1959 Ferrari 410 Superamerica Series III SWB

One early owner reported mile after mile in the 135 mph-150 mph range through Canada and Nevada, during cross-country drives to California

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It can be argued that the 410 Superamerica Series III was the high point of the entire line of luxury high-performance Ferraris. In his privately published book, Series III 410 America, Ferrari 410 s/n 1355SA owner Dyke Ridgley wrote, “Here was a car of such presence and power for its era, as to almost defy description.” Road & Track tested a 1959 Series III, s/n 1477, owned by Bill Harrah, and achieved 0-60 mph in 6.4 seconds and estimated top speed at 165 mph.

Introduced in 1955 at the Paris Auto Show, Ferrari’s 410 Superamerica used the 4.9-liter, 60-degree Lampredi V12-based on the engine in the 410 Sport-which was built to contest the 1955 Carrera Panamericana road race. It was rated at 340 hp at 6,000 rpm, and it took the 410 to 60 mph in about six seconds, with a top speed of 150 mph.

The 410 Superamerica was built in three series: The first series consisted of 17 cars; the second series 6 cars. In 1958, Ferrari made major changes to the 410 engine and chassis, resulting in the Series III. The engine had a newly refined “outside plug” head and produced 400 hp, 40 more hp than the Series II. Twelve Series III Ferraris were built, and all are extant. Pininfarina was responsible for all the bodies, which were similar, save details and headlight treatment; seven of the S III cars had covered headlights, and of the last six, all but one had open headlights.

Ferrari 410 Superamerica chassis 1323SA was the sixth of the twelve S III 410s, a covered-headlight model completed on July 8, 1959. The original color was Ruby Red, with a gray leather interior. It was delivered to the Gill brothers in New York, who used the car “very little” in their four years of ownership, then sold it to Henry Desormeau, also of New York, who owned it for twelve years. By 1979, it was owned by Ridgley’s friend, Ferrari collector and historian Hilary Raab, who sold it in 1989 to Luigi Chinetti Jr. The current owner bought it in 2002. He commenced a complete restoration, which was completed in 2007. Today, this absolutely stunning 410 SA Superamerica is virtually identical to its delivered condition, except a tan interior has replaced the original gray.

Author Ridgley put the Superamerica Series III SWB into historical perspective: “If Enzo Ferrari is also considered to have built such a car [as Bugatti’s Royale], the title of the “Royale” must go to the Series III version of the 410 SA Superamerica.”

John Apen

John Apen - SCM Contributor

John holds degrees in engineering and operations research from the University of California-Berkeley, New York University, and Johns Hopkins. He vintage raced a Ferrari TdF for 13 years and has been restoring old cars for nearly 50 years. He owned the Atlanta Ferrari-Maserati dealership, FAF, for 17 years. He’s always had an affinity for obscure American cars, and in high school, he drove a 1936 Packard convertible coupe, followed by a 1949 Olds Holiday hardtop that got him through college. Today his garage includes 11 cars, including a Top Flight 1960 Corvette he’s owned since day one, a 1957 T-Bird, and several vintage Ferraris. His automotive library contains over 5,000 magazines and books and 1,800 auction catalogs. He has contributed to SCM since 1996.

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