Sold for $3,300,000 at 2014 Gooding & Company - The Scottsdale Auction.
Chassis #: 0475 SA
Engine #: 0475 SA
Ferrari's reputation on the track and for making street cars aptly capable on the track was almost legendary even by the mid-1950s, only about a decade after it really came into being. Ferrari had found its niche; Enzo wanted to branch out into another.
Ferrari would focus on performance of another type—luxury. The Maranello-based company had succeeded in building cars with exotic performance. Now, the company would push to build exotic comfort and luxury.
Though this would be a push within the company, the pace by which such cars would be completed would be much slower. While the cars produced for the track would be completed at a much more reasonable clip, the luxurious models from Ferrari would be produced at a rate of only about one a month making for some short model runs and very few numbers. In their own right these cars would be valuable, but the fact so few would be made would make them even more uncommon.
This line of luxurious Ferraris would get its start with the model 342 and it would be known as the America. The 342 America would make its debut in 1952 and would have a body styled by Touring. Its engine would come from the 340 sportscar. The 340 would be taken and fashioned into such models as the Mexico and the MM. At its core was the Colombo V12 developing more than 300bhp.
Developed from the 340, and in typical Ferrari fashion, would be the 340 America. It was a car that could be taken to the streets. However, it was more than comfortable on the track. This model served as the basis for the 342.
The only major difference between the 340 and the 342 America would be a longer wheelbase on the 342 and a much more opulent look inside and out. Some of the minor difference would include a much more agreeable gearbox with four speeds instead of five and much more behaved engine.
While the 342 America would launch Ferrari's luxurious line of sporty automobiles, those within the company would be looking for its replacement. Colombo's smaller engines were not able to be developed easily given their smaller size. This was leading to poorer results on the track and this did not suit Enzo. Therefore, he would turn to Aurelio Lampredi to design a V12 that could be developed. Lampredi's solution was a long block V12 that allowed for larger displacements.
The 4.5-liter Lampredi V12 had been used as the engine that powered the Formula One cars. At the same time, those at the company would develop sportscars that could also make use of the larger V12.
A change in regulations within Formula One reduced the maximum engine size allowed. In addition, Ferrari would begin looking into smaller engines for its sportscars. Suddenly, the Lampredi V12 would be without a proper home. However, those within the company would realize they had an opportunity.
The opportunity presented Ferrari was to make a luxurious car inside and out, but to include the Lampredi V12 as its engine. Now the exclusivity would include the engine, and not merely those finer details that went into the luxury cars. Now, from nose to tail, Ferrari had a truly exclusive, and therefore, desirous luxury car.
The ultra-exclusive 375 America would be powered by a ferocious engine, but its driver would remain surrounded by comfortable and mind-easing richness. However, with the 4.5-liter engine under the hood, Ferrari had created for themselves the fastest luxury automobile in the world. They had provided their owners with one of a kind comfort with one of a kind performance.
But they wouldn't stop there. The next model would make it appearance at the 1955 Paris Motor Show. This new car would be initially presented on the chassis of a 375 America. However, the Lampredi engine would be further enhanced to provide mind-blowing performance, and thereby, maintain Ferrari's hold in creating the fastest luxury cars in the world. The updated engine would be 5.0-liters in size producing 340bhp at 6,000rpms. As a result of this boost in engine size and performance the title 'America' would be dropped in favor of a much more apt 'Superamerica'.
The car was the 410 Superamerica and it would make its first appearance as its own chassis at the Brussels Motor Show in 1956. The new Superamerica would make use of a longer wheelbase. Its engine would come from the same derivative developed for the 410 Sport.
As far as production goes, the 410 Superamerica would be produced in three series. The very first one, which would consist of 16 cars, would be built throughout 1955. While Boano, Ghia and Scaglietti would each build a body for the new chassis, each one would look more like a concept car than an exclusive model for the truly affluent. Pininfarina, on the other hand, would be developing their 250 GT look at about the same time and they would design the new 410 Superamerica based upon many of the same design concepts.
Capable of reaching speeds in excess of 150mph and sporting many creature comforts not seen in a car capable of such performance, the 410 Superamerica would be left unchallenged. Its asking price of around $17,000 would also help to ensure that only the seriously wealthy would come to be an owner.
Of the 16 Series 1 410 Superamericas to be built throughout 1956, chassis 0475 SA would be the fourth to be completed on the 2,800mm wheelbase. Actually built over the winter months of 1955, this 410 Superamerica would be finished in a beige with natural Connolly leather. This particular example would be completed with such features as Marchal fog lights, Pirello tires and an Abarth exhaust. It would be remarkable to think this understated car would be among the fastest cars available in the world at the time.
