Gas Monkey Garage in Dallas, Texas, didn’t make its name by rebuilding exotic cars, but when the opportunity arose to buy a crash-damaged 1991 Ferrari F40 at a good price, owner Richard Rawlings couldn’t pass it by. Featured in several episodes of the popular garage docudrama, the repaired and improved supercar sold twice at auction in recent years but is once again on the block — this time at a U.S. Marshals Service online auction, conducted by Apple Auctioneering.
Launched in 1987, Ferrari’s F40 was a celebration of the brand’s 40th anniversary, as well as a shot across the bow of critics who accused the Italian automaker of getting a bit too posh with its automobiles. Then the fastest and most-powerful Ferrari ever built, the F40 featured a mid-mounted, twin-turbocharged and intercooled 2.9-liter V-8, mated exclusively to a five-speed manual gearbox. Output was rated at 471 horsepower and 426 lb-ft of torque, and Ferrari claimed a 0-100 km/h (62 mph) time of 4.1 seconds, on the way to a top speed of 324 km/h (201 mph).
Essentially a race car for the street, the F40 used a tubular steel chassis fitted with Kevlar and carbon fiber bodywork (a first for a production car) to save weight. The crash diet didn’t stop there: polycarbonate windows — including the windshield — replaced conventional safety glass, and interior amenities were few. Ferrari didn’t offer customers an audio system, windows were plastic sliders in early cars (and crank-operated in later production), and door pulls replaced door handles inside. Seats were cloth, not leather, door cards were deleted and carpeting wasn’t even an available option. On the other hand, air conditioning was a standard feature, likely due to the car’s large greenhouse and limited ventilation.
Initial plans called for just 400 to be built, at a price of $400,000 each. Demand ultimately saw production grow to 1,311 units, while the price climbed to $470,000 before any dealer markup was added. Construction of road-going F40s ended in 1992, but racing versions were built as late as 1996. While some owners exercised their cars regularly, many bought them as investments, assuming the price could go nowhere but up. By all accounts of the day, the F40 wasn’t a particularly enjoyable car to drive on U.S. roads, in U.S. traffic, meaning that few examples on these shores have accumulated significant mileage.
The saga of the Gas Monkey Garage F40 begins in 2011, when the then-stock car was crashed by a trusted mechanic on a test drive. The accident left the Ferrari with both cosmetic and structural damage, prompting the owner (or his insurance company) to sell the car at a reduced price instead of incurring the cost of the repair.
The crew at Gas Monkey Garage reportedly paid $400,000 for the wrecked F40, a car that few would be brave enough to gamble on rebuilding. Ferrari and Lamborghini technician Mike Luongo assisted in the car’s resurrection, as did Ferrari restorer Stuart Singer, and by the time the tuning work was done the F40 was producing around 550 horsepower, courtesy of exhaust and turbocharger upgrades. The original red paint was resprayed black, and the car’s red seats recovered in black fabric.
In January 2014, the Gas Monkey Garage F40 crossed the auction stage at Barrett-Jackson’s Scottsdale sale, where baseball great Reggie Jackson purchased the car for a fee-inclusive $742,500. He quickly found it too fast for his liking, and one year later watched the Ferrari sell — also at Barrett-Jackson in Scottsdale — for a fee-inclusive $643,500.
The buyer was Richard Scott, a California businessman who owned Westside Services LLC, which operated a series of parking lots in the Los Angeles area. In 2018, Scott pleaded guilty to defrauding the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs out of more than $13 million, his actions stretching back roughly 15 years. Now serving a six-year sentence in federal prison, Scott was also ordered to pay restitution of $12.6 million, much of it coming from the sale of seized assets.
Included in this U.S. Marshals auction are eight cars previously owned by Scott, including the F40, a 2005 Ferrari F430, a 2014 Ferrari California, a 1969 Chevrolet L88 Corvette convertible, a 1966 Chevrolet Corvette coupe, a 1968 Chevrolet convertible, a 2010 Mustang Shelby GT500 Super Snake, and a 2015 Mercedes S65 AMG. All are being auctioned online, along with seized vehicles from other sources, by Apple Auctioneering.
Currently, the F40 sits at a high bid of $503,000, making it the most valuable of Scott’s cars (the ’69 Corvette L88 convertible is currently at $230,125). The record price for a road-going F40 is $1.71 million (including fees), paid last August at an RM Sotheby’s sale for a Ferrari Classiche-certified example with just 1,700 miles on the odometer. The Gas Monkey Garage F40, on the other hand, has higher mileage, was modified for additional performance, was not repaired by Ferrari in Maranello following its accident, and may have an odometer discrepancy. What it will ultimately sell for will be determined on February 11, at noon Eastern time, when the auction concludes.