Low Mileage Ferrari F40 Valued at $3.5 Million, Engine Underwent Major Servicing

A low-mileage Ferrari F40 is expected to sell for over $3 million at an auction. While having less than 5,000 miles on its odometer seems like a dream, a car undergoing major engine servicing before even reaching that milestone sounds like a future nightmare for anyone paying this much money. Or is it?
Ferrari F40 auction showcase 13 photos
Photo: Mecum Auctions
1990 Ferrar F40 auction1990 Ferrar F40 auction1990 Ferrar F40 auction1990 Ferrar F40 auction1990 Ferrar F40 auction1990 Ferrar F40 auction1990 Ferrar F40 auction1990 Ferrar F40 auction1990 Ferrar F40 auction1990 Ferrar F40 auction1990 Ferrar F40 auctionFerrari F40
Whenever you see a shiny red Ferrari F40 at auction, you can expect two things. First, it will likely be worth at least seven figures and second, a low-mileage example would see its value reach ridiculous proportions. Yes, this goes for almost any other iconic vintage automobile, but it's even more prevalent with F40s in particular. There's a handful of good reasons for that: it came with close to 500 horsepower, it was the last model approved by Enzo Ferrari, and it was the first production car to break past 200 mph.

As if those accolades weren't enough, it also showcased a legendary Pininfarina-penned design, ubiquitous in posters plastered throughout many teenagers' rooms in the '90s. Despite being on most, if not every auto enthusiast's "dream car" list, the Ferrari F40 is known for other less flattering characteristics as well. Certain units are infamously known for turning up the heat to the point of catching on fire, leading to some badly charred F40 examples on the road in the past.

1990 Ferrar F40 auction
Photo: Mecum Auctions
Having a 2.9-liter V8 engine paired with two massive turbo, its power plant doesn't alleviate its tendency to overheat either. Aside from some units suffering from literal roadside meltdowns, the renowned nameplate was also marred by its history of brutal crashes. Since the F40 was built using extremely lightweight materials, crashes usually meant a write-off, resulting in fewer running examples each year. Now, demand for such analog racing machines could continue rising, but the overall number of F40s would only be dwindling, with low-mileage ones becoming nearly impossible to find... until recently.

Paucity is key to the F40's desirability

1990 Ferrar F40 auction
Photo: Mecum Auctions
Given that Ferrari only made roughly 1,300 F40s worldwide, it's easy to see why their value continues to appreciate as time passes. So, if previous examples sold for $1 million on average five years ago, they're now worth beyond three times that amount. Take this low-mileage 1990 Ferrari F40 offered on Mecum, for example, one of the only 213 units destined for U.S. shores.

A meager 3,413 miles are showing on its odometer, suggesting it barely even moved over long distances. One would assume it shouldn't show any notable signs of wear and tear typically associated with frequent, prolonged trips, but its service history tells another story. Although it comes with quite a comprehensive service record, that only emphasizes the various extensive, and likely expensive, repairs it required over the years.

Major repairs included an engine-out service performed upon reaching just 3,354 miles. Then it had another servicing hiccup only 14 miles later, specifically concerning its fuel system, timing belt, tensioner, and idler. However, this F40's potentially alarming service history did little to influence its estimated value, which has now skyrocketed to as much as $3.5 million. The question is, how does a vehicle with such low mileage have such major repairs yet still be more valuable than ever?

Age is just a number

1990 Ferrar F40 auction
Photo: Mecum Auctions
It's worth mentioning that this F40 had its major engine servicing done in 2017, which is a long time ago for a '90 model. Another thing is that cam-belt tensioner issues were quite common in both F40s and F50s, as explained by a shop specializing in servicing Ferraris. Hoses and other rubber parts tend to wear out over time; it's the same with any other vehicle, let alone one that's over three decades old.

Such wearing can eventually lead to issues requiring the F40's engine to be removed, which is likely the case with this unit. After all, these cars weren't known for requiring frequent servicing, even for examples that have passed the 1,000-mile mark, according to the Ferrari specialty shop.

However, when issues arise, Ferraris are notorious for demanding top dollar and the F40 is no different – repairs alone allegedly cost over $5,000. Regardless of service history, $3 million sounds fitting for a pre-owned F40 of this caliber, especially since this aging icon took almost 30 years before it needed any major servicing.

1990 Ferrar F40 auction
Photo: Mecum Auctions
Buyers can also bid confidently, knowing the purchase comes with a Ferrari Classiche red book – an item that certifies the vehicle's authenticity and assures that its parts meet the automaker's standards. Aside from a pre-installed Tubi exhaust system, everything in this classic supercar, including its original Schedoni luggage, had been kept relatively intact.

Now, if a threefold price increase sounds like too much, well, the F40 is capable of selling for much higher considering it's a Ferrari whose value is relative to its mileage. In 2022, a similar 1990 model went under the hammer, bearing only a tad over 1,800 miles on its odometer; it then sold for a record-breaking price of almost $4 million.

To anyone keen on nabbing this highly-coveted Prancing Horse model straight from the auction table, remember: age is just a number, then again, so is a million.
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About the author: Kyle Encina
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Kyle still remembers the times when people read magazines, after all that's what sparked his passion for cars and tech. In 2016, he's turned that passion into a journalism career fueled by a unique view afforded by his mix of philosophy and business degrees.
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