Auctions and Brokerage
Coachwork by Pininfarina
From A Private Ferrari Spider CollectionBenedetto “Benny” Caiola, Pelham Manor, New York (acquired new via Wide World of Cars in 1995)Current Owner (acquired from the estate of the above in 2011)
Cavallino Classic, Florida, 1996
During the early 1990s, the premier sports car manufacturers began to implement Formula 1 technology in road-going automobiles to a previously unheard-of-degree. In general, up to this time, most supercars were based on detuned sports racing cars or were brutish, turbocharged homologation specials. The first major step in this new direction arrived in 1992 with the McLaren F1, a car that boasted a naturally aspirated V-12 engine, a central driver’s seat, and exotic, race-proven materials in all aspects of its construction.
Not to be outdone, three years later and following an extensive period of development, Ferrari unveiled the F50. Like the McLaren F1, the F50 was a brilliantly engineered supercar that made use of authentic Grand Prix technology. It too possessed the purity of a free-revving, naturally aspirated V-12 engine and traditional six-speed manual gearbox, while eschewing driver aids such as power steering and anti-lock brakes.
Built around a lightweight carbon fiber tub, the F50’s extraordinary chassis featured advanced pushrod-operated suspension, massive Brembo disc brakes, and a rear-mounted transaxle. The mid-mounted four-cam V-12, internally designated as the Tipo F310B, was developed from the engine used in Ferrari’s 641 Formula 1 car and 333 SP, which won the FIA World Sportscar Championship from 1998 to 2001. Utilizing five valves per cylinder, dry sump lubrication, and the latest Bosch Motronic electronic fuel injection, this 4.7-liter engine produced 513 hp at 8,500 rpm, enough to propel the F50 to 60 mph in just 3.6 seconds, on to a top speed of 202 mph.
Like its chassis, the F50’s bodywork was constructed from state-of-the-art composite materials and was the result of extensive testing. The Pininfarina design, inspired by the firm’s famed Mythos concept car, was carefully refined in the wind tunnel and featured underbody aerodynamics. Unlike its rival from McLaren, or the ancestral 288 GTO and F40, the F50 featured a removable hardtop, offering the possibility of open-air motoring, which was in keeping with its Formula 1 roots. Inside, the cockpit was minimal and focused, with bare carbon fiber throughout, LCD instrumentation, and supportive bucket seats trimmed in leather and Alcantara.
With only 350 examples initially planned for production, and a two-year lease program intended to discourage speculators, the F50 was extremely rare and difficult to access, as the motoring press discovered to their great frustration. When Car and Driver magazine finally found an owner willing to lend his car for a track evaluation, the wait proved to be worthwhile. As John Philips wrote in the magazine’s January 1997 issue, “The sound comes as close to raising goose-flesh as anything since the V-12 Matras lit up the Mulsanne.”
Over the past two decades, the F50 has come to be regarded as the most collectible Ferrari supercar, as it is the only model in the evolution from 288 GTO to LaFerrari that features the unique combination of a naturally aspirated V-12 engine, six-speed manual gearbox, Pininfarina-designed bodywork, and an exhilarating open-air driving experience.
The F50 presented here, chassis 103922, was completed at Ferrari on December 15, 1995, finished in the definitive Rosso Corsa (Racing Red) livery. The 48th of only 349 examples constructed, this F50 is especially desirable, as it is one of only 55 originally built for the US market.
As documented by marque historian Marcel Massini, this F50 was delivered new through Ferrari North America to Alberto Pedretti’s official dealership Wide World of Cars in Spring Valley, New York. Upon arrival, the F50 was sold to its first private owner, Benedetto “Benny” Caiola.
Born in San Fratello, Sicily, Italy, in 1930, Mr. Caiola immigrated to the US at the age of 16 and worked his way up the ladder in New York’s competitive construction industry to become a truly self-made real estate magnate. In 1980, he purchased his first Ferrari, a 512 BB, which represented the beginning of a long relationship with the great Italian marque. Over the next three decades, he continued to acquire the latest Ferraris, including landmark supercars such as the F40 and Enzo, as well as competition models like the 333 SP and FXX.
Soon after taking delivery, Mr. Caiola proudly displayed his new F50 at the annual Cavallino Classic in Palm Beach, Florida. During the first two years of his ownership, he drove the Ferrari approximately 4,000 miles and is said to have been enamored with its visceral performance. Over the next two decades, the F50 was maintained by Wide World Ferrari Maserati and kept free from track use, preserving it in fine, original condition.
The F50 remained a fixture in Mr. Caiola’s stable of Italian exotics until his passing in 2010. Gooding & Company was then entrusted with the sale of cars in his collection at The Scottsdale Auctions in January 2011, where the F50 was sold to the current owner, a Texas-based enthusiast with an extraordinary collection of sports cars, ranging from a Ferrari 250 GT California Spider to a McLaren F1.
Kept in climate-controlled storage ever since, the F50 has enjoyed minimal use and, at the time of cataloguing, displayed less than 5,200 miles. It further benefits from a major engine-out service performed by authorized dealer Ferrari of San Antonio, which is documented by photographs and invoices on file totaling more than $85,000. The sale of this rare Ferrari supercar includes the original owner’s manuals, tool kit, suitcase, and luggage box, as well as recent CARFAX and AutoCheck Vehicle History Reports.
A superb US-specification example with an impressive two-owner provenance, limited mileage, and recent major service, this F50 represents a rare opportunity to acquire the most sought-after Ferrari supercar of the modern era.