GRR

Happy 30th, Ferrari F40 – one of the greatest ever supercars?

22nd May 2017
Ethan Jupp

Debates about the origins of the most exotic genre of motorcar we’ve come to enjoy rage on. General consensus suggests that the Lamborghini Miura lead the way for what we understand is a supercar, and that the McLaren F1 defined that elusive class that exists up and above that, the hypercar.

supercar_sunday_goodwood_breakfast_club_italians_07052017_3969.jpg
supercar_sunday_goodwood_breakfast_club_italians_07052017_3970.jpg
supercar_sunday_goodwood_breakfast_club_italians_07052017_4125.jpg
supercar_sunday_goodwood_breakfast_club_italians_07052017_4179.jpg
supercar_sunday_goodwood_breakfast_club_grid_07052017_4276.jpg
supercar_sunday_goodwood_breakfast_club_grid_07052017_4272.jpg
supercar_sunday_goodwood_breakfast_club_grid_07052017_4268.jpg
supercar_sunday_goodwood_breakfast_club_grid_07052017_4206.jpg
supercar_sunday_goodwood_breakfast_club_grid_07052017_4202.jpg
supercar_sunday_goodwood_breakfast_club_grid_07052017_4197.jpg
supercar_sunday_goodwood_breakfast_club_grid_07052017_4196.jpg
supercar_sunday_goodwood_breakfast_club_grid_07052017_4194.jpg
supercar_sunday_goodwood_breakfast_club_grid_07052017_4192.jpg
supercar_sunday_goodwood_breakfast_club_grid_07052017_4189.jpg
supercar_sunday_goodwood_breakfast_club_grid_07052017_4188.jpg
supercar_sunday_goodwood_breakfast_club_grid_07052017_4186.jpg
supercar_sunday_goodwood_breakfast_club_grid_07052017_4184.jpg
supercar_sunday_goodwood_breakfast_club_grid_07052017_4183.jpg
supercar_sunday_goodwood_breakfast_club_grid_07052017_4181.jpg
supercar_sunday_goodwood_breakfast_club_grid_07052017_4175.jpg
supercar_sunday_goodwood_breakfast_club_grid_07052017_4173.jpg
supercar_sunday_goodwood_breakfast_club_grid_07052017_4162.jpg
supercar_sunday_goodwood_breakfast_club_grid_07052017_4156.jpg
supercar_sunday_goodwood_breakfast_club_grid_07052017_4061.jpg
supercar_sunday_goodwood_breakfast_club_grid_07052017_4058.jpg
supercar_sunday_goodwood_breakfast_club_grid_07052017_4052.jpg
supercar_sunday_goodwood_breakfast_club_grid_07052017_3975.jpg
supercar_sunday_goodwood_breakfast_club_grid_07052017_3977.jpg
supercar_sunday_goodwood_breakfast_club_grid_07052017_3979.jpg
supercar_sunday_goodwood_breakfast_club_07052017_3765.jpg
supercar_sunday_goodwood_breakfast_club_07052017_3880.jpg

The F40 exists chronologically somewhere in the middle. Did it create a class like the other two? We don’t think so, but it lives in enthusiast’s consciousness as every bit as significant as the F1 and the Miura. In terms of performance, it certainly took things stratospheric for 1987, with an official (and at the time, unheard of) 0-62mph time of 4.1 seconds and a top speed comfortably beyond 200mph. Independent reports have seen sub 3.5-second 0-62 efforts…

Such was the gulf that this car’s savage performance and uncompromising nature set out between it and ‘average’ supercars of the day that we think the F40 set the trend that hypercars would follow. That is, displaying capability, character and exclusiveness head and shoulders above everything else on sale.

supercar_sunday_goodwood_breakfast_club_italians_07052017_4136.jpg

The F40 is famously not so exotic in its presentation. A wafer-thin layer of paint would, to the up-close observer, reveal the carbon weave that comprised its construction, and the neon green glue slathered across panel join lines in the Spartan interior is the butt of a lot of jokes – and one of many quirks that informed the enormous endearment the motoring world has for it. This crudeness was entirely reflected in the way that its ferocious powertrain delivered its 470+ bhp, with the twin-turbochargers responsible for most of it only spluttering into life past 4,000rpm. For what today would be considered faults, the F40 became an icon. It was no great shakes in motorsport, with the F40 LM (as featured in the awesome 75MM GT1 demo) and Competizione cars not quite hitting the mark, but that took nothing from the F40's irreducible coolness.

Then there’s the prancing horse nestled on its snout. You can get so tied up in the numbers and the minutia of what makes the F40 special that you forget what is independent of all that, and what makes it innately special: It’s a Ferrari. No less, the last ever Ferrari given the nod by Il Commendatore himself. It’s one of the top-5 most recognisable Ferraris of all time, and thus one of the top-5 supercars of all time. For anyone in any doubt of this car’s significance – you’ve been told. So following our assembling of more than ten examples at the just-gone Breakfast Club Supercar Sunday, happy 30th birthday, Ferrari F40.

Photography by Tom Shaxson.

  • Ferrari

  • f40

  • f40_dan_trent_goodwood_24042018_list.jpg

    Dan Trent

    Dan Trent: The F40 is Ferrari at its red-blooded best

  • ferrari_f40_exhaustcam_goodwood_01012024_list.jpg

    News

    Video: Ferrari F40 spits fire around Monza

  • ferrari_f40_03022017_05.jpg

    Andrew Frankel

    Thank Frankel it's Friday: A hearty happy 30th to the Ferrari F40