An ultra-rare, extremely expensive, very fast vehicle, the Superamerica featured a low grille opening and covered headlights. With a long sloping rear deck combine with the double curvature of the windshield and rear window, the car had a taut, muscular look in keeping with its performance capability. Built as if for a king, the inside of the Ferrari 400 Superamerica features a lavish interior with thickly bolstered seats and sumptuous Italian hides.
Introduced in 1959, the Ferrari 400 Superamerica featured a Colombo V12 that displaced 3,967 cc. A first for Ferrari road vehicles, the Superamerica also boasted disc brakes. Only 47 units in two series, short and long wheelbase were ever constructed during the Superamerica's five-year production run.
Built to order, the vehicles featured a very demanding clientele that had the option of a wide choice of finishing details on their cars. The Superamerica was built only according to the specifications of the individual. An entirely European concept, the vehicle was a kind of luxury item that only a few could afford. In accordance, no two Ferrari 400 Superamerica vehicles are ever exactly alike. These vehicles have been produced for elite owners such as Aga Khan, Gianni Agnelli, Enzo Ferrari, and Nelson Rockefeller.
One of the rarest examples of the Ferrari 400 Superamerica is the 5029 SA, the Series II long-wheelbase, which was delivered new in Italy. Finished in elegant silver-gray; Grigio Argento, with an exquisite red leather interior. Sold in 1998 in Switzerland, the 5029 SA was restored fully by some of the most respected European specialists.
Still recovering from World War II during the late 1940s and early 1950's, while Europe struggled with the scarcity of fuel, cash, and raw materials, Enzo Ferrari sensed that there was a market for a high-powered GT. The 340 America was introduced in 1950 as the first attempt to put a powerful Lampredi V12 engine in a Ferrari GT. Trying to associate the name with America's 'bigger is better' culture, Ferrari also sought to make the Americans aware of this new Italian marque.
Popular hits, the 340, 342, and 375 America's were featured in an assortment of beautiful bodies from Italy's most talented carrozerias and powered by Ferrari's legendary Lampredi engines. The Ferrari's 250 series had changed the company from a manufacturer of short runs of rapidly evolving models to a series-production-based manufacturer by the mid 1950's. Feeling that it was time to move up-market, Enzo Ferrari moved on to produce a GT model that would satisfy his most demanding and affluent customers. This new model would share a common drivetrain and chassis but would allow the customers discretion in the choice of features, tune and coachwork. A step above the previous 'America', this new model was aptly called the Superamerica.
The 410 Superamerica debuted in 1956 following the 'more power is better' theme of the earlier 'America's, while featuring a near-5-liter Lampredi V12 and offered in tuning levels up to 400 horsepower. Reportedly able to spin the rear wheels in third gear, a total of around 35 examples were produced in vastly different configurations as both cabriolets and coupes.
Following the 410, the 400 Superamerica was an impressive automobile but unfortunately fell short of the 410. The refined Colombo-designed V12 was a more reliable and less expensive alternative to the Lampredi, and a 4-liter version of the Colombo engine was developed for the 400 Superamerica. Rated at 340 horsepower, the new V12 was sadly 60 less than the very powerful 410 engine.
On the other hand, the coachwork options were more impressive. An impressive array of coupe and cabriolet models in both LWB and SWB variations were commissioned, and four show cars called Superfast I, II, III and IV were produced during the 410/400 Superamerica's production run. Featuring Superamerica mechanicals and are part of the Superamerica family, they are classified by their Superfast chassis number.
The 500 Superfast was introduced in 1964 as the newest car to the 'America' series and followed the ultra-premium 'America' theme, though only offered with one engine and body configuration. A total of 36 500 Superfast models were produced.By Jessica Donaldson