Ferrari Classiche Certified 1965 Ferrari 500 Superfast Coupé Registration no. HCY 700D Chassis no. 6661 Engine no. 6661
Maranello's flagship and the last of the limited edition closed Ferraris, the fabulous 500 Superfast caught the public imagination in a manner not seen since the creation of the Bugatti Royale. Introduced in 1964 at the Geneva Salon and produced for just two years, the 500 Superfast, of which 36 were made, was at the same time Ferrari's fastest, most powerful, most expensive and most exclusive road car.
Production proceeded at the leisurely rate of just one per month, allowing each Superfast to be personalised to individual customer order. A roll-call of the latter includes some of the era's most celebrated collectors of fine automobiles: Shah Reza Pahlavi of Iran, Prince Aga Khan, Prince Bernhard of the Netherlands, German playboy Günther Sachs, Greek shipping magnet Peter Livanos and film star Peter Sellers. The final 500 Superfast - chassis number '8897' - was completed on 1st August 1966 for Colonel Ronnie Hoare, head of UK Ferrari importer Maranello Concessionaires.
The multi-tubular Superfast chassis was constructed along similar lines to that of the contemporary 330GT and initially used the same four-speed/overdrive gearbox. Suspension was independent at the front by wishbones and coil springs and by a leaf-sprung live axle at the rear. To restrain the stupendous performance, superior, servo-assisted Dunlop disc brakes were fitted all round.
With its distinctive flat sides, the Pininfarina body - surely one of the maestro's greatest works - showed influence of the earlier Aerodinamico prototype; the wing line, rising gently from the tail before dipping towards the extended nose, giving the Superfast the appearance of being in motion even when standing still.
Ferrari's racing heritage manifested itself in the Superfast's magnificent 5.0-litre, 'long block' V12 engine. The work of engineer Aurelio Lampredi, it was descended from the racing version that had enjoyed victory at Le Mans but used detachable cylinder heads instead of the competition unit's fixed type. There was a single chain-driven overhead camshaft for each bank of cylinders, while induction came courtesy of a trio of Weber 40DCZ/6 carburettors. The Tipo 208 unit's maximum output of 400bhp made it one of the most powerful production engines of its day and was sufficient to propel the aerodynamically efficient Superfast to a top speed approaching 170mph, a staggering achievement 50 years ago and a highly respectable maximum even today. Brutally powerful, supremely elegant and outrageously expensive, this ultimate Gran Turismo was a true supercar long before the term first emerged.
After 24 examples had been built, a revised Superfast was introduced in mid-1966, the most significant mechanical change being the adoption of a five-speed all-synchromesh gearbox. A further 12 cars were made, this later batch being outwardly distinguishable by their 3-vent engine bay louvres that replaced the earlier 11-vent style. As each and every Superfast was individually built to order, the common reference to 'Series I' and 'Series II' versions is somewhat misleading, particularly as some of the former were made with the five-speed gearbox and 3-vent louvres.
This outstanding right-hand drive example, '6661', was ordered in 1964 by British stockbroker Jack Durlacher, who would later sponsor Rob Walker's privateer Formula 1 team. It is the penultimate example of the 24 'Series I' cars made and left the factory equipped with the desirable five-speed gearbox, 3-vent front wings, circular Carello indicator lights and no rear seats. The car was delivered finished in Blue Chiaro 19343M (light blue) with beige (VM3309) leather upholstery and matching carpets. It is one of only eight right-hand drive examples completed.
Ordered from Maranello Concessionaires via John Coombs' motor dealership in Guildford, Surrey, the Superfast left the Pininfarina factory in June 1965 and arrived in the UK shortly thereafter. The extensive file of history that accompanies the car contains copious correspondence between John Coombs and Maranello Concessionaires, including one letter apologising for the car's delayed delivery (Pininfarina was experiencing production difficulties) and assuring Coombs that 'the Commendatore is personally progressing this order'. When the Ferrari did arrive, Coombs and Durlacher were not satisfied with the quality of the finish and the order was cancelled. Durlacher went onto order another 500 Superfast, chassis number '8459'.
Originally registered 'HCY 700D', the Superfast was sold in March 1966 to Broadway Autos in Cricklewood for their customer, Greek shipping tycoon George Tsakiroglou, who owned properties in both Greece and the UK. The Ferrari was reregistered 'JJJ 9D' and later that same year was fitted with a replacement rear axle assembly. Copy invoices on file indicate that the car was next owned by The Bird Group of Companies of Stratford-upon-Avon, Warwickshire (1967) followed by C E Marshall of Tettenhall, Wolverhampton (1967), C A Rosedale of Northiam, Sussex (1968), G Price of Thornton Haugh, Cheshire (1971) and D Lovett of Wroughton, Wiltshire (1971). Another owner at around this time was engineer Ivor Halbert, who changed the front brake callipers from Dunlop to Girling and fitted pancake-type air filters and Bristol silencers.
'6661' subsequently passed through the hands of UK-based motor dealers David Mulvaney, Rod Leach and ex-BRM Formula 1 driver Richard Attwood before being sold by Michael L Fisher Ltd of London to A J M Van der Lof, a resident of Haaksbergen in the Netherlands. By this time the car had covered around 41,000 miles and been repainted in turquoise metallic.
Restored by marque specialist Terry Hoyle in the 1980s, it was returned by Van der Lof to Fisher in 1990 and was placed in storage at marque specialist Bob Houghton's workshop by the then owner, a leasing company, before being sold to the current lady vendor in November 1993. Since its acquisition by the current owner, a dedicated racing and sports car enthusiast, '6661'has been maintained by Bob Houghton, who carried out a full engine rebuild in 1997 at 44,791 miles (invoices on file).
In October 2008, following a cylinder head gasket failure at 48,604 miles, the Superfast returned to Bob Houghton where the engine was removed and the cylinder heads sent to specialists South Cerney Engineering for overhaul. At the same time, the opportunity was taken to make various body and chassis repairs, overhaul the handbrake callipers and rebuild the rear shock absorbers (invoices available).
Following concerns raised about the originality of some engine components, a Ferrari Classiche Certificate has been obtained from the factory confirming matching chassis/engine numbers. Bob Houghton was engaged to prepare the car for Classiche authentication, which involved removing the engine and sending it to Italy for examination at Maranello where the block was Classiche stamped. A detailed summary of this work and additional refurbishment (carried out in 2012/2013) is on file together with the associated invoices. On the conclusion of the work in March 2013, the car was MoT'd (at 49,321 miles) and comes with the associated certificate and UK V5C registration document.
With so few made, these ultra-exclusive Ferrari 500 Superfasts are only infrequently offered for sale. Representing a rare opportunity for the discerning collector to acquire a fine example of this most iconic Ferrari Gran Turismo, '6661' possesses the desirable attributes of known provenance, matching numbers, specialist restoration, Ferrari Classiche certification and careful long-term ownership of 20 years duration.
The Ferrari Classiche file is on view at the documents desk.