1989 FERRARI F40View vehicle description
The Ferrari F40 was the successor to the equally ground-breaking and glorious 288 GTO and was launched, and named, to celebrate 40 years of Ferrari-badged car production in 1987.
Although the ageing Enzo had long since ceded control over the production part of the business, engineer Nicola Materazzi came to him in 1984 with the idea of using the FIA Group B engine and car development programme to prove future road car performance. Ferrari gained permission for the project but only if the engineering was done outside of the working week.
The result was the 288 GTO Evoluzione, but in 1986 the FIA scrapped the Group B category and Ferrari were left with a handful of development cars. Keen to see a fitting “swan song” legacy car, Enzo persuaded the company to develop a road car from the programme but one that would be a return to raw performance and simplicity, rather than the overly plush and comfortable cars that Ferrari were now selling.
Teaming up with Leonardo Fioravanti and Pietro Camardella at Pininfarina for the body styling, Materazzi revisited his earlier work on the engine and mechanicals to translate it from the track to the road. The target launch in the 40th anniversary the following year allowed Materazzi to have his pick of the engineering department.
What came out of the 13-month programme was an entirely new design - effectively a race-car for the road, built on a tubular steel space frame with a lightweight double-clamshell body utilising a mix of aluminium and composites of carbon and Kevlar. Further weight was saved by using polycarbonate for the windscreen, side windows and rear engine cover.
The styling was informed by extensive aerodynamic testing, and the need for cooling of various components (including the occupants) was sated by no fewer than eight low-drag NACA ducts let into the body. The pop-up headlamps, almost de-rigueur in the late ‘80s, were also a nod to aerodynamic improvement - when they were closed of course.
Propulsion was provided by a 2.9-litre twin-turbocharged and water-intercooled V8 engine which delivered just over 478 PS and 577 Nm of torque. This performance also demanded the development of a special P-Zero tyre by Pirelli.
The price at launch was £163,000 but such was the demand for the limited run - 1,311 were built between 1987 and 1992 - that soon F40s were changing hands for much larger sums, giving rise to speculators “flipping” the iconic supercars - much as they do today with the more exclusive models from the major marques. Even Formula 1 driver Nigel Mansell got in on the action, demanding an F40 as part of his contract with the Scuderia - which he then sold in 1990 for a cool £1m.
As ever, there were a number of developments made during the F40’s production run, including replacing the sliding side windows with wind-up units, fitting adjustable suspension and adding catalytic converters, meaning that earlier models are the more sought after. There were also a handful of official race versions built by Michelotto - the LM and Competizione - for endurance racing series.
Since its launch, posters of the F40 have adorned the bedroom walls of many a young dreamer and this continues today - although maybe the children of the seventies and eighties now have a nice framed print, scale model or - if they’ve done really well - an actual F40.
Despite the fact that the F40 is now well into its thirties, it still oozes enough retro cool and outrageous performance to appeal as much to millennials and members of the Playstation generation - and this one in particular has played its part in continuing the pan-generation passion for the F40.
This particular Ferrari F40 has to be one of the most photographed and socially-shared examples ever. Why? Well it has been owned since 2015 by international commercial photographer, Instagrammer, YouTuber, amateur racer, podcaster and self-confessed car nut Sam Moores - who wasn’t even born when the F40 was first launched. F40BLU is often seen at car meets and petrolhead venues up and down the UK, and is so well known that there are scale models and artworks of it that are commercially available - and it even has its own Instagram account!
It was first registered upon the shores of Lake Geneva in July 1989 by Ferrari Suisse in Nyon. It is an earlier “non-cat, non-adjustable” example but with wind-up windows rather than the very early sliding ones. By 2004 it was in Japan and was bought by famous customisers Liberty Walk who, in around 2010, rebodied it into a road going F40 LM and painted it white.
Four years later, Joe Macari Performance Cars London acquired the car and offered it for sale. As a non-standard F40 with a white-painted body-kit, our vendor cut a deal that involved stripping it down, rebuilding it to factory specification and painting it in blue by Carrozzeria Zanasi (who you need to know a little more about. We’ll come back to them later).
One unexpected consequence of becoming the owner of a blue F40, is the influx of invitations to shows and exclusive events that Sam began to receive. Clearly we can’t promise that this will happen to the next owner but as it is probably the most famous Ferrari F40 in the UK, you never know.
Stored professionally when not in use, F40BLU has regularly been taken out and about. You only have to search ‘F40BLU’ and you’ll find numerous articles, videos and photos of the car to show that it has been owned and enjoyed by a true supercar enthusiast. He’s had several years of great fun with the car but feels it’s now time to move it on.
