Ultimate Poster Car: 1990 Ferrari F40

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I’m willing to stick my neck on the line and say that the 1990 F40 was not the best-looking car to roll out of Ferrari’s factory in Maranello, Italy. It is a subjective opinion, but I’ve always felt the 458 Italia is more visually appealing. However, the F40 remains my firm favorite wearing the Prancing Horse badge. Developed to commemorate the marque’s Fortieth Anniversary and the last model signed off by Enzo Ferrari, it provides a raw-edged driving experience with none of the electronic enhancements that transform an average driver into a Niki Lauda wannabe. It is listed here at Mecum Auctions and is set to go under the hammer in Glendale, Arizona, on Saturday, April 1st. I must say a big thank you to Barn Finder Araknid78 for spotting this Italian stallion.

The F40 was an uncompromising model that owed little to luxury. Its angular body was purposeful, with every scoop and spoiler designed to improve cooling or increase downforce. The car wears traditional Rosso Corsa paint, and even that has a story to tell. It shines well for its age, but a close inspection will probably reveal areas where the body’s composite materials are visible through the finish. This was not due to poor quality control but the company’s desire to achieve a low overall weight. Thick and glossy paint increases that figure, so Ferrari applied barely enough to satisfy buyers. The panels are excellent, as are the distinctive 17″ wheels. With a four-figure odometer reading, it is no shock that the exterior presents in as-new condition.

The weight reduction philosophy is clearly visible when examining Ferrari’s interior. Upholstered surfaces extend to the seats, console, and dash, and the material is pretty sparse. There is plenty of exposed kevlar and seam sealer, with no carpet or other creature comforts beyond a heater. The F40 was effectively a road-going race car, meaning the driver received a leather-wrapped Momo wheel, an elegant gated shifter, and gauges to monitor the mechanical health of this Italian thoroughbred. If you craved a booming stereo or power windows, the F40 wasn’t your weapon of choice.

Ferrari set out to produce the ultimate driver’s car with the F40, but it also became a lesson in oneupmanship late in its development cycle. The company hadn’t initially focused on the car’s potential top speed because any figure above 190mph was considered acceptable. However, when Porsche revealed that its high-tech 959 reached 197mph, Ferrari had to act if they were to legitimately describe the F40 as the ultimate supercar. Some minor tweaking produced positive results, with the F40 achieving 201mph. It did this utilizing a mid-mounted 2,936cc V8 that inhales deeply via a pair of IHI turbochargers to pump out 478hp. Those ponies feed to the back wheels via a five-speed manual transaxle, allowing the F40 to storm the ¼ mile in 11.4 seconds on its way to that magic 201mph. The mechanical news with this classic seems positive, with the car receiving an engine-out service in 2017. It has clocked a mere fifty-nine miles since, suggesting nobody has tried to wear out this beauty. It comes with its original Schedoni luggage, tool kit, and Red Book issued by Ferrari Classiche.

Ferrari released the F40 as a commemorative edition to celebrate its Fortieth Anniversary, with plans to produce 400 vehicles for worldwide consumption. However, such was the demand that an impressive 1,315 cars rolled off the line before production ceased. Of those, 213 found their way onto American soil, and our feature car is one of those vehicles. With values recently rising considerably, we can speculate about the final sale price. An almost identical car with a comparable odometer reading sold at auction in December for $3,250,000. I’ll be unsurprised if this car matches that figure, although it could potentially sell for slightly more. Even if that figure is too rich for you, watching the auction could be fascinating. Will any readers join me?

Auctions Ending Soon


  1. Melton Mooney

    I think I saw this car in the Silicon Valley Bank executive parking lot last month.

    Like 17
    • Ike Onick

      What is “BLM”?

      Like 1
    • Randall

      Good question Ike.

      Like 0
  2. Big C

    At least with under 10,000 miles on this beauty, it’s had it’s “engine out” service performed. LOL. Get out those checkbooks, aficionados.

    Like 1
    • CCFisher

      If you can afford $3,000,000+ for the car, $100,000 for service is petty cash.

      Like 7
      • Big C

        Yep. Probably have that under the sun visor.

        Like 1
  3. Rob


    Like 1
  4. Howie

    Mecum on April first, perfect.

    Like 3
  5. Araknid78

    Sold at $2,860,000

    Like 0

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