The F40 is going to have an even more important celebration a decade from now, but at the moment it suffices to remember the supercar that defined an era, not in its thirties.
The Ferrari F40 is certainly one of the legendary models coming out of the crazy late 1980s and early ‘90s, sitting in the pantheon next to the Lamborghini Countach and Porsche 959. July 21 was the 30 years anniversary for the model, with the Prancing Horse’s official unveiling having taken place at the iconic Civic Centre in Maranello, which is today hosting the Ferrari Museum. The F40 actually marked 40 years of business for Ferrari, and the Prancing Horse of course wanted it as the halo model – the ultimate engineering success for the company. The coupe is also fondly remembered by fans because it was the final model with major input from Enzo Ferrari before his departure in August 1988.
“I have never experienced a presentation like that of the F40. When the car was unveiled, a buzz passed through the room followed by thunderous applause,” remembers Ermanno Bonfiglioli, Ferrari’s then Head of Special Projects. “No one, except for close associates of Enzo Ferrari, had yet seen it.” The F40 was developed in utter secrecy and incredibly fast for the period – 13 months of development, with engine design kicking off in June 1986. It was the one found in the 288 GTO, but the 2.9-liter biturbo V8 was reworked for 478 horsepower (356 kilowatts). Lightweight components were also used – magnesium for the oil sump, cylinder-head covers, intake manifolds, and gearbox bell-housing, with Kevlar reinforcement panels for the tubular steel frame and carbon fiber body panels.