2002 Enzo Ferrari Type F140
The only road car ever named after Enzo Ferrari, the Enzo hypercar marked Maranello’s highest pinnacle in the early 21st century. We experience it on the road.
In the Name of the Father
Naming cars after people is fraught with pitfalls. While the Fiat 125S Samantha gleaned some glamour via association with 1960s Vogue model, Samantha Jones, the Seicento Sporting Michael Schumacher didn’t fool anyone. So when, in 2002, Ferrari chose to name its new hypercar after its founder, the stakes were high. Would the Enzo be a fitting tribute to il Commendatore?
“People were overcome in Italy. One man even laid down in the road, begging me to run him over”
The car that many expected to be called the F60 was launched as the ‘Enzo Ferrari’ – a syntactical shuffle rivalled only by ‘Ferrari LaFerrari’ – but most people today reverse the name as ‘Ferrari Enzo’. This wasn’t the first Ferrari named after one of the family; the 1967 Dino took its name from Enzo’s son, Alfredo (known as ‘Alfredino’), who died of muscular dystrophy aged 24. However, while ‘Dino’ was literally and figuratively Ferrari’s ‘son’, the Enzo was very much the daddy.
Revealed the day after Michael Schumacher clinched a fourth consecutive F1 constructors’ championship, the Enzo inherited a bloodline that began with the 288 GTO, then evolved via F40 and F50. With a top speed of 217mph, this was Ferrari’s fastest road car yet: swift enough to defeat the Porsche Carrera GT (205mph) and Mercedes-Benz SLR McLaren (208mph) in a game of Top Trumps. «I wanted to go a little bit too far in every element to build a super-extreme car,” explained Ferrari president Luca di Montezemolo.
Schumacher himself, who helped calibrate the car’s powertrain and chassis, described it as “the closest you can get to the F1 experience in a road car”. But while the F50 had broadly the same brief, the Enzo interpreted the idea in different ways. Its engine lacked a direct F1 lineage (the F50’s V12 was derived from the Tipo 035/5 unit in 1989’s Ferrari 640) and wasn’t a load-bearing structure bolted to the tub. But it did boast a plethora of new gadgetry, including integrated electronic control for the engine, gearbox, suspension, active aerodynamics, traction control and ABS.
The Enzo was styled by Pininfarina under the leadership of Ken Okuyama, who subsequently became the carrozzeria’s creative director. His Japanese influence arguably shows in the sharp lines and origami folds, but the design owes much to motorsport. The jutting nosecone evokes the F2002 piloted by Schumacher and Rubens Barrichello, while the canopy cockpit has echoes of classic Le Mans racers, with its scissor doors cutting deep into the roof like a 330 P4. At the rear, Ferrari’s traditional round taillights were reimagined as jet afterburners.
As the first Ferrari road car to feature active aerodynamics, it had electronically adjustable front air flaps, a flat floor, meaty venturis and a pop-up wing to glue it to the tarmac. Maranello quoted downforce of 334kg at 124mph, rising to 775kg at 186mph, then dropping back to 585kg at 217mph – all achieved without a towering rear spoiler. There was even a non on sense approach to paint colours: buyers were limited to red, yellow or black. Okuyama certainly fulfilled his ‘pure and hard’ design brief.
Under its composite skin, the Enzo bristled with state-of-the-art hardware. Its chassis was a sandwich of carbonfibre and aluminium honeycomb, while suspension was by double wishbones with horizontal, pushrod-actuated Skyhook dampers. This was the first road car ever to have carbon-ceramic brakes – 380mm Brembo discs that saved 12.5kg – and its 19-inch centre-lock alloys were wrapped in bespoke Bridgestone Scuderia rubber. Ferrari declined to adopt electric steering, however, saying a hydraulic setup offered more feel.
The steering wheel itself was F1-inspired, with brightly coloured buttons for reverse gear, traction control settings and Race mode (the now-familiar manettino would not debut until the F430 of 2004). Shift lights in the wheel rim flashed in 500rpm increments beyond 5500rpm, warning the driver when to pull the carbonfibre paddle. Electric windows and a stereo were sacrificed to save weight, but air conditioning was included. Unlike the F50, there was no option to remove the roof.
Clearly, this wasn’t a Ferrari where you bought the engine and got the rest for free. Yet the Enzo’s heart was indisputably its 65-degree ‘F140’ V12, which used variable valve timing and a drive-by-wire throttle, along with a six-speed automated manual gearbox and double-disc clutch. In 2002, a 660hp output (110hp per litre) made it the most powerful naturally aspirated engine in the world, even outgunning the BMW V12 in the McLaren F1. It was also the last non-hybrid Ferrari hypercar – and likely to remain so.
Reactions from the press ranged from reverence to astonishment. In Car and Driver, Peter Robinson said the Enzo “requires a massive upward adjustment of expectations”, while Drive's Richard Heseltine agreed: “It redefines your perception of speed”. Writing for Evo, Harry Metcalfe said: “Big speeds are incredibly easy in the Enzo. It’s like the car is covered in a special layer of Teflon… This side of a Veyron, I can’t think of a car that builds speed quite as easily”.
More recently, Jay Leno declared: “It’s less visceral than the F40, but no less pleasurable. It doesn’t beat you up unless you want to get beaten up”. Perhaps so, but Michael Schumacher proffered some words of caution to Car in 2002: “[The Enzo] has two characters. If you are a known driver with some ability, you can allow yourself to switch off the traction control. If not, I would suggest not to do so.”
