Claiming significant in-period ownership provenance that has more recently given way to a stellar concours exhibition record, this striking 1966 Ferrari 500 Superfast is a typically ravishing example of Ferrari’s mid-1960s flagship touring machine. According to the research of marque authority Marcel Massini, chassis number 8565SF is the 34th of 36 total examples built, though numerically it is the ninth of 12 second-series examples, and the fourth-from-last car built. Entering Pininfarina’s Turin plant in November 1965, the car was appointed with air conditioning, power windows and power steering, and it was finished in Blu Sera paint over an interior upholstered in Grigio Vaumol leather from Connolly.
Later in 2006, chassis 8565SF was treated to a comprehensive refurbishment by the highly respected Paul Russell and Company in Essex, MA. On the back of this work, the Superfast was presented at Amelia Island in March 2007, winning the prestigious Amelia Award.
When offered at RM Sotheby’s flagship Monterey sale in August 2010, the Ferrari had reportedly accrued no more than 400 miles. Acquired by the consignor later that year, the Superfast has been driven little since, spending most of the past 12 years in climate-controlled storage. In preparation for the current offering, the car has recently undergone a light freshening to accommodate basic operational condition. It should be noted that the paintwork has considerably aged since the 2