PH Carpool: Ferrari F40 Michelotto

Nigel Chiltern-Hunt
Ferrari F40 Michelotto
Owned since:
I sold my previous one!
Previously owned:
Another F40 (from new), Ferrari 360 Challenge car ... and the list goes on

Nigel has something of a Ferrari habit...
Nigel has something of a Ferrari habit...
Why I bought it:
I ordered my first one in 1987 and learned in 1988 that I'd get one. The price in 1990 was £145K, plus VAT, and it got to October and I still hadn't got it. And then they said "by the way, there's a price increase and there are 20 people waiting if you don't want it." I picked it up and took it straight to a concours event and amusingly got marked down for some things that weren't original! I eventually sold that car in 1996 after I got an offer I couldn't refuse but regretted it straight away and knew I wanted another and got this one in 2003; it had belonged to a hotel owner who said it wasn't fast enough and wanted more power so he sent it off to Michelotto and got the LM suspension, LM brakes, LM wheels, brake balance and other modifications.

Michelotto upgrades add another 50hp or so
Michelotto upgrades add another 50hp or so
What I wish I'd known:
I've got no regrets about the car and I always wanted one - I only wish I'd not sold the first one!

Things I love:
The Michelotto conversion has transformed the car. It's only 50hp more but it's in fact a lot more progressive and it's got more torque and it comes in a little earlier. There's thought to be around 10 in the world, nobody's really sure but quite a few did get modified, perhaps 20 or so subsequently. A lot have a carbon wing plate but I wanted the standard look. And I just knew it was going to be a future classic and I love the shape of it, there's not a bad angle.

Things I hate:
Having to use ear plugs when I drive it!

Earplugs required apparently...
Earplugs required apparently...
The running costs are actually pretty reasonable - the engine is bulletproof, the gearbox is as tough as old nails and there are very few electronics. Even a cambelt is easily done - people maintain them themselves and there aren't many supercars you can say that about. Just don't damage it - a new rear clamshell costs around £30,000 and once you paint them you lose the carbon weave which is important for buyers.

Where I've been:
It took me two years of organisation but I got 61 F40s together for the Silverstone Classic and we had 59 on the track for the parade. All with the cooperation and help of the Ferrari Owners' Club and Silverstone who were amazingly helpful.

Nigel's car joined Silverstone parade lap
Nigel's car joined Silverstone parade lap
What next?
Salon Prive
where we'll be exhibiting with a whole section of around 14 F40s. Some of us are doing the run in from the RAC so we can all drive in together on the Wednesday. And we'll be at Silverstone for the Ferrari Racing Days too.





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Comments (328) Join the discussion on the forum

  • DodoRacing 20 Aug 2014

    FOBD said:
    I wonder what's that all about the clown shoelaces?

  • F1GTRUeno 17 Aug 2014

    psummers said:
    Yes, but the F50 is a very ugly car. Same with the Enzo.

    In my opinion of course
    By conventional standards of beauty the F40 isn't anything other than ugly too.

    All three of them are stunning looking things, none of them are pretty. The F50 is my favourite though.

  • fullleather 17 Aug 2014

    I had a book many years ago written by Mark Hughes on the F40, the car is an 'obsession' of mine which will be with me for the rest of my life...theres a sequence of photos in the book which show test driver Fornari demonstrating the F40's progressive over-steer until the rear end finally looses traction a snaps into a spin...If you can source the book its worth buying. Imagine what the people will make of Ferrari's F40 in say a thousand years time...certain materials will perish over time but I imagine quiet a few will stand the test of time, maybe even is the definitive 'Supercar'

    If you happen own one please message me.

  • FOBD 16 Sep 2012

    psummers said:
    Is there any truth behind the F40 prototype that was Enzo Ferrari’s personal car which had 200 more bhp and other upgrades? Would that car have similar upgrades to the Michelotto
    car featured in this article? Does anyone know what became of this prototype?

    I found this video but I’m at work so I can’t watch it:
    There were seven F40 prototypes. The first two were actually the second and third GTO Evoluziones, 70167 GT and 70205 GT, with F40 bodies; these cars were used largely for high-speed circuit evaluation. The third car was built up solely for motor shows and exhibitions. Three more F40 prototypes were used for road testing, one being dedicated to suspension work and another ending its homologation programme (which included braking, pollution and noise requirements) against a concrete block in the impact test. The final prototype was used as a pre-production dummy to familiarise workers with new assembly techniques.

