Prices have gone up 10x since the early 2000's
Decide early whether you want a Euro or US spec and cat or non-cat and adjust or non-adjust
There is a long list of things to watch out for so read the full list
They're noisy, deeply impractical, they were almost all LHD and the brakes are near non-existent.
It's one of the most aggressively, beautiful and raw supercars ever built. It was the final car Enzo signed off before his passing. It was also Ferrari's first foray into the 200mph+ zone.
Behind, perhaps only the McLaren F1, it stands as one of the most iconic and desirable supercars that exist today.
The F40 didn't always hold the place in people's hearts that it does today.
Its launch was met with a flurry of negativity, journalists spoke poorly of its bone-shaking ride, complained it was too loud, the design was wrong and the interior was too stripped out.
Even Gordon Murray got stuck in with a Motor Trend review in 1990 quoting him as saying
“It’s not even 1960s technology; from a frame point of view, it’s ’50s technology – twin-tubes, not even a spaceframe. It really does shake about. It’s like a go-kart with a plastic body on top…”
Those opinions are long in the rear-view mirror now.
So if you're ignoring Gordon - where do you start?
You've got to decide whether you want a Euro or US spec car
The Euro specifications cars are the purest form of the car as the US cars had to change various elements across the vehicle to conform with US regulations.
The US cars are visibly different through their bumpers, different seats, different seatbelts etc.
You can see the differences in the bumpers below.
Most collectors will favour the Euro spec cars.
The next question to consider is do you want a cat or non-cat, adjust or non-adjust?
These terms simply mean does the car have a catalytic converter (cat) or not (non-cat).
A catalytic converter substantially reduces the amount of harmful pollutants by taking exhaust gases and converting them into water vapour and less harmful gases via a series of chemical reactions.
Pre-1991 models didn't have catalytic converters and are seen by some to be more desirable. Although some claim a cat car will have slightly more power on a dyno.
When it comes to adjust or non-adjust, all that means is can I adjust the ride height of the car or not.
Traditionally, an F40 will sit very low to the ground. This poses problems when it comes to steep driveways and even speed bumps.
Adjustable suspension will help you get round that problem by raising the ride height.
Many people say adjustable suspension is highly prone to going wrong and expensive to fix, others say they rarely go wrong and if they do it's a simple resolution.
The general consensus though is that the one to go for is a non-cat, non-adjust. Don't let the masses decide for you but let your circumstances dictate what you're after particularly on suspension.
What to look out for when buying a Ferrari F40?
History and Provenance
Like any other collectible car, the history and provenance of an F40 is of paramount importance.
Whenever you're looking at and considering an F40 the first questions you should be asking are around:
number of owners
where was it originally supplied
history and paperwork to substantiate that
does it retain its original pouch, tool kit, owners manual, spare keys, original warranty service booklet
The service booklet contains the original factory sticker showing the engine number, chassis number, original owner, ignition key number, paint codes, salesman who supplied the car plus service stamps across the car's life.
These booklets can go missing throughout their life. Some for valid reasons, some for not so valid reasons.
An F40 is unlikely to have the service booklet stamped each time, if it has been serviced by a specialist then it wouldn't have been stamped but if it had been done through a franchise dealer than it likely would have.
The service booklet can reveal a car that one year had a higher mileage than the booklet shows for the year after. A warning sign. Nowadays its easier to track that as its done digitally but this helps uncover whether anything unusual happened earlier in its life.
An F40 is 30+ years old now, if it's just coming with a registration document and purchase invoice - that's a big negative.
There should be history and paperwork to document its past life - the more the better.
I regularly see Classiche referred to on F40 descriptions - what is it and is it important?
Ferrari's Classiche is seen referenced on the vast majority of F40's nowadays.
Classiche is a the Certificate of Authenticity available for all Ferrari road cars over 20 years old and is also available for Ferrari F1, Sportscars and Sport-Prototypes, with no restrictions on the age of the car.
Ferrari holds technical records of all cars produced since 1947. These archives allow Ferrari to establish conformity with the original design of any car made in its workshops.
Classiche isn't foolproof though. While Ferrari do an incredibly thorough job, there are elements of the Classiche process that Ferrari don't fully document i.e. they don't inspect and document the body number of the car and match that to the original records.
So, whilst its the best confirmation you can get the car is original - it's not bulletproof so still proceed with caution, after all you're spending 7 figures on a motor car.
The 2.9L V8 engine is a masterpiece and generally incredibly solid.
When inspecting check for any oil leaks, if seen these may well be from the cam covers.
The cambelt should be replaced every two years or 6,000 miles.
The cars came from the factory with yellow splodges of paint across the engine bay, if you see these it's a good thing and shows originality.
Once warmed up the gearbox will work smoothly.
The clutch can cover 20,000 miles of sympathetic driving before needing replacement with careful driving, that mileage can be down to 5,000 with city driving and more, shall we say, enthusiastic motoring.
Check the wheels, if original they will have the original Ferrari and speedline etching visible.
Speak to anyone who has driven an F40 and it's all smiles as they move through the rev range and gears. The roundabout approaches in the distance, they touch the brakes, nothing happens, and they then really shove their foot to the floor to get the brakes to do their job.
No doubt the brakes are the F40's weak spot.
As a result, some cars have gone for upgraded brakes. A replacement set of discs and pads will set you back close to £10,000 so enquire as to their condition and when they were last replaced.
Open up the bonnet and check out the suspension arm, it should have a code on it. That code is an original factory stamping - it will say something like "M 15". The code will vary depending on the market it was built for but the most important thing here is that the code is there. If it isn't, it tells you the part has either been replaced or potentially, the car has had a shunt.
