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CATEGORIES (articles) > Cars we emulate > Ferrari > Ferrari F40 History

Ferrari F40 History

Ferrari F40
Manufacturer: Ferrari

The Ferrari F40 is a supercar that was produced by Ferrari from 1987 to 1992 as the successor to the 288 GTO, with which it shared some parts. During its production run, the F40 was Ferrari's fastest, most powerful and most expensive vehicle and it remains one of the highest performing street legal vehicles ever produced; even by current standards, the F40's performance threshold is amazingly high, and very few sports cars of any age can best it on the track.


The F40 was in the most literal sense designed as the successor to the company's GTO supercar, but the project's meaning ran deeper. At ninety years old, Enzo Ferrari was keenly aware that his life was coming to an end, and was somewhat disappointed that Ferrari's dominance in international motorsport had faded somewhat over the years. As a result, Enzo wanted a new pet project put into the pipelines, something that could remind the world of the company's capabilities as a manufacturer as well as provide both a competitor to the Porsche 959 and come to be his seminal masterpiece; the company's impending 40th anniversary provided just the right occasion for the car to debut. The plan was simple: create a vehicle that combined the company's best technologies into a no-frills sports car that would come as close as possible to being a full fledged race vehicle while still retaining the necessary equipment to be a street-legal product.

Power came from an enlarged, 2.9 litre version of the GTO's twin IHI turbocharged V8 developing 478 bhp (356 kW) under 16 lbf/in² (110 kPa) of boost. The suspension setup, like the GTO's, remained a double wishbone setup, though many parts were upgraded and settings were changed; the unusually low ground clearance prompted Ferrari to include the ability to raise the vehicle's ground clearance when necessary.

The body was an entirely new design by Pininfarina featuring panels made of kevlar, carbon fiber, and aluminum for strength and low weight, and intense aerodynamic testing was employed. Weight was further minimized through the use of a plastic windshield and windows and no carpets, sound system or door handles were installed. Early cars had fixed windows, although newer windows that could be rolled down were installed into later cars and the F40 did without a catalytic converter until 1990 when US regulations made them a requirement for emissions control reasons.

The F40 was discontinued in 1992 and in 1995 was succeeded by the F50.


The F40's light weight of 1100 kg and high power output of 478 hp @ 7000 rpm gave the vehicle tremendous performance potential. Road tests have produced 0-60 times as low as 3.6 seconds, with 0-100mph in 7.6 seconds, giving the F40 a slight accleratory advantage over the 959, which was considered its primary competitor at the time. From its introduction in 1987 until 1989, it held the record as the world's fastest production car, with a top speed of 201 mph; the record was broken by the RUF CTR "Yellowbird", owing to the RUF's 211 mile-per-hour top speed - although the F40 could still outrun it to sixty.

Pricing and Production

The car debuted with a factory MSRP of $500,000 USD, although some buyers were reported as paying as much as $1.6 million dollars for their F40. Today, prices usually hover around the half-million-dollar mark, which likely means that many F40s were re-sold for a considerable amount less than was paid for them.

The high pricing didn't seem to deter buyers though; production was initially planned to be a small run of 400 units, but strong demand prompted Ferrari to keep the vehicle in production until 1,315 cars had been sold.


In 2004, Sports Car International ranked the F40 at number five on the list of Top Sports Cars of the 1980s. Similarly, Motor Trend Classic placed the F40 as number ten in their list of the ten "Greatest Ferraris of all time".

In addition, Jeremy Clarkson of the BBC's Top Gear television show, has listed the F40 as his personal favorite supercar, based on the simplicity of the car compared to later, more technologically advanced supercars.

In Popular Media

  • Joshua Tree (1993) featured a Ferrari F40 (which is based on a Pontiac Fiero kit car).
  • RPM (1998) showed a Ferrari F40 racing on the track.
  • Gone in 60 Seconds (2000) briefly featured a Ferrari F40 in the background of a Ferrari garage.
  • The F40 is considered a popular choice of model by Sega especially with Ferrari enthusiast Yu Suzuki's Sega-AM2 department in which it makes its first appearance in Turbo Outrun, where the male driver in the game drives a fictitious convertible F40 and as the usual hardtop version, also appears in OutRun 2, its updated version OutRun 2 SP and Sumo Digital's port of the latter version called OutRun 2006: Coast 2 Coast. The F40 also appears in the Chase HQ cashing-in game, Battle Out Run, and appears as a competition evolution of the Ennea/Igol team in Sega Super GT and Le Mans 24.
  • The F40 can also be seen in Project Gotham Racing 2 and its third installment, Project Gotham Racing 3 and also in Forza Motorsport.
  • One of its early videogame appearance was in Codemasters' budget game Twin Turbo V8 and Titus Interactive's Crazy Cars 2 both released in 1989.
  • Test Drive II: The Duel (1989), also as a competitor to a Porche 959
  • GTA: San Andreas (2005) features a car known as the Turismo, which is based heavily on the F40 LM and is the fastest supercar in the game, with the Infernus (modelled on a Honda NSX) a close second.

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CATEGORIES (articles) > Cars we emulate > Ferrari > Ferrari F40 History

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