There are two sides to the SEMA coin.
On the one side, we’ve got the meticulous builders pushing the envelope with new processes, materials and ideas. The wide-body DeLorean DMC-12 and modified BMW M3 Touring we’ve featured in the past couple of days spring to mind as perfect examples of these. On the other side of the coin, you’ve got those that haven’t necessarily gone to town with the welder, but rock up to the Las Vegas Convention Center with something so special it makes your eyebrows raise up your forehead as you rub your eyes to ensure you’re seeing things clearly.
You know, the kind of cars you’d expect to see behind an unscalable glass wall at the highest of high-end collections, as opposed to being parked next to a new Honda Civic Type R with neon lights and Japanese lady stickers splattered all over it. Ask any car person what they’d place at the top of the ‘special car’ pyramid and the answer will basically always be the same: Ferrari F40.
The holy grail of all things automotive, the F40 represents a moment in automotive history of perfect driving balance and tranquility. Some would say it’s even more significant than the splitting of the first atom or the discovery of fire. And, for the most part, those people would be correct. The F40 did what cars before it didn’t really get a good chance to have a good crack at. It gave you and I an absolutely unobtainable yet awkwardly believable goal to dream about.
Decades before the Bugatti Veyron or Koenigseggs were ever a glimmer of hope in the eyes of whatever lucky 12-year-old was holding the Xbox controller, the F40 put fire in the belly of everyone who crossed paths with it.
If there was a counter attached for the amount of times a bloke walked past a car and said ‘phwoar, I’d like one of those,’ then the F40’s one would be broken from overuse.
Sure, some impressive cars came before it, but nothing quite hit the spot like the F40. I’m sure there’s a few of you shouting ‘Porsche 959, Michal!’ at your screens right now, and to those people I say grow up. What the 959 achieved technologically, the F40 doubled in emotion and spirit alone.
The 959 was, and still is to this day, owned by car geeks who care about things like computers. So much so that today you can go to a company like Canepa and they will take your 959 and do a Singer-esque restomod re-imagination of your car. That is fine, but can you imagine someone doing this with an F40? Santa Madonna! That’s more blasphemous than vegan bolognese.
But that’s the thing about being the custodian of something considered holy – you’re expected to follow the silent rite of passage with the way you look after it and use it. And this rite of passage specifically says, ‘don’t change the colour and leave it alone.’ Hmm…
For something to be so spiritual and other-worldly, the guidelines are bit conservative about things that are otherwise trivial, no? And as it turns out, if you look just about anywhere on the internet, so are the folks that live and breathe F40.
To an unbiased outsider like me (you might be surprised to learn I don’t own either an F40 or 959), the whole party seems a little less spiritual hippy car lovers, and a bit more… regime-y?
Thirty-five years have past since the Ferrari F40 was launched, and its grip on the supercar world seems just as firm as it was when I was a young lad. Kids today are making TikToks about them and telling us why you shouldn’t trust someone who turns their F40 pink because ‘something something, last car Enzo signed off, something something’.
These are important opinions and I respect them, but I also respect the fact that history books are rarely kind to those who sit quietly, toeing the party line. Whether a pink F40 is nice is in the eye of the beholder, but whether it should be done? The answer to that, for me, is less ambiguous.
Because, yes, it should absolutely be done. The fact we can look at a car and claim there’s a set of holy guidelines around it is no more abstract than the guy sticking lady stickers on his Civic.
You can be on each end of the spectrum with your own opinion, but you’re still on the spectrum. No matter which side you side by here, one thing is certain, which goes back to endless gravitational pull of the topic in hand: If you’re standing outside the front entrance to the SEMA Show and an F40 on BBS E88s pulls up, you’re going to whip your phone out to film it quicker than you can process what colour the car is.
And that’s the power of the F40. It can even make the authorities stop and stare with intrigue, so much so they might even pull you over to get a closer look. I bet none of them care if the car is red or not.
I think the finer details really don’t matter with an F40, regardless of your opinion about them. Especially in the context of SEMA, of all places. You’re inevitably going to see things far, far more ‘out there’ than a cool guy enjoying his wrapped F40. Are they going to get your mind racing as much as the F40? Probably not.
The guy in question is Gregory Park, by the way. The topic of F40 is so deep, that I’ve somehow managed to go a whole article without talking about the mastermind who pulled it all together. But fortunately for me, Paddy spoke about the car in detail back in 2021 when it was white.
For SEMA 2023, Gregory’s F40 has been re-wrapped in Inozetek Liquid Metallic Aventurine hybrid vinyl. It looks like paint, self heals, and can be machine polished.
For further protection, the gorgeous green wrap has been coated in Gtechniq‘s new HALOv2 Flexible Film Coating, which through chemical bonding provides a slick, dirt-repelling permanent surface. The BBS wheels have also been given the Gtechniq protective treatment with C5 Wheel Armour to repel brake dust and other contaminants.
I’ve also not mentioned the whole Ferrari ‘cease and desist’ thing either. There’s just so much more to cover. I don’t suppose you have a minute?…
If you’re lucky enough to be visiting the SEMA Show this year, you can find Gregory’s F40 on the Gtechniq booth, #54205.
Photography by Darrien Craven