The Ferrari F50 Is a Prancing Horse Surrounded by Controversy and Unjust Ire

Car Culture 33 December 5, 2018 by

The latest version of Gran Turismo Sport is here and with it a new crop of vehicles. Headlining the new content is the Ferrari F50, which we first got sneak peek at during the Nation’s Cup Final. For this week’s Want, we will explore the F50 and help you get acquainted with the new Prancing Horse.

The F50 first hit the scene in 1995. As a follow up to the incredible F40, it had some lofty expectations from the Ferrari faithful. However, many enthusiasts consider the car a flop and frankly not very good.

We think that’s a bit unfair.

The engine came from the Ferrari 641 Formula 1 car that ran in the 1990 season. However, the Ferrari engineers changed the V12 just a bit to make it more streetable. Instead of the 3.5-liter found in the 641, the F50’s engine grew to 4.7-liters.

This put the power figure at 513hp with 347lbft of torque. With all this power it made the run to 60mph in just 3.8 seconds and flat out would just crest the 200mph barrier.

All these figures were higher than the F40 it replaced. The F50 also had the added bonus of using naturally aspirated power instead of twin-turbos. This meant no lag and a smooth power curve.

So why did people dislike it? For starters, many consider the F50 as the ugliest Ferrari in the stable. We’re not so sure we agree with that, but we will say it’s definitely an acquired taste.

Once you get past the looks, there are other areas of the car that make little sense. One of these is the carbon fiber tub the car was built around. This made for some tight quarters with the interior. There was also a complete lack of storage as well.

Another downfall was the F50’s construction. Instead of using a metal subframe, Ferrari bolted the engine and rear end assembly directly to the tub. Due to this, nearly all the vibrations ended traveling right up your spine as you drove along. Not really the more luxurious experience.

Finally, the car did not have a roof and used the Barchetta body style. Eventually, Ferrari would offer a carbon fiber roof plate, but you could not store it in the car. This caused some issues if the weather turned sour during your drive.

Despite all this, the F50 is still essentially a road-going Formula 1 car. That’s something we can appreciate.

Ferrari only made 349 examples of the F50, so to see one come up for sale is pretty rare. But we found a 1997 model in the Land Down Under at Dutton Garage near Melbourne.

Like 302 of the F50’s made, this example is coated in Rosso Corsa and is nearly in showroom condition. It even bears a certification from Ferrari Classiche which confirms the car’s authenticity and condition.

Since it’s primarily a collectors car, it also comes with extremely low miles. There is just 9,001km (5,593 miles) on the clock which equates to just 428km (265 miles) per year.

Other than that this specimen comes with all the standard F50 kit, including the carbon fiber roof panel. It even has the bag under the front panel of the car, making it the complete package.

Unfortunately, Dutton Garage did not list a price for the F50. Based on the sale of other F50s, out best estimate is somewhere around the $1 million mark. But there are examples that fetch upwards of $3.6 million so it’s hard to say.

Thankfully, if you want to experience the F50 for yourself you can do so on GT Sport. We recommend taking it for a spin around Tokyo Expressway South circuit to get the full experience too.

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