Taking to the salt flats in a Ferrari 400 Superamerica

In 1962, several types of sports car entered the high-speed tests at Bonneville. One of them, just a few months prior, had been posing at the Geneva Motor Show. The owner of this Ferrari 400 Superamerica SWB convertible clearly wasn't too concerned about the effects of the salt...

Wash first, then add salt

Bonneville, 1962. Only a few months earlier in Geneva, the final version of the short-wheelbase Superamerica was presented, and then taken by air freight to the United States, where it posed once more before visitors – this time at the New York International Auto Show. Those who lovingly polished the Ferrari for its presentation would never have dreamt that the varnish they were applying would later be covered with a caustic salt crust. After all, the 400 Superamerica SWB was the most expensive convertible Ferrari in the manufacturer’s portfolio at the time. Its original owner, R. J. Stallings – a car dealer in his early retirement – obviously cared very little about any long-term damage he might cause, for there was no stalling him that day in Bonneville: he maxed out the Ferrari at the remarkable speed of 145 miles per hour.

Never again in Bonneville

Stallings kept his Ferrari 400 Superamerica (chassis number 3309 SA) for only a few more years, and the car changed hands several times before being temporarily taken back to Europe, where it was restored at Carrozzeria Fantuzzi, in Modena. Did the runs at Bonneville cause the chassis to rust? – We don’t know. Up until 2010, once the Ferrari was back in the United States, this rare Ferrari was part of Paul Andrews’ collection. RM Sotheby’s will auction it on 2 May alongside significant other members of the Andrews collection; the Ferrari 400 is shown with an estimated value of $7.0 to $8.5 million. Which poses the question, will the car ever take to the Utah salt again? We highly doubt it.

Photos: RM Sotheby's, Darin Schnabel © 2014 Courtesy of RM Sotheby's