Ferrari's 'king' of the 1960s era was its ultra-rare and ultra-sleek 500 Superfast. It's hard to imagine any Ferrari ever being considered an every day kind of car, but, compared to the Superfast, it would be hard to make the case otherwise.
Everything about the 500 Superfast screamed 'exclusive', from the unique Tipo 208 V-12 engine and pressed cylinder liners to the very elegant body styling. Of course, nothing demonstrated the 500 Superfast's exclusivity like its price. It wasn't as if Ferraris were just normal, everyday, seen everywhere, kinds of cars during the 1960s, but the Superfast had a price that was nearly double what its fellow, not so 'rare', Ferraris were being offered to the public.
Offered at the 2011 RM Auction in Arizona was one of those extremely-rare 500 Superfasts. One of just 36 made between the introduction of the 500 at Geneva in March of 1964 and its last brethren built in 1967, this Ferrari Superfast certainly belongs in a special, and obviously, rare class.
Being so rare, just touching it would seem incredibly inappropriate, but its look just begs to be taken for a long, and fast, drive. A GT car in the truest sense, Pininfarina's elegant chassis courts the lover of the open road, but underneath its sleek appearance it has the muscle and the strength to have fun at the same time.
Taking almost an entire year to build by Pininfarina, chassis number 5989 SF was originally finished in Azzurro (sky-blue) with a blue interior. It was the seventh example built out of the series I. Because it was part of the early production it came finished with the eleven vent plates in the fender and circular turn signal lights.
When it was completed it came with a 400 bhp 4.9-liter V-12 engine utilizing three Weber twin-choke carburetors. All that power was transferred to the wheels via a four-speed manual gearbox. The car featured four-wheel disc brakes, an independent front suspension and a rigid rear axle with parallel trailing arms and semi-elliptic leaf springs.
The car was shipped to the United States in 1965 and had numerous high-profile and, obviously, wealthy owners all the way up into the 1990s. In 1984, the car was showed at the Monterey Historic Races at Laguna Seca, California.
In 2005, the Superfast was acquired by Edward Hol and was sent to Steve Beckman to go through a chassis-up restoration. During that restoration process the car was refinished in light metallic blue color. The interior was also entirely refinished in oxblood leather. Upon completion, the car was sold to movie director John Calley and commissioned to be part of a collection of elite cars.
A majority of the time, such a car as this Ferrari Superfast, would only be offered as part of a private auction. The public RM Auction provided a rare opportunity to both see and buy a virtually unrivaled Ferrari. It was expected, prior to auction, the car would garner between $900,000 and $1,100,000! Even amongst its many 'priceless' automobiles, this is one of just 36 that stands alone, practically unchallenged at the top of Ferrari's list of ultimate GTs. This truly was, as it would almost certainly have been expected to be, a crowning jewel of the auction.
Sources: 'Buy: Featured Lots (Lot 268: 1965 Ferrari 500 Superfast Series I', (http://www.rmauctions.com/FeatureCars.cfm?SaleCode=AZ11&CarID=r139). RM Auction Arizona. http://www.rmauctions.com/FeatureCars.cfm?SaleCode=AZ11&CarID=r139. Retrieved 13 January 2011.
Wikipedia contributors, 'Ferrari America', Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, 29 December 2010, 00:47 UTC, http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Ferrari_America&oldid=404733647 accessed 14 January 2011