The calendar showed January 24, 2003 when Italian society was in deep mourning for the loss of one legendary form of the global automotive industry. “L' Avvocato” (lawyer), as he was known Gianni Agnelli because of his legal studies, but also of commercial and management skills in the Italian group, he was a distinct personality and he has starred in many stories with collector cars.
One of them was putting centered on the iconic Ferrari F40 the construction of which at the time of 80's it was unthinkable not to include a manual gearbox so that there is no alteration on familiar road features of the Maranello-based company.
But at some point she had to put… water in her wineeven for just one car, manufacturing an automatic Ferrari F40! Rumor has it that this unique piece was manufactured for Giovanni (Gianni) Agnelli.
The first Ferrari with an automatic transmission it was a silver Testarossa Convertible for “L' Avvocato”, who due to injury in the left leg from a car accident was unable to use the clutch. So the company's engineers succeeded to modify the manual transmissionoffering automatic operation in gear changes.
It was the time when all Ferraris had to be manual and in fact, with the exception of Ferrari 400 and 412 Automatic, it was true. This was the reason that Ferrari to build it “special” Testarossa Convertible for Gianni Agnelliturned to the French company Valeo, which provided the solution, innovative for the time, by placing an electronic automatic clutch.
Going back in time we will see how the launch of the Ferrari F40 (1987) it was a unique event for the time that focused the spotlight on him. The F40 was a real supercar, a high performance carmanufactured by the Italian car manufacturer, on the occasion of the celebration of 40 years of construction cars from Ferrari, hence its name.
The model was produced from 1987 to 1992, in Maranello, in 1,315 copies, all “handmade” and during its production it was the most expensive, most powerful and fastest Ferrari car. By late 1989, it was the fastest production car on a global scale. It was replaced in March 1995 from the Ferrari F50.
Apparently, Giovanni Agnelli wished a more “tamed” version of the F40 in order to be more practical in use on highways. Now how can this be done for a car built to break the clocks on the slopes, it's another story.
His injury Gianni Agnelli it wasn't his only problem to drive an F40 with a manual transmission, but the fact that he had turned 70 at the time. So the solution with the automated gearbox was chosen.
The difference of the F40 with the automated transmission given to Agnelli compared to the others with the manual transmission, is found only on the black upholstery of the bucket seats instead of red.
For his transformation manual transmission to automaticagain Valeo was the one who put his… art, placing an electronic clutch that engages automatically via computer when the engine needed to change gears. For the record let's mention how already Lancia with Valeo they had created a similar system for the matchday Delta Integral.
This unique F40 appears to be manual, as well the selector is kept in the same position, however the left clutch pedal is missing. This is also why the model with the automatic clutch was named Ferrari F40 Valeowith which Gianni Agnelli, did not do many kilometers and how could he anyway through the huge collection of unique cars that he had at his disposal.
This particular car was exhibited for the last time to the public when it was auctioned in 2008 by RM Sotheby's for $418,000 and with just 700 kilometers on the odometer!