Ferrari 400 Superamerica Cabriolet
The high performance luxury gran turismo was a new automotive idiom in the prosperous years following World War II. Moving into the 1960s, these fast, luxurious cars continued to be the car of choice for the rich and famous. Most combined powerful engines with a highly competent chassis, were clothed in unique or limited production coachwork from inspired designers, and were equipped to the highest standards and trimmed in the finest materials.
Production of luxury Ferrari GTs began in 1953 with the introduction of the 342 America, which was based on the 340 America and featured an extended chassis to provide additional interior space. Then came the 375 America (built until May 1954), of which only 12 examples were built for Ferrari’s wealthiest clientele, selling for prices which sent chills up the spines of even Rolls-Royce owners. It could achieve a top speed of 150 mph while accelerating from zero to sixty in less than seven seconds – very impressive indeed for its day! Carrozzeria Pinin Farina of Turin was tasked with designing and building the bodywork which shared an outward similarity to 250 Europa, but their interiors, wings, bumpers and detailing were all unique.
The 400 Superamerica was introduced at Brussels in 1960 when chassis 1611 SA, a two place cabriolet, was first exhibited. It is considered one of Pininfarina’s great designs – an artful expression of Ferrari performance with stylistic elegance, minimizing the car’s apparent size while conveying its aggressive potential. Befitting their stature as the “top-of-the-range” and also the most powerful road going Ferraris of the time, the 400 SAs were superbly finished with the finest materials and, often with distinction, to the owner’s specification. Once again, their dizzying price tags ensured that the client base would be restricted to princes, potentates, captains of industry and the stars of Hollywood and Rome’s Cinecitta.
The first series 400 SAs were built on a 2,420 mm short wheelbase (SWB) chassis, after which a second series was produced with an extended wheelbase of 2,600 mm (LWB). More common to both series are the Coupe Aerodynamica versions, while a smaller number of cabriolets were produced. With their elegant lines and notably more aggressive stance, the SWB cabriolets are considered the most desirable of all the 400 SAs.
This car was auctioned off by RM Auctions in May of 2010 at the Grimaldi Forum, Monaco.
Factory indicated 340 bhp, 3,967 cc single overhead camshaft V12 engine with triple dual-throat Weber 40DCZ6 carburettors, four-speed manual gearbox, independent front suspension with double wishbones and coil springs, rear suspension with live rear axle, semi-elliptic leaf springs, telescopic shock absorbers, and four-wheel disc brakes. Wheelbase: 2,420 mm (95.3").
Source: RM Auctions
Photo Credit: Copyright Ron Kimball