In the prosperous eighties, the Italian supercar maker Ferrari sold no fewer than 1,315 units of the legendary flagship F40. With its lightning-fast acceleration and advanced technology, the F40 propelled the company into a new era of performance cars. In the mid-1990s, however, Ferrari needed a successor to the F40 that could live up to its reputation. As a result, the car manufacturer built the fascinating Ferrari F50.
Designed to commemorate Ferrari’s 50th anniversary, the F50 was the product the brand once built for a road-going Formula 1 vehicle. The F50 had no power steering, power assisted brakes or anti-lock brakes due to its rigorous, pure dedication to maximum performance. Nevertheless, it made the most of advanced composites, F1-style construction techniques and aerodynamics.
When it was shown at the 1995 Geneva Salon, Ferrari president Luca Di Montezemolo announced that only 349 of the new model would be built. The Ferrari F50, while sometimes overshadowed by the F40, is nevertheless a masterpiece in its own right. What makes this Ferrari one of the best sports cars of the 1990s? Read on to find out what we think.
Design and performance were at the forefront of the Ferrari F50’s appeal
The F50, by far the most controversial Ferrari ever made, was designed by Pininfarina in a rather unconventional way. Pietro Camardella arrived at the final design by combining elements from his previous work, such as the F40 and the Mythos concept, into a new design philosophy.
Customers could choose from five colors on the F50, as opposed to the red GTO and F40 models, which only had one color option. There were two different shades of red, yellow, black and silver, with the race red paint being the most popular. Air conditioning was standard, as on the F40, and the seats were upholstered in leather with fabric inserts, with a choice of standard/large seat sizes.
A multicolored illuminated display in the driver’s tray replaced the conventional dials on the instrument panel. Aside from that, the minimalist aesthetic of the F40 was preserved. A few custom wheels were made especially for the F50. The front and rear of these center-locking magnesium alloys were 18×8.5 inches and 18×13 inches, respectively.
Replacing the turbocharged V-8 of the F40, the mid-mount F130B 4.7-litre naturally aspirated V-12 was a development of the 3.5-litre V-12 featured in the Ferrari 641 F1 1990 racing car. This car has excellent sound and performance with a naturally aspirated V-12 engine mounted directly to the chassis.
The F50 produced 512 horsepower, up from 471 horsepower in the F40, but torque dropped from 425 lb-ft to 347 lb-ft due to the switch from turbocharger to natural aspiration. Owners were able to reach 100 km/h from a standstill in 3.8 seconds with the F50’s six-speed manual transmission, which could boost the car’s top speed to 320 km/h.
Returning to construction, the F50 used a monocoque frame made of composite materials, with an engine adapted from a 1990 Formula 1 vehicle. It was touted as the closest to a street-legal Formula 1 vehicle. The front suspension was attached directly to the carbon fiber passenger compartment, with a tubular structure projecting forward to accommodate the radiator and auxiliary equipment.
The engine was mounted at the rear of the cell and acted as a load-bearing element for the gearbox and rear suspension, just like on modern Formula 1 vehicles.
With the F50 GT, Ferrari F50 tried its hand at racing
“How did this start?” you wonder. The Ferrari F50 GT was a racing variant of the F50 designed to compete in the BPR Global GT Series against opponents such as the McLaren F1 GTR. The vehicle was developed in collaboration with Dallara and Michelotto. After the series’ death, Ferrari was not happy with the inclusion of homologation specials such as the Porsche 911 GT1 in the new FIA GT Championship. And because they didn’t have the money, they decided to give it up.
Production of the F50 lasted from 1995 to 1997, with chassis numbers ranging from 101919 to 1107575. The Ferrari F50 is the second rarest of the five Ferrari halo cars, with only 349 produced. Remarkably, Ferrari decided to sell the F50 only in a Targa version. Isn’t it wonderful to be able to hear that magnificent engine?
Many consider the F50 a less desirable model than the F40, the last car built by Enzo Ferrari. We’re not on the same page. In contrast, the F50 has stood the test of time well, as most controversial supercars do. Collectors’ appreciation for this unique car has pushed prices well above the seven-digit mark. Not only that, but because it has a low, wide stance with a rear wing, it’s one of the best-preserved cars from the 1990s in appearance.
We can still admire this classic sports car from the 90s, even if it is too rare and expensive for most people to own. Ferrari F50 has seen a renaissance in the auto press lately after years of neglect. The public seems to be the F50 . to embraceand we have all come to admire his pure performance.
Watch: the very rare Ferrari F50 turns the streets of London into a playground
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