Celebrity owners include Aga Kahn, the actor Peter Sellers, and the Shah of Iran, who bought two


The 1964 Ferrari 500 Superfast presented here has undergone an exemplary restoration. The motor was rebuilt in Germany at Berlinetta Motors. It is equipped with stainless steel exhaust. The original leather interior is still of good quality. The body was stripped to bare metal and repainted in its original blue color. The carpets are new. It has a documented history and is being sold with an American title.

SCM Analysis


Number Produced:36
Original List Price:$29,300
Tune Up Cost:$2,500
Distributor Caps:$450 (two required)
Chassis Number Location:Left frame member by steering box
Engine Number Location:Right rear above motor mount
Club Info:Ferrari Club of America, PO Box 720597, Atlanta, GA 30358
Investment Grade:A

This 1964 Ferrari 500 Superfast S/N 5981 was sold for $415,596, including buyer’s premium, at the Artcurial auction in Paris in February 2006.
Racing is not a poor man’s hobby, and from the moment he opened his doors, Enzo Ferrari’s clients were the rich and powerful of the world. He soon recognized that even among the elite there was an upper stratum of royalty, captains of industry, and people of privilege who desired something better than the best.
This class was ripe for a Ferrari that was beyond anything available to Ferrari’s normal clientele, an ultra-Ferrari, with price no object if the product was better than anything else. Enzo Ferrari eagerly accepted the challenge.
The lineage of the ultra-Ferrari starts with the 340 America of 1951. This Grand Touring edition of the 340 series mated the most powerful engine in Ferrari’s stable with a chassis tuned for touring. The 340 America was dressed by the best coachbuilders of the era and fitted with luxurious appointments unlike any Ferrari before it. The series evolved through the 342 America and the 375 America before reaching the 410 Superamerica, the pinnacle of the pre-Colombo-engined cars.
Like its America predecessors, the 410 Superamerica was powered by the extraordinary 400-hp Lampredi-
designed Ferrari V12. The legendary power of the huge 4.9-liter “long block” nearly overpowered the other components of the car. Each of the 35 410 Superamericas featured custom coachwork, meaning no two 410s are exactly alike.
The 400 Superamerica followed the 410. The 400 featured a more serviceable 3.9-liter Colombo-designed engine. While smaller in size, the Colombo engine still had 340 hp on tap. The 47 400 Superamericas were built in a multitude of styles on both short- and long-
wheelbase chassis and in coupe and cabriolet configurations. Like the 410, no two 400 Superamericas are exactly alike.
Introduced at the 1964 Geneva show, the 500 Superfast continued the ultra-Ferrari line. Priced at a staggering $29,300, the Superfast cost nearly twice as much as a 275 GTB. Celebrity owners include Aga Kahn, the actor Peter Sellers, and the Shah of Iran, who bought two. The Superfast name came from a series of show cars that were built on Superamerica chassis. It’s unknown why the America/Superamerica name was dropped in favor of Superfast, but the car fulfilled its moniker. Powering the 500 Superfast was a new 400-hp, 5-liter version of a Colombo-designed V12. Performance was exceptional, although the car was more comfortable on the open road than in a city or on a track.
The styling of the Pininfarina-designed and -built Superfast was based on the 400 Superamerica coupe. The Superamerica’s lines were elongated and smoothed into a theme that would strongly influence the styling of the 330/365 GTC/GTS, 365 2+2, and 365 California. While often described as cosmetically identical, there were several variations of lighting, badges, and accessories throughout the Superfast’s production. The most noticeable variation was a switch from eleven-louver engine bay vents on the first 24 cars to three-
louver vents on the last twelve cars.
The 500 Superfast’s configuration was based on Ferrari’s new 330 2+2 and updates would parallel the 330’s development. The final twelve 500 Superfasts are sometimes called Series II cars and feature major updates. The SII cars have 5-speed transmissions rather than 4-speed overdrive units, hanging pedals, and an improved braking system. These late cars could also be ordered with power steering and air conditioning. (Recent research has found that many updates actually started before the last twelve cars, so there really isn’t a pure SII model, if you look beyond the louver count.)
The 500 Superfast would be the last of the ultra-Ferraris. Cost control initiatives from Ferrari’s new partner Fiat are often cited as the reason for the demise. As mass production became more commonplace, the expense of designing, developing, and building a small run of specials grew exponentially. The 50 to 100% premium charged for these special cars was not enough to justify the effort necessary to produce them.
500 Superfast S/N 5981 is the fourth of the series. It is an eleven-louver car with a 4-speed overdrive transmission. It does not have power steering, nor does it have air conditioning. Swiss Ferrari historian Marcel Massini has written a thorough genealogy on this car. It was a Torino Auto Show car in 1964 and was pictured in the 1965 Ferrari Yearbook. It has a known ownership chain and a clean history.
These early ultra-Ferraris have faded into Ferrari history, often overshadowed by the sexy racecars. Reward yourself by closely examining one of these machines sometime. They are true works of art, and your time will be well spent.
In 1984 the 288 GTO was introduced, and signaled a new era in ultra-Ferraris; today we call them supercars. The GTO’s performance and exclusivity put it a class apart from the production Ferraris. The GTO was followed by the F40, the F50, and the Enzo, which has been one-upped by the new FXX. At ten times the cost of a normal Ferrari, the FXX is by far the most expensive Ferrari ever built.
SCM’s online auction database shows this to be the third time our subject Superfast has been offered at auction in the past few years. This time it sold, after being bid to $250,000 at Pebble in 2003 (SCM# 36239) and $440,000 at Sotheby’s/Maranello last year (SCM #38631). In addition, the database tells us this 1964 Ferrari 500 Superfast was sold by Christie’s at its Beaulieu, U.K., auction in 1972 for a mere $16,958.
This time around, the car was beautifully detailed, and this, along with a rising market, is probably what made the difference; this result is in line with other, similar sales. The new owner should take great pleasure in his 500 Superfast and, given how interest continues to grow in these early V12s, he may even find some gold at the end of the rainbow.

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