1997 Ferrari F50

Fifty years of racing, fifty years of winning, fifty years of hard work.” With these words, Luca Montezemolo, head of Ferrari S.p.A., introduced the F50 at the Auto Museum in Geneva, Switzerland, in conjunction with the 63rd annual International Automobile Show, on March 6, 1995.
Using technology from Ferrari’s Formula One V12, the new, normally aspirated 4.7-liter engine featured a crankcase made of nodular cast iron, Nikasil-coated liners and titanium connecting rods. Maximum power was 520 hp at 8,500 rpm. The engine itself was safe to over 10,000 rpm. The weight of the V12 was a mere 436 pounds.
Top speed was given as being 202 mph and 0-60 could be covered in 3.7 seconds. The standing mile could be accomplished in 30.3 seconds. Some commentators described the F50 as a Ferrari Formula One machine with a second seat and a sports car body.
The chassis was made entirely of aerospace carbon fiber and weighed a lithe 225 pounds. For the first time in a Ferrari road car, the engine/gearbox/differential assembly acted as a load-bearing structure within the chassis.
The instrument panel featured the rev-counter and the speedometer as well as gas, oil and water temperatures and oil pressure gauges-all controlled by microcomputer and displayed by LCD.
The body of the F50 was developed in the wind tunnel. Subframes were bolted to the chassis to support the bodywork, which was made of carbon fiber/Kevlar and Nomex honeycomb materials. The F50 was available in just five colors: red, Barchetta Red, yellow, black and Nürburgring Gray.
As a small publicity stunt, Ferrari announced that just 349 cars would be built-one less than the market demanded. The first ten cars went to Europe, while deliveries to the US started in July 1995. It was thought that only 50 cars would be sold to America.
The price of the F50 was $475,000 plus taxes.
This F50 has received the best of care, each service performed fully and on time. It runs flawlessly with no indication of mechanical wear. It has required some paint repairs for stone chips and other road rash. The interior, while no longer perfect, remains in excellent condition.

Steve Ahlgrim

Steve Ahlgrim - SCM Contributing Editor

Steve taught high school auto shop before moving to Atlanta, GA, where his love of sports cars led him to FAF Motorcars, the former Ferrari dealer where he served as General Manager and Vice President. He has been a self-proclaimed “one-trick pony,” coveting the Ferrari marque. He has been involved in concours judging for over 25 years and is a member of the IAC/PFA, an international committee overseeing high-level Ferrari concours judging. He is chief judge of the Celebration Exotic Car Show in Celebration, FL.

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