If by human standards, turning 30 still means you’ve got your whole life ahead of you, by automobile standards, it means you’re either a classic or nothing more than a clunker.
The Ferrari F40 is of course the former, and now 30 years have passed since it was launched officially on July 21st, 1987 at the Civic Center in Maranello, where the Ferrari Museum is now.
Created to celebrate Ferrari’s 40th anniversary, the F40 was thought to be a masterpiece of engineering and style, representing a marriage of sorts between the 308 GTB and the 288 GTO Evoluzione concept.
This mid-engine, rear-wheel drive supercar had a 5-year long production run, though its LM and GTE race car versions continued until 1994 and 1996 respectively. As for its power unit, it was a twin-turbocharged 478 PS (471 HP) V8 engine, derived from the 288 GTO Evoluzione. Still, a number of “innovative contents enabled the F40 to become the first production Ferrari to exceed 320 km/h,” said Head of Special Projects Ermanno Bonfiglioli.
“We paid maximum attention to the weight of the engine, thanks also to the extensive use of magnesium, such as oil sump, cylinder-head covers, intake manifolds, and gearbox bell-housing were in this material that cost five times as much as aluminium alloy and that was never used in such quantities in subsequent production cars.”
Former Pininfarina designer Leonardo Fioravanti says that the F40’s design instantly managed to transmit the “exceptionality of its technical content: speed, lightness, and performance,” while long-term test driver Dario Benuzzi had this to say about the extensive testing that went into the F40:
“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.”
“With no power steering, power brakes or electronic devices, it demands the skill and commitment of the driver but generously repays it with a unique driving experience. Steering precision, road holding, braking power and intensity of acceleration reached unmatched levels for a road car.”
The Ferrari F40 is currently on show at the Ferrari Museum of Maranello, part of the “Under the Skin” exhibition.