The Ferrari F-50: Italian Art at its Finest.

Ever since I was a small child, I’ve had a fixation with fast cars.  Growing up in the 1980s was truly an amazing time for someone like me.  You had the amazing Lamborghini Countach, the Ferrari 288 GTO and F40, the Porsche 911 Carrera, and a plethora of other cars to dream about.

When I was 8 years old, a classic white Lamborghini Countach poster adorned my bedroom wall (you know the one).  When I turned 10, the F-40 took its place.  Little did I know that by the time I turned 15 I would be introduced to my favorite car of all time, the Ferrari F-50 – and yes, it eventually adorned my wall.

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The F-50 was a machine unlike anything I had ever seen.  Luca Di Montezemolo, Ferrari’s Chairman at the time, called the F-50 a “Formula 1 car for the roads”.  It was the most technologically advanced car in terms of aerodynamics and brute power.

Many car enthusiasts did not like the shape of the F-50 as compared to its predecessor, the F-40, or the 288 GTO before it.  But, most critics forget that Pininfarina styled the body of the F-50 around it’s chassis, whereas the models before it where designed from the start.

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I had been wanting to do a private photo shoot of an F-50 for a long time, but the few collectors I know who have one only bring them out once in a blue moon.  I had all but given up hope until I met Dennis (@dennis_akoyaking) early last year at Supercar Saturdays (@supercarsaturdaysflorida), a local monthly car show here in South Florida.

Right of the bat I could tell Dennis was a super cool guy.  I learned that he owns a few supercars and best of all, he DRIVES them all.  I approached him about doing a shoot of his F-50 and he was happy to do so.  Seeing that this car is a true work of art, I could think of no better place to shoot it than in Miami’s Wynwood Art District.

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Dennis’ F-50 is S/N 001.  This was the first car that rolled off the assembly line in Maranello back in 1995.  This particular example is different from all subsequent F-50s that followed (all 349 of them).  As Dennis explained, S/N 001 was built with some unique features.  It’s possible that Ferrari was still finalizing how the F-50 would look while this one was already in production.

For starters, this car has a prototype engine cover studded with hexagonal screws along the louvers.  It is not clear whether Ferrari intended to bolt something onto the engine cover, but they do give the engine cover a functional look, per se.

 

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The front bumper is also more prominent and more aggressive than the rest of the production cars.  It protrudes about an inch further ahead of the car and has a razor-like look to it.  Subsequent F-50s had a softer and more rounded look.

 

The reflectors on the rear of the car are the same reflectors that are present on the F-40.  They do give the car a unique look, but I prefer the car without the reflectors as it allows for a cleaner look of the rear of the car.

 

Lastly, this car also has a very unique feature in the form of a hand painted yellow stripe that runs all along the angled partition that splits the car in half from front to back.  I don’t know why this stripe was painted on this car, but, because of the shade of yellow, it may have something to do with the relationship between Ferrari and Francorchamps (this is pure speculation on my part).

Perhaps the most unique feature on the F-50 is its carbon fiber construction (and this holds true for all 349 samples).  This is the only car that I know of where you are able to see the weave of the carbon fiber through the paint with your naked eye.  It doesn’t matter where you are standing near the car, if the light is right, you will see it.  It is quite a sight to see in person and it definitely takes you back to the beginnings of carbon fiber bodies.

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There is little doubt that the F-50 was a monumental accomplishment for Ferrari, as well as Pininfarina.  I once saw a rendering of what the F-50 would have looked like and I would not change a single thing on the silhouette of the F-50 as it is.  It was a technological marvel that exploited everything Ferrari knew about aerodynamics at the time.  In a documentary from the late 90s, Jay Leno stated that at 202 mph (the car’s top speed), if the road turned upside down, the car would still stick.  Talk about downforce.

 

I have now had the pleasure of seeing a silver, yellow and various red F-50s.  I have yet to see a black one or a dark red one but I am confident I will see them in the near future.  I can perhaps add to my red F-50 tally by heading to California to meet @ferraricollector_davidlee or by making a trip up north to meet @mrtrig.  Time will tell!

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As the sun began to set in Miami, my time with the F-50 came to an end.  It was a great photo shoot and I had a blast having an F-50 follow me all over Wynwood.  The only thing that would have made the experience more memorable would have been to ride shotgun through the Port of Miami tunnel with the car at full song.

I can’t thank Dennis enough for giving up his Sunday afternoon to make this shoot possible and I encourage you to follow him on Instagram at @dennis_akoyaking.  Next on deck, another grail in Dennis’ stable… his 25th Anniversary Lamborghini Countach… in RED!!!  Stay tuned.

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