Ferrari 400 Superamerica Coupe

Any discussion of the Ferrari 400 Superamerica must necessarily start with the 410 Superamerica which preceded it. Thirty-seven were built between 1956 and 1959. As Enzo Ferrari hit his stride with the 340, 342 and 375 America sports racers, the echoes of WWII austerity were fading in Europe, and it occurred to him that his wealthiest clients were ready for a superfast road-going GT. The Superamericas were a move towards series cars for the wealthy and discriminating.

By 1959, the Lampredi V-12 was aging and Ferrari decided to rationalize the Superamerica by introducing a new model, with a four-liter version of the Colombo V-12 that powered the 250 Series. Five inches shorter and much lighter than the Lampredi unit, the Colombo V-12 traced its origins back to the original 1½-liter engine of 1947, so its provenance was sound, and the design had been significantly refined along the way.

The new 400 featured disc brakes for the first time on a Ferrari street car and was built in two wheelbase lengths. The 400 Superamerica was available with a myriad of detail body and trim variations for discriminating clients. Enzo himself drove one, as did the Aga Khan and Gianni Agnelli, minor European royalty and major Hollywood stars. Performance figures included 0-100 in 18 seconds and a top speed of 160 mph. These numbers are still impressive, even in the age of variable valve timing and sophisticated direct fuel injection.

This car was auctioned off by RM Auctions in August of 2011 at the Portola Hotel & Spa and Monterey Conference Center, Monterey, California.

340 hp, 3,967 cc SOHC V-12 engine, three Weber 46 mm DCF carburetors, four-speed manual transmission, independent front suspension with double wishbones and coil springs, rear live axle with semi-elliptic leaf springs and trailing arms, four-wheel hydraulic disc brakes. Wheelbase: 94.5"

Source: RM Auctions
Photo Credit: Copyright Darin Schnabel

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