1993 FERRARI F40LM
Coachwork by Michelotto - Design by Pininfarina
2,936cc DOHC Twin-Turbocharged V8 Engine
Weber-Marelli Electronic Fuel Injection
700bhp at 8,100rpm
5-Speed Manual Transmission
4-Wheel Independent Suspension
4-Wheel Disc Brakes
*The ultimate iteration of the ultimate Enzo-era Ferrari
*One of a small handful of California-delivery F40LM's
*The 18th of only 19 F40LM's produced
*Never raced, extremely low mileage example
*Sensational factory original condition throughout
THE FERRARI F40
For Ferrari's 40th anniversary as a constructor under his own name, Enzo Ferrari gave his design team a very simple instruction: "Build a car to be the best in the world." Time has shown that they complied.
A mid-engined, two-seater Berlinetta, the F40 was a development of the limited-production 288GTO and like the latter - but unlike the preceding 308/328 series - mounted its power unit longitudinally rather than transversely. A four-cam 3-liter 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 1 experience in its use of composite technology. A one-piece plastic molding, the body was bonded to the tubular steel chassis to create a lightweight structure of immense rigidity superior to an all-metal structure. The doors, bonnet, boot lid and other removable panels were carbon fiber. Pugnaciously styled by Pininfarina, the wind tunnel-developed 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 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 F40's interior reinforced its image as a thinly disguised racecar, 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 McLaren's F1 GTR.
Electronics were important, but they served the engine only. There was no ABS, no traction control, no electro-hydraulic paddle shifting and no stability control it was a raw car whose fate rested entirely with the skill of the driver.
With a 201 mph top speed and sub-4 second 0-60 time, no one was disappointed with the F40. Ferrari proposed only a limited run of 400 or so F40s but the model's reception was overwhelming, even at over $250,000 apiece, and the run kept growing until 1,315 were built by the time production ended in 1991.
THE FERRARI F40LM
Competition was not in Ferrari's original plan for the F40 but Daniel Marin, managing director of French Ferrari importer Charles Pozzi SA, took the initiative and induced Ferrari to authorize Michelotto, the famed Padova Ferrari service center whose previous credits included the 308 GTB Group 4 and Group B racing cars, to construct a series of F40-based cars for racing under IMSA rules in the U.S.
The resulting F40LM LM for "Le Mans" was a car far more rare and exclusive than a normal F40. These ultra rare F40LMs were originally built only for Ferrari's most favored clients. Heavily developed for competition by Michelotto, the F40LM 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 19 factory F40 LMs were originally built and they are today highly coveted and rarely seen.
THE MOTORCAR OFFERED
This F40LM, #97893, is the penultimate example produced, the 18th built out of a total production run of 19 cars. According to Ferrari historian Marcel Massini, the F40LM was delivered new on June 8th, 1993, through Ferrari North America to their new Ferrari of San Francisco dealership, located just a few miles north of San Francisco's Golden Gate Bridge in picturesque Mill Valley, California.
#97893 is therefore one of very few F40LMs delivered new to the United States, nevertheless California. There were only a very small handful of these cars, perhaps two or three at most, delivered new to California.
Not coincidentally in the slightest, the Ferrari of San Francisco dealership was newly opened, a project funded and owned by the Ferrari factory itself at the time the only factory owned store located in the United States. The breathtaking and sublime F40LM must have spent much time drawing admirers sitting at the center of the showroom, itself a perfectly crafted Tuscan farmhouse complete with Italian tile driveway. The Michelotto-bred F40LM must have felt quite at home.
Having seen no mileage, the still as-new F40LM was sold in November of 1994 to Art Sport of Osaka, Japan, and the car shipped to them. A copy of a Japanese Customs document from this time appears to show the car arriving on Japanese shores in March 1995.
The car remained with Art Sport, still in as-new condition, before being sold to a well-known private Japanese Ferrari collector, who kept the car until about 2007. It was then acquired by the consignor, a noted Japanese collector with examples of some of the world's most exclusive supercars in his impressive collection.
During his long-term ownership, the F40LM has remained in Japan. It has seen no use during this time beyond occasional starting. 97893 was brought back to California for this year's Quail Lodge Auction for the first time since it was sold new here nearly 20 years ago.
The chance to acquire an F40LM is extremely rare. Many have in the care of long-term owners, with original clientele including the likes of the Sultan of Brunei. Furthermore, the F40LM is a rarer commodity than even the priceless 250GTO with which it shares ancestral roots.
Of the 19 F40LMs, many were run hard in competition, raced in international GT racing series such as the Japanese JGTC and American IMSA, while other cars were often campaigned at Ferrari events by their private owners. 97893 is a rare F40LM that has not been raced or tracked. It is an opportunity to acquire a virgin example of the ultimate iteration of the F40, the car that redefined the term "supercar" for a generation of enthusiasts.
Today, the F40 remains as one of the most graceful yet aggressive shapes to ever adorn an automobile. The ultimate F40LM version, as offered here, was the pinnacle of achievement for Ferrari and Michelotto both in terms of design and performance; it is the peak of engineering development for the model. With fewer than 20 examples originally produced, the chance to acquire F40LM #97893 today should not be missed.