Just like Enzo Ferrari himself, I also fell in love the moment I heard a V12. The rawness, the high tunes and the fact that it was used in the F1 cars for a very long time make this my favourite engine!
Photography: Max Lammers
Ferrari and Formula 1 have an incredible history together; it’s the oldest and most successful team with over 220 GP victories in the championship since 1950. That’s why it comes as a surprise the F50 wasn’t always loved as it is now, mainly because of the lack of power and the ‘’bubbly’’ design. But let’s be honest, no car could’ve surpass the F40. I’ve always been fascinated by the Ferrari F50 ever since I found out about the car. It’s not just the design that does it for me, but also the massive 4.7L V12 placed behind the passengers. The engine we’re talking about is a developed 3.5L V12 coming from the 1990 Ferrari 641. Can it get any better?!
When @tipozerofourzero told me I could pick three of his cars to shoot while staying in London, I immediately told him his Kroymans-delivered Ferrari F50 was going to be one of them. Not just because of the V12 but being a very rare car (349 produced) it’s so hard to get close to one, let alone see one in a museum. I’m very privileged to tell my experience with this legendary car first hand.
Getting into the F50 is as awkward as in the F40. You need to climb over the big carbon fiber tube and aim for your seat. The interior is better equipped than expected and even the removable top is covered in leather which gives it a very luxurious look. I changed my mind fairly quickly when the engine started rumbling. Even when stationary I got goosebumps all over my body.
While driving, you can feel the F40 and Ferrari F50 are related. They share the same kind of character. But they are also very different. The F50 is more responsive than the F40 with its ‘’turbo-lagging-V8’’. The F40 is a bit more hardcore, but the Ferrari F50 is louder. We drove to the highway and slowly built up the revs till around 3,500 rpm before gently flooring it. After we passed some speed cameras it was time to floor it a bit more. ‘’Are you ready?’’ – asked ‘’Tipo’’. Before I could answer his question he grabbed the steering wheel with two hands and casually put his foot down.
I’m not even exaggerating when I’m saying that it must’ve been one of the best moments of my life. The sounds of that marvellous engine is so addicting, especially when we reached about 7,500 rpm and shifted to the next gear. The mechanical ‘’cling-clang’’-sound produced by the 6-speed is magnificent!!
While shooting the car at the same location as his F12tdf and F40, the owner decided to turn the F50 into a real transformer. He opened the front and the rear part, showed on the pictures. There’s literally no space for anything in the front part and the big V12 housed in the back takes up half the car. Might not be the most practical vehicle, but I can imagine what this must drive like on a racing track.
Being a rather dated car (produced from 1995 till 1997) some things don’t work like they used to do. For example, the doors. At some point I had to close the door after I grabbed my camera out of the passenger side, but it didn’t close properly after trying a couple of times. Having to slam the door of a €2,000,000 car was a thought I’ve never had to consider before. With pain in my heart I gave it a swing and it closed like it did when it left the Maranello factory in 1997.
Another big thanks to @tipozerofourzero for bringing his beloved Ferrari F50 out.