    Long before the F40 had even been thought about the first stage in developing the GTO Evoluzione was to discover how much power could be squeezed from a racing version of the GTO’s 400bhp F114B engine, while keeping to the (2855cc) displacement necessary to fall within the proposed 4-litre class. Retaining the existing bore and stroke measurements, Materazzi started work in late 1983 on a revised V8 engine which was given the designation F114C. It was developed in two competition forms, one state of tune (called 'Rally' and given the suffix ‘R’ ) initially developing 530bhp and a subsequent derivative (called 'Competition', but given the suffix 'K' to avoid confusion with the existing ‘C’ in the engine's title) starting off with a staggering 650bhp.
    The F111CR achieved a 130bhp gain over the standard GTO motor with remarkably little modification. Boost pressure was increased from 0.8 to 1.7bar, the compression ratio went up from 7.6:1 to 7.8:1, the Weber Marelli electronic fuel injection system was modified and the valve timing was adjusted. It was enough to show the V8 engine's huge potential and to push the project to the even more powerful F114CK stage
    When it was first run in a test cell in September 1985, the F114CK immediately delivered the 650bhp which Materazzi had expected. While most of the standard GTO engine’s components remained, by now there were further modifications to the turbocharging and injection ignition installations. Larger IHI turbochargers allowed a higher rate of airflow, but boost pressure was kept at the same formidable 1.7bar.
    By late 1985, the F114CK engine was ready to be installed in the first GTO Evoluzione prototype, chassis 50253 GT, and put through thousands of test miles exclusively at Fiorano. The car would serve as a pre-F40 test vehicle for developing mechanical systems, and later as a basis for Pininfarina’s work in giving it a suitably attractive body. Its appearance, with a body created by Ferrari’s engineers simply to fulfill function rather than to look beautiful, was brutal and purposeful. Huge wings ballooned over wide racing tyres and the ungainly bodywork was punctured by ducts to feed air to water and oil radiators, brakes, inter coolers and the cockpit. As if to emphasize its race breeding, a two-tier wing of unpainted aluminium stuck out as a carbuncle from the rear of the car.
    The F114CR and F114CK engines both produced spectacular power high up the rev range, but a road going unit needed also to have progressive torque characteristics at lower engine speeds.
    The route chosen was to increase the capacity of the engine slightly, from 174 to (2855-2936cc), by enlarging the bore from 3.14 to 3.22in. (80-82mm) and shortening the stroke from 2.8 to 2.74in. (7l-69.5mm). Larger IHI turbochargers than those on the GTO were fitted and the boost pressure was set at 1.1 bar (less than the GTO Evoluzione but still well above the normal GTO's 0.8 bar) in order to achieve a good level of power without excessively savage delivery. A torque figure of 4251b ft at just 4000rpm matched Materazzi's objective of low-speed flexibility, while a power output of 478bhp at 7000rpm was a good increase over the GTO's 400bhp – but short of the 500bhp which Enzo Ferrari is reputed to have wanted.
    Many other smaller changes were made to bring the engine to its production specification. A modified crankshaft had enlarged lubrication ducts to cope with the higher demands of racing conditions, while the pistons (designed with a pronounced 'squish' effect) were cooled by oil jets.

    The final F40 test phase was managed by Maurizio Manfredini of the Experimental Department. His team of drivers was headed by Dario Benuzzi (also a Formula One test driver), with Claudio Ori and Giuseppe Cornia conducting most of the work alongside Benuzzi
    'Our work with the GTO Evoluzione had been carried out only at Fiorano,' says Manfredini, 'so there was plenty to find out about road and high speed use with the first F40, given to us in February 1987. As well as more time at Fiorano, we did a lot of work at the high-speed bowl at Nardo on maximum speed behaviour, and established the top speed as 325kph (201.9mph). With the second prototype we also went to Imola and Alfa Romeo's Balocco test track.'
    Benuzzi invariably took care of the Nardo sessions, driving the F40 on public roads for the 1000km trip (over 600 miles) from Maranello to the heel of Italy. He reckons that the journey was possible in around five and a quarter hours (including fuel stops), which works out at a running average of nearly 120mph (193kph).

    F40 in video you posted has got different rear window and mirrors are in an early location (that is correct for a prototype, for a production models they moved them to the outer edge of the door). From what they are saying it is the third prototype and the first car that was the acctual F40 (under the bodyshell).

    psummers said:
    Also the F40 owners keep saying adjust/non-adjust about their car. Is this in relation to the adjustable carbon spoiler some cars have or is it something else?
    Ferrari has always intended that the F40's suspension should include a ride height adjustment facility giving three positions: high for maneuvering, normal for moderate speed and low form high speed. The intention is that the normal ride height of 4.9in. (125mm) is automatically reduced by 0.8in. (20mm) at speeds above 120kph (75mph) to give better aerodynamic stability. By pushing a switch on the fascia, the driver would also be able to raise the normal ground clearance by 1in. (25mm) when maneuvering over bumps.
    The changes in height are achieved by a hydraulic system built into the shock absorbers. Powered by an electrically driven pump, valves transfer hydraulic fluid according to commands from a sensor measuring speed. A safeguard is built in to avoid frequent height changes when speed hovers around the 120kph point. As of 1990 however, the system has yet to be perfected for production, so the option would be available only to later F40 customers. According to Maurizio Manfredini of the Experimental Department, the lowest ride height setting adds 2kph to the F40's top speed.

    Edited by FOBD on Monday 17th September 19:43

  • turboslippers 10 Sep 2012

    Love them, that black one is just perfect. Was always my poster car along with the 288.

    There was one parked up with some other exotica at the Le Mans classic (looked quite used i.e kerbed wheel, damaged front splitter etc). I pointed out to the good lady that it was my fave car of all time. I got, 'what...THIS one? It looks like some dodgy kit car' .



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