I’ve said it before, and I will say it once again: my favourite Ferrari is the F40. I still remember the day I experienced the Rosso Corsa Legend as if it was yesterday. When I came across this Gun Metal Grey example I really needed to find out why it wasn’t red. Turns out, the owner of this car had a rather bold taste…
Ferrari introduced the F40 in true Henry Ford-style: ‘’people can have the Model T [F40] in any colour – as long as it is black [red].’’ They originally produced the Ferrari F40 in Rosso Corsa only. Though some owners changed the appearance of their F40 throughout the years, Ferrari actually delivered a number of non-red F40s from factory.
Who ordered this Gun Metal Grey F40?
That would be Hassanal Bolkiah (pictured above), better known as the Sultan of Brunei. Bolkiah and his brother Jefri Bolkiah, were real car enthusiast and their collection was one of the biggest in the world. They spent a fortune with various automakers, but their favourite must’ve been Ferrari.
The story goes they owned between 300 and 450 prancing horses at the height of their collecting days, including a bunch of production cars such as the F355 (15 units), 550 Maranello (17 units), F50 (9 units) and the F40 (10 units). Ferrari was obviously very happy to have them as a client, and therefore worked closely with them on various commissioned cars: the Ferrari Mythos (3 units), Ferrari FX (6 units), Ferrari 456 GT Venice (6 units) and Ferrari F90 (6 units). Some financial reports showed that the family spent over $78 million to build those commissioned Ferraris.
As impressive as those numbers are, it’s important to mention they have never been officially confirmed.
His odd wish to order an F40 in Gun Metal Grey, including red pinstripe, wasn’t the only noticeable desire. Although Ferrari didn’t offered a lot of options on the F40, one of them was the size of the seats: small, medium or large. The Sultan did not only change the seats, but replaced the whole interior with the more comfortable cabin of the Testarossa. It’s a bit of weird sight to see. The rest of the car was kept fairly standard.
Were the other F40s as bold as this one?
Thanks to Jalopnik, we found a full list of F40s in the Sultan’s collection. As the story goes, Pininfarina wanted to help the family out, but only if they ordered six units. Some say they ordered seven, some say he ordered ten. The full list by Jalopnik can be found below:
Ferrari F40 in Gun Metal Grey (91283)
Ferrari F40 in Dark Green (80756)
Ferrari F40 in Yellow (78426)
Ferrari F40 in Red (94759)
Ferrari F40 in Anthracite (85074)
Ferrari F40 in Black (91238)
Ferrari F40 in Red (92235)
Ferrari F40 in White (87455)
Ferrari F40 in Black (89431)
Ferrari F40 in Silver (90680)
One of the black cars was an F40 LM fitted with leather interior, air conditioning and power windows – not quite in line with the purpose of the most hardcore version of the F40. Click to read about all the other racing F40s.
What happened to the Gun Metal Grey F40?
DK Engineering converted the car to its original specifications, including a Rosso Corsa paint job and LM seats set up for a taller driver. DK kept the original RHD layout and the electric windows, but it’s a bit of shame the car was converted into standard spec if you’d ask me. At the end of the day, the F40 left the factory wearing this unusual Gun Metal Grey.
The 1997 Asian Financial Crisis threw a spanner in the works. Prince Jefri’s investment firm collapsed in debt and around the turn of the century and the family began to pay off their $10 billion debt by selling over a 1,000 cars and other expensive assets, such as paintings, yachts and airplanes.
Two of those cars ended up in the U.K.: the Gun Metal Grey F40 and a Giallo Modena F50. The F40 is currently for sale at Talacrest for £2 million.