1963  Ferrari 400 Superamerica Coupe Aerodinamico

The Superamerican dream

For lovers of the Ferrari GT, there's only one motor that's better
than an America. Jared Zaugg falls in love with a one-of-a- kind sports car from 1963

During the late 1950s and 1960s, the success of the Ferrari 250 Gran Turismo family - each car with a front- mounted, 3 litre, V12 engine - gave the Maranello-based company a real financial boost. And no wonder: the 250 line was everything you could reasonably want in a GT. The cars were fast, strong and striking – and they were popular among affluent cognoscenti. But those who were really in the know could take a further step into exclusivity. There was also the Superamerica series of 4-litre, V12-engined models – the rst of which was reputedly made for FIAT chief, style icon and bon vivant Gianni Agnelli.

The America line from Ferrari, so christened as to appeal to what was at the time the only economic superpower, was the firm's top-of-the-lot offering. Thus the Superamerica was designed from the outset to be a superior version of what was already perceived as the superior sports car.

The Superamerica was a highly limited production car, offered to satisfy what was described as "the fastidiousness of a few perfectionists who demanded even more performance, comfort and re nement, and who wanted even more of an image of prestige and exclusivity than could be provided by the 'standard' Ferrari."

When the 410 was introduced in 1955, the Superamerica was sold in the United States for more than double the price of the Mercedes-Benz 300 SL 'Gullwing'. Members of the world's car-loving elite, from Agnelli to the Aga Khan to the Rockefellers, even Enzo himself, placed orders for these sleek rides. They were bespoke too: no two cars were ever exactly alike.

Similar to ordering a custom-made suit in Naples or double gun in London, ordering a Superamerica in Maranello was an experience in itself. As renowned Ferrari collector Fabrizio Violati once recalled, it was a highly personal process: "Enzo Ferrari used to welcome the top politicians, sports heroes and entertainers to his kingdom at Maranello when they came to pick up their [new car] directly from the hand of its creator."

While these specially tailored machines never formally raced, they were certainly very capable cars and true to their Prancing Horse badge. In 1963 Road & Track tested a 400 Superamerica and recorded a top speed of 179.6mph (289kmh) – prodigious performance for what was effectively a two-seat luxury limousine.

This August, during the world-famous Monterey Car Week in Carmel, California, Bonhams will be offering at its Quail Lodge Auction what is considered to be one of the nest extant Superamericas.
The 1963 400 Superamerica, chassis number 5029 SA, is the highly desirable long-wheelbase Series II variant, with Aerodinamica Coupe coachwork by Pininfarina.

It is the 15th of only 18 to have been made, and is not just impressively rare, but also well documented, with its history known from new, having been delivered to its first owner in Florence, Italy – which feels reassuringly appropriate.

In the early 2000s, after a handful of different owners, the matching-numbers car underwent an exacting restoration by marque specialists in Italy to return it to its factory livery, exactly as originally ordered by its Florentine owner. Such was the outstanding quality of this work that several years later, in 2011, number 5029 was awarded Platinum at the Palm Beach Cavallino Classic.

Not only does this Ferrari Classiche-certified car combine its gloriously slippery Aerodinamico looks with deluxe accommodation and style (that organic 'bubble' on the bonnet – there to accommodate three Weber carburettors – is just swoon-worthy) but it's also a highly capable and dynamic drive.

Exclusive, rare, luxurious, uncompromising and fast – this 1963 Ferrari has truely earned the Super- in its name. It stands as one of the grandest Ferrari Gran Turismos ever made.

Contacts
  1. Jakob Greisen
    Specialist
    Bonhams
    Work
    220 San Bruno Avenue
    San Francisco, United States 94103
    Work +1 415 503 3284
    FaxFax: +1 415 391 4040

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