This is one of just 17 examples of the 1961 Ferrari 400 Superamerica Aerodinamico that were made, and interestingly this is the car that was featured on the cover of Car and Driver magazine in April of 1963 as a prototype.
The Ferrari 400 Superamerica was produced from 1959 to 1964 across two distinct series as one of Ferrari’s major flagship models. They offered class-leading power and performance, elegant styling, and ample interior comfort making them ideal as grand turismos.
Fast Facts – The Ferrari 400 Superamerica Aerodinamico
- The Ferrari 400 Superamerica Aerodinamico was a special version of the Ferrari 400 Superamerica coupe with bodywork designed by Aldo Brovarone – each was built by hand at Pinin Farina. The design and coachbuilding house would become Pininfarina (all one word) from 1962 onwards.
- The Ferrari 400 Superamerica series had first appeared in 1959 as the direct successor to the earlier 410 America. The 400 series cars featured all new body designs, almost all from Pinin Farina. Body styles including coupe, spider, cabriolet, and aerodynamic coupé versions.
- Whereas the earlier 410 Superamerica had been powered by the larger Lampredi-designed V12 engine the 400 Superamerica series vehicles were powered by the smaller, lighter, but no less powerful Colombo V12 – the same engine used in many of the most important Ferraris of the era including the 250 GTO and the 250 GT SWB.
- The Ferrari 400 Superamerica Aerodinamico was a special version of the series that was evolved from a car that had been built at Pinin Farina and displayed on their stand at the Turin Salon in November of 1960. The Aerodinamico featured sleek and highly aerodynamic coupe bodywork, one example was used by Battista “Pinin” Farina as his own personal car in the early 1960s.
The Ferrari 400 Superamerica
The 1961 Ferrari 400 Superamerica remains one of the most desirable road cars produced by Ferrari in that crossover period between the late 1950s and into the 1960s. The 400 Superamerica had succeeded the earlier 410 Superamerica, production numbers were exceedingly limited, with only the wealthiest of clientele parking them on their driveways.
We all know of the legendary Ferrari 250 GT cars from the same time period, the 250 GT Lusso, 250 GT SWB, and the 250 GTO likely being the most revered. The Superamerica Ferraris were more costly and rarer than almost all of their 250 GT counterparts, with 400 Superamerica Aerodinamico production totaling just 17 cars compared to the 36 examples of the 250 GTO.
The earlier 410 Superamerica vehicles had been powered by the prodigious Lampredi-designed Ferrari V12 engine, essentially a big block alternative to the smaller and more compact Colombo V12 which was used extensively by Ferrari in many of their cars, including the 250 GT series.
A 4.0 liter version of the Colombo V12 was used for the 400 Superamerica, it’s where the “400” in the model name came from, breaking with Ferrari tradition that typically used the displacement of a single cylinder in cubic centimeters.
Though the engine was smaller than the 5.0 liter Lampredi V12 it produced no less power, with both turning out 335 bhp though the Colombo did achieve peak power a little later in the rev range at 7,000 rpm versus the Lampredi’s 6,000 rpm.
Power was sent back through a 4-speed manual transmission and all cars had a Laycock de Normanville overdrive unit for more relaxed highway cruising. Suspension was independent up front and a live axle in the rear, and disc brakes were installed at all four corners.
When ordering your 400 Superamerica you could choose from a number of body styles including coupe, spider, cabriolet, and aerodynamic coupé versions. Almost all were designed at Pinin Farina (which became Pininfarina later in 1962).
The Ferrari 400 Superamerica Aerodinamico
The 400 Superamerica Aerodinamico is arguably the most special of the 400 Superamerica series. It has its origins in the show car that had been built at Pinin Farina and displayed on their stand at the Turin Salon in November of 1960.
This show car had so enamored Battista “Pinin” Farina that he used it as his own personal car for a time in the early 1960s. The car was given a handbuilt body characterized by its elegant flowing lines and fastback rear – all designed to make it as aerodynamic as possible.
It was based on the SWB (short wheelbase) chassis which resulted in a strict two seat layout, rather than a 2+2, though there was ample luggage space in the rear for touring the Continent. Much like its siblings in the 400 Superamerica series the Aerodinamico was built on a chassis consisting on a pair of cross-braced longitudinal steel tubes with the body fitted atop.
Suspension is independent up front with double wishbones, coil springs, and hydraulic shock absorbers. The rear end has a live axle on semi-elliptical leaf springs with hydraulic shock absorbers, and disc brakes are used on all four corners – not a common feature in the early 1960s.
Due to the fact that just 17 examples of the Ferrari 400 Superamerica Aerodinamico were made the cars are now among the most desirable Ferraris from the period, with values stretching well into the seven figures.
The 1961 Ferrari 400 Superamerica Aerodinamico Shown Here
The car you see here may well be one of the most famous examples of the Ferrari 400 Superamerica Aerodinamico, as it’s the famous “prototype” featured on the cover of Car and Driver magazine in April of 1963 along with a feature length article.
The first owner of this car was Emanuele Rivetti who took delivery in November 1961, by 1962 the car had been sold again through Ferrari’s American dealer network to wealthy oil magnate John Mecom, Jr of Houston, Texas.
The car was later sold on and in recent years it has benefitted from a number of upgrades and refinements including a Kevlar clutch lining, a set of triple Weber 40 DCZ/6 carburetors, and Koni shock absorbers.
It was originally finished in Blu Lancia over light blue leather by the factory, it now has a newer Connolly leather interior. Over $230,000 USD worth of restoration work has been completed by marque specialists since 2014 and importantly the car carries Ferrari Classiche certification, thanks to its original numbers-matching body, chassis, differential, engine, and gearbox.
This 400 Superamerica Aerodinamico is now due to roll across the auction block with RM Sotheby’s on the 20th of May at the Villa Erba. If you’d like to read more about it or register to bid you can visit the listing here, it has a price guide of $3,250,000 – $3,800,000 USD.
Images: Remi Dargegen ©2023 Courtesy of RM Sotheby’s
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