November 12, 2009

World’s Most Expensive Cars: Ferrari Enzo

The car that bears the name Ferrari Enzo Ferrari is a car with a pedigree. Enzo Ferrari, the man who gave his name to both the company and the latest super car, didn’t begin racing as a way to showcase his cars. Instead, he began selling cars to finance his racing. Since his racing team’s inception in 1940, Ferrari has won 210 races and 16 Formula One Grand Prix World Championships – more than any other team in F1 history. What you get with the Enzo is the singularly special, spectacularly highbred exotic super car directly related to that success on the racetrack.

The Enzo’s links with the Formula One Grand Prix cars are clear. The pointed nose and the odd-angled fenders give the car a grand-prix-car-with-bodywork appearance. The sides of the car are wind-tunnel-shaped to keep drag to a minimum. Parts are made of racing-bred carbon fiber and Nomex, keeping the weight light and keeping in lockstep with the racing bloodline. Coupled with a man-eater of an engine, the car boasts a top speed of over 217 mph. At the same time, as a system of flexible mechanical components and wings, the aerodynamic load and balance can be modified for high down force cornering at lower speed.

The Enzo’s engine is a monster six-liter, 12-cylinder with F1-type combustion chambers. It breathes like an athlete, with extra intake and exhaust ducts to maximize exhaust combustion speed and exhaust efficiency. Mounted mid-engine, it is not turbo or supercharged, but has variable timing for a super-wide power band. With 660 horsepower, the Enzo will accelerate from 0 to 60 mph in 3.3 seconds. Gear changes are, again, F1 inspired, using an electrohydraulic racing system. Tap the gearshift lever without moving your hands from the steering wheel, and change up or down a gear in 150 milliseconds. And, as with an F1 car, the Enzo’s steering wheel also features six controls that govern, among other things, sport or race display configuration.

The Enzo was introduced at the 2002 Paris Auto Show, and remained in production from 2003 to 2005. It was to be a 349-unit production run. But every car was sold before production even began. So Ferrari offered another 51 cars, with that final vehicle reportedly auctioned by Sotheby’s in 2009 for almost 1.3 million dollars – making it one of the world’s most expensive cars. The car sold as late at 2009 for almost exactly the same price, making auto insurance, well, slightly more expensive than a normal Ferrari. Pundits expect prices to continue to rise, as the legendary car – like its namesake – continues to attract attention. If Ferrari is the king of the race-car-turned-street car, the Enzo is the king of all Ferraris.