The country codes are also visible on the rear suspension arms so check those too.
But the big thing here when it comes to an F40 is adjust or non-adjust as we outline above.
The interiors are fairly simple as you'd expect for a race car for the road.
Many cars have had their seats re-covered - so check to see if that's the case.
With time the roof headlining tends to sag. If this has happened, it's not a cause for concern. The headlining can be dropped and simply glued back into place.
The fuel cell on a Euro spec F40 is another area to look out for. The reason this only applies to Euro spec cars is that they came from factory with a rubber fuel cell whereas the US cars did not.
Our friends in Maranello recommend changing these every 7 - 10 years, not doing so can cause the car to, well, combust, so check when this was last done. You're well into 5 figures for a replacement.
Carbon / Perspex
The body is made from carbon-kevlar and isn't a cheap fix - check for any cracks.
The front splitter is prone to damage from kerbs and speed bumps so check for those too.
The perspex over the engine cover can get damaged - again an expensive replacement.
On every F40, the body number is stamped on the door hinges. Underneath the bonnet there is a panel about the size of an A4 bit of paper. Unscrew the bolts there and on the edge where the panel sits will be the body number.
If the door hinge body number matches the body number on the front you can be comfortable that so far the car has the original body panels.
Don't forget to check the rear though. Pop the engine lid up, you'll need to remove one of the rear fog lamps. In the majority of cases it's on the back left fog lamp, remove the fog lamp and you'll find the body number.
If it matches the number, on the door hinge and under the bonnet you've got a full house. The car hasn't had any of those panels replaced.
There are further body numbers that exist around the car but they aren't the easiest to access so for a pre-purchase inspection the three we've discussed will do the job.
A lot of people talk about weave in F40's. Fundamentally all people are talking about here is being able to see the carbon fibre weave through the paintwork.
If you inspect a car and it doesn't have the weave visible, despite popular belief, it's not necessarily a negative. Customers regularly complained that the paint was too thin and after some usage the early cars paint became a patchwork with the paint flaking off.
As a result, for the later cars Ferrari used a different technique which meant the weave isn't visible on the later cars.
In other words, if there's no weave and it's an early car, be concerned. If there's no weave and it's a later car, not necessarily a cause for concern.
Early cars with their sliding windows can put some people off. They didn't always close overly well so can allow some water in, visually they're not the most appealing imho and it seemed Ferrari agreed as they shifted to the wind-up windows for the remainder of the production run.
Look at the forks on the roof of the F40, the inside of where the forks sit originally left the factory black regardless of the body colour. Often cars that have been resprayed incorrectly will have the inside of the forks the same colour as the body.
Inside the engine bay, there is a black strip that edges the engine bay into the bodywork. The heat of the engine deteriorates that black strip over time. It's a good indicator of how original an F40 is based on whether this strip has deteriorated or not.
Look at the way the doors sit, check the panel gaps - anything off may be a sign it's had something done to it, or potentially previous crash damage.
How many Ferrari F40's did they make?
Although only 400 were initially planned to be built, Ferrari made 1,315 F40's across the 5 year production run of 1987 to 1992.
Ferrari also produced 8 prototypes.
How many Ferrari F40's are there in the UK?
78 F40's were originally supplied to the UK. More than 78 Ferrari F40's exist in the UK today but the exact number isn't specified publicly. Many dealers try to track the location of every single F40 in the country so they'll have the closest idea of the numbers that remain here.
How much is a Ferrari F40 worth?
F40 prices vary greatly depending on mileage, condition and history, on average expect to pay in the region of £1,700,000 to £2,200,000 for one in average condition.
How much was a Ferrari F40 new?
£163,000 in 1987 - that's £586,618 in today's money.
How have prices of Ferrari F40's changed?
In the early-mid 2000's it would be rare to see an F40 change hands for more than £200,000.
Prices have gone up 10x since then.
They've doubled in the past 6 years alone.
What specialists are available to look after my Ferrari F40?
The are many specialists that will look after your F40, both here and internationally. In addition to the main dealers, two key players are DK Engineering. based in Chorleywood, Herts or Bob Houghton in the Cotswolds.
Note: The Classic Valuer is not being paid for these references and cannot endorse the quality or service of the above organisations.
How easy is it to get spare parts for Ferrari F40's?
Ferrari still supply a large number of parts for the F40 but not the full suite. Ferrari also know how to charge so it's not uncommon for owners to go down the route of independent parts specialists of which there are a handful or getting their specialist to fabricate the part for them.
What owners clubs exist for Ferrari F40's?
The main club to join is the Ferrari Owner's Club of Great Britain, but plenty of others exist.
Note: The Classic Valuer is not being paid for these references and cannot endorse the quality or service of the above organisations.
Performance and Specs
What is the top speed of a Ferrari F40?
The Ferrari F40 has a top speed of 201mph.
How much does a Ferrari F40 weigh?
The Ferrari F40 has a weight of 1,110kg dry.
What engine does a Ferrari F40 have?
The Ferrari F40 had a 2.9 litre twin-turbocharged V8.
Will a Ferrari F40 fit in my garage?
This probably isn't a concern if you have an F40 as garage space is unlikely to be a constraint but on the off chance it is, an F40 is 4,358mm long by 1,970mm.
1987 - 1992
2 door coupe
2.9 litre twin-turbocharged V8
0 - 60 mph
0 - 1000m
Four-speed manual (optional overdrive)
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