1955 Ferrari 410 Superamerica

Summary

  • Year of manufacture 
    1955
  • Car type 
    Other
  • Lot number 
    135
  • Drive 
    LHD
  • Condition 
    Used
  • Location
  • Exterior colour 
    Other

Description

PROVENANCE
Shah Reza Pahlavi of Iran (acquired new in 1957)
Princess Soraya (acquired from the above following divorce in 1958)
Tom Barrett III, Scottsdale, Arizona (acquired in 1967)
Mr. Dickson, Phoenix, Arizona (acquired from the above circa 1968)
Lary Ragland, Phoenix, Arizona (acquired in 1971)
Gary Yahnke, Phoenix, Arizona (acquired circa 1977)
Kim Franceschini, Boonton Township, New Jersey (acquired from the above in 1979)
Greg Garrison, Thousand Oaks, California (acquired from the above in 1984)
Current Owner (acquired from the above in 2001)

EXHIBITED
Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance®, August 1977
Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance®, August 1978 (First in Class)
FCA Annual Meeting, Hershey, Pennsylvania, July 1980 (Best of Show)
FCA Annual Meeting, Los Angeles, California, May 2002 (Best of Show)
Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance®, August 2002
Winter Park Concours d’Elegance, October 2002
XII Palm Beach Cavallino Classic, January 2003 (Gold Award)
FCA National Meeting, Sebring, Florida, April 2003 (Platinum Award, Classic Ferrari Award)
XIII Palm Beach Cavallino Classic, January 2004 (Platinum Award)
Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance, March 2004 (Best in Class)
FCA National Meeting, Indianapolis, Indiana, June 2005 (Luigi Chinetti Memorial Award, Forza Ferrari Award)
Winter Park Concours d’Elegance, November 2014

LITERATURE
Hilary A. Raab Jr., Ferrari Serial Numbers Part I, chassis no. listed on p. 15
Bruno Alfieri, Ferrari: America, Superamerica, Superfast, chassis no. listed
on p. 83
Antoine Prunet, The Ferrari Legend: The Road Cars, chassis no. listed on p. 137
Forza, Issue 46, subject of feature article by Genevieve Obert

THIS CAR
Among Ferrari’s most exclusive coachbuilt V-12 models, few rival the 410 Superamerica in terms of its sheer magnificence and formidable mechanical specification. Launched in 1955 as a replacement for the 375 America, the latest elite thoroughbred from Maranello built upon the qualities that made the Lampredi-powered Ferraris automotive legends in their own time: extraordinary power, fashionable designs, and unmatched exclusivity. This Series II 410 Superamerica, no. 0717 SA, embodies all of those qualities in every possible way.

Compared with its legendary predecessor, the new top-of-the-line Ferrari was a more refined road car and benefitted from numerous upgrades, including a strengthened chassis, independent coil-spring front suspension, and a gearbox featuring a slick Porsche-type synchromesh mechanism. At the heart of the 410 Superamerica was Ferrari’s ultra-exotic 4.9-liter, Aurelio Lampredi-derived V-12 engine – itself a lightly detuned version of the engine found in the 375 Plus, the mighty 175 mph sports racer that won both Le Mans and the deadly Carrera Panamericana in 1954.

Pinin Farina was the predominant coachbuilder of these mighty Ferraris, and a limited series of bodies were constructed, with each example receiving subtle bespoke details that continue to fascinate marque enthusiasts today. The coachbuilder’s efforts for the 410 Superamerica were based largely on its designs for the contemporary 250 GT, but are immediately distinguished by their increased scale, decorative flourishes, and singular features.

During its limited production run, the 410 Superamerica had no direct competitor and was truly in a class of its own. The asking price represented a tremendous sum for the period and, although final pricing was established “in accordance to specifications,” most examples approached $17,000 – significantly more than the most expensive 250 GT.

The car’s staggering price ensured that it catered to an elite clientele, and it is no surprise that Renato Bialetti, Emperor Bao-Dai, Fred Lip, Pietro Barilla, and Count Somsky were among the first customers to place orders for the Superamerica. In the minds of many Ferrari aficionados, the 410 Superamericas were the last of the great large-displacement road cars; and the 410’s magnificent Lampredi V-12 engine exemplified the sound, character, and performance of Ferrari during the 1950s.

Numbered 0717 SA, this 410 Superamerica is documented by Ferrari historian Marcel Massini as the fourth of just six short-wheelbase Series II examples produced, and it is the 21st 410 Superamerica of the 34 built in all along three distinct series. The chassis was sent to Pinin Farina on July 18, 1957. Handsomely finished in Grigio Metallizzato (Metallic Gray) with a red roof over red Connolly leather, 0717 SA was sold to HRH Mohammad Shah Reza Pahlavi of Iran; and Enzo Ferrari personally greeted the shah and his wife, Princess Soraya, née Soraya Esfandiari-Bakhtiari, when they went to pick up the car.

