Following in the footsteps of the fabled F40, Ferrari’s F50 was unveiled at the Geneva Motor Show in 1995. Hugely influenced by Formula 1 design and technology at the time, at the F50 heart was a naturally aspirated V-12 engine derived from Ferrari’s 642 F1 car, campaigned during the 1991 Formula 1 World Championship. With 512 bhp on tap, its Formula 1 origins and 8,000 rpm redline made the engine truly sonorous when driven as its manufacturers intended. Top speed was claimed as being 202 mph and from a standstill, the F50 would sprint to 60 mph from a standstill in 3.8 seconds.
As if its performance wasn’t enough, what truly set the F50 apart from its competitors at the time was its open-top body style, allowing buyers to choose from the closed comfort of a Berlinetta or the thrill of an open-top sports car, and no open-top sports car on sale at the time could match the sheer performance of the F50. Top-down, the driving experience that the F50 provided its lucky driver and passenger was a close as one could get to driving a road-legal Formula 1 car. Only 349 examples would be built, far fewer than the F40 that preceded it.
This example is one just 4 cars to have been sold new to South Africa and the story with how it landed with its first owner, quite remarkable.
In the late 1980s, Leonard Smith had been working for the South African postal service with very little to his name. He received a phone call from the UK, stating that a long lost and distant relative had passed away and he was due to inherit a significant amount of money. At the time, Smith did not have the money needed to travel to the U.K., but his best friend stepped forward and paid for the trip.
The inheritance was significant and lifechanging. When he returned to South Africa, he had close to 800m Rand to his name; the exchange rate at the time of 4 Rand to £1. Leonard bought himself his first Ferrari in 1991, a 328 GTS from T.A.K Motor Co. Ltd. Pty. of Johannesburg, South Africa. Soon after he visited the factory in Italy and collected a 512TR.
Having missed out on the opportunity to purchase an F40 new, Smith was invited to the launch of the F50 on 6th March 1995 which attended and greatly enjoyed. Just four days after the launch, he penned a letter requesting allocation of the F50 and outlining his intentions to start a small collection.
Leonard Smith would lead a very secluded life. His close friend who had paid for the trip to the UK designed his house where the cars were to be kept. The F50 was kept in a large garage alongside his first Ferrari, the 328 GTS and the 512TR, along with a 355 Challenge and a 348 Spider. The cars were used sparingly and never during the day. Smith instead chose to drive the cars after dark, and his neighbours reported they would hear him leaving home around 11pm at night.
After his passing in 2012, the cars were auctioned by LRA Auctioneers & Appraisers and the car moved to its second custodian who owned the car from 2012 until purchase by DK Engineering in November 2022.
In the care of its second owner the car has seen very limited use whilst still receiving due services from Ferrari South Africa. Since 2012 in fact, the car has covered just 400 kilometres. Prior to departure from South Africa, a major service including the replacement of the fuel tank. Upon arrival at DK, the car has once more received a thorough inspection.
This incredible two owner example has covered just 3,485 Miles (5,608 kms) from new. Presenting superbly and both low use and a sunnier climate ensured the underside is immaculate. This example is accompanied by its flight case, build book, original books and original torch.
16.02.1998 – First service – T.A.K. Motor Co Ltd. Pty. Johannesburg, South Africa
16.02.2010 – Annual service – Viglietti Motors - 4,949 kms
13.07.2010 - Viglietti Motors – 4,949 kms
28.08.2012 – Annual service – Viglietti Motors - 5,000 kms
12.06.2014 – Oil tank repairs - Viglietti Motors – 5,259 kms
26.06.2014 – Oil leak repaired - Viglietti Motors – 5,307 kms
22.07.2014 – Annual Service - Ferrari South Africa – 5,307 kms
22.03.2016 – Annual Service – Ferrari South Africa – 5,367 kms
24.10.2017 – Annual Service – Ferrari South Africa – 5,368 kms
30.11.2020 – Annual Service – Ferrari South Africa – 5,392 kms
15.11.2022 - Major Service & Fuel Cell – Ferrari South Africa – 5,418 kms
13.12.2022 – Full Inspection & Pre Delivery Works – DK Engineering – 5,470 kms
30.01.2023 - Mileage reading - 5,608 kms
Additionally as a desirable an early production example, this car benefits from the lighter grey dashboard Alcantara, a visible seam in carbon in front of gearshift, the overall carbon colouring throughout is not as dark, the front and rear clams feature metal tags as opposed to stickers on later examples, carbon fibre weave is more pronounced and the airbox plenum receieved a different finish to later examples.
In January 2023, following a full pre-delivery inspection by DK Engineering in our UK workshops, this F50 was flown to the USA and permanently imported. It can be viewed, by appointment, on the East Coast. Low miles, superbly presented and mechanically 'on the button', this F50 really is deserving of a place in any great collection. This example is complemented by the following comprehensive list of accessories.
1. Flight case
2. Two rollbars including Capote and Schedoni leather pouch
3. Soft top rear panel
4. Bag of fasteners
5. Two-piece tool kit
6. Three-piece luggage set
7. Interior torch
8. Grey Rectangular case with Polystyrene insert and Tyre puncture repair kit.
9. USA C-Tek trickle charger
10. DK Engineering car cover
11. Cover-Tec car cover
12. Soft-top within original Alcantara bag
13. South Africa number plate
14. Ferrari Embossed black leather pouch with locking wheel nut
15. Original folio
16. Owner’s manual x2 (one stamped to car and one ‘plain’), sales and service organization booklet, warranty card and owner’s service book, road book, ‘The Ferrari Collection’ by Asprey booklet
17. Two booklets about Modena including a restaurant voucher
18. ‘Birth Album’ containing production line build photos
19. 2x spare steel nuts part number 000183477
20. Full spare key set