This was the car tasked with showing the world just how great the Ferrari F50 really was

It’s a very rare occasion when something as special as this 1995 Ferrari F50 Berlinetta Prototipo shows up with a for sale sign that’s open to the public. The F50 Berlinetta, in general, is special in its own right as Ferrari produced less than 350 examples over the course of its life, but this is, arguably, the most special of all. Keep reading to find out why.

The 1995 Ferrari F50 Prototipo is the First, and It Has History

Car for Sale: Ultra-Rare 1995 Ferrari F50 Berlinetta Prototipo Exterior
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For the uninitiated, “Prototipo” is Italian for prototype, and that’s exactly what this F50 Berlinetta is.

This F50 Berlinetta was the development model.

It was the model that was shown off at auto shows, and it was a media evaluation tool, the latter of which means that this specific car was the basis of any original F50 Berlinetta video or impressions piece. It is the very car that the elite media drove way back in the mid-1990s when Ferrari was trying to spread the word about its latest and greatest.

According to the car’s listing on Worldwide Auctioneers, it was the very model that was used for Shin Yoskikawa’s cut-away illustration. It was even sent around the world to be used in the development of scale models like those sold by Burago, Maisto, and Tamiya. Commemorative postage stamps were even based on this specific model.

Car for Sale: Ultra-Rare 1995 Ferrari F50 Berlinetta Prototipo Exterior
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Once F50 Berlinetta Prototipo was ready to retire from its world tour, Ferrari’s factory tore it down and gave it the attention it deserved – a full rebuild. From there, it was sold to Jacques Swaters, a personal friend of Enzo Ferrari and the man that was promised the car from the beginning. Swaters held on to the car for a decade until it was sold off in 2007 to a collector in Burbank, California. From there, it has exchanged several times but, as you can see from the images, it still looks as good as it did the day it rolled out of Ferrari’s factory the first or second time.

How’s that for history?

Is the Ferrari F50 Berlinetta Prototipo Different From other F50 Berlinettas?

Car for Sale: Ultra-Rare 1995 Ferrari F50 Berlinetta Prototipo Drivetrain
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To be honest, there’s nothing major that separates this F50 Berlinetta from the rest of the rather small crop that Ferrari Produced. Well, at least not in terms of aesthetics or technology.

Its history alone makes it stand out beyond all others, but beneath that, it’s an F50 Berlinetta through and through.

It featured Ferrari’s monstrous 4.7-liter V-12 that delivered a cool 510 horsepower and 345 pound-feet of torque. Considering there are cars with smaller engines pumping out more horsepower today, that might not sound like a lot, but it’s was damned impressive for the time and, believe it or not, it still holds its own today.

Ferrari F50 specifications
Engine 4.7-liter 60-valve V-12
Power (Horsepower) 510 HP @ 8,500 RPM
Torque (Pound-feet) 345 LB-FT @ 6,500 RPM
0-60 mph (Seconds) 3.7 seconds
Top Speed (MPH) 202 mph

With that kind of power on tap, and a curb weight that tipped the scale at just over 2,700 pounds, the Ferrari F50 Berlinetta was able to get to 60 mph in 3.7 seconds and topped out at 202 mph. Those figures make it still highly relevant today and even competitive with a lot of what the exotic market still has on offer.

Brief History of the Ferrari F50 Berlinetta

Car for Sale: Ultra-Rare 1995 Ferrari F50 Berlinetta Prototipo Exterior
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When this prototype was introduced at the 1995 Geneva Motor Show, Head of Ferrari, at the time – Luca di Montezemolo – spoke a slogan that has echoed throughout the chambers of time:

“Fifty years of racing, fifty years of winning, fifty years of hard work.”

And, that’s wasn’t a joke. Ferrari’s racing history aside, all that experience went into the F50. As a successor to the Ferrari F40, the F50 naturally had to be better, but in this case, the F50 took all Ferrari’s F1 know-how and condensed it into street-legal form. Its construction featured a lightweight carbon fiber tub, wishbone suspension at all four corners, and that sculpted bodywork was developed exclusively inside a wind tunnel. That’s why the F50 is nowhere near as aggressive as the F40 – it was designed to be as aerodynamic as possible and light. Of course, that’s no surprise as the early and mid-1990s served as a temporal home for other great exotics like the McLaren F1 and Lamborghini Diablo VT.

Car for Sale: Ultra-Rare 1995 Ferrari F50 Berlinetta Prototipo Exterior
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A total of 349 examples of the Ferrari F50 Berlinetta were produced over the course of a couple of years, and this prototype is considered to be the most important road-legal F50 in existence. At one time it was even pushed to the max by drivers like Niki Lauda and Scuderia drivers like Gerhard Berger and test driver Dario Benuzzi. All documentation comes with this example when it crosses the auction block and its legitimacy is intact. No pricing estimate for it has been published, but a 1995 Ferrari F50 was sold by RM Auctions back in 2013 in Monterey at the price of $1.7 million and a 1997 model sold for less than half, $758,000, in 2013 at Villa Erba, somewhat close to the Ferrari factory. Given the very nature of this prototype, expect it to command at least $2 million at the auction block if not more.

Robert Moore
Editor-in-Chief and Automotive Expert - robert@topsped.com
Robert has been an auto enthusiast his entire life. He started working cars at a young age, learning the basics from his father in the home garage on the weekends. As time went on, Robert became more and more interested in cars and convinced his father to teach him how to drive when he was just 13 years old. Robert continued working on cars in his free time and learned as much as he could about engines, transmissions, and car electrical systems, something that only fed his curiosity more and eventually led him to earn a bachelors degree in automotive technology with a primary focus on engine performance and transmission rebuilding.  Read More
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