Ah, The Ferrari F50. As we said in our special TG Collector’s Edition Ferrari mag, “the F50’s years flying under the radar are now emphatically over.” It really was something of a forgotten gem for about 20 years. And we really can’t figure out why.
At the time, it was considered too ugly, too slow compared to the McLaren F1 (well, everything this side of an F14 Tomcat was) and not expensive enough to warrant the attention of the burgeoning one percent. It was all well and good, in the Ace-of-Base-afflicted mindset of the early '90s, for a car to be based on a world champion’s F1 car, but it certainly wasn’t enough to step out of the shade of Gordon Murray’s gilded (no, literally gilded), center-seated, 388kph hypercar. As an aside, we wonder if the upcoming Mercedes-AMG Project One will experience the same lack of prestige in the face of something like the Bugatti Divo. Time, as always, will tell.
Anywho, it did take rather a long time for everyone to cotton on to how good of an idea it was to buy what was essentially a road-going version of Alain Prost’s Ferrari 641/2 with a body kit that only an eight-year-old with unlimited access to Coco Pops could hope to replicate.
And then there’s the not-inconsequential matter of the engine. With two banks of six cylinders, arranged in a V – also known as the perfect engine configuration–pumping out more than 500hp and revving all the way beyond 8,000rpm without as much as a cocked eyebrow, it is magnificence made corporeal.
And can we say again, just for posterity that it was A V12 FERRARI BASED ON ALAIN PROST’S F1 CAR? No, really, how did anyone miss the signs that this was a very special car?
And this one is particularly special, even by F50 standards. Why? Well, it’s the first-ever F50, and much more besides.
Niki Lauda, Jean Alesi, Dario Benuzzi, Gerhard Berger. These are just a few of the driving gods who’ve driven this actual car. And, we presume, not gently–its exceptionally low 1,400-mile readout on the odometer involved lap after lap of Fiorano and some foot-down-flat-out blasts around Maranello, to shake down Ferrari’s latest creation.
But its fame doesn’t end there–it was Ferrari’s display car at the F50’s debut Geneva motor show, also submitting its flared flanks for use in countless press shots, on any number of scale models and even on technical cutaway drawings and postage stamps. If you saw a picture of an F50 in the mid '90s, chances are it was this one.
So, you might assume, all this pedigree can’t come cheaply. And, you astute individual, are right on the money. The exorbitant sum of money, that is. The sellers, Autosport Designs of Long Beach in the somewhat United States of America, aren’t listing the price, but we’d wager it’s somewhere beyond the £2.5m (P172.8 million) mark, going on what we’ve seen other F50s go for recently.
But, to quote ourselves again (nothing like a pat on our own back), the F50 “sounds uncannily like the F1 car it was inspired by, with a 60v, 4.7-liter quad-cam V12. But it’s the chassis and transmission that really grab you by your now frantically fizzing nether regions.” And if you can stump up the cash, that alone seems worth it, no?
NOTE: This article first appeared on TopGear.com. Minor edits have been made.