Darin Schnabel ©2014, courtesy of RM Sotheby’s

Chassis 3309SA’s tale started in 1962. This Ferrari 400 Superamerica cabriolet would be the last short-wheelbase model built. It was finished in Red Metallic and fitted with covered headlights and a factory hard top. This was perhaps the ultimate example of its breed.

Its first destination would be the Geneva Motor Show, where it was displayed on Ferrari’s stand. Later, after being air-freighted to Luigi Chinetti Motors in Greenwich, CT, it was displayed at the New York International Auto Show.

In 2005, the car received a no-expense-spared full restoration with a team of California’s best restorers. The project was managed by noted Ferrari restorer Patrick Ottis, who was also responsible for restoring the car’s mechanical components. The body was finished in black paint by Brian Hoyt of Perfect Restorations. The interior was trimmed in red leather by Ken Nemanic.

Its first outing following its restoration was to the 2009 Cavallino Classic, where it was awarded Platinum and a feature in the April/May 2009 issue of Cavallino magazine. Next was the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance in August, where it earned 98 points in judging. More recently, it was shown at the 2011 Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance.

The Ferrari 400 Superamerica, perhaps the most exclusive automobile in the world when new, was a vehicle fit for royalty. The acquisition of such an automobile is to be taken seriously, as there is no limit to what 3309 can do for its next owner.

The car is accompanied by its Ferrari Classiche certification binder, tools, a jack and an original owner’s manual.

SCM Analysis


Years Produced:1960–64
Number Produced:11
Original List Price:$17,800
SCM Valuation:$4,000,000–$6,000,000
Tune Up Cost:$3,500
Distributor Caps:$450 (two required)
Chassis Number Location:Left frame by steering box
Engine Number Location:Right rear above motor mount
Club Info:Ferrari Club of America
Alternatives:1957–63 Mercedes-Benz 300SL Roadster, 1957–59 BMW 507 roadster,1960–63 Ferrari 250 SWB California Spyder
Investment Grade:A

This car, Lot 222, sold for $7,645,000, including buyer’s premium, at RM Sotheby’s auction of the Andrews Collection on May 2, 2015 in Fort Worth, TX.

Long before the 288 GTO, F40, F50, Enzo and LaFerrari, there was a different type of Ferrari supercar. Rather than an ultra-performance sports car, these super Ferraris were high-performance Grand Touring cars of the highest quality built to rule the highway and the Riviera.

They were built in quantities so small they make modern “limited” numbers look huge. The buyers were business tycoons, celebrities and royalty who didn’t need vetting at their local dealer. No one bought these supercars to make a profit. Depreciation was almost a certainty, and the person ordering bought out of passion rather than profit.

The origin of this super line can be traced back to the early 1950s with the introduction of the Americas, as in 340 America, 342 America, and 375 America. The Americas were built in parallel with Ferrari race and dual-purpose cars, but they were built to a higher standard. The Americas were fitted with powerful, race-bred, Lampredi-designed V12 engines. They featured a variety of open and closed bodies from the best Italian coachbuilders of the time.

As Ferrari’s production car business evolved, so did these special cars. The Americas gave way to 410 Superamericas, the 400 Superamerica, and the Superfasts. The commonality of the line was incredibly powerful engines of large displacement often unique to the model. Additionally, the bodies were built to perfection, with narrow shut lines, exceptional panel fit, and a jeweler’s attention to detail.

A 500 Superfast has lived within a couple hundred feet of my desk for most of the past three years. A second 500 Superfast is stored in our shop.

When I show off the cars, I point out a thin piece of chrome trim that surrounds the rear window. It is a handmade piece that finishes off the hole that the rear window fits in. The piece fits absolutely perfectly. It is flush with the body with no deviation. I explain that this piece of trim and the hole it goes in might have taken the body builder two days to fit. This detail may seem insignificant, but it is indicative of the craftsmanship found throughout the car. The cars are simply the pinnacle of Italian coachwork.

The best of the best

Paul Andrews made a fortune in the electronics business. He started his company from scratch to help support his family after being laid off from his previous job. His company was so well run that Warren Buffet brought it into his Berkshire Hathaway fold in 2007. About 15 years ago, Paul and his son started the Panther City Auto Collection. They rapidly built a 150-car collection that ranged from sports cars to Grand Classics.

The Andrews bought the best of the best — as seen in the 2012 Best of Show win at Pebble Beach with their Mercedes-Benz 680S. They also regularly used their cars, with the Colorado Grand being one of the favorite family events. This auction pared the collection down to a more manageable 15 or so cars. Seeing the incredible cars that were sold begs the question: What was kept?

The Andrews 400 Superamerica cabriolet is the perfect example of the quality of car they collected.

While any Superamerica ranks among the most important cars on the planet, this one was the final SWB cabriolet version. It is the only cabriolet to feature covered headlamps. It was shown at the Geneva Salon in 1962 — and then displayed at the 1962 New York Auto Show. The ownership succession following the show reads like the Who’s Who of the Ferrari world. The condition is exceptional; the documentation is impeccable.

Running at Bonneville

No owner added more to the car’s bio than J.A. “Gus” Stallings. The colorful Mr. Stallings was a car dealer from Phoenix with a lust for speed. He took the Superamerica along with his Mercedes 300SL to Bonneville to test the top speeds. The Superamerica’s 145 mph fell short of Ferrari’s published number, but the car was immortalized by Road & Track magazine coverage and photos.

No surprises, huge money

There were no surprises when 3309SA crossed the block at RM Sotheby’s Andrews sale. The pre-sale estimate was $7,000,000 to $8,500,000. There were several determined bidders, and the final price came in at an expected $7,645,000.

The sale was the highest ever for a 400 Superamerica — eclipsing the $6.38 million RM got for 1945SA, another 400 Superamerica cabriolet, just over a month before. For the Andrews, it was their second-highest sale, as they sold their Mercedes 680S for $8,250,000 at a previous RM auction.

3309SA is about as blue chip as you can get. It will remain one of the most desirable cars in the world and is a star of any collection. In 2005 it had reportedly sold for $2m. The Andrews acquired the car in 2010 at an RM auction in Monaco for $3.8 million. Now it brings over $7.5 million. Obviously, this was a welcome result for the Andrews.

The buyer got one of the great cars of the world at a value that was spot-on for the day it was sold. 3309SA will always be a great Ferrari, and it was fairly bought at this sale. ♦

(Introductory description courtesy of RM Sotheby’s.)

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