We’ll always remember the late 1980s and early ’90s as the dawn of the supercar as we know it. That’s when we started seeing mid-engined exotics that looked like nothing else and were capable of cracking 200 miles per hour in a heartbeat.
It’s an era that gave us such exotics like the Porsche 959, McLaren F1, and Jaguar XJ220. But two of the most memorable in our books were the Ferrari F40 and Bugatti EB110. And there just so happens to be examples of each coming up for auction.
The progenitor of today’s LaFerrari, the F40 for many still remains the prototypical supercar. It was as close as Ferrari had ever come to making a race car for the road, stripped down to the bare essentials. It had 3.0-liter twin-turbo V8, a five-speed manual, plastic windows, and carbon-Kevlar bodywork with paint so thin you could see the weave right through it.
The EB110 took a different approach that set the reborn marque on a course that lead directly to today’s Chiron. Like the F40, it was mid-engined, turbocharged, and made in Italy (in the greater Modena area no less), but that’s where the similarities ended. The first Bugatti in decades employed a 3.5-liter quad-turbo V12 with all-wheel drive and (in GT trim) creature comforts that made the F40 look spartan. (Which it was.)
The Bugatti was far more powerful than the Ferrari, producing 552 hp to the Prancing Horse’s 471. And as a result, it was a lot faster: 0-60 in the threes instead of the fours, and a top speed in excess of 212 mph instead of just cresting the double-century mark. The EB110 was also much more rare: Bugatti only made about one tenth the number of EB110s that Ferrari did F40s. Yet Bonhams values the Ferrari much higher today at $875-975k than it does the Bugatti at $500-700k.
Both are set to cross the auction block at the Greenwich Concours d’Elegance in Connecticut next month. For your money, or cost no object, which would you take?