The 2018 Formula 1 season is nearly upon us. Grid girls are out, halo driver protection is in, and the sport continues its slide into boring, safe, mediocrity. We’re going to take a trip back to more exciting times then, when cars were powered by a variety of fire-spitting engines, the main sponsors were tobacco companies, and girls were allowed to look pretty.
This is a Ferrari 640 Formula 1 car from 1989, and it was rubbish. Driven by Nigel Mansell and Gerhard Berger, there wasn’t a single race in the 1989 championship where both cars finished. The culprit was Formula 1’s first semi-automatic electrically-controlled gearbox which broke with clockwork regularity. Who’d have thought Italian electronics would be unreliable?
When the gearbox electronics weren’t on strike though, the V12-powered 640 was incredibly fast. Of the thirty-two race starts in 1989 the Ferrari 640 finished just ten, but all of those were on the podium, including three race wins.
By the end of the season the 640’s troublesome semi-automatic gearbox had been largely sorted, but it was too late for Mansell and Berger who finished just 4th and a lowly 7th respectively, thanks to frequent retirements. However a new line had been drawn. The following year the more reliable Ferrari 641 took six race wins and finished second in the Constructor’s Championship, and by the mid-90s semi-automatic gearboxes had become the norm in Formula 1.
This wonderful Model Team recreation of the fast but fragile Ferrari 640 comes from Formula 1-building legend Luca Rusconi aka RoscoPC who has appeared here numerous times with his stunning racing replicas. His incredible 640 features beautifully replicated bodywork, including period decals, plus working steering, suspension, and V12 engine. There’s a whole lot more to see at Luca’s Ferrari 640 album on Flickr, plus you can read our interview with the builder as part of the Master MOCers series by clicking here.