1996 Ferrari F50
1996 Ferrari F50
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For Ferrari’s 40th anniversary in 1987, they wanted to produce a special, limited-run car to commemorate the occasion. Known as the F40, it set the car world on fire upon its release- an unbelievably aggressive design created through the extensive use of carbon fiber and paired with a powerful 2.9-liter twin-turbocharged V8 made the F40 the fastest car on sale. Journalists and enthusiasts who were lucky enough to get behind the wheel of the F40 couldn’t get enough of the thrilling driving experience and it instantly became an automotive icon. Once F40 production ended in 1992, Ferrari needed to get to work on their next limited edition supercar for their upcoming 50th anniversary celebration. They didn’t want to just rehash the F40- their new car, known as the F50, needed to be completely different. At its core, the F40 was a rather primitive car, based around a tubular steel chassis, carbon kevlar was present to help with rigidity while keeping the weight down. For their follow-up, Ferrari knew they wanted to show off their technical prowess- utilizing their first all carbon fiber tub, the vehicle was both stronger and lighter than an F40 and the exterior design was based off the 1989 Mythos concept car but refined for road use and with some added Formula 1 design elements. To keep with the F1 theme, Ferrari elected to fit their new car with a naturally aspirated V12 which had ties to the engine used in their 1990 Formula 1 car. Displacement was increased to 4.7-liters and the stratospheric redline in the race car was reduced to keep the engine reliable, but it was still capable of producing 512 horsepower at 8,000RPM and was enough to push the F50 over 200 miles per hour. This engine sent power through a 6-speed manual transaxle at the rear-making this the final halo vehicle to come out of Maranello with 3 pedals. Another unique race-inspired feature of the F50 was that the engine and gearbox were used as stressed members of the chassis. With no rear subframe assembly, the engine is bolted directly into the rear bulkhead and the transaxle behind it has the rear inboard suspension affixed to the top of it. This design feature makes the F50 feel like a competition car and gives the occupants an exceptionally visceral experience. The interior of the F50s features large swaths of exposed carbon chassis and a pair of heavily bolstered bucket seats, upholstered in leather with textile centers matched to the exterior color . Upon its debut, Ferrari announced it would only produce 349 F50s or “one less than we think we can sell”. After their F40 production number debacle, this time, they truly did stick to that number-making it one of the rarest modern Ferraris.
This 1996 Ferrari F50 is car number 197 out of the 349 built and was delivered new on October 16th, 1996. Sold through dealer and exporter LIGHTSPEED S.R.L., the car was sent to Japan where it was registered by Katougumidoken Ltd.- a local property development and building company. During this time, the ownership of the car changed numerous times but all to trusted people within the company before the car was acquired by Aplus Finance-the company’s creditor, in 2005. The F50 remained in Japan under three fastidious owners before being sold to Switzerland in 2014. Prior to its sale, one of the Japanese owners put the car through Ferrari Classiche certification at the Japanese Ferrari dealership Cornes, which also handled all of the servicing and a gauge cluster replacement in January 2014. Upon showing up in Switzerland, the car showed just 13,200 km and was still in excellent overall condition. In March 2021, the car was sold out of Switzerland and into the United States-the previous owner had used the car sparingly, now showing a total of 13,500 km. When the car landed in the US, it underwent a comprehensive service- having not been serviced for some time, a full service was performed which included inspecting valve lash, resealing cam covers, and a full fluid replacement to make sure it was in top running condition for the new owner. At the same time, the fuel bladder was replaced as it was nearing the end of its service life and an alignment was performed and new tires installed. This service spanned more than 3 months and ended up with a bill of over $58,000, but now this F50 is ready to be driven and enjoyed with just 50 miles added since its completion. Ferrari has hinted that they will not produce any more manual transmissions and with ever-increasing regulations surrounding fuel economy and emissions, the naturally aspirated V12 will likely be disappearing soon as well. This means that the F50 will stand forever as a high point for Ferrari- a supercar with Formula 1 technology, a removable roof and one of the most melodious engines ever. Included with the sale of the car is the original owners manuals, service records, Ferrari Certificate of Authenticity, small in car tool kit and the F50 flight case built to store the hard top and roll bars.