Total Production: 37 1964 - 1966 The 500 Superfast was the last in a line of luxury Ferrari GT's. Introduced in 1964, production continued until 1966 with just 37 examples being produced.
Production of luxury Ferrari GT's began during the early 1950's with the introduction of the 342 America. Based on the 340 America, it featured a chassis that had been extended to provide ample interior space. The mechanics were similar, outfitted with a derivative of the Lampredi's 'long block' engine.
Next in line were the 250 Europa and 375 America. The Ferrari 375 was introduced at the Paris Salon in 1953. During its production run which lasted until May of 1954, less than 45 examples of the 375 America were produced. The car was constructed for Ferrari's clientele who had the means to afford one of these beautiful creations. Since they were produced in limited numbers, the production took far longer than volume models. Power was provided by a 4.5-liter Lampredi designed V-12 engine with either three twin choke Weber 40 DCZ or DCF downdraughts, resulting in 300 horsepower. On all four corners were drum brakes, Borrani wire wheels accented the exterior of the vehicle, and a leaf spring suspension was used in the front and the rear. With the four-speed manual gearbox, the car could achieve a top speed of 150 mph and could race from zero to sixty in less than seven seconds.
In regards to the 375, Pinin Farina was tasked with building the bodywork for many of the models. The Pinin Farina design shared a similarity with the 250 Europa's. The dimensions of several automobiles were similar but their interiors, wings, bumpers and detailing were all unique.
In 1955, Enzo Ferrari displayed a polished chassis #0423 SA at the Paris Salon. The completed version of the 410, crafted by the Italian coachbuilder Pinin Farina, was displayed at the Brussels Salon in January of 1956. As was the style of Ferrari, many variations of this vehicle were built. This is due to the fact that Ferrari used different coachbuilders during the vehicles assembly. Coachbuilders such as Boano, Ghia, and Scaglietti produced versions such as the Testa Rossa, Series I, II and III, and Superfast. This included Coupes and cabriolet versions. Mario Boano produced two, one by Ghia, one by Scaglietti, and the remaining thirty were by Pinin Farina.
The 410 came as a replacement for the 375 America. There were three series for this model but only a total of 38 were produced from 1956-1959.
Although similar to some of the earlier models produced by Ferrari, this one had a few styling changes. The 410 featured side vents located behind the front wheels. These have become a signature of the Superamerica series.
The 410 was given a larger engine and bigger brakes. Coil spring suspensions were used in the front. As with most of the Ferrari's from this era, Pinin Farina produced most of the bodies. From 1956-1958, a 110.2 inch wheelbase was used. In 1958 the size of the wheelbase was decreased to 102.3.
In 1959 Ferrari ceased production of the Lampredi engine. Instead, a Colombo deigned 'short block' V-12 engine would provide the power for the next iteration of Ferrari Luxury GT's, the 400 SuperAmerica. A few years later, the four-liter engine was enlarged to five and the final increment of the Luxury GT's was introduced: the Ferrari 500 Superfast. The five liter engine was capable of producing 400 horsepower. The aerodynamic bodies complimented its engine and did glory to the Superfast name. Top speed was achieved at 175 mph. The chassis was multi-tubular. A four-speed manual gearbox with overdrive provided power to the rear wheels. Later, the four-speed was replaced by a all-synchromesh five-speed unit.
These special-order vehicles were customizable. Their dimensions, colors, upholstery, carpets, etc were selected by the owner. Because of this, the specifications vary.
The 500 Superfast was Ferrari's fastest, most expensive, most exclusive, and most powerful vehicle at the time. With production only reaching 37 units, their exclusivity is guaranteed in modern times. By Daniel Vaughan | Mar 2007