19-20 January 2012
1991 Ferrari F40 Berlinetta
To be auctioned on Friday, January 20, 2012
Sold for $781,000
- Chassis no. ZFFMN34A7M0087345
• Less than 300 miles from new and well documented; still on original MSO
• Three owners from new, originally owned by Lee Iacocca
• An enduring supercar icon, the last Ferrari under Il Commendatore
Introduced in 1987, Ferrari’s F40 supercar was nothing less than a shock to the senses and a masterful combination of raw-edge, radical styling with state-of-the-art technologies used throughout its engine, body and chassis designs. Without question, driving an F40 is truly a visceral experience, hammering the senses with brutal acceleration, go-kart quick reflexes and a howling exhaust note that is music to the ears of the devoted enthusiast. The overall experience is addictive—a powerful narcotic even.
Conceived in 1986, the F40 project was intended to celebrate Ferrari’s landmark 40th anniversary. Il Commendatore, Enzo Ferrari, is reported to have said, “Let’s make something special for next year’s celebrations in the way we used to do it.” A friend of Ferrari, Gino Rancati, who received a silver plaque to commemorate the occasion, suggested the car’s name. It was inscribed, “To Gino Rancati for a brilliant idea.” An accompanying letter said:
Dear Rancati, with this plaque I want to commemorate our meeting on the 4th June when you kindly contributed to the choice of name for the GT car we presented at the Frankfurt motor show. Your contribution has produced excellent results—the ‘F forty’, based on the idea of forty years of Ferrari cars, identifies and personalizes the fastest Ferrari GT. Kindest regards. G.B. Razelli.
Poignantly, next to this, in slightly shaky script with violet ink, was, “To Signor Gino, Ferrari.” Sadly, the F40 was to be the last car that Enzo Ferrari would see launched by the company he founded.
In true Ferrari tradition, the F40 bridged the gap between the company’s road cars and racing cars, representing a further progression of the 288 GTO Evoluzione. Cost-no-object engineering produced technical specifications that remain the stuff of fantasy even by today’s jaded standards. A carbon-fiber and Kevlar-reinforced steel space frame chassis with composite body panels was mated to an Evoluzione twin-turbocharged and intercooled four-cam, port-injected V-8 engine, controlled by a race-proven Weber-Marelli engine management system and producing close to 500 bhp.
Weighing just 1,100 kilograms, the F40 was capable of blinding performance. Fast Lane magazine road tested the F40 in the late 1980s, achieving zero-to-60 times of just 3.9 seconds. From a standstill, Ferrari’s supercar accelerated to 100 mph in just 7.8 seconds and to 140 mph in 14 seconds! Independent testing revealed even quicker acceleration times. Regardless of the source, the F40 proved to be the fastest road car ever produced, and its performance abilities remain simply staggering in every respect today.
While the initial production run was limited to about 400 examples, the market demand was so overwhelming, even with the car’s stratospheric price tag, that production continued until 1,315 F40s were built by the time production ended in 1991. American Ferrari enthusiasts, however, had to wait until 1990 for the chance to own one. With such strong demand, U.S.-specification cars traded at premiums of many thousands of dollars above their list price in the heady “supercar” market of the time. Over a three-year period, only 213 examples of the F40 were built for the U.S. market.
While every F40 is “special” indeed, this example from 1991 has covered fewer than 300 miles from new, and it is still unregistered and listed on its Manufacturer’s Statement of Origin (MSO). As the 94th of the 213 U.S.-specification F40s, it was produced during October 1990. With just three owners from new, its original owner was none other than the famed American automotive executive and business leader Lee Iacocca. Having recently received a major service by Patrick Ottis, the noted Ferrari marque specialist, the F40 is now offered from the current owner’s impressive private collection and complete with extensive documentation confirming the former ownership of Mr. Iacocca. Among the documents are such items as the Ferrari Certificate of Origin dated October 12, 1990, a U.S. Environmental Protection Agency letter, Italian export paperwork, an engraved “Built Especially for Lee Iacocca” card, the Owner’s Warranty and Service Book, the warranty card and one piece of personal correspondence. A genuine “blue chip” investment-quality exotic automobile, this 1991 F40 will certainly continue to top the Ferrari collector’s wish list for many years to come.
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