Forgive me, for I’m going to talk to you about the Ferrari F40. Perhaps the supercar icon. The last new Ferrari signed-off by the Old Man. The first production car to sneak over 200mp. Tne brutal bespoilered wedge of Kevlar, Lexan, aluminium and magnesium, all bonded together with hastly-applied green adhesive and some hearty slaps on the back.
The F40’s legend grows with every passing year. It seems more outrageousewery time you lock at itnorand, of course, it seems more outrageous very time you look at it and, of course, it seems ever more plugged-in to our commitment to the analogue. So what’s really left to say about the unforgettable, unsurpassed Ferrari F40? Er, well, this is awkward. I think it’s a bit crappy to drive.
Of course, when l say ‘crappy’ i’m being bit simplistic. There are certain things about the experience that are truly amazing. The most obvious of which is that while you might be acting cool, calm and collected, inside you’re screaming: ‘I’M DRIVING A F**KIN FERRARI F40’ over and over again.
Actually, the internal expletives and imaginary punching of the air in excitement starts way before you drive the thing. Unlike most older sports/supercars, it doesn’t look slimmer or more petite than you imagined. It looks low and wide, the sharp lines and hungry ducts ooze drama and intent. The F40 has a magnetism and sense of danger that is completely undiminished.
Then you pull too hard on the featherweight color, it flies open, it pings against its stop and rapidly tries to close again. The F40 weighs around 1100kg and the doors probably contribute about 3kg each. Reverse and drop into the red Nomex carbon-Kavlar Hawk seats, and things get even better. That grey fuzzy felt clash you’ve read so much about is as unpretentious and wilfully functional is it gets.
Ahead is a small cowl housing a speedo on the left reading to 360km/h, a rev counter on the right marked to ‘10′ but going red a couple of ticks after ‘7’, taken by water temp and boost gauges. The steering wheel is small with a deliciously thin rim, angled back silghtly (like a bus).
Starting it is a morrtorc to savour. It’s really happening now. The clutch is heavy, the metal-on-meal gearshift takes a bit of practice but is so evocative, the steering feels oddly disconnected ether side of dead straight and the engine makes the most wonderful cacophony. Huffing, sighing, whisting, chucking and whooshing like a comedy turbocharger-noise special-affect generator. Life feels good.
So where does it go wrong? Mostly it’s the ride. Or lack of it. The F40 isn’t just extremely firm, it seems to have zero suspension travel. That means it hops, skips and leaps all over the place on roads. It feels like there are never more than two wheels in contact with the tarmac at any one moment. Continue that with savage old-school turbo delivery, wooden brakes and steering that never feels fully dialled-in to the surface and the F40 all too often feels like a firework that might just explode in your face.
Keep it on boost – which takes a mighty dose of commitment – and the car belches flames, the underside sparks as it bottoms out and you pinball across the landscape in a series of crazed lunges. You might manage that once. A decode More often you’ll stay away from the crazy boost just to survive; then you’re left with a car that feels slightly soft and woolly and yet still leaps into the air every time you see a bump. The F40 comes alive on track, but as a road car it’s just not that much fun.