Auctions and Brokerage
Coachwork by Pininfarina
Paul Allen, Bellevue, Washington (acquired new in August 1990 via Grand Prix Motors, Seattle, Washington)Michael Thurston Warn, Oregon (acquired in September 2003)Joe K. Sackey, California (acquired in June 2007)Joe Gaddini, North Carolina (acquired in March 2008)David C. Saunders, Connecticut (acquired in December 2009)Current Owner
Firmly ranking high in many “best of” lists, Ferrari’s F40 was the inspired by-product of a program initiated in 1984 to develop an improved 288 GTO. This program was intended to counter the rising threat from Porsche’s 959 in FIA Group B rally competition. However, the lethal nature of this escalating automotive arms race ultimately spurred Group B’s cancellation in 1986 before the high-tech gladiators from Maranello and Stuttgart could face each other for supremacy.
Undeterred, Ferrari continued work on the five 288 GTO Evoluzione development cars already built and redesigned them into hyper performance 200 mph road cars to celebrate the company’s 40th anniversary. Introduced at Frankfurt in 1987 and named “F40,” the new Ferrari’s body was a tour de force by Pininfarina’s Leonardo Fioravanti and blended aggressively functional lines with incredibly effcient aerodynamics, yielding an ultra-low (0.34) drag coefficient.
The F40 technical brief sounds current even today, with a race-bred tubular space-frame chassis, fully independent suspension with double wishbones, coil-over shock absorbers, and ventilated disc brakes with four-piston calipers at each corner. Kevlar, carbon fiber, and aluminum body panels reduced weight by 20%, while increasing structural rigidity threefold over the 288 GTO. The 2.9-liter V-8 engine delivered 478 bhp at 7,000 rpm with twin IHI turbochargers and twin Behr air-to-air intercoolers.
While the specifications of the F40 conjure vivid images, few have experienced it as intended. Of those, five-time Le Mans champion driver Derek Bell tested an F40 for a “supercar” comparison test conducted during the mid- 2000s by UK’s Classic & Sports Car magazine and reveled in the experience. Summing up his drive in the F40, Bell stated: “It’s just magnificent with bags of character once you grab it by the horns. This is a car to make your hair curl. The power delivery is sensational and I love the way the turbos come on with such a rush. Very quickly the situation changes from neutral understeer to amazing oversteer, but it’s all superbly predictable.”
While the initial production estimates called for about 400 examples, market demand was so overwhelming that – even with the car’s stratospheric price tag of some $400,000 – 1,315 F40s were built by the time production ceased in 1991.
American Ferrari enthusiasts, however, had to wait until 1990 for the chance to own one. With such strong demand, US-specification cars traded at significant premiums of many thousands of dollars above their list price. Only 213 F40s were built for the US market.
This original US-delivered example from 1990 has traveled less than 2,600 miles from new. It was purchased new by Paul Allen, the co-founder of Microsoft, who owned the Ferrari until 2003. Recently, the F40 was comprehensively serviced for the consignor by an official Ferrari dealer, which included replacing the complete clutch assembly and the all important timing belts, a 62-point inspection, and replacement of vital fluids. Receipts for over $14,200 accompany the sale of this outstanding F40, which reportedly benefits from proper storage in a climate- and humidity-controlled environment. The complete and unused set of original fitted luggage, which is stamped with the VIN of this F40, accompanies the vehicle in the original cotton bags, the correct red fabric seat covers remain in place. Additionally, earlier in its history, a Tubi high-performance exhaust system was fitted and continues to heighten the engine’s fantastic sound. As such, this F40 stands tall as both a fitting exemplar of the last road car of the Enzo Ferrari era from Maranello and a lasting tribute to il Commendatore.