Why is it so special?
A rather simple concept, take a championship-winning F1 engine and shoehorn it into a road car. That’s exactly what Ferrari did with the F50. Created to celebrate 50 years of Ferrari road cars, what more could Ferrari do to follow up on the groundbreaking F40? The heart of the Ferrari F50 is a 4.7-litre naturally aspirated longitudinal V12, code named the Tipo F130 B and it’s mated to a gated 6-speed manual transmission. The motor is closely related to the engine used in the 1990 Ferrari 641/2 Formula 1 racer driven by Nigel Mansell and Alain Prost. The F50 was more than just a high-tech engine though, it offered the period’s most sophisticated chassis and an air exclusivity which saw it become a most sought after addition to many a Ferrari collector.
That classic cool feature: Innovation improves the breed
Unlike many other serious supercars of its time, the F50 was different thanks to a revolutionary weight-saving structure. Doing away with the rear subframe meant making the engine an integral part of the vehicle’s structure by fixing it directly to the carbon-fibre monocoque. This allows for a more ridged yet lighter vehicle. The V12 motor revved to an 8 500 rpm redline producing 382 kW and 471 Nm with a top speed of 325 km/h. Electronic adaptive dampers formed part of the hi-tech package, although power steering and ABS were omitted in the pursuit of lightness. Regardless of these innovations, the ’90s supercar was over shadowed by Gordon Murry’s 386 km/h McLaren F1, the F50 mostly flew under the radar, until now, where values have increased considerably.
Can you get it today?
Well, only 349 examples were ever produced, you’d need to have very deep pockets to secure one. Late last year the first ever F50 built was auctioned off for the equivalent of R45 million. For South Africans without large sums of cash burning a hole in their pocket, you can rest assured that an F50 is easily available for viewing at the Rupert family owned Franschoek Motor Museum.