The F40 was not only the last road-going Ferrari born while il Commendatore was still alive, but was so named to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the marque. Designed as the next flagship supercar after the 288 GTO, the F40 utilized an evolutionary version of the GTO’s chassis and double-wishbone suspension, as well as using the same 96-inch wheelbase. What was presented to the public in 1987 was an absolute no-compromise car that utilized a Pininfarina designed lightweight composite and aluminum body with IMSA-inspired widened fenders and an austere interior all in the name of saving weight. The engine was a 2.9-liter twin turbo V-8 (again, descended from that used in the 288 GTO) that made 478 hp and propelled the car from 0-60 in 4 seconds en route to a top speed of just over 200 mph.
Ferrari built 1,315 examples from 1987 to 1992, with approximately 211 U.S. spec cars coming stateside starting in early 1990. Journalists in Europe had already used plenty of ink documenting what a sensational performer the car was by the time the F40 hit American shores that some new owners paid almost three times the approximate $400,000 list price. U.S. cars had different fuel tanks and seats, stronger front and rear bodywork in order to meet crash standards, and a different state of engine tune that allegedly offered more power than the euro car in spite of the addition of U.S.-required emissions equipment.
The Ferrari F40 was a true expression of stripped-down, single-minded mission focus (anti-lock brakes weren’t even on the spec sheet) that proved to be the last car of its kind. As a result, the car’s depreciation curve didn’t last long, and collectors today seek these exceptional cars out no matter the price.