I've been lucky enough to ride shotgun in a handful of million-dollar supercars in my career, such as Bugatti Veyron, Pagani Huayra and Porsche 918 Spyder. At the end of the day, however, there's nothing quite like a Ferrari, and I'm not talking about a LaFerrari or an Enzo. The F40 is what wet dreams are made of! By today's standard, the F40's 471hp and 426 lb-ft of torque (European spec) doesn't catapult you into lightspeed. It's also a full second slower on the drag strip than the current twin-turbo 488 GTB. Forget about that for a moment because the F40 is the ultimate dream car if you were born in the '70s and '80s and it was given the stamp of approval by Enzo Ferrari himself and designed to be a street legal racecar that has stood the test of time since 1987.
After going for a spirited jolt around Orange County's industrial district, the only word that comes to my mind is, "raw". Carbon fiber and Kevlar body panels are used throughout and creature comforts have been thrown out the window. I didn't realize how empty the interior was with only a few switches and gauges in clear view of a rather plain dash. The seats are lightweight buckets, there's no hiding the engine and road noises, plus there's no door handles inside—pull-cords are used to open the door. The particular model I rode in featured Lexan windows, all to save weight.
Walking towards the rear and opening up the hatch requires some muscle despite its lightweight construction (the taillights, vents and fixed rear wing are all attached). The lifted hatch reveals all sorts of greatness, most importantly, the 2.9-liter V8 boosted via twin turbochargers. The powerplant is mated to a gated five-speed manual transmission.
Also front and center is the double wishbone suspension, aged 335-series Pirelli tires, braided hoses, and symmetrical airboxes and intercoolers. It's a beautiful sight to see, which I found funny to be only held up by a flimsy OEM hood prop (looked like it costs $10). But that's just the beauty of the F40. Where engineers could sacrifice in the name of performance, they did, which is what brings us to why we're here today...
A couple of months ago, I went on a shop tour of Boden Autohaus, an Orange County-based shop that got their start making air ride systems. Today, Boden has evolved into an aftermarket haven for high performance sports cars, supercars and hypercars, with a knack for custom exhausts. We're not talking about those obnoxious pipes on your cousin's BMW M3, either, but artisan titanium systems that feature the deepest color, most perfect welds, sexiest shape and ultimate sound. Elite customers from around the globe have been shipping their million-dollar toys to Orange County over the last few years, and this European-spec F40 is just the latest to receive the Boden touch.
The F40 uses a three-pipe system in which the two outside pipes serve as the conventional outlet from the V8's cylinders, while the center pipe expels gases released from the wastegates. Boden used their creativity and expertise to create an exhaust system that's worthy of an art gallery in Florence (okay, maybe not that level, but you catch my drift).
The rainbow-colored pipes might look a bit outlandish to purists, but in reality, they honestly match the exotic look and feel of the three decade-old Ferrari, and it screams, pops and burbles so gloriously that you won't mind one bit.
With only 1,315 F40s that went into production, and with a price tag of $1 million USD (at the very least), the F40 remains one of the best supercars to date, and one of my all-time favorite dream machines. But I guess it doesn't hurt I got a once-in-a-lifetime ride-along with Boden Autohaus, either...
FERRARI F40 RESOURCES
- 12 years ago, I had the pleasure of checking out one man's dream of racing a Ferrari F40 down the Bonneville Salt Flats during Bonneville Speedweek.
- If you have a million or so dollars laying around, there's an F40 on auction at RM Sotheby's this month.
- Our friends at Automobile Mag have a deeper rundown of the legendary F40 that's definitely worth a read!