- The Venturi 400 Trophy was created for an early-Nineties single-marque racing sequence in France.
- It options Kevlar composite bodywork and a mid-mounted 3.0-liter V-6 engine.
- This instance has been modified for the road and is up for public sale in Florida the place, with every week to go earlier than the August 1 public sale finish date, bidding is at $101,000.
The Ferrari F40 has by no means been inside attain of the odd collector, however over the previous few years values have come on enhance and surged into multimillion-dollar territory. In its place, are you searching for a race-bred, twin-turbo, mid-engined unique with carbon-Kevlar bodywork, however with a price range that does not stretch to seven figures? This is an uncommon however compelling mix of French racing élan and golden-age Japanese efficiency tuning.
Right this moment’s choose at Convey a Trailer (which, together with Automobile and Driver, is a part of Hearst Autos) is a closely modified instance of a Venturi 400 Trophy. A lot rationalization about what precisely a Venturi is can be required shortly, however first, simply drink within the particulars. Outrageous composite bodywork. Efficiency elements from BBS, Brembo, Ohlins, HKS, and Recaro. A rear clamshell hood that opens to disclose a twin-turbo V-6 good for 408 horsepower in manufacturing facility trim and extra like 500 horsepower right here. Subsequent, it’s possible you’ll discover the sliding Lexan home windows and a dashboard stuffed with uncovered fuses. This automobile is way extra obscure than Ferrari’s 40th birthday current to itself, however it’s each inch the unique.
Venturi was based within the mid-Eighties by two French engineers, former staff of the Heuliez coachworks. For street automobiles, Venturi’s peak was the 400 GT, an especially limited-production sports activities automobile that is likely to be nearly unknown by the bigger public had it not appeared digitally within the racing sport Gran Turismo 2.
The 400 GT was a roadgoing model of a race automobile: the 400 Trophy. One of many earliest successes of French racing promoter Stéphane Ratel—instrumental within the creation of GT2 and GT3 racing—the 400 Trophy was a gentleman-racer sequence supposed to be a French twist on comparable one-make racing sequence fielded by Porsche or Ferrari. Simply over 70 automobiles have been constructed, however the sequence was a hit, operating over 4 seasons.
This instance is chassis quantity 50, although it has come a good distance from the times of Trophy racing. It raced within the 1992 and 1993 seasons however was then shipped to Japan and transformed for street use. The method didn’t contain firming down the efficiency of the racing chassis however quite extracting much more out of it.
A Feast for the Creativeness
The automobile was despatched to Tokyo to be tuned, with HKS GT-SS turbochargers and MoTec engine administration. Japan’s capital is in fact a supercar haven, with Yokohama’s Daikoku Parking Space turning into a church of velocity on Sunday morning. This instance, nevertheless, was constructed for early-morning weekend operating of the tunnels and canyons of Hiroshima, hurtling by means of these comparatively empty roads at velocity. No radio, no distractions, simply the almighty hiss of the dual turbochargers and the shocking aggression of a well-tuned 3.0L PRV V-6 snarling in the direction of redline.
The roadgoing 400 GT is as uncommon as you need, with simply 15 examples made. The driving expertise of these automobiles isn’t imagined to be one of the best, with questionable boutique supercar firm construct high quality and snatchy carbon brakes.
By comparability, this 400 Trophy was at first shaken down and reworked by a racing staff over a number of seasons, then constructed up as a avenue automobile by a Tokyo tuning specialist throughout the time when the elusive Mid Night time Racing Group was of their heyday. It is a mix of two seemingly disparate worlds of automotive enthusiasm, however combines one of the best of each of them.
Catching sight of an F40 in visitors is a bucket-list spot, however Ferrari did construct greater than 1300 of them. There are solely a handful of Venturis within the U.S. at current, and doubtless solely one among them like this. With eight days to go, the excessive bid is at $101,000. Perhaps do not consider this 400 Trophy because the poor man’s F40, however as one thing even rarer and extra particular to personal and drive than the final word Ferrari.
Brendan McAleer is a contract author and photographer based mostly in North Vancouver, B.C., Canada. He grew up splitting his knuckles on British cars, got here of age within the golden period of Japanese sport-compact efficiency, and started writing about automobiles and other people in 2008. His specific curiosity is the intersection between humanity and equipment, whether or not it’s the racing profession of Walter Cronkite or Japanese animator Hayao Miyazaki’s half-century obsession with the Citroën 2CV. He has taught each of his younger daughters shift a guide transmission and is grateful for the excuse they supply to be perpetually shopping for Sizzling Wheels.