For the little that it’s worth, I don’t think that any car should be off limits.
I can’t help but quietly laugh to myself when I see people outraged at what another human being has done to their own property, and I will happily laugh out loud at people who manage to wind themselves up over digital recreations.
Whether someone gets it right or wrong when they put their own spin on a car is irrelevant, because it’s always entirely subjective. What’s important is that we allow people the freedom to do what they want; to get it ‘right or wrong’ on their own terms.
However, when someone mentions ‘modified’ and ‘F40′ in the same sentence, I will admit that I do have to take a brief moment to suppress a small voice inside of me that begins to scream uncontrollably.
I don’t think that someone shouldn’t modify their F40, it’s just that I believe when you’re dealing with arguably the greatest car of all time, that it’s very difficult to improve upon. There’s not a whole heap of cars in existence you can say that about.
Don’t get me wrong, there are a lot of great cars out there, but I’m struggling to think of many that are as universally appreciated as the car created to celebrate Ferrari’s 40th anniversary.
That it was famously the very last car that Enzo Ferrari personally signed off on, is just another feather in the F40’s already full cap. In case you were not aware, Enzo Ferrari wasn’t the easiest man to please.
At the rate things are going today, it’s highly unlikely we’ll ever see another car like the F40 roll off a production line. It’s bittersweet to think about, but for me, peak car was achieved in 1987.
I’d rather have the opportunity to sit in the passenger seat of an F40 than drive most other cars under the same one-off (and hypothetical) circumstances.
What about this particular F40, though? It’s likely the car has appeared in your social feeds over the last few months, because a modified white F40 is always going to attract some attention.
It’s not as extensively modified as Liberty Walk’s F40 from almost a decade ago, and can be neatly summarised by four key modifications: colour, exhaust, suspension and wheels.
To quell the rumours and questions that I’m certain everyone involved with this project are tired of answering, no, it’s not ex-Top Gear host Chris Evans’ car.
The car arrived into the United States in its factory Rosso Corsa red, and remains that colour beneath the white wrap.
While the idea of wrapping an F40 initially made me twitch, it’s difficult to argue with the logic of it. It achieves the goal of making the car a little bit different; it’s a relatively subtle and classy colour; it’s completely reversible; and it protects the original paint beneath.
And crucially for a wrap, it appears to be done right.
The next modification of note is a custom titanium exhaust system by Boden Autohaus. Naturally, the only thing you’re going to want to know about this is how it sounds, so I’ve done the hard work for you. Watch and listen to it here. You’re welcome.
It’s worth remembering that F40s are over 30 years old now, and the owners who intend on actually driving them will need to look at modernising certain aspects of their cars. One of the crucial areas, which has seen incredible advances since 1987, is suspension.
For those that know, Joey and E-Motion don’t need much of an introduction. For those that are maybe not aware, consider him and his company one of the foremost experts on making Porsches and other cars go very fast on the road and track. Joey’s experience comes from ALMS, IMSA, the 24 Hours of Le Mans and Pikes Peak.
Joey knows things, and he’s also one of the most friendly and welcoming people you could ever meet. But how did the ‘Porsche guy’ end up becoming the ‘F40 guy’?
It would seem that Joey’s keen to avoid being typecast: “I used to be the air-cooled guy, because I worked on air-cooled cars. Then I was the suspension guy because I was good at that. But I’m really happy to work on anything that’s cool,” he told me.
It was interesting to listen to Joey talk about the difference between the average Porsche and Ferrari owner, where typically the latter believes that the cars from Maranello cannot be improved upon. That is changing, however, as a new generation of younger Ferrari owners come through the ranks.
Joey’s role here was to handle the installation and setup of a one-off KW Competition 2-way kit complete with KW’s Hydraulic Lift System (HLS). Joey maintains that “everything is about the dampers” and how they are the most important aspect to any build.
This would ordinarily be a pretty straightforward installation, but there was one important caveat: no permanent modifications could be made to the car.
This meant that no drilling, welding or notching of the car’s original chassis and bodywork could be carried out to accommodate the installation of the dampers and, in particular, the remote fluid reservoirs.
With the car being what it is, zip-tying these canisters into place wasn’t an option either, so Joey had to engineer brackets and mounting points that looked OEM, but were also non-destructive, completely reversible and wouldn’t leave any trace of previous fitment if they’re ever removed.
The pump for the HLS was hidden completely out of sight beside the battery and beneath the Kevlar front panel where the spare wheel normally resides.
Typically, HLS offers up to 45mm (~1.7-inches) of lift on either the front axle or both axles. Because the hydraulic cylinder is installed between the spring perch and springs on each strut, there’s no impact on driving dynamics.
The best part of it all is that the requirement to not perform any permanent modifications to the car were entirely self-imposed by Joey himself, as he would consider it blasphemy to do anything irreversible to an F40.
After final damper tuning (optimised for comfort and performance), the last of Joey’s responsibilities was to correct the offset of the front centre-lock BBS E88s, and have all of the wheel centres repainted that classic BBS gold.
As E-Motion were aligning the car, it allowed them the opportunity to measure and calculate a more aggressive-looking offset with a bigger tyre for the front wheels, without the wheels and tyres fouling the body.
The ‘zero-lip’ F40 LM specification E88s were given approximately an inch of extra outer lip, which has made all the difference. “It’s the little details that make the car,” Joey said. He continued, “they provide the real substance.”
Joey wasn’t just referring to just the wheels, but to all of the hard work and engineering that goes into making upgrades like the ones carried out invisible to all but those who know these cars.
The result of this labour and passion is an F40 that’s protected, modernised and can be enjoyed guilt free. While this shouldn’t be the case, it is an absolute revelation in a world where people seem more intent on speculating than driving.
With all of that in consideration, it still rings true that every car is fair game to be modified, especially when the end goal is to make the car more drivable, more of the time.
That this F40 is ‘just’ a wrap, exhaust, suspension and wheels isn’t a bad thing by any means. Fair enough, we typically wouldn’t feature many other cars with such a short list of modifications, but this isn’t any other car.
It’s a prime example of doing exactly what needed to be done, and knowing when enough was enough. This is something which should be universal in the aftermarket, in my opinion.
Anyway, tell me that you’re not at least a little bit happy seeing the scorch mark on the back bumper over the centre dump pipe? It’s an F40, this is how it should live.
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