2005 Ferrari 575
Year of manufacture2005
Number of seats2
2005 Ferrari 575 Superamerica Convertible
Registration no. VX55 WWB
Chassis no. ZFFGT61B000145743
Engine no. 101218
With the introduction of the 550 Maranello in 1996, Ferrari returned to its tradition of building front-engined V12 sports cars, resurrecting a line that had remained dormant since the demise of the 365 GTB/4 'Daytona' in 1974. Car magazine was understandably enthusiastic: 'The Maranello needs no excuses: it is right-minded, a return to traditional values, albeit values and standards that tower high above those set by the Daytona when it shuffled off to extinction a quarter of a century ago.'
The heart of any Ferrari is its engine, and the 550 Maranello's 48-valve, 5.5-litre V12 developed 485bhp at 7,000rpm, some 100-or-so horsepower more than the Daytona's. Ferrari had discovered long ago that providing optimum balance in a front-engined sports car necessitated the use of a rear transaxle, and the Maranello's came with six speeds. The power train was housed in a tubular steel chassis, to which was attached aluminium coachwork, while the all-independent suspension incorporated dual-mode (normal/sports) damping, switch-selectable by the driver, which was complemented by speed-sensitive power-assisted steering.
Styled by Pininfarina like its illustrious 'Daytona' predecessor, the 550 Maranello was similarly proportioned, adopting the classical combination of long bonnet, small cabin and truncated tail. The body's aerodynamics were developed in the wind tunnel where hours of testing ensured that the minimum of drag was combined with constant downforce regardless of set up, an important consideration in a 200mph road car. Styling details such as the bonnet air scoop and hot air outlets behind the front wheelarches recalled the great competizione Ferraris of the past, in particular the immortal 250 GTO, while the tail incorporated Ferrari's characteristic twin circular lights. Featuring a luxuriously appointed leather interior, this new generation Gran Turismo recalled and honoured its iconic forebears with aplomb.
In 2002, the 550 Maranello was extensively refreshed and updated to create the 575M ('Modificata'), which featured subtle styling refinements and a further upgraded interior together with numerous mechanical improvements. For the 575M, engine displacement grew to 5,748cc and maximum power to 515bhp, while transmitting it to the ground was a new six-speed 'paddle shift' semi-automatic gearbox, a technology that Ferrari had developed in Formula 1. The brakes were up-rated as well, together with the suspension, which now featured the adaptive damping developed on the Ferrari Enzo supercar.
In 2004, Ferrari released a limited run of 559 examples of a striking and innovative convertible, the Superamerica. Drawing its name from the iconic Pininfarina designed Lampredi V12-powered GT cars of the 1950s and '60s, the 199mph 575M Superamerica retained the coupé's mechanicals together with its general design while featuring a unique pivoting photo-chromic roof. The work of Pininfarina's chief stylist Leonardo Fioravanti, creator of the legendary 365 GTB/4 'Daytona', it was the first roof of its kind ever fitted to a production car, and was built using a carbon fibre frame integrated with electro-chromatic glass. The transparency of the glass could be adjusted from within the cabin to transmit varying amounts of light, letting in approximately the same amount of light as a conventional glass sunroof at its lightest setting and only 1% of the sun's rays at its darkest. With the press of a button, the Superamerica can be transformed into a convertible, with the roof rotating back to rest flush with the boot lid in just 10 seconds.
Optional on the Superamerica at the point of order was the 'Handling GTC' upgrade package. Developed for the Ferrari 575 GT Competizione Berlinetta, a model produced specifically for the FIA GT and GrandAm championships, this package is considered to be the most desirable option for the 575 model range as it includes carbon-ceramic brake discs with racing pads and special callipers; 19" wheels; stiffer suspension in 'Sport' mode; a titanium racing exhaust; and 'faster' calibration for the steering rack, greatly enhancing the performance of this already capable supercar. It is estimated that around 40% of Superamericas were built with this package.
This supremely well specified left-hand drive Superamerica was built by special order after its owner had visited Maranello. Its special features include a black instrument panel back-plate (instead of yellow/red); full carbon boot interior panel (as per the Geneva Show car, later changed for series production to less expensive felt); interior carbon option, but retaining leather side panels; fuel cap in body colour rather than the stock aluminium; Schedoni bespoke luggage set; and several other interior options. Finished in Grigio Nürburgring with Burgundy interior, the Superamerica was first registered in Italy on 22nd December 2005. It is currently registered in the UK and has been fitted with UK-specification lights and instrument cluster (originals available). The odometer reading when the unit was changed was circa 13,000 kilometres; the replacement odometer read 9,000 miles at time of installation, to which a further 3,000 has been added since then, making the total distance travelled from new some 17,800 kilometres (circa 11,000 miles). Never crashed or scratched, the car is offered from a well known UK-based collection and comes with current MoT certificate, V5C registration document and an extended warranty for the roof. It has been serviced exclusively by official Ferrari agents: Rosso Corsa (Milan), Kessler (Lugano) and Bob Houghton (UK).
The lady driver states that she enjoys this wonderful car's luxurious and light cabin, afforded by its transparent roof, which always conveys the impression of space and is never claustrophobic. She has particularly enjoyed the sporty feel of the manual gearbox, probably the last one available on an open Ferrari, and the engine's beautiful music - the perfect accompaniment for long journeys.
The 575M Superamerica has become one of the most highly coveted Ferraris of recent times thanks to its rarity, uniquely innovative design, and the exhilarating driving experience that can only be had behind the wheel of one of these modern Ferrari V12 roadsters. It is generally accepted that the Superamerica's semi-automatic transmission did not offer the most satisfying driving experience, which only makes this rare example with its six-speed manual gearbox all the more desirable.