(car engine revving)
- Super cars, you know I love 'em, but you can't
talk about 'em without mentioning one of the oldest
and most famous sports car manufacturers ever.
They made one of the most iconic super cars in the world.
The poster was almost certainly
on your bedroom wall when you were a kid.
With that weird wedgie shape,
in that blazing Rosso Corsa paint,
and that incredible sound it made.
(F40 engine revving)
It was the ultimate Ferrari.
This is everything that you need to know
to get up to speed on the Ferrari F40.
It's 1982 and the Federation Internationale De L'Automobile,
or FiA, decided to make up some new rules for rally racing,
but what they actually did was pretty much
just throw the rules right out.
They called this set of rules Group B
and with nearly free reign and an almost entirely
blank slate, manufacturers went wild.
The Group B cars were becoming fire-breathing monsters
and the public was going nuts for 'em.
But, rather than throw technological prowess at a car
like Porsche did with the 959,
Ferrari wanted to go another direction.
They used the classic formula of less weight plus more power
equals fastest car to develop the incredible 288 GTO,
but by the time they built the 200 production cars
required by the FiA,
the other Group B cars had become even more
ridiculously quick so they added a ton of aero and power
and in 1986, the 288 GTO Evoluzione was born.
Unfortunately, that's right when Group B died.
The FiA decided it was time to burn the no-rules-rule-book
and all Group B cars were banned from competition.
That left Ferrari with a badass race car locked up
in its garage and no where to race it.
At this point 88 year old Enzo Ferrari said to himself,
self you're getting pretty old,
but this car company you started is really neat
and it's coming up on 40 years old now.
Maybe you should build one of the last really cool cars
before you make that trip to the big race track in the sky.
So old Enzo decided he could still make
something out of all that effort
that went into the now pointless 288 GTO Evoluzione
and commissioned his engineers
to build the best car in the world.
He wanted a street car with no compromises;
the F40 and he wanted it fast.
Both fast on the road and, you know, soon.
It had to debut in time for Ferrari's 40th anniversary
and make it to 1987 Frankfurt Motor Show.
So the F40 would be designed, tested,
and launched in only 13 months; that is insanity.
Ermanno Bonfiglioli, head of special projects for Ferrari
in the 1980s, said it went by in a flash.
The chassis and bodywork development
ran right along side the drive train development
which is not how it usually works.
Luckily, Nicola Materazzi at famous design house:
Pininfarina had just drawn up the Evoluzione.
So, fellow Pininfarina designers, Leonardo Fioravanti
and Pietro Camardella started with that
and transformed it into an automotive masterpiece.
They did comprehensive wind tunnel testing
to optimize the aero dynamics for what was to be
the fastest Ferrari ever.
The F40's nose swooped down and practically kissed the road.
NACA ducts, that means air inlets, were everywhere
and the huge squared off wing placed right at the angle
by designer Aldo Brovarone.
Development had all been done in super secret
and only a handful of people close to Enzo
had even seen the car.
It was way more of a surprise than
Drake's secret love child.
No one knew what to expect and the unveiling
left the entire room completely speechless.
The F40 might as well have been a road going spaceship.
- Oh my god Morty what did you do,
you killed the Simpsons Morty. (stuttering)
- The interior meant business.
No stitch leather dash covers here, nope.
The dash was just covered in felt to reduce glare.
There were no door panels or even interior door handles.
You pulled a cord to open the door.
The side windows and even the windshield
were plastic to save weight,
but Ferrari did add air conditioning.
- That, I love.
- That's just the air conditioner.
- I want it.
- Who cared about door panels anyway when you could look
right at the carbon fiber the doors were made out of.
The front and rear clam shells were also carbon fiber
while the rest of the cars 11 panels were bonded Kevlar
all built around a tubular steel frame.
The F40 was the first production car made with
all composite body panels and it weighed 3,000 pounds.
That's very light for a super car.
Pushing all this awesome light weight racey stuff
was a 2.9 liter, twin-turbo V8
turning out 278 horse power at a screaming 7,000 RPM
and 425 pound feet-o-torque at 4,000 RPM.
Ferrari paid special attention to the weight of the engine
and they used a lot of ultra expensive,
ultra light magnesium alloys instead of aluminum.
It helped the F40 scoot to 60 miles an hour in four seconds
and through the quarter mile in under 12.
And though Ferrari claimed a somewhat controversial
top speed of 201 miles an hour, none ever reached 200
in any test on any track outside of Italy.
Still, 199 was enough to top Porsche's more extravagant 959
and its piddly 195 miles an hour.
The numbers were impressive but the F40's handling
was a major challenge to get right.
Ferrari test driver, Dario Benuzzi was handed a ridiculously
powerful car with a new age composite body,
no power steering, no brakes,
and told to work it out pronto,
but Benuzzi ultimately turned the F40
into a well balanced track weapon.
Calling it the Ferrari he was most proud of working on.
Ferrari announced they would build 400 F40's,
but demand was unexpectedly high
with more than 3,000 people trying to order one.
In the end they built 1,311.
Some loved its UFO look, some really didn't,
but everyone knew Enzo wasn't gonna be around
for much longer and the F40 would be his last car.
It was showing up all over video games, magazine covers
and wall posters, the public was fired up.
Speculators started snapping the cars up
and driving prices higher.
Ferrari's asking price was $200,000, but Formula 1 driver,
Nigel Mansell, sold his for one million British pounds
in 1990; what a dick.
Enzo Ferrari passed away in August of 1988,
thrilled that he was still around to sign off on
his epic final project and see the F40
become the world's fastest production car.
But throughout the F40's five year production,
reviews were actually mixed.
Mansell loved his, but McLaren Formula 1 race car designer,
Gorodon Murray slammed it, calling it wobbly
and saying it felt like a big go kart
with a plastic body on it.
The press gave it plenty of praise,
but some car magazines that tested it against the Porsche
preferred the more refined 959.
The F40 really didn't compromise in terms
of road performance so it was a brutal street car.
Ferrari never intended for it to be a race car
which seemed like rather obvious other option.
Customers started to ask for a racing version,
Ferrari resisted until Daniel Marin,
manager of a French Ferrari importer talked them into it.
They commissioned a limited run of F40 LM race cars
from a race tuning shop, Michelotto Automobile.
The shop modified virtually every part of the F40
and the resulting LM cars were way lighter,
way more aerodynamic, and way more powerful.
They weighed in at 2,300 pounds, made over 700 horse power
and could hustle up to 229 miles per hour.
You thought the plain old F40 sounded good,
the LM made eargasms.
(F40 LM engine revving)
In 1989, the first LM race that Laguna Seca
in the IMSA series here in the US.
Even though the cars were originally named for the 24 hours
of them all, they didn't race there
and Ferrari switched the name to F40 Competitzione.
They nabbed some podium finishes in IMSA
and several wins at other international GT racing series.
But it never attained real racing notoriety.
With all of today's safety regulations and red tape,
a street legal super car like the F40
could never be made again.
The F40 is the purest distillation of Ferrari racing prowess
into a road car and it was an absolutely fitting solute
to the life of an automotive hero.
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You wanna see a video about Ferrari's enemy,
Ferruccio Lamborghini check out this episode of Up To Speed.
Want to know how aero dynamics work?
Check out this episode of Science Garage.
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