When asked to picture a Ferrari. The majority of people will picture a sleek 1980s red road car that was made to produce pure speed. The 1987 Ferrari F40 is arguably the most iconic Ferrari ever made. It was the car that young boys had posters of on their walls, it was the car that men and women dreamed of owning, it was the car that changed road and race cars forever.
The Ferrari F40 is a significant car not only because of what it was but because of when it was. It was named the F40 as it was built to celebrate 40 years of Ferrari. It is important to note that it was the last car that Enzo Ferrari approved before his death. This car is the lasting image we should all have of Ferrari then as it was the final car that the great creator allowed into production.
Even without these important accolades, it is just an incredible piece of machinery. The majority of car fans know that the F40 was the first production car to break 200mph (321 km/h). It was a car that changed how people viewed road cars. While many road cars were built for speed prior to 1987 they were also built with comfort in mind. They were seen as a car that should tick many boxes. The Ferrari F40 was different. It was seen as a car that would go fast, comfort was sacrificed.
The car had a 2.9l v8 engine that was placed right behind the seats. It was the IHI twin turbos that really pushed the car’s performance, a feature that had never been used before. It could produce around 500bpm at 7000rpm meaning that for its time it was an absolute monster as it could go from 0 to 60 in under four seconds. Many of the design features were taken from Formula One reflecting Enzo’s aim to produce a car that had no frills and could go fast.
When the car was released it was the world’s most expensive costing $400,000 (roughly $1 million dollars today when taking account of inflation). This car was, therefore, a luxury model without the luxury and was only suitable for true car enthusiasts because of that fact.
In 1986/7 Sega released the popular game outrun which saw a couple driving a red Ferrari through the streets. While that car was actually modeled on the Ferrari Testarossa Spider it made many everyday people want a fast red Ferrari of their own. As the F40 had just been released it became the pinnacle in street racing cars for many years to come.
Why the Ferrari F40 is one of the most popular cars of all time is hard to say. Whether it is because it was Enzo Ferrari’s last design, or whether it is because it broke records in speed and price we couldn’t say. Perhaps it was because video games at the time were popularizing red Ferraris and the F40 was able to benefit. Perhaps the F40 captured the spirit of 1987. A time when technology was becoming increasingly important and fashions were changing. In 1987 Rick Astley released the song “Never gonna give you up” and is the year that the movie “American Pyscho” is set. It was a time when raw power was something that people wanted to get their hands on and now there was an option out there.
The red Ferrari has become a staple car classic. For many men going through a mid-life crisis, an F40 is their only dream. To be perfectly honest this is nothing to do with a mid-life crisis. Any car lover would likely chop off their pinky finger to be able to own a Ferrari F40 and we don’t blame them.