Princess Soraya was glamorous, rich, and famous. She was perhaps best known for her penetrating eyes, but less well known was her passion for speed. She was a highly accomplished skier and, after she and her husband were exiled to Italy in 1954, developed a love for Ferraris, the most powerful and exclusive automobiles of the day.

According to a Forza article in June 2003, the shah and the princess had visited the Ferrari factory to have their coachbuilt 410 custom-fit to their specifications. The work included the fitment of a unique two-position driving setup: one for a taller driver, the shah, and a custom-made cushion that would allow the princess to drive the powerful car with command and comfort. Interestingly, the dual-driving setup remains with 0717 SA, which has since become known as “The Princess’ Ferrari.”

Although the marriage of the shah and the princess ended in divorce, the 410 Superamerica remained with her as she began her new life as an actress. Maintained by the Ferrari factory through March 1965, by which time the Ferrari had covered just 5,172 km, 0717 SA was registered on Iranian license plates ‘‘IR 10988.’’

In 1967, Tom Barrett III of Scottsdale imported the princess’ 410 Superamerica to the US, and it passed through the ownership of two more Arizona-based owners until it was acquired by Gary Yahnke of Phoenix, who initiated the very rare Ferrari’s concours life, with consecutive showings at the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance® in 1977 and 1978, when 0717 SA won First in Class. In 1979, Mr. Yahnke sold 0717 SA to Kim Franceschini of New Jersey, who in July 1980 won Best of Show, the Phil Hill Award, and First in Class with it at the Ferrari Club of America annual meeting in Hershey, Pennsylvania.

The next chapter in the story of 0717 SA began in 1984, when film producer Greg Garrison of Thousand Oaks, California, purchased it from Mr. Franceschini. Mr. Garrison, a well-known collector specializing in the rarest and most desirable coachbuilt Ferrari classics, kept the vehicle until July 2001, when he sold 0717 SA to the current owner, himself a noted private collector with a penchant for the finest and rarest Ferrari V-12 models. In late 2001 and early 2002, the 410 Superamerica was given a concours-level restoration by John Carlson’s Gran Turismo Motors in Monrovia, California, with metalwork and paint handled by Steve Beckman’s Metal Works in Costa Mesa, California. Mileage at the time of the restoration was recorded as 20,464.

Soon after the restoration was completed, 0717 SA resumed its show career, with appearances at the 2002 Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance® and the inaugural Winter Park Concours d’Elegance. In January 2003, the Ferrari earned a Gold Award at the XII Palm Beach Cavallino Classic; and that April, 0717 SA appeared at the 39th Ferrari Club of America National Meet and Concours in Sebring, Florida, where it won the Classic Ferrari Award and Platinum in Class 2. Soon thereafter, 0717 SA was the subject of a feature article in Ferrari magazine, Forza. The trophy run of 0717 SA continued in 2004 with the car winning Platinum in Class 10 at the XIII Palm Beach Cavallino Classic that January, followed by Best in Class FC – Ferrari Closed – at the Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance in March. In June 2005, 0717 SA was particularly successful at the 42nd Annual Ferrari Club of America National Meeting and Concours at Indianapolis, where it was awarded the Luigi Chinetti Memorial Award for the outstanding Ferrari road car at the event, plus the Forza Ferrari award for the outstanding Ferrari built in the 1950s. All told, the car had an amazing trophy run in just three short years.

Beautifully restored under the present owner, this exceptional Ferrari is being offered with the intention that the consignor will use proceeds from its sale to benefit an important foundation that furthers the educational opportunities of America’s children. The Wayne and Marilyn Nelson Foundation was created more than 10 years ago to provide funding to elementary schools and to assist universities in giving scholarships to students in need of financial aid. The Nelson Foundation recognized the importance of identifying children early in their academic career and awarding them with financial assistance on their path to higher education. The foundation has also held seminars on the benefits of a comprehensive education. Fittingly, the consignor has stated that some of the proceeds from the sale of the Princess’ Ferrari will provide funding for scholarships in Automobile Restoration at McPherson College and the Oklahoma State University Institute of Technology. Gooding & Company is proud to promote this wonderful cause.

The star-crossed history of the Princess’ Ferrari is an extraordinary narrative. Apart from its provenance, however, 0717 SA stands proudly on its own merits. It must certainly also be considered on the basis of its muscular, close-coupled Pinin Farina styling, an attribute enhanced by the shorter chassis of the exclusive Series II 410 Superamerica. That attribute, along with its extreme rarity, high quality, outstanding specifications, and unimpeachable history, make 0717 SA a spectacular opportunity for anyone seeking t