Ferrari 410 Superamerica Series III
No longer bearing formal images, the name Ferrari gave his premier cars – the expression of 1950s aspirations, progress and cutting-edge style – speaks volumes: “America.” Once the “America” moniker was adopted, its sequel was logical: “Superamerica,” with 410 SA production numbering 34 cars along three distinct series built from 1955 through 1959. Displacing 4962 cc, the 410 Superamerica’s initial 340-horsepower output was unprecedented in road cars at the time. They were all built to order, with coachbuilders proffering proposals to favored clients in hope of winning commissions to build their expressions of elegance and power. Light, svelte, distinctive, dynamic and even idiosyncratic, each Superamerica was unique, perfectly suiting Ferrari’s demanding clientele.
The Lampredi engine was particularly appropriate for these large automobiles. With a large bore and a short stroke, piston speeds were high, allowing high revs with minimum fuss and maximum efficiency. The short-stroke Superamericas were rated at up to 7600 rpm, with a wide operating range that would quickly reduce other large-displacement engines to rubble. Driving a Lampredi-engined Ferrari is a unique experience. Displacing nearly five liters, with six cylinders firing on every revolution, the V12 gives compelling performance at any speed, in any gear.
Weighing approximately 3,200 pounds, the Superamerica provided shattering performance, particularly in its ultimate Series III expression, with 400 horsepower on tap. Notably, Series III engines featured a number of enhancements borrowed from Ferrari’s racing cars, including outside-mounted spark plugs from the 250 Testa Rossa along with billet connecting rods, which were polished to a mirror-like finish, echoing those of Ferrari’s own Grand Prix cars, 250 TRs and the later 250 GTO. In addition, the Weber carburetors of the 410 SA were the largest fitted to a GT-model Ferrari of the era.
Now, as when new, Americas and Superamericas are as satisfying for their long-distance cruising potential at daunting speeds as they are for their quick and effortless acceleration in traffic. To handle the power of the Lampredi-derived V12, the 410 SA also benefited from a set of massive brakes from Ferrari’s sports racing cars, with 15.7-inch diameters, marking the largest drum brakes ever used on a Ferrari GT car.
This car was auctioned off by RM Auctions in August of 2010 at the Portola Hotel & Spa and Monterey Conference Center, Monterey, California.
400 bhp, 4,962 cc Lampredi-designed Tipo 126/58 V12 engine with a single overhead camshaft per cylinder bank and three Weber dual-choke carburetors, Tipo 514 A four-speed manual transmission, Tipo 514 A chassis with independent front suspension with unequal-length wishbones and coil springs, live rear axle with parallel trailing arms and semi-elliptic leaf springs, and four-wheel hydraulic drum brakes. Wheelbase: 102.3".
Source: RM Auctions
Photo Credit: Copyright Darin Schnabel