How did the Ferrari F12tdf become a million-dollar car so quickly?

If Ferrari is best-known and beloved for one style of vehicle, it would be the brand’s rich lineage of front-engine, naturally-aspirated V-12s. Yet even as naturally-aspirated performance cars began to die off in the 2010s in favor of turbocharging—and in the case of the LaFerrari, hybridization—Ferrari’s F12 held fast to the purist formula. The F12berlinetta launched in 2012 as a replacement for the 599, and by 2015 Ferrari revealed its ultimate, track-slaying evolution—the F12tdf.

When new, the heavily-upgraded tdf (those last three initials stand for “Tour de France,” referring to a series of competition models during Ferrari’s endurance-racing dominance in the 1950s and ’60s) cost roughly $490,000 before options. Before long, however, used examples started trading for much higher prices, including one that The Drive reported sold for $1.5M in 2016. At its 2019 Fort Lauderdale sale, RM Sotheby’s sold a gorgeous white-over-red F12tdf with fewer than 900 miles on the clock for $975,000. So what is it about the F12 tdf that made it appreciate basically right out of the gate?

Compared to the standard F12, the tdf’s 6.3-liter V-12 spits out a brutal 769 horsepower at 8500 rpm, up from 730 hp. Torque also increases, from 509 lb-ft to 520 lb-ft, and F1-style seven-speed dual-clutch automated manual transmission bangs off faster shifts than in the F12. If that weren’t enough, Ferrari also shaved almost 250 pounds from the curb weight, helping lop off 0.2 seconds from the 0–60-mph sprint, which took just 2.9 seconds in the tdf.

Chassis changes are substantial as well, including a wider front and rear track, rear-wheel-steering, and bigger, grippier tires. The car looks absolutely diabolical, festooned with scoops and fins, but it’s not just for aesthetics—the result is 87 percent more downforce than on the F12.

2017 Ferrari F12tdf engine
2017 Ferrari F12tdf RM Sotheby's
2017 Ferrari F12tdf steering wheel
2017 Ferrari F12tdf RM Sotheby's

2017 Ferrari F12tdf profile
2017 Ferrari F12tdf RM Sotheby's

No doubt, the F12tdf is a performance monster, and because Ferrari made just 799 of them, they’re also relatively rare. The car clearly captured the attention of the Ferrari faithful—much like the 599 GTO was the most popular next model for Enzo and F40 owners, the F12tdf is the preferred garage-mate of LaFerrari owners. Ostensibly, the reason for this is that each car represents the maximum performance out of hybrid and naturally-aspirated powertrains (by 2015, when the tdf arrived, the mid-engine 488 was already turbocharged).

Since the F12tdf ended production, the front-engine natural-breathing V-12 is still alive in the 812 Superfast, as well as the speedster-style Monza SP variants. But there is no getting around the fact that the tdf is a spectacular vehicle that capped off the lifespan of the beloved F12, and that the car is still in high demand. In 2016, Hagerty’s average quote for an F12tdf was $532,250, and two years later it was $957,114. To be fair, this data reflects a small number of quotes in total, but there’s no getting around the fact that these cars are climbing in value overall.

As for RM’s that recently crossed the block, it’s a jewel. Options include titanium exhaust tips, red calipers, 20-inch dark-painted wheels with carbon-fiber hubs, a black Alcantara interior, and carbon-fiber bucket-style racing seats.

It didn’t go for quite a million bucks, but it rounds up. And if it goes up for sale again, chances are it won’t sell for a lower amount.

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