RM Paris 2016 Preview – 1997 Ferrari F50

RM Sotheby’s is on a major roll lately — establishing classic cars as a true luxury auction staple, along with fine art of all kinds.

The 2016 calendar is filling up fast. Some very exciting recent additions to the Paris auction on February 3rd, 2016….


1997 Ferrari F50


RM Sotheby’s


3 February 2016

1997 Ferrari F50

  • Chassis no. ZFFTA46B000106825
  • Engine no. 45134
  • Body no. 210
  • Gearbox no. 380


520 bhp, 4,698 cc V-12 engine with Bosch Motronic 2.7 engine management, six-speed manual transmission, four-wheel independent suspension with coil springs and unequal-length wishbones, and four-wheel hydraulic disc brakes. Wheelbase: 2,580 mm

  • The 266th of only 349 examples produced
  • Complete with book, tools, car cover, and roof storage box
  • Matching numbers throughout; Ferrari Classiche certified

The goal of Ferrari’s F50, which was built on the culmination of four years of development and fifty years of success in motorsport, was to offer customers an experience as close to a Formula 1 car as possible but on a road-legal platform. The car was presented to the public for the first time at the 63rd annual Geneva Motor Show, and Luca di Montezemolo, Piero Lardi Ferrari, Sergio Pininfarina, and Niki Lauda were all on hand at the unveiling, illustrating the monumental importance of this new model to the history of Ferrari.

The F50 was propelled by a 4.7-litre normally aspirated V-12 with five valves per cylinder, which was a first for a road-going Ferrari V-12. It was derived directly from the powerplant used in the 1990 F1 season, and it produced 520 horsepower at an earth-shaking 8,000 rpm, though the 436-pound engine was capable of reaching over 10,000 rpm. The six-speed longitudinal gearbox, complete with a limited-slip differential, was fitted behind the engine, between which the oil tank was mounted for the dry-sump engine lubrication system. This layout was reminiscent of the one used in Ferrari’s contemporary Formula 1 cars.

The interior of the F50 featured few creature comforts, as Ferrari wanted the driver to fully concentrate on handling the most powerful machine to ever leave their factory. The instrument panel featured a tachometer and speedometer, as well as fuel, oil, water temperature, and oil pressure gauges, which were all controlled by a microcomputer and displayed to the driver by LCD. The throttle, brake, and clutch pedals were all fully adjustable and drilled to further maximise weight reduction. The gated gearshift was traditional Ferrari, although, in the interest of weight savings, even the gear knob and lever were made of lightweight composite materials.

Of course, Ferrari’s fanatical attention to detail and weight reduction meant massive dividends in terms of performance. The F50’s top speed was purportedly 325 km/h, and the 0–100 km/h dash required just 3.7 seconds. Keeping one’s foot on the accelerator pedal would bring the F50 to a standing mile time of 30.3 seconds. However, all this performance would not be available to every person with the appropriate funds to purchase Ferrari’s newest supercar. Only 349 examples were made, one less than what Montezemolo believed the market demanded and just over a quarter of total F40 production.

The beautiful example offered here, chassis 106825, was sold new to Elicar S.r.l in Italy through the Verona Ferrari concessionaire, Ineco Auto S.p.A., on 19 February 1997. The car was finished in the sporting combination of Rosso Corsa (FD80-31ZR) over Nero (8500) with red seat inserts. Registered AN 599 LJ, the F50 was regularly serviced, the first of which took place on 24 November 1997 at RAM Ferrari Service in Vicenza, Italy. Two years later, it again visited RAM, and once more in 2005.

In 2006, the Ferrari was sold to a Frenchman who registered it on license AB 166 ZH. The car was then displayed at the XVI Sport & Collection 500 Ferrari Contre le Cancer at Le Vigeant in Southern France. In 2007, the dashboard with LCD display (including the tachometer) was replaced by Modena Sport in Toulouse. It was next seen in the Le Mans Classic paddock in 2010 and 2012. It again received a service at Auvergne Moteurs of Philippe Gardette in July 2012.

The F50 is undoubtedly one of the most iconic vehicles created in the 1990s, as it celebrates 50 years of Ferrari’s continuous development and integration of road and racing technology. It was the supercar that gave Ferrari’s most loyal customers the opportunity to experience the same levels of performance and exhilaration previously reserved for Formula 1 drivers. This stunning example, Ferrari Classiche certified, has covered little more than 30,000 kilometres. The F50 is a car that can introduce you in style to the very exclusive club of supercar owners, and it will allow you to enjoy the fantastic sound of Grand Prix–derived 12 cylinders, with manual gearbox. Who would dream for more?


 Photo Credit: Remi Dargegen ©2015 Courtesy of RM Sothebys