Model history: Within a few years Ferrari had expanded their range of engines to various configurations and displacements. The original 1.5 litre V12 of 1949 was tiny compared to the 5 litre engines that powered the 1953 Le Mans winning 375 Plus. This Pinin Farina bodied sports racer was the result of a continuous development started in 1951 around the Lampredi designed 'long block' V12 engine. Originally displacing just over four litres the engine's displacement of almost 25% had put an additional strain on the engine and long chassis.
As a replacement for the big V12 engined sports cars Ferrari used a new Lampredi designed straight six cylinder engine, but not before a final batch of four V12 engined cars were constructed. Designed specifically for the great Carrera PanAmericana road race, the 410 S featured the largest Ferrari engine yet. It was a newly designed unit developed for the 410 SuperAmerica road cars and was better adapted to the large displacement. There were two versions of the engine available; a single plug 340 bhp engine fitted in the first two cars and a twin plug 380 bhp unit fitted in the two works cars.
One of the 375 series biggest problems was the chassis' instability and this was solved for the 410 S by shortening the wheelbase to 2420 mm from the old car's 2600 mm. The rigidity was further increased by a number of additional tubes serving as cross braces throughout the chassis. The engine could be mounted further back in the chassis by adopting the transaxle type gearbox used in the four cylinder racers. The suspension was carried over from previous models, but to cope with the higher speeds of the 410 S bigger drum brakes were fitted all-round.
Scaglietti was responsible for the lightweight body for the works racers, which featured a unique wide engine cover to enable access to the spark plugs fitted on the outside of the cylinder banks. The first of the customer cars was custom bodied by Scaglietti as a road racer for American real estate developer Tony Paravano complete with the potato chipper side fender grilles that were typical for his cars. The fourth car was also custom bodied by Scaglietti, but as a coupe for Michel-Paul Cavalier who was on Ferrari's board of directors. For the works cars the 'S' in the type indication is believed to be short for 'Sport' and 'Speciale' for the other two.
The new V12 racers were ready for the 1955 edition of the Mexican race, but the organizers were forced to cancel the road rally. The large number of fatal accidents in the previous runnings, the poor state of the roads along the route and the large number of military personnel needed to guard the event were among the reasons for the cancellation. Ferrari campaigned the works racers just once, in the 1956 Buenos Aires Grand Prix where both cars failed to finish. One was sold to a Swedish privateer who had little luck with his 410 S. The second racer was purchased by American John Edgar whose drivers, Carroll Shelby in particular, recorded many victories in North American events.
Chassis 0594CM is the unique Berlinetta bodied 410 S. It was delivered new to French industrialist and Ferrari board-member Michel-Paul Cavalier. Painted creme-white, the one-off road car combined racing running gear with a well appointed interior. Cavalier owned the car for nearly a decade. The subsequent owner re-painted the car red. Since then it has been in the possession of prominent collectors like Pierre Bardinon and John Bosch. The latter had it restored to its original configuration and color. Now in British ownership, the fixed-head 410 S is shown here at the 2009 Concorso d'Eleganza Villa d'Este.