€1m Ferrari Superamerica to sell in Paris

A 1962 Ferrari could sell for as much as €1m at January's Retromobile classic car auction in Paris.

The Ferrari 400 Superamerica Series I Coupé Aerodinamico was first introduced at the 1961 Geneva Salon, the fruition of Enzo Ferrari's relationship with Battista Pininfarina.

The two men combined their abilities and talents to create what is now considered to be an automotive masterpiece of the 20th century.

As the 1950s came to a close, Ferrari automobiles still reigned supreme on the world's race tracks.

The Ferrari 246 enabled Mike Hawthorn to win the 1958 World Championship, the last time a front engined Grand Prix car would do so. Ferrari sports racing and grand touring cars dominated their respective categories.

In 1960, then 62 years old, Enzo Ferrari was on top of his game.

The Ferrari 400 Superamerica Coupe Aerodinamico,
created by Enzo Ferrari and Battista Pininfarina

At the same time, almost as if by fate, 67 year-old Battista Pininfarina had succeeded in becoming the preferred coachbuilder to Italy's most famous automobile maker.

He had proven himself to be not only a great designer and coachbuilder, but a major manufacturer as well. Like Ferrari, he had achieved world-wide success and recognition.

Battista Pininfarina's graceful, pleasing lines profoundly defined the state of automotive design in the decades that followed World War II.

In terms of numbers, the America, Superamerica and Superfast series of cars built by Ferrari from 1951 to 1966 totaled only 162 chassis. The 400 Superamerica was produced in two series between August 1959 and October 1963.

Mechanically, the 400 Superamerica was almost entirely new. Dispensing with the big Lampredi engine, Ferrari returned to the Colombo block with its 90mm distance between bore centers.

The bore was increased to 77mm, and a new crank allowed a stroke of 71mm for a displacement of 330.62cc per cylinder.

The total displacement, therefore, was 3967cc. Heads were of the outside plug type with coil valve springs, while either Weber or Solex carburetors were employed.

The car will auction at Retromobile, Paris with an estimate of €800k-1m
The new engine was designated the 163, with a horsepower rating of around 340.

The 400 was also the first Ferrari to forgo the traditional method of model nomenclature based on the displacement of one cylinder. Exactly what "400" meant has never been definitely ascertained - though some say it indicated horsepower, or the four litre engine.

The Superamerica was a car for kings and a joy to drive; powerful, solid, comfortable and nimble, despite a test weight of over 3,700 pounds.

From the start, the big luxury Ferraris were so exclusive and esoteric that changes and details went unnoticed by the automotive press. This was no doubt intentional, as most of Ferrari's customers at that level had no desire for publicity, no matter how elegant or ostentatious the car.

Factory records eventually divulged to eager historians include a list of first owners which reads like a name dropper's dream: Emperor Bo Dai of Viet Nam, his wife Princess Nam Phuong, Count Graf Fritz Somsky, Shah of Iran, Count Giovanni Volpi di Misurata, Prince Sadruddin Aga Khan, President Juan Peron, and comedian Peter Sellers.

January's sale of the Ferrari 400 SA Coupe Aerodinamico promises to be a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for classic car collectors. The perfect blend of two of Italy's greatest artisans, it is rarely available on the market.

One of the greatest Ferrari automobiles ever built, it carries an estimate of €800,000-1,000,000.

However, it's final hammer price could stretch beyond this - another 1962 Ferrari 400 Superamerica Cabriolet Pininfarina is scheduled to auction in Monaco in May, 2010, estimated to sell for an incredible $3.5m.

Retromobile takes place in Paris on January 23, 2010.

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