This combination of speed, F1 technology and critical acclaim makes the Enzo highly sought-after, as does the fact that only 349 were built (plus one extra built as a gift to the Pope). For comparison, Maranello made an identical number of F50s, just 273 examples of the 288 GTO and more than 1000 F40s. The Enzo later spawned the track-only Ferrari FXX and the barely road-legal Maserati MC12, a homologation special limited to 25 units. However, even a ‘standard’ Enzo now costs well into seven figures – compared with £450,000 when new.
That’s the background, now for the reality. Arriving at Bell Sport & Classic in Hertfordshire, the Enzo is parked front-and-centre outside the showroom. Even at a coffee morning for Ferrari owners, where today’s eye candy includes a 275 GTB, F12tdf and Koenig 512 BB (see Auto Italia May 2020), the 18-year old hypercar steals the show. It’s a riot of aggressive angles, a stealth fighter in none-too-stealthy Rosso Corsa. Not even owner Barry Treacy could call it beautiful, though.
You’d like Barry. All his 10 Ferraris are kept MOT’d, trickle-charged and ready to drive. And drive them he does. “I took my F40 to Rome, which was incredible,” he says. “People were overcome: shouting, waving and throwing sweets. One man even laid down in the road, begging me to run him over.” Others in his collection include an F50 (“Tubi exhausts make it super-loud – my wife won’t go near it”), 512M, F355 GTS, 488 Pista and a 360 Modena signed by Schumacher and Barrichello. There’s also a 550 Barchetta “that Ferrari insisted I buy before I could have an Enzo.”
Barry’s love affair began in Italy: “I was never interested in Ferraris as a young man. Then in about 2000, I was driving a rented Fiat Punto on holiday. A black Testarossa came down the slip road on to the autostrada and howled past me at a three-figure speed. I was bowled over and had to own one.” He didn’t waste any time and bought his own Testarossa when he returned, followed by the Enzo in 2003. Since then, it’s covered more than 14,000 miles, including a number of track events. “I’ve hit 170mph on the mile straight at Millbrook,” he grins.
I jump into the car alongside Barry. The view is an odd mix of naked carbonfibre, plush tan leather and plastic switchgear from the Fiat parts bin, while my mirror is chock-full of hungry air scoop. The speedo reads to 400kph (249mph) and the huge white-on-red rev counter is redlined at 8000rpm. The wraparound windscreen, shallow side windows, four-point harnesses and roof-mounted controls conjure the aura of a fighter jet. It feels pared back yet utterly exotic, topped by an engraved plaque that bears Enzo’s signature (Schumi was presumably busy signing Seicentos and Stilos).
Pressing the start button takes things to the next level. The V12 idles fretfully at first, then calms to a steady rumble. I secure the four-point harness, first gear lands with a weighty thunk and we’re away: Enzo has left the building. On the hedge-lined lane leading to Bell Sport & Classic, the Ferrari already feels worryingly wide, while we need the hydraulic lift kit to gingerly scale a succession of speed humps. No matter: the sun is shining, the oil is warming through and open roads lie ahead.
The electrohydraulic gearbox doesn’t have an auto mode so your fingers are constantly busy with the column-mounted paddles. It uses triple cone synchronisers for relatively smooth changes in traffic, but switching to Race mode allows full-bore upshifts without lifting the throttle. “I like how brutal it is,” says Barry. “You get a kick every time you change gear.” The clutchless ’box also rev-matches on downshifts, years before this became a supercar staple.
To make his point, Barry drops a couple of ratios, then flattens his right foot. The exhaust bypass valves open and the V12 erupts with a snarl so hard-edged it could crack concrete. It revs like a superbike, gathering speed insatiably as the tumult builds to a glorious, peacocking howl. The ‘kick’ Barry mentioned gets me square between the shoulder blades, a head-nodding wallop that makes the Enzo a visceral, physical experience – even for a passenger. “It’s difficult to keep up with the shift lights when you accelerate hard,” says Barry. “They flicker across so quickly.”
Even with half the power of some modern hypercars, the Enzo feels ferociously fast. Judging the dynamic side of things, though, is more difficult. The steering is evidently very quick (“and light,” notes Barry), while the chassis feels fluid and unflappable.
Thank the clever electronics, which even prime the dampers to prevent squat and pitch during those maximum-attack upshifts. Taut damping, a hugely stiff chassis and the lack of sound deadening all seem to amplify every input. The Enzo feels alive with restless mechanical energy.
And then it’s over. I swing the door upwards and clamber out, brain fizzing like asti spumante, legs wobbling like mozzarella. The Enzo is a landmark Ferrari: awe-inspiring and overwhelming. How anyone in Maranello could have concluded that the LaFerrari needed 50 per cent more power is beyond me. Enzo Ferrari was famously ambivalent about road cars, regarding them as simply a means of funding his race team. But I think he’d have been proud that they named this one after him.
TECHNICAL SPECIFICATIONS 2002 Enzo Ferrari Type F140
ENGINE: 5998cc V12
BORE X STROKE: 92mm x 75.2mm
COMPRESSION RATIO: 11.2:1
MAX POWER: 660hp at 7800rpm
MAX TORQUE: 657Nm (485lb ft) at 5500rpm
TRANSMISSION: 6-speed semi-auto, rear-wheel drive
SUSPENSION: Double wishbones, inboard coil springs, variable electronic dampers
BRAKES: Carbon-ceramic discs
TYRES: 245/35 ZR19 (fr), 345/35 ZR19 (rear)
DIMENSIONS: 4702mm (L), 2035mm (W), 1147mm (H)
WEIGHT: 1365kg (kerb)
MAX SPEED: 217mph
Enzo was the first Ferrari ever to have active aero. Design brief was ‘pure and hard’ – think they nailed that.