At the 1964 Geneva Auto Salon, Ferrari debuted the latest evolution of its traditional, top-of-the-range grand touring car-the 500 Superfast. The Superfast was designed to criss-cross continents with great speed, comfort, and style-a deluxe GT with the soul and character of the firm's racing cars. The Pininfarina design was an enhancement of the earlier 400 SA "Aerodinamica" coupes. The bodywork featured elegant proportions, a large greenhouse, graceful, fluid lines, and a Kamm-style tail. Inside, the lucky occupants found a sumptuous interior, replete with adjustable seats upholstered in Connolly leather, a spacious luggage platform, fluted headlining, teak veneers, a deluxe radio, and a spread of gauges to monitor the magnificent V12 engine. The 500 Superfast emphasized refinement and consistency. Because of the enormous expense and intricate detail work required, Ferrari completed only one or two examples each month. Original owners included royalty such as Prince Bernard of the Netherlands and Shah Reza Pahlavi, members of the racing fraternity like Johnnie von Neumann and the U.K.'s Colonel Ronnie Hoare, as well as wealthy industrialists and celebrities. The car offered here also found a prestigious home, having been ordered for Prince Sadruddin Aga Khan. The ultra-exclusive Superfast must have been a fine accompaniment to the Prince's sensational Frua-bodied Maserati 5000 GT, 400 Superamerica, Bentley R-type Continental, and 250 Mille Miglia. Prince Sadruddin retained the Ferrari at his Swiss home for five years before selling it to Freddy Mangin, a resident of France. In 1982, the Superfast found its way to Pierre Bardinon, owner of the famed Mas du Clos racetrack and renowned collector of significant Ferraris. The extraordinary list of cars that once belonged to Bardinon included a GTO, 250 LM, 330 P4, 312 P, 312 F1, 330 TRI LM, and an SWB Competition car-this Superfast was certainly in good company. For the better part of 20 years, the Superfast was a fixture in Bardinon's collection, during which time it made a few public appearances. The current owner, an American, acquired the car directly from Bardinon and has kept the car in England for use while on holiday. Equipped with beautiful Marchal headlamps retaining their yellow bulbs, wide Borrani wire wheels shod with correct Michelin XWX tires, an original Radiomobile stereo, and offered with its complete kit of tools, this Superfast has all the accessories and fittings that make these rare Ferraris very special. This Superfast is one of those rare automobiles that has immense appeal to the true connoisseur. There is nothing quite like a largely original Ferrari that has benefited from knowledgeable owners, the workmanship of the finest specialists available, and consistent and responsible use. 6049SA is a car with remarkable originality, an unmatched presence, and unquestioned authenticity, and is one of the finest surviving coachbuilt Ferraris of the 1960s.

SCM Analysis


Vehicle:1965 Ferrari 500 Superfast
Number Produced:36
Original List Price:$29,300
Tune Up Cost:$3,000
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 car sold for $814,000, including buyer’s premium, at Gooding & Company’s Amelia Island Auction on March 12, 2010, against a pre-sale estimate of $800,000-$1,000,000.

Writing about Ferrari’s Superfast series usually involves describing the car’s chronological position in Ferrari production and then comparing its technical specifications to other Ferraris of the time. A few sentences are dedicated to the famous people who owned them and a few more to what a great car they are. Unfortunately, discussing the Superfast within the context of other Ferraris sells short its virtues and misses the point that while they weren’t great Ferrari race cars, they are in the rarified air of being one of the greatest grand touring cars ever built.

The Ferrari for another stratosphere

The 1960s were without doubt the golden era for Ferrari. Ferrari race cars won trophies all over the world, and many of the production cars would become the highest-profile cars ever built. With models like the GTO, the California, and the Testa Rossa having a monopoly on Ferrari stardom, appreciating the 500 Superfast’s place in automobile history requires a look outside the Ferrari world.

Starting with the earliest automobiles, there have been models which have risen above the crowd. Cars like the Rolls-Royce Silver Ghost, the Duesenberg SJ, the Bugatti Type 57 Atalante, the Bentley R-type Continental, and the Mercedes-Benz 540K stood alone in their class as cars built for a clientele which strived for and could afford the best. Their coachbuilt bodies were often built with details so laborious that the result is as much art as automobile. Their performance was top of the field, effortlessly exceeding their contemporaries. They were automobiles built to fulfill imagination, with little compromise to expense. The Superfast belongs in this company and should be judged with these peers. It was never intended to out-race an LM; it was designed to humiliate the driver of an Aston Martin.

Superfasts trade in a thin market

Despite the Superfast’s qualifications, they can be a tough sell. As cars get more valuable, they are more likely to be collected than driven. Factors like beauty, racing history, and celebrity trump comfort and drivability as extra zeros are added to the price. Race cars and convertibles-the least practical of a series-almost always have the greatest appreciation. So many Ferraris glitter with race history and celebrity status that it takes a seasoned collector to appreciate the Superfast.

A rule of thumb puts a Superfast’s value about par with a 275 GTB/4. Superfast 6049SA had a pre-sale estimate that more or less proves the rule. So why did this example barely break the $800k mark? There’s an old saying that everybody who wants a Superfast has one. and it’s not far from the mark. At any given time there may only be one serious buyer in the market, and it takes two to make an auction. Additionally, this car was apparently still on British papers. The buyer could be subject to duties, fees, and unforeseen problems if he imported the car to anywhere but the U.K. A lien or other legal issue can always pop up to ruin the day. Another possible reason was that while the engine and chassis number matched, there was a “spare” Superfast engine with the same number offered for sale a few years back. Comparing the subject engine’s internal numbers to the build sheet reveals that the engine in the car matches the build sheet and the “spare” doesn’t, but the cloud will continue until some misinformation on the Internet is corrected. Chances are the buyer probably was in the right place at the right time, but he took a calculated risk.

There may not be a more famous 500 Superfast than this one, though. Mention Superfast customers, and the Aga Kahn’s name comes up. This being his car gives it immediate celebrity. Pierre Bardinon’s name also carries a lot of weight, and a car from his collection comes with its own pedigree.

With luck the duty issues should be incidental, and the engine issue shouldn’t take much to clean up. It appears the buyer got a high-end Superfast for entry-level money. He certainly got a car to be proud of, and with luck, he has one with upside potential.

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