Presented by RM Sotheby’s.
Given the success and acclaim of Ferrari’s F40, the 40th anniversary supercar that debuted in 1987, Maranello’s engineers recognized that an even more superlative model would be necessary to properly commemorate the automaker’s soon-to-follow 50th anniversary. Four years of development was invested in a dedicated road car with characteristically strong ties to Ferrari’s racing technologies, starting with the chassis design, which was founded on a lightweight carbon fiber tub.
The designers at Pininfarina outdid themselves with curvaceous coachwork molded from carbon fiber, Kevlar, and Nomex honeycomb, eschewing the wedge motifs of the 1980s in favor of free-flowing lines that were evocative of Maranello’s most legendary sports-racers of the 1950s and 1960s. To boot, the body included a solid removable targa top stored in an accompanying road case that allowed the F50 to strike the pose of a barchetta or berlinetta, encapsulating the best of both worlds.
A new naturally aspirated 4.7-liter V-12 was dropped into this spectacular marriage of body and chassis in a mid-rear architecture that ensured optimal weight distribution and savings. The type F130B engine began life in Ferrari’s 1992 Formula 1 car, and underwent further development in the 4-liter 333 SP sports car, which won numerous driver’s and constructor’s championships in IMSA GT and FIA sports car racing between 1995 and 2001. With an enlarged displacement of 4.7 liters and yet detuned for more reasonable revving and tractable road manners, the new high-compression V-12 developed 513 horsepower and 347 pound-feet of torque. The powerplant provided otherworldly performance, as proven by Road & Track magazine’s test of the car, in which the editors accelerated to 60 mph from standstill in just 3.6 seconds while achieving a top speed of 202 mph, firmly establishing the model’s membership in the exclusive 200+ mph club.
The return to earthbound speeds was provided by monstrous Brembo brakes with huge rotors (14 inches in front and 13.2 inches at the rear) anchored by aluminum pistons. In addition to the engine and braking technology, the F50 abounded in Formula 1-style details, from the racing-style fuel bladder to the LCD dashboard instruments. Yet despite this design, the model was still appointed with creature comforts such as leather-trimmed seats, air conditioning, and adjustable ride height.
In an apparent response to the criticism that it had built too many F40 examples, Ferrari produced only 349 numbered examples of the breathtaking F50 through the conclusion of production in 1998—ensuring a rarity and cachet that instantly established the car as a bona fide collectable. The model remains a favorite of marque-focused collectors, often serving as the centerpiece of modern Ferrari collections, and a critical component of the illustrious “Big Five” hypercar portfolio that is relished by the most dedicated Maranello enthusiasts.
Boasting incredibly low mileage and a life of fastidious care in a short ownership chain believed to consist of just two caretakers, this fabulous F50 is one of the most desirable examples of Maranello’s celebrated 50th anniversary hypercar to ever be encountered. According to the research of marque expert Marcel Massini, chassis number 103274 is the eighth of 349 examples built, and it commenced assembly in July 1995. Completed in October with a finish in Rosso Corsa paint over a Nero interior, the F50 was delivered new in November 1995 to the car’s first owner, a marque dealership in Singapore called Hong Seh Motors.
Upon delivery to Hong Seh, the Ferrari was kept as a personal car by the dealership’s principal, Alfred Tan, a lifelong enthusiast who assumed control of the business from his father and was centrifugal in the dealership’s ascension to becoming an official Ferrari distributor. Mr. Tan reportedly stored the F50 at his home in a pristine state for many years, never driving the car in order to ensure the odometer reflected only delivery mileage.
In 2013, after 18 years of ownership, Mr. Tan sold the Ferrari to an enthusiast based in Texas, and the F50 was imported to the United States for custody by its second owner. The F50 has been serviced ever since by the highly esteemed marque experts at Norwood Auto Italia of Carrollton, Texas, while only being driven for minimal exercise miles and occasional enjoyment. In June 2014 the car was desirably certified with a Ferrari Classiche Red Book that attests to the continued presence of the matching-numbers chassis, engine, gearbox, and coachwork. More recently, as an October 2022 invoice on file from Norwood Auto Italia attests, the car benefitted from an inspection (including fuel bladder, fuel hoses, and clutch inspection), accessory belt replacement, air, fuel, and oil filter replacement, brake and clutch flush, and an oil change.
Currently displaying a remarkably low 625 miles of driving use, this splendid F50 is accompanied by a factory-issued set of fitted luggage, and the proper flight case for the removable hardtop; and it is documented with a 1995 certificate of origin, factory purchase order, bill of lading for export to Singapore, service invoices from Norwood Auto Italia, a history by Marcel Massini, and the Ferrari Classiche Red Book.
To come across an immaculate two-owner F50 with such low mileage presents a very rare opportunity, indeed; this car is probably the best-condition example of Maranello’s important 50th anniversary model that one might ever encounter. The pristine early-production F50 would make an exquisite addition to any sporting collection, particularly suited to marque enthusiasts searching for the best of the best, or those collectors pining to fill a gap in their assemblage of Ferrari’s lauded Big Five modern hypercars.
This vehicle will be offered at RM Sotheby’s Miami sale, taking place 10 December. View more and register to bid online at rmsothebys.com today.