fee.

RM | Sotheby's - LONDON 8 - 9 SEPTEMBER 2013 - From the Maat Collection

Chassis No.
  • Offered from the Maat Collection
  • “The best Ferrari ever”, as per Enzo Ferrari
  • Reported to have had only two owners from new
  • Wind-up windows and complete books and tools

478 bhp, 2,936 cc DOHC twin turbo-charged V-8 engine with Weber-Marelli engine management and fuel injection, five-speed manual gearbox, four-wheel independent suspension by double wishbones, coil springs, dampers, and anti-roll bars, and four-wheel ventilated disc brakes. Wheelbase: 2,450 mm

The year 1987 was going to be a big one for Enzo Ferrari, as “Il Commendatore” celebrated both his 90th birthday and the 40th anniversary of his company. Whilst planning for the celebrations the year before, it is reported that he decided to build something special, an all-out, traditional sports car that would succeed the 288 GTO as the “ultra Ferrari”.

The name F40 was suggested by a friend of Ferrari, Gino Rancati. Having just left Ferrari’s office after a meeting, Rancati met with Razelli, the general manager, who showed him the new Ferrari that would be presented at the Frankfurt Motor Show. He asked what its name would be. Razelli replied that they had two or three possible names, and then asked Rancati what he would call it. Rancati replied, “Since Ferrari’s biggest market is the United States, and since it is now forty years since the first Ferrari car has appeared, it should have an English language name, for example, ‘Ferrari Forty’”.

Rancati received a silver plaque with the inscription: “To Gino Rancati, for a brilliant idea”. On the left was a black Cavallino Rampante and on the right read, “F40 June 1987”. An accompanying letter said, “Dear Rancati, with this plaque I want to commemorate our meeting on the 4th of June, when you kindly contributed to the choice of name for the GT car that we presented at the Frankfurt Motor Show. Your contribution has produced excellent results. The ‘F forty’, based on the idea of forty years of Ferrari cars, identifies and personalises the fastest Ferrari GT. Kindest regards, G.B. Razelli”. Next to this, in violet ink, was written, “To Signor Gino, Ferrari”.

The F40 was, at the time, the fastest road going car ever built. It was as simple as that, and no one could argue with it.

The F40 created a huge stir when it was launched, as its aggressive, purposeful looks make it a car of great beauty. Top speed was claimed as 201 mph (323 km/h), which was the first time a road car had bettered the 200 mark. It would accelerate to 60 mph (97 km/h) in 3.5 seconds and to twice that speed in just 11.5 seconds. The F40 continued the great Ferrari tradition of bridging the gap between a road car and a racing car. Weighing in at just 1,100 kilograms and utilising F1 technology, the twin-turbo road racer was a driver’s dream, and it is quite staggering in every way.

The F40’s three-litre V-8 engine was derived from its predecessor, the 288 GTO. With bigger bores and a shorter stroke, the longitudinally mounted four-cam with twin IHI turbo chargers was a beast of an engine, producing 478 brake horsepower at 7,000 rpm and red lining at 7,700 rpm. The core of the chassis was of traditional, welded, tubular, space frame construction. The influence of the F1 programme and the Grand Prix workshops could be seen in the cutting edge composite materials, carbon fibre, and Kevlar that were utilised. These were bonded into the frame of the racing Ferraris, which was an expensive and time-consuming process. The result was a chassis that was approximately 20% lighter and had a rigidity of about three times that of a conventional chassis.

The F40’s stunning looks were, of course, the responsibility of Pininfarina. Sergio Pininfarina recalled, emotionally, at the car’s launch: “In 1987, forty years after Ferrari won his first victory as a constructor in his own right, the event was celebrated by the appearance of the F40, a berlinetta with every right to be called the fastest car on the road. It has all the features of a racing car and of an ordinary road car, thus renewing the concept dear to the 1960s, when everyday Ferraris were winning races all over the world. The F40 was the last car to be christened by Enzo Ferrari; my admiration and affection for him were immense; I was jealously proud of the esteem in which he held me, and, for me, he was a guiding light”.

With a cost of nearly £200,000, Ferrari expected to sell several hundred F40s. They underestimated demand. The first F40s delivered commanded premiums of up to three times their cost. Around 1,500 were eventually produced, and the F40 became the most profitable car in Ferrari history.

The F40 presented here was originally delivered on 4 February 1990, to Stefano Bonati, and it has reportedly had only two owners from new. It was originally painted in Rosso Corsa and fitted with the more desirable wind-up windows.

The car is reported to have been serviced by a Ferrari dealer in 1991, at which time it showed 4,900 kilometres. Two years later, it was involved in an accident and professionally repaired to original condition by Vaccari and Peraro. Mileage now shows as 4,791 kilometres, which is presumed to be mileage completed since the accident, making the total travel since new just below 10,000 kilometres. During this time, the car was also repainted in Giallo Fly. It has since been refinished in its original colour of Rosso Corsa.

Its timing belts were changed during its last service, which was performed by Munsterhuis Sportscars SV in November 2012, and it has been driven only 41 kilometres since. This F40 also comes with its complete books and tools, and it is riding on correct Pirelli P Zero tyres.

At the time of Enzo Ferrari’s death on 14 August 1988, he had achieved eight Formula One Manufacturer’s Championships, ten Driver’s Championships, close to one hundred Grand Prix wins, nine victories at Le Mans, and thousands of other significant wins. Enzo Ferrari’s last great statement was the F40, and it was uncompromisingly stunning. In his own words, he called it “the best Ferrari ever”.


Please note that contrary to the printed catalog description, this car is finished in its original colour of Rosso Corsa.

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