Exactly thirty years have passed since the official presentation of the F40, which took place on 21 July 1987 at the Civic Centre in Maranello, now home to the Ferrari Museum.
Created to celebrate the company’s 40th anniversary, it was the last model to be signed off by company founder Enzo Ferrari himself before his death. It was, at the time, the fastest car in the world, and was said to be the closest thing possible to an F1 car for the road. Only 1,315 were built.
An extreme derivation of the 308 GTB and of the 288 GTO Evoluzione prototype, the F40 is considered by some to be a masterpiece of both engineering and style – a car that undoubtedly entered the collective imagination as a symbol of an era.
One of the car’s creators, Leonardo Fioravanti, who was a designer at Pininfarina when he was invited by Enzo Ferrari to Fiorano to try out the 288 GTO Evoluzione, comments: “When il Commendatore asked for my opinion on this experimental prototype, which due to regulatory issues never went into production, I didn’t hide my enthusiasm as an amateur driver for the incredible acceleration of its 650 hp. It was then that he first talked to me of his desire to produce a ‘true Ferrari’. We knew, as he knew, that it would be his last car. We threw ourselves headlong into the work. Extensive research at the wind tunnel went into aerodynamic optimisation, to achieve coefficients appropriate for the most powerful Ferrari road car ever. Its style matches its performance: the low bonnet with a very tiny overhang, the NACA air vents and the rear spoiler, which my colleague Aldo Brovarone placed at right angles, made it famous. If I had to point out one overriding reason for the success of the F40, I would say that its line succeeded in instantly transmitting the exceptionality of its technical content: speed, lightness, and performance.”