Thanks to the wonders of the internet you can watch Sam's ‘Farewell Video’ recently captured by Automotive YouTuber Shmee150. Simply copy the link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1rUu-1GgbDU
On the Outside
Officially, all F40s left the factory in Rosso Ferrari (red) - although the Sultan of Brunei did have a handful factory-repainted and there are also believed to have been a few others in yellows and blacks.
As you can see this one is masterfully painted in blue, but you won’t find this particular shade on any Ferrari colour chart, as it is based on Porsche’s Aqua Blue Metallic. Purists may bristle and mutter, Captains of the Concours will have a coronary but we - along with thousands of fans out there in social media land - think it looks fantastic and more faithful to the type than its previous ‘Liberty Walk’ incarnation.
As befits a Ferrari F40, and as you’d expect of Zanasi (I promise, we’ll get on to them in detail soon), the carbon-Kevlar weave is wonderfully evident through the blue paint, which is in an exceptional condition underneath the paint protection film that was applied to every panel by industry leaders Topaz Detailing when the paint was on 0 miles in 2015.
The F40 sits on the correct 17-inch Speedline light-alloy wheels - all of which are fitted with type-appropriate Pirelli P-ZERO tyres.
Whilst a high proportion of the cars we sell are bought on the strength of our photos and descriptions alone, we highly recommend and expect that bidders on this F40 should see the car for themselves or arrange for a professional inspection. Please contact us to make these arrangements.
On the Inside
As we mentioned in the Background, the F40 wasn’t intended to be a cosseting luxury grand tourer and so the interior is more reminiscent of a racing car. There are no door trims, door handles, stereo, carpets nor even a glovebox.
Instead there are acres of bare composites on show; some of them like the door panels sporting a nice carbon weave but those across the tub are fairly industrial looking and are sealed with a green jointing compound.
But there is a headlining fitted and down the pillars, across the dashboard, transmission tunnel and rear bulkhead there is a thin grey flannel lining - as much to reduce glare as to provide any semblance of comfort. There is air conditioning too, rather surprising given the reductionism going on elsewhere, and it is working nicely.
The seats are racing buckets, thinly upholstered in a factory-spec red cloth and are surprisingly supportive and comfortable. Where you might expect a race harness to hold you in, this F40 has inertia reel seatbelts which make life much easier.
The steering wheel (located on the left of course) is as basic but as functional as they come - and has had a 20mm spacer fitted for easier driving - and there are minimal controls and instruments on the dash. The crowning glory of it all is of course the metal-gated 5-speed manual gearshift.
To open either the front or rear clamshells, or the doors themselves in fact, you need to use one of the dainty little keys that come with the car to unlock the twin catches. You could also do with a mate or two to help you, especially with the rear as the cover is rather heavy and you need to unfold and position a prop to hold it open.
The engine compartment is beautifully packaged and appears in excellent condition, as you might expect on such a well-kept car that is regularly serviced by Joe Macari’s leading and factory authorised service center. Don’t expect much luggage space in the front boot though, there’s only the volume of an optional spare wheel to stash your overnight bag in.
The undersides of the car are also pretty clean and tidy, with flat-floor undertrays covering the front half of the car and a diffuser at the rear. The engine and gearbox are exposed to the elements but nothing seems to be unduly dirty or damaged in any way.
The F40 has a current MOT valid until September 2021, which it passed with no advisories - exactly as it has done at every inspection since 2014.
The history for the car before it went to Japan is waiting to be found, but a copy of a Japanese technical inspection shows that it was there between 2004 and at least 2007 before Liberty Walk got their hands on it and converted it to a road-going LM specification in around 2010.
After it returned to Europe it underwent the aforementioned full strip back and rebuild to factory specification at Carrozzeria Zanasi of Maranello, a company steeped in history with Ferrari.
The collaboration between Carrozzeria Zanasi and Ferrari started in 1964, when Enzo Ferrari himself went seeking a skilled and hardworking bodyshop with the ability to repair his cars to his extremely high and exacting standards. His search ended when he met Umberto Zanasi; a young, and fortuitously local, craftsman with serious talent. Being hugely dedicated and skilled in equal measure, Zanasi immediately gained the trust of il Drake.
Their business relationship significantly matured in 1970 after Zanasi hired master fabricator Sergio Martinelli and the painter extraordinaire Adriano Giusti. As a result, the then official bodywork facility, Scaglietti of Modena, lost the factory contract to repair customers’ production vehicles to Carrozzeria Zanasi, who at the same time were awarded the accreditation, and esteem, of being a formally recognized Ferrari partner.
Since then, the formal business relationship has only strengthened further. Aside from being an integral part of Ferrari’s Classiche programme and master restorers, a both interesting and little known fact is that Zanasi paint, from new, all the special/limited edition and lightweight specials for the Factory, such as the 360 Challenge Stradale, 430 Scuderia, 599 GTO/Alonso/SA, LaFerrari, LaFerrari Aperta, 458 Speciale, 458 Speciale Aperta, F12 TdF etcetera, etcetera.
