Undoubtedly, the F40 is among the Ferraris of the most recent era of which everyone has at least one memory, even if it were only a toy model. A name that often echoes in the minds of Prancing Horse enthusiasts, the protagonist of this new episode of “Stories of Engines”, told as usual by Luca Dal Monte.
On Tuesday morning, 21 July 1987, Enzo Ferrari goes to the brand new Civic Center of Maranello for the world premiere of the car that the Cavallino company has built to celebrate the fortieth anniversary of its foundation.
The car will be officially presented in September at the Frankfurt Motor Show, but today 300 journalists from all over the world were invited to join the most important Ferrari dealers in Italy and the major international importers. Nobody knows, but they will all be witnesses of the last presentation that Enzo Ferrari would have attended.
The Grande Vecchio is not lost in preambles and does not mention the anniversary this car will celebrate. Instead, he begins to explain the origin of the car. “On June 6, 1986,” he says with his usual precision, “I proposed to the Ferrari Executive Committee that I have a car that would follow in the footsteps of the famous Le Mans.”
This is important: Enzo Ferrari’s idea is to pay homage to one of the most celebrated cars of his production, the 250 Le Mans of 1963, not to celebrate the fortieth anniversary of his company.
As he prepares to close his speech, those present break the religious silence in which they followed his presentation with a thunderous applause. Then the car is discovered and the last jewel of the Prancing Horse is presented to the world.
The name of the car is F40 Le Mans. The “F” stands for Ferrari, “40” for the anniversary it celebrates. The acronym was suggested by Gino Rancati, one of Enzo Ferrari’s journalists, and was suggested in the English diction, imagining – correctly – that the most important market for the car will be the American one. The suffix “Le Mans” is a reference, however, to the original idea of Enzo Ferrari.
It’s a racing car with a license plate. 400 units will be built although it will be possible to build even more if the need arises. The suffix “Le Mans” will be removed shortly thereafter. In Frankfurt, two months later, when the car is officially presented to the press and the public, it will already be gone.
Only F40 would remain and it would be a real break with the past. Never before had the official name of a Ferrari celebrated a company anniversary: forty years since Enzo Ferrari – on March 12, 1947 – had started the engine of the first car to which he had given his name.
Who is Luca Dal Monte
Born in Cremona, journalist, he held the role of Ferrari communications manager in the United States and, subsequently, Maserati communications director from 2005 to 2015. Luca Dal Monte is the author, among other works, of La Scuderia (2009), Ferrari Rex – Biography of a great man of the twentieth century (2016) and of La Congiura degli innocenti (2019).
The new story by the Cremonese writer is entitled “Belli e Dannati. Living and dying in the 70’s Formula 1 ”and is part of the” Great road, track and rallies racing “series published by Giunti and Giorgio Nada Editore. The book is already on sale at a price of 24 euros.
Source: Motor1.com Italia – News by it.motor1.com.
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