In early March of 1956 the car would set sail across the Atlantic to Luigi Chinetti's New York City dealership. Just a month later, the car would be spotted in the parking lot at the 12 Hours of Sebring.
There is some serious suggestion that 0475 SA may have been the first 410 Superamerica in the United States at the time and would have been reason enough for its inclusion in Chinetti Motors' display at the New York International Auto Show that year.
Shortly thereafter, the car would be sold to William Kemble Carpenter of Montchanin, Delaware. Being a DuPont heir, Carpenter would have the means to buy the very exclusive car. The car suited William. A keen sportsman who enjoyed yachting and sport fishing, such a Ferrari undoubtedly looked good parked up against the yachts of the day.
The Ferrari would remain with Carpenter for about five years before he would end up selling it to Lauren and Hazel Dennen. The Dennens were the owners of the Heritage House Inn in Little River, California. The inn would be made famous after being featured in the 1978 film Same Time Next Year. They would keep the car for a little more than four years before selling it.
Stan Baker would garner fame as an early car collector and a gunsmith. He would end up buying the Ferrari 410 in the late 1960s. Baker would not be taken with the beige livery and the color of the Connolly leather. As a result, he would have the car refinished in dark red. The interior would be dyed tan.
The car would remain with Baker for more than a couple of decades. In that time, he would display the car in the 1984 Ferrari Club of America International Meeting and Concours where it would earn a First in Class award. This would be followed-up with an entrance in the 34th Annual Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance.
Following an appearance in the 1994 FCA International Concours in Monterey and Concorso Italiano, Baker would take part in the 1997 Colorado Grand. Unfortunately, this would be one of the last events Baker would take part in with the car as he would pass away in 2000.
In 2002, the 1956 Ferrari would pass on to a friend of Baker's, Ken McBride. McBride had longed to own the car for a while and would successful purchase it from the Baker estate. This would prove to be a successful partnership as Ken and his wife, Patty, would take the car and would earn victory in the 2007 Colorado Grand. The 1956 Ferrari 410 Superamerica, it could be argued, would be his favorite car of his vast collection.
Ken McBride would pass away in 2010, and now, after a little more than a decade, his beloved Ferrari 410 would be available for purchase. Highly original from nose to tail, the car even includes an original factory brochure, its original tools, original front seats and spare set of wheels. Included with the car is a file that includes show placards, archival photos, factory build sheets and even a history report by Marcel Massini.
Though in an unrestored state, it is hard to argue 0475 SA's prominence as one of the very few Series 1 410 Superamericas. Overflowing with original documentation and authenticity, this 410 Superamerica remains an exceptional example of the line that made Ferrari as well known for luxury as performance.
Offered at the 2014 Gooding & Company auction in Scottsdale, Arizona, the 1956 Ferrari 410 Superamerica Series 1 Coupe, chassis 0475 SA, would be garnering estimates ranging from $2,250,000 to $2,750,000. Sources:
'All Models: 410 Superamerica', (http://www.ferrari.com/English/GT_Sport%20Cars/Classiche/All_Models/Pages/410_Superamerica.aspx). Ferrari.com. http://www.ferrari.com/English/GT_Sport%20Cars/Classiche/All_Models/Pages/410_Superamerica.aspx. Retrieved 14 January 2014.
'All Models: 342 America', (http://www.ferrari.com/English/GT_Sport%20Cars/Classiche/All_Models/Pages/342_America.aspx). Ferrari.com. http://www.ferrari.com/English/GT_Sport%20Cars/Classiche/All_Models/Pages/342_America.aspx. Retrieved 14 January 2014.
'1957 Ferrari 410 Superamerica News, Pictures, Specifications and Information', (http://www.conceptcarz.com/vehicle/z8593/Ferrari-410-Superamerica.aspx). Conceptcarz.com: From Concept to Production. http://www.conceptcarz.com/vehicle/z8593/Ferrari-410-Superamerica.aspx. Retrieved 14 January 2014.
'Lot No. 14: 1956 Ferrari 410 Superamerica Series 1 Coupe', (http://www.goodingco.com/vehicle/1956-ferrari-410-superamerica-series-i-coupe/). Gooding & Company. http://www.goodingco.com/vehicle/1956-ferrari-410-superamerica-series-i-coupe/. Retrieved 14 January 2014.
'Ferrari 410 Superamerica Ghia Coupe', (http://www.ultimatecarpage.com/car/4566/Ferrari-410-SuperAmerica-Ghia-Coupe.html). Ultimatecarpage.com: Powered by Knowledge, Driven by Passion. http://www.ultimatecarpage.com/car/4566/Ferrari-410-SuperAmerica-Ghia-Coupe.html. Retrieved 14 January 2014.By Jeremy McMullen