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400 Superamerica S1 Pininfarina Coupe Speciale
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  Ferrari 400 Superamerica S1 Pininfarina Coupe Speciale
 

  Article Image gallery (20) 1517SA Specifications  
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Country of origin:Italy
Produced in:1959
Numbers built:1
Introduced at:1959 Turin Motor Show
Designed by:Pininfarina
Author:Wouter Melissen
Last updated:May 27, 2009
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Click here to download printer friendly versionWhile the 400 SuperAmerica was officially introduced in Brussels, the world, unknowingly, had already received a first taste of things to come a few months earlier. Late in 1959, Pininfarina had shown a striking one-off special commissioned by Fiat supremo Gianni Agnelli. The bold styling probably disguised the fact that under the skin, the car was very much a 400 SuperAmerica. The only difference of note was the slightly longer, 2500 mm, wheelbase. The 'second' SuperAmerica shown early in 1960 had an altogether more subtle Cabriolet coachwork. From a distance it could even be mistaken for a contemporary 250 GT Cabriolet. Up close the exquisite detailing and unique touches did set it apart from the lower range Ferraris. Almost all SuperAmericas built that year sported this open-top body; naturally no two were the same.

In October that year Pininfarina showed the 400 SuperAmerica based 'Superfast II' study at the Turin Show. This styling exercise served as a preview of the aerodynamic fixed-head body to be offered on the Grand Tourer chassis. This 'Aerodinamico Coupe' had very smooth lines and a particularly rounded rear-end. A similar design was tried on one of the 250 GTO prototypes but this proved unstable at high speeds. With its additional weight, it was believed that the 400 SuperAmerica would not suffer the same problems. Although an official top speed of 265 km/h was quoted, later tests showed that the 'Aerodinamico' could actually get very close to the 300 km/h mark. Offered from 1961 onwards, the new coupe was the coachwork of choice. It could be ordered with open or closed headlights and the width of the grille also varied.

After a run of about two dozen cars, the original 400 SuperAmerica was replaced by the Series 2 late in 1962. The single biggest difference between the two was the lengthened, 2600 mm, wheelbase on the second generation model. Pininfarina continued to offer the choice of Cabriolet and Aerodinamico Coupe bodies. All but four customers went the fixed-head route. A total of 22 examples of the S2 were produced before it was replaced by the 500 Superfast in 1964. This was only available with a single Pininfarina design; Ferrari's Grand Tourer had effectively been transformed into a production car. As the final 400 SuperAmerica was completed, the era of the custom Ferrari ended. Today these exquisite machines are often overlooked and overshadowed by the smaller engined 250 GT variants. With its powerful V12 engine, race-bred chassis and beautiful coach-work, the 400 SuperAmerica deserves a more prominent position in Ferrari's rich history.

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  Article Image gallery (20) 1517SA Specifications