While the new twin-turbo 488 GTB is all the rage these days, we must not forget about one of the original mid-engine twin-turbo Ferraris – the F40. The F40 features a 2.9L twin-turbo V8 and served as the successor to the 288 GTO, but you already knew that. Here are eight things you didn’t know about the Ferrari F40.
1. Most maintain that the F40 only ever left Maranello wearing one color – rossa corsa – and that examples sporting any other color were resprayed. However, a select few seem confident that at least twelve F40s sported non rossa corsa colors from the factory. Diego Maradona’s black F40 was apparently ordered in black by Corrado Ferlaino who was president of Napoli FC at the time. Additionally, it is rumored that a few other black and at least nine yellow F40s left the floors of Maranello.
Notably, the iconic auto firm and F40 body designer, Pininfarina, was responsible for many of the non-factory resprays with most occurring immediately upon the car leaving the factory. Over the years, a number of other painters have gotten their hands on F40s to change colors to black, yellow, white, blue, silver, and matte green among others.
Ferrari was tired of non-factory paint jobs and set out to limit them in the F40’s successor by making the F50 available in rosso corsa (red), giallo modena (yellow), rosso barchetta (dark red), argento nurburgring (silver), and nero daytona (black).
2. Ferrari went to extreme lengths to reduce the weight of the F40. In fact, so little paint (some say a mere two liters) was used on each car that the carbon kevlar weave can be seen through the paint.
3. The F40 is regarded as the first 200 mph production car with a claimed top speed of 201 mph. While Car and Driver only managed 197 mph in their top speed run, Quattroruote reported 202.687 in theirs. The F40’s competitors, the Porsche 959 and Lamborghini Countach, managed 197 mph (sport model) and 192 mph (25th anniversary edition) respectively. The F40 LM could top out at 229 mph.
4. The F40 has two fuel tanks – one on each side just forward of the rear wheel wells. US F40s have aluminum gas tanks, and European F40s have rubber fuel bladders encased in sponge. Unlike the aluminum gas tanks, the rubber bladders require replacement every seven to ten years. Fuel capacity totals a monstrous 31.7 gallons. EPA city/highway fuel economy was rated at 12/17 mpg which would not warrant such an exceptionally high volume. However, the F40’s endurance racing beginnings undoubtedly would
5. Many have called the F40 a race car for the street, and they would be absolutely correct. Ferrari began their evolution of the 288 GTO as early as 1984 – a car designed to battle Porsche’s 959 in FIA Group B. Unfortunately, Group B was dismissed by the FIA in 1986 leaving Ferrari with five purpose-built 288 GTO Evoluziones – race cars that would go on to become the road-going F40.
The F40 was first officially raced in the Laguna Seca Raceway round of the IMSA as a contender in the GTO class in 1989. This particular car was an LM evolution model piloted by Jean Alesi. It finished third behind two four-wheel drive Audi 90s.
After another successful season, the F40 withdrew from IMSA. The F40 would go on to manage a victory in the 4 Hours of Vallelunga and the 4 Hours of Anderstorp among others and remained a popular choice for individuals to race in a number of domestic GT series like JGTC. 1996 would be the F40’s last year in GT racing.
6. F40 ownership costs are understandably high, beginning with the cost of acquisition. The sticker price for the F40 was $399,150 in 1990, though dealer markups brought pricing to somewhere between $700,000 and $900,000. Today, clean F40s can sell for upwards of $1 million. Annual fluid swaps cost $1,000. A minor belt services is recommended every three years at $3,000. A major service is recommended every ten years to replace items like belts, fuel lines, and water pumps at a cost of $15,000. European spec F40 rubber fuel bladders must be replaced every seven to ten years at a cost of $12,000. Tires should be replaced at least every 7 years (or less than 14,000 miles) for $2,000. A new windshield runs $8,000. Both lower side panels cost $26,000. The front clam goes for $35,000. The front crash box runs $24,000.
7. 200 production units of the F40 were required for it to compete in FIA Group B. At the time of its launch, it was said that no more than 400-450 examples would be made. In total, 1,311 (some say 1,315) F40s left Marnello due to its extreme popularity.
8. Not only was the F40 built to commemorate the forty year anniversary of Ferrari (hence the name), but it was also the last car to roll out of Maranello under Enzo’s supervision before his passing. At its launch, Enzo said, “Little more than a year ago, I expressed my wish to the engineers. Build a car to be best in the world. And now the car is here.” Ferrari marketing officer, Giovanni Perfetti, added, “Customers had been saying our cars were becoming too plush and comfortable. The F40 is for the most enthusiastic of our owners who want nothing but sheer performance. It isn’t a laboratory for the future, as the 959 is. It is not Star Wars.” Double burn. The F40 was truly a race-bred driver’s car meant to scare anyone brave enough to pilot it. Enzo always said, “I don’t care if the door gaps are straight. When the driver steps on the gas, I want him to shit his pants.” I wouldn’t be surprised if Enzo got his wish with the F40 and can guarantee he’d still be grinning over the ordeal.
From the 288 GTO-derived powerplant to the racing heritage, the F40 is truly something special. As we find ourselves in the midst of a twin-turbo supercar resurgence, let’s not forget about one of the all-time greats – the Ferrari F40.