W ith its origins in the world of stage rally, exotic materials, and cutting-edge technology, the F40 could be considered a turning point for Ferrari. But as exotic as it was in-period, the recipe remained fundamentally Ferrari: Lightweight construction mixed with prodigious horsepower.
The 2.9-litre, twin-turbocharged V-8 Ferrari F40 was an advancement from the engine that powered the prototype 288 GTO Evo. Futuristic materials like Kevlar and carbon fiber helped keep curb weight low; twin IHI turbochargers and dual intercoolers helped provide the motive force while Brembo disc brakes helped bring it to heel.
The F40 sits in the highly exclusive group colloquially called the “Big Five”: A list of the brand’s most respected modern cars, arguably the five most important prancing horse hypercars an esteemed collector needs to have in their stable to be truly regarded as a tifosi. Enthusiasts already appreciate the F40, the only difficulty is sourcing a choice example. This car, carefully kept in California most of its life, is certain to appeal to Ferrari enthusiasts as it crosses the block at RM Sotheby’s signature auction in Monterey this August:
1992 Ferrari F40
Estimate: $2,500,000 - $2,900,000 USD
Aesthetically mesmerizing thanks to Pininfarina designer Leonardo Fioravanti’s masterful styling, the F40 is your definitive analog supercar. As a machine that was always built with the intention of being a competition car for the road, creature comforts are sparse. No carpets, radio, or door trim resulted in a spartan interior, but the upside was that it helped to shed weight with the car tipping the scales at a scant 2,425 pounds. When the twin IHI turbochargers spool up to full boost, the almost turbine-like sound adds indescribable drama to the cabin, almost akin to the cockpit of a fighter jet. The lightweight, mid-engine Berlinetta was a thinly disguised racing car, with its unmistakable full-width rear wing designed by Pietro Camardella at Pininfarina, helping it become the first production passenger car to boast a top speed in excess of 200 mph.
American magazine Car and Driver said, during a road test of this model when new, that “nothing we've ever driven can match the mix of sheer terror and raw excitement of earth-scorching around…” in the newest Ferrari halo car. Arguably no supercar since has combined the rawness and ferocity of the F40, earning its reputation as the king of all analog machines. This example, chassis number 91097, was originally sold through Monterey Ferrari, remaining a California car throughout its life, and now displays a mere 9,447 miles on the clock. As a faithfully cared-for example, kept in the comparatively placid environment of America’s west coast, this F40 recently had a major service in early 2022 from Ferrari Los Angeles. A much-sought-after Classiche Certification also followed, certifying that this example has not been altered from original. This F40 is truly one of the best examples of this iconic model.
Passing between three California owners before being acquired by its current consignor, the upcoming auction in Monterey will represent a grand homecoming for this beloved Ferrari. Watch as this poster icon crosses the block at RM Sotheby's signature auction in August.