The use of the word ‘super’ in a Ferrari’s name often does exactly what it says on the tin: it associates the model with some form of enhanced performance. Back in 1955, it was the 410 Superamerica, a gorgeous coupé with 5.0-litre V12 producing a rather-healthy-for-its-day 340hp. Today, it’s the 812 Superfast, which has an even-healthier-for-its-day 812hp from that 6.5-litre V12 that sends shivers down spines like an Aretha Franklin high note. Between these bookends of Ferrari supers you’ll find a number of celebrated Maranello models, including the 575 Superamerica.
This car, a targa-topped version of the 575M Maranello, was a front-engined V12 like the 410 and 812. It stands out amongst the crowd because, despite being considerably closer in age to the 812 Superfast, it’s arguably the car that represents a divide in Ferrari’s past and its future. The 575 Superamerica is both traditional and modern, with styling that clearly ties it to Ferrari’s 20thcentury halo models, particularly the Testarossa, but performance that’s very much that of a 21stcentury supercar.
When the 575 Superamerica arrived with its reclining glass lid, it was given a ‘Super’ in its name to emphasise a bump in performance compared with the 575M, which itself was a more potent and updated version of the earlier 550 Maranello. Power for the 5.7-litre 12-cylinder was rated at 535hp in the Superamerica, a 20hp jump on before, giving the targa and buttress-wearing two-seater enough punch to sprint from 0-62mph in 4.2 seconds and onto a top speed of 199mph. It was the fastest convertible in the world at the time. That came in spite of a hefty 1,790kg kerbweight, which was a 100kg heavier than the 575M.
Straight-line performance was matched by responsive handling, which was helped by the fitment of dual-mode adaptive damping, as well as structure strengthening aimed at clawing back the rigidity lost through lopping the fixed roof off. The Superamerica was given stronger sill members and reinforced chassis tubes that supported the central tunnel and windscreen pillars. The rear firewall was also strengthened and additional bracing was added around the transaxle.
A main appeal of the Superamerica was, of course, its glass top, which would rotate 180 degrees to stow away flat over the boot, enabling greater access to the howl of that V12. The clacks of gear change as the F1 paddle-shift gearbox, which was considered very good in its day but by today’s standard is unsurprisingly hesitant, were also more present. The sounds weren’t quite as vicious as those of the Lamborghini Murciélago Roadster, which was its only real rival at the time, but the Superamerica certainly didn’t lack drama. Or Italianess.
Just 559 575 Superamericas were made, meaning they are few and far between on the classifieds. In fact, at the time of writing just 10 are listed here and only six are UK-based. Prices of Superamericas are now such that buyers may be tempted towards examples located in far-off locations, if they’re the right car for a collection. There’s a great example on sale that’s located in New South Wales, Down Under, with just over 6,000 miles on the clock. Even buyers located PH’s side of the globe could be tempted to such an offering.
But thankfully, there does exist a comparable UK-based Superamerica, in the same red and with a similarly immaculate appearance on sale. Actually, this Derbyshire car has just 3,470 miles on the clock and is described by its seller as being in “as new condition”, for which the pictures appear to provide support. The car comes with all original books, including the warranty and service supplement, as well as a complete leather tool case, tyre inflator kit and car cover. It was recently serviced too, so is ready to hit the road.
Ultimately, with such low mileage, it’s likely to end up in a collection, only to see the light of day for a concours or display. Unless, of course, you, dear PHer, have £284,950 spare and fancy bagging yourself a prime example of Ferrari V12 goodness of highly desirable Superamerica form. The fact that they won’t make ‘em like this anymore for much longer because the next top Ferrari V12 looks set for hybridisation might help give confidence that you’re unlikely to lose money on that investment.
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