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F Bombs: Watch supercar tech evolve through 3 vintage Ferraris

We were recently offered the chance to compare three legendary Ferrari supercars side-by-side: The Ferrari F40, F50, and the Enzo. Each car was on static display, and we were free to pore over every detail before enviously watching them on the race track.

The event was intriguing because each car was a state-of-the-art supercar for the era when it was made. Looking at each car in turn, we can see how technology – more than just brute torque and horsepower – drives automotive performance higher over time.

Ferrari stunned the world with the F60 Enzo.

In its day, the Ferrari F40 was unstoppable. Twin turbos and a V8 engine pumped out 478 horsepower and 424 pound-feet of torque. These were crazy numbers when the F40 was released in 1987. At that time, the super expensive Callaway Corvette was setting a benchmark, and that only had 345 horsepower.

By 1995, Ferrari produced the F50, abandoning the turbos for old-fashioned V12 power. The naturally aspirated power plant yielded an impressive 513 horsepower and 347 pound-feet of torque. This era saw the first electronic driver assistance in the form of an active suspension that could respond to road changes and driver inputs in less than 30 milliseconds.

Seven years later, Ferrari stunned the world with the F60 Enzo. The car’s 6.0-liter V12 laid down a mighty 651 horsepower and 485 pound feet of torque. The Enzo offered a six-speed F1 electro-hydraulic transmission, being among the pioneers that brought paddle shifting from race car to road car. The Enzo offered active aerodynamics and traction control, which helped keep it manageable as it shot from 0 to 60 in just over three seconds on the way to its 221 miles per hour top speed.

This year, the buzz is all about the LaFerrari – a technological miracle car with an unbelievable 950 horsepower and 789 pound feet of torque from its direct-injected hybrid V12/electric drivetrain. The seven-speed twin clutch transmission will get it from 0 to 60 in less than three seconds, and up to 217 miles per hour. We had previously attended the unveiling of the first LaFerrari in the Pacific Northwest. There, we learned that unlike previous Ferrari supercars, the LaFerrari has a whole host of electronic guardian angels riding with you.

Watch and learn how technology drove the Ferrari supercar line over the last 30 years.