A 1990 Ferrari F40 allocated to F1 driver Alain Prost is being offered for sale by RM Sotheby’s by auction that ends on Friday, May 12, at 17:00 BST. The expected price is between 2.5 and three million euros, with no reserve.
By the end of the 1989 Formula 1 World Championship, Alain Prost had become one of the most successful drivers in the history of the sport. With three World Championships to his name, he had joined the likes of Jack Brabham, Jackie Stewart, Niki Lauda, and Nelson Piquet, had become counted among the greatest drivers of all time, and his career showed no signs of slowing down. Despite clinching the World Championship over teammate and arch-rival Ayrton Senna, Prost would leave McLaren for Ferrari, replacing Gerhard Berger as the first driver signed for the Scuderia following the death of Enzo Ferrari.
As the incoming lead driver for Ferrari, it was only fitting that Prost would be given a Ferrari for use away from the circuit. And what better car for a reigning World Champion than a brand-new F40 – the fastest road-going automobile the world had ever seen.
The F40 offered here, chassis number 83249, was completed in late 1989 and built without catalytic converters or adjustable suspension, features that would come to mark later-production F40s. In a recent conversation with RM Sotheby’s, Mr Prost confirmed that he took delivery of the Ferrari but never used it, selling it very shortly after taking delivery. The car was registered in France at Prost’s home in Meribel in February 1990.
The F40’s next owner was Graham de Zille. Currently active in the Ferrari Challenge Series, de Zille owned a number of Ferraris at the time of his purchase of the F40 in the early 1990s. In a recent conversation with RM Sotheby’s, de Zille recalled that he purchased the car through Graypaul Ferrari, which was acting on behalf of its famous owner. Prior to de Zille taking delivery, Mr. Prost signed the roof of the car, which was then covered in a thick clear coat and remains visible today.
Chassis number 83249 remained with de Zille in the United Kingdom and moved with him when he relocated to Jersey in 1995. Just prior to this, the car was registered in the UK, and its odometer was replaced and changed from kilometres to miles. While in Jersey, the F40 was featured in the April 1997 issue of Motor Sport magazine in an article celebrating 50 years of Ferrari. The car was driven in a comparison test alongside de Zille’s 288 GTO and F50 that was written by Andrew Frankel, who came away besotted with the car. Summarising it in one sentence, he said: “In the art of deftly controlled savagery, the F40 knows no peers”.
By 1999, the F40 returned to the UK and was owned by David Darling of Leamington Spa. Splitting his time between the UK and the US, the car was minimally used before being acquired by Craig Johnson a few years later and, subsequently, Karl McKeowen in 2006. The car was bought by Alistair Dyson in September of 2007, who kept the car until 2016.
That same year, chassis number 83249 was granted Ferrari Classiche certification, stating that it retains its original chassis, engine, gearbox, and bodywork. In celebration of Ferrari’s 70th anniversary, the F40 was invited to return home to Maranello, where it participated in the concours at Fiorano celebrating Ferrari’s milestone birthday, placing second in its class.
Currently residing in France, the F40’s fuel bladders were replaced in March of 2019 at Ferrari Lyon and remain valid until September 2028. A major service was also carried out at this time. The tyres currently fitted to the car are 10 years old, but the car is accompanied by a fresh set of tyres dated 2018 that can be installed by the winning bidder. Since that service, the car has completed minimal mileage, with its odometer showing just under 2,900 miles at the time of cataloguing. In addition to the accompanying history file, owner’s manual, and replacement service book, the car is also accompanied by a set of tools, its original front spoiler, and one fitted Schedoni suitcase.
Perhaps Frankel summed up the F40 best in the conclusion of his Motor Sport magazine article: “Enzo Ferrari always used to say that the finest Ferrari was the one he had not yet made. It is fitting therefore that, among all the wondrous road cars he built, there is none finer than the F40. It was the last one he saw.”
SOURCE & PHOTOS: RM Sotheby’s