Therefore whilst being painted in a non-factory shade, it was applied by artisans who are the world’s foremost factory approved specialists in treating Ferrari’s greatest cars.
A special company.
Once Zanasi returned the bodywork and car to factory specification it was painted Rosso in order for it to be awarded Ferrari Classiche certification. Once awarded, it was back at Zanasi to be painted blue, before travelling to London and Joe Macari Ferrari & Maserati Servicing to have a Tubi straight pipe exhaust system fitted with a major service including new cambelts, auxiliary drive belts, suspension shock absorbers, brake corners and fresh, certificated, fuel tanks.
Since then, the car has been annually maintained and serviced by Joe Macari Ferrari & Maserati Servicing, with invoices showing the following mileage history:
Oct 2015 - 24,408 km
Apr 2017 - 24,700 km
Apr 2018 - 25,036 km
May 2019 - 25,543 km
Sep 2020 - 25,787 km
Jun 2021 - 25,975 km
The F40 holds its petrol in two fuel bladders, which have to be replaced every 10 years. The history file includes certificates of conformity showing that the current tanks are good until 2024.
Other paperwork includes previous technical inspections, an original Ferrari Warranty Card, F40 Technical Manual and UK registration documentation for ‘F40BLU’ which comes with the car as well as a memory stick with more photographs from the vendor.
What We Think
The writers at The Market don’t always get to drive the cars that we write about - although someone on the team usually gives a view on how well they run - but for this one, the bosses insisted that the writer should give a first hand account. Who am I to argue?
The driving experience is amazing, quite unlike anything else, but also not as scary or as wild a ride as you might imagine. The clutch is a little heavy and the unassisted brakes need to be given a good boot-full but once you’re underway the steering becomes very light and very direct.
If you apply the power progressively, there are no surprises but if the turbos kick in when you’re still in second, say, the car can get a little...exciting. On the main roads, the car is lovely to drive and very easy going but on smaller roads it will give a very rewarding driving experience once you’ve got used to the car.
The engine roar and exhaust noise add massively to the experience - roaring and whistling under acceleration and then popping, banging and spitting flames on the overrun. In the vendor’s own words it gives plenty of “smiles per gallon”.
The vendor’s good friend Tim (known on YouTube as Shmee150) drove the car recently for a video now live on his channel, and his opinion was that this car drove much better than another he’d driven before - probably due to it having been taken apart and properly put back together by the the masters at Carrozzeria Zanasi and Joe Macari’s just 6 years ago.
As with all iconic and collectable cars, there are buyers who look for low mileage and originality on a car that they can tuck away into their private museum as a “Garage Queen” and use sparingly, if at all. There are also those supercar enthusiasts who, once they’ve found and bought their dream car, want nothing more than to get out and enjoy driving it whenever they can.
This Ferrari F40 is very much an example for the driver enthusiast, with some minor but very visible and very audible deviations from the standard specification; but of course none of which have to stay that way and can be returned to factory settings.
That said, the blue paint with matching registration and the straight pipe exhaust make this car stand out not just among other F40s but among every other car on the road and has a timeless appeal that spans the generations. We think this very famous F40 will sell for between £725,000 and £900,000.
Viewing is always encouraged, and this particular car is located with us at The Market HQ near Abingdon. Our offices are open Mon-Fri 9.00 am to 5.00 pm. To arrange an appointment please use the ‘Contact Seller’ button at the top of the listing. Feel free to ask any questions or make observations in the comments section below, or try our ‘Frequently Asked Questions’.
If needed, Footman James classic car insurance and Classic Concierge offer storage options plus we have a list of contacts who can help with transport and shipping.
BORING, but IMPORTANT: Please note that whilst we at The Market always aim to offer the most descriptive and transparent auction listings available, we cannot claim they are perfect analyses of any of the vehicles for sale. We offer far greater opportunity for bidders to view, or arrange inspections for each vehicle thoroughly prior to bidding than traditional auctions, and we never stop encouraging bidders to take advantage of this. We do take a good look at those vehicles which are delivered to our premises for sale, but this only results in our unbiased personal observations, not those of a qualified inspector or other professional, or the result of a long test drive.
Also, localised paint repairs are common with collectable and classic cars and if they have been professionally carried out then they may be impossible to detect, even if we see the car in person. So, unless we state otherwise, please assume that any vehicle could have had remedial bodywork at some point in its life.
Additionally, please note that most of the videos on our site have been recorded using simple cameras which often result in 'average' sound quality; in particular, engines and exhausts notes can sound a little different to how they are in reality.
Please note that this is sold as seen and that, as is normal for used goods bought at auction, return policy does not apply. See our FAQs for more info, and feel free to inspect any vehicle as much as you wish.
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