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Iconic Classic Cars: 1987 Ferrari F40


The Ferrari F40 is one of the most iconic cars from the 80’s. It was built to celebrate the manufacturer’s 40th anniversary, and it was the last car to be personally approved by Enzo Ferrari before his death.

At the time, it was the fastest and most powerful Ferrari road car in the world. It was also the world’s most expensive car, costing $400,000. But many classic car enthusiasts know it because it was the first ever production car to break the 200mph barrier.

The F40 was built during a period of 80’s extravagance, and that booming enthusiasm for new fashion, technology and power is tangible in its design and engineering.

The Ferrari F40 is a mid-engine two-seater coupé sportscar with rear wheel drive. Its most remarkable feature is its raw, unadulterated power.

The entire car was designed for pure performance, with an enlarged 2.9L V8 engine, positioned just behind the seats. The engine was the first to use IHI twin turbochargers that pushed the car’s performance to new levels.

Ferrari claimed it had 478 bhp at 7000rpm, but many believe the true number was well over 500 bhp. The torque is a staggering 577 Nm and it reached 0-62mph in a shade under four seconds.

The iconic F40 highlights the synergy between the brand’s racing heritage and its road cars. Many of the materials and design aspects were adapted from Formula One cars, including the tubular space frame chassis. The panels are made from light Kevlar, carbon fibre and aluminium, designed to be strong but reduce the weight of the car.

It is sometimes compared to the Porsche 959, but it’s a completely different sort of car. It has no plush interior or gadgets – it’s pure, raw power. The F40 is one of the most admired cars ever made, and certainly the defining Ferrari to a whole generation of petrol heads.

Did you know?

  1. The original production run was planned at around 400, but huge global enthusiasm saw a total of 1,311 F40 cars manufactured, with production running until 1992.
  2. The F40 had supreme aerodynamic styling, with its dramatic needle nose. It was also incredibly light, weighing in at little more than a Golf GTI.

Car Specification

Car Ferrari F40
Production 1987-1992
Top speed (mph) 201
Doors 2
Length (mm) 4430
Weight (kg) 1100
Engine V8 2.9 L 2936 cc
BHP 478
Torque (Nm) 577
0-60mph 3.8s
0-100kmh 4.1s


The Best of 1987

The same extravagance and power in the F40 was being seen around the world, as modernisation went full-steam ahead in 1987. This was the year that the world’s population reached 5 billion people. Pop culture took over and it seemed like everyone was sporting a bouffant or perm.


World events

1987 started on a high as the Dow Jones stock market broke 2000 points. The celebrations proved to be premature as the market crashed in October of that year.

Closer to home, work began on the Channel Tunnel to connect France and Great Britain, in the same year that Disney announced it would build the Disneyland Paris resort.

And the night skies were lit up by the first supernova visibile to the naked eye since 1604.


Film & TV

1987 was a great year for films. Predator and RoboCop were the iconic 80s action flicks, while Fatal Attraction gave us ‘bunny boiling’ and Dirty Dancing saw Patrick Swayze melt women’s hearts everywhere.

Over on TV, The Simpsons made its TV debut as shorts on the Tracey Ullman Show and Star Trek: The Next Generation introduced Patrick Stewart as Captain Jean-Luc Picard.



Fashion styles in the late 1980s saw bright colours and vivid patterns take over. Women wore short spandex skirts and jackets with huge shoulder pads. For men, Doc Martens became the only shoes to be seen in, whilst MC Hammer’s signature parachute pants were a must have.

But in the midst of statement clothing, there was one chic event: in May 1987 Princess Diana attended the Cannes Film Festival in a floor-length powder-blue chiffon dress, that has since sold at auction for £81k.


The sounds of 1987 were full-blown pop music. It’s the year that Rick Astley stormed the charts with Never Gonna Give You Up, while George Michael sang about Faith. The Bangles got everyone to Walk Like an Egyptian.

Famous births

  • Footballers Luis Suárez and Lionel Messi
  • Singers Kesha and Emeli Sandé
  • Tennis players Andy Murray and Novak Djokovic
  • Harry Potter actor Tom Felton



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