Legendary Ferrari F40 supercar turns 30
One of the world's great supercars is now 30 something.
Ferrari's F40 - touted by some as the world's best and possibly the first supercar - was first unveiled on July 21, 1987 in the famous car marque's hometown of Maranello, Italy.
Packing a 2.9-litre twin-turbo V8, some 1311 were built through to 1992. Ferrari had only intended to build around 400.
The F40 is basically a street legal race car and the first production car with a top speed of over 200mph (321kmh).
Check out the one-off Liberty Walk modified Ferrari F40.
It was created to celebrate the company's 40th anniversary and is the last car to carry company founder Enzo Ferrari's signature.
Ferrari claims it was the ultimate expression of the technology thus far developed by the Prancing Horse, but at the same time it went back to Ferrari's roots when racing cars were also road vehicles.
It is an "extreme derivation" of the 308 GTB and of the 288 GTO Evoluzione prototype with Ferrari claiming it as "a masterpiece of engineering and style, which entered the collective imagination as a symbol of an era".
Around the time the F40 blasted into the sports car market, many other rivals were much heavier but Ferrari put its sector entry on a weight loss programme. The F40 is packed with magnesium, aluminium, kevlar and carbon fibre that meant it weighed in at just 1100 kilograms. The drive for a lightweight road-going rocket was such it is believed Ferrari used only two litres of paint per car.
Ermanno Bonfiglioli, who as Head of Special Projects at the time, recalled recently that development occurred "within the very short arc of 13 months".
"It was June 1986 when we began designing the engine...The 8-cylinder 478 hp twin-turbo was a derivative of the 288 GTO Evoluzione's, but a number of innovative contents enabled the F40 to become the first production Ferrari to exceed 320 kmh.
"We paid maximum attention to the weight of the engine, thanks also to the extensive use of magnesium, such as oil sump, cylinder-head covers, intake manifolds, and gearbox bell-housing were in this material that cost five times as much as aluminium alloy and that was never used in such quantities in subsequent production cars. This is just a small example of this car's difference."
Despite all the initial development work, Dario Benuzzi, a long-term Ferrari test driver, revealed the handling of the first prototypes was poor.
"To tame the power of the engine and make it compatible with a road model, we needed to subject every aspect of the car to countless tests: from the turbochargers to the braking system, from the shock absorbers to the tyres."
The tubular steel frame with Kevlar reinforcement panels, which provides three times more torsional rigidity than that of other cars of the period, and a bodywork made mainly of composite materials greater increased the weight reduction.
"We obtained precisely the car we wanted, with few comforts and no compromises.
"With no power steering, power brakes or electronic devices, it demands the skill and commitment of the driver but generously repays it with a unique driving experience. Steering precision, road holding, braking power and intensity of acceleration reached unmatched levels for a road car," Benuzzi said.
All were supposedly red, but a select few were reportedly not, including one for Argentinian football star Diego Maradona. Among other famous owners of an F40 at some stage are movie star Sylvester Stallone, world Formula One champion Nigel Mansell, football star Roberto Baggio and Pink Floyd musician Nick Mason.