The Secret Ferrari F90

Tucked away near the South China sea are six Ferrari F90s the world has never seen.

They join the Sultan of Brunei’s collection brought about by excessive royalty weath and spending by Price Jefri Bolkiah.

From the mid 1980s until the 1997 Asian financial crisis, the brothers ordered custom supercars en masse to create what is likely the greatest modern supercar collection extant.

Recently a new image of this F90 has surfaced with its designer Enrico Fumia, head of the Research and Development at Pininfarina.

He describes the F90: “No doubt that F90 was the most complicated and sophisticated prototype ever built by Pininfarina: a difficult technical exercise mixed with a dramatic style.”

In researching a piece for in 2009 I had the oppurtunity to e-mail Enrico and here’s what he shared:

“F90 it’s a long and unknown story. Still now it’s almost a mystery. In fact it was a top secret project from the beginning, as demanded by the Sultan of Brunei. So, all the project and the six protos were entirely developed and manufactured in Pininfarina from ’88 (when I designed the car) up to ’92. In fact nobody except Pininfarina people – and the Sultan, of course – knew about F90. Also Ferrari was not informed…! It seems strange, but it’s absolutely true. Believe me: I am the most credited witness …because I silently suffered over fifteen years waiting for announcing F90! Only a scoop on web allowed me to finally show F90 lines, so that I ordered to build a 1:43 scale model and recently a modelling school made for me a one-off 1:5 scale model.

The six cars are based on Testarossa right hand drive, with a front water radiator instead of the two original on the sides. On the exterior, only wheels and rear mirrors were kept originals! Interior was totally restyled by using Ferrari carry-over components. The most complicated ‘detail’ is the roof, still unique. It’s a sort of a sliding ‘Targa’-roof which overlaps the rear windshield. No doubt that F90 was the most complicated and sofisticated prototype never built by Pininfarina: a difficult technical exercise mixed with a dramatic style. I personally tested the car on the road. Fully masked, of course!

What is unbeliavale is that still now no picture, except the one of the scoop, has been published. I think that all the cars are still in Brunei. Honestly it’s a pity that nobody had seen and judged the car in reality, particularly Ferrari people. Anyway, Ferrari officially announced F90 on its Yearly Book 2006. Now I am waiting for …the ‘Sultan bankrupt’, so may be one of F90s will come on the human market and finally introduced in some Concours d’Elegance! Let me dream, please.

Last but not least, ‘F90’ means Ferrari of the ’90s, because when I sketched it in September ’88 I was imagining a new Ferrari era of the incoming new decade. I still keep many drawings showing a Ferrari full product line based on F90’s style: front and mid-engine, GTS, GTC and …4-door sedan! They look pretty new. Unfortunately I could not show them to Ferrari people. The reason why is another ‘terrible’ personal story: a mystery into the mystery.

Well, this is the short F90 story. It’s 1% of the text I wrote and keep for the my nephews. But …not yet I have nephews! Seriously, it’s my deep wish to show and describe F90 in the near future. May be I seem presumptuous, but F90 deserves to fully be known. “

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