The ex-Albert Uderzo 1991 Ferrari F40 LM Competition Berlinetta Coachwork by Pininfarina Chassis no. 88522 Engine no. 410B005
The take-up into the next gear is flawless and, with the turbos cranking hard, the blast of acceleration just goes on again and you seem to be in a blur of time conquering distance, gearshifts and noise. It has the tonal quality of an F1 engine, if not the sheer ferocity. From outside, if you stand and listen, you hear the frantic whoosh as the turbos start to drive oh-so-hard. - Autocar magazine, May 1988.
Introduced in 1988 to celebrate Enzo Ferraris forty years as a car maker, the F40 was, at the time, the ultimate supercar. A mid-engined, two-seater coupé, the F40 was a development of the limited-production 288GTO, and like the latter - but unlike the preceding 308 series - mounted its power unit longitudinally rather than transversely. A four-cam 3-litre V8 with four valves per cylinder, the F40 engine employed twin IHI turbochargers to liberate 478bhp at 7,000rpm. For the seriously speed-addicted, this could be boosted by 200bhp by means of a factory tuning kit.
Of equal, if not greater, technical interest was the method of body/ chassis construction, the F40 drawing on Ferrari's Formula One experience in its use of composite technology. A one-piece plastic moulding, the body was bonded to the tubular steel chassis to create a lightweight structure of immense rigidity. The doors, bonnet, boot lid and other removable panels were carbon fibre. Pugnaciously styled by Pininfarina, the F40 incorporated the latest aerodynamic aids in the form of a dam-shaped nose and high rear aerofoil. Despite the need to generate considerable downforce - and with a top speed of 201mph, higher than the take-off speed of many light aircraft, the F40 needed all the downforce it could get - the result was a commendably low drag coefficient of just 0.34. The F40s interior re-enforced its image as a thinly disguised race-car, with body-contoured seats, an absence of carpeting and trim, and sliding Plexiglas windows. When it came to actual competition, race-prepared F40s more than held their own, and in the Global GT series proved quicker on many circuits than McLarens F1 GTR.
Autocar concluded its test thus: on a smooth road it is a scintillatingly fast car that is docile and charming in its nature; a car that is demanding but not difficult to drive, blessed as it is with massive grip and, even more importantly, superb balance and manners. You can use its performance - the closest any production car maker has yet come to race car levels - and revel in it. theres little doubt it is the very personification of the term sports car.
The car on offer today, however, is far more exclusive than even a normal F40: it is one of the genuine, ultra rare Le Mans versions originally built for Ferraris most favoured clients. Developed for competition by Michelotto of Padova on behalf of the factory, the LM sported a reinforced chassis, even more aggressive bodywork including a deeper front air dam and larger, cockpit adjustable rear wing, a racing interior, stiffer suspension, up-rated brakes, competition gearbox, wider wheels and a specially prepared engine producing between 850-900bhp. Not to be confused with the standard road-going F40, or cars up-rated subsequently on behalf of their owners, just 17 factory F40 LMs were originally built and they are today highly coveted.
The sixth LM built, chassis 88522 was delivered new via POZZI (Ferrari France) to none other than the famous French cartoonist Uderzo, creator of the celebrated Asterix cartoon strip. Uderzo, a keen and long-standing Ferrari collector, used the car exclusively for private test days, and during one of these damaged the front bonnet. The car was returned to the factory for a replacement and the opportunity was taken at the same time to convert it to run on unleaded fuel, an important advantage for future collectors.
With only nominal mileage covered, the car was sold in 1993 to prominent British Ferrari collector David Morrison, from whom it passed into German ownership in 1996. In the latter the car was pampered and its use restricted to the occasional track demonstration to maintain it in optimum condition. On one such appearance, at the Nürburgring Modena Motorsport festival in the summer of 1998, driven by Jacky Ickx it lapped in 1min 40secs (compared to a contemporary Ferrari 412 Formula 1 car at 1min 43secs).
88522 was purchased by the current Swiss owner at Brooks inaugural Sale of Historic Ferrari Motor cars at Gstaad on 19th December 1998. Subsequently the car returned to Michelotto in Padova for extensive refurbishment that included replacement of all belts, filters and fluids; disassembly and up-date of the gearbox internals; overhaul of front and rear shock absorbers; replacement of the front road springs; partial repaint and the supply of eight new wheels. Copies of Michelottos invoices dated January 2001 and totaling L.51,200,000 accompany the car together with a gear ratio/ speed chart. Interestingly, the latter shows the maximum speed attainable on the highest available gearing as 364.9km/h (226.6mph).
Finished in Rosso Corsa with matching flame-resistant interior, the car has recently been checked over by ProDrive in the UK and a copy of their technical report will be made available to buyers. A rare competition variant of one of the most exciting and exclusive of all Ferraris, this highly collectable F40 LM is beautifully presented throughout. A refuelling tank and a quantity of spare wheels are included in the sale. Local taxes will be liable if the car remains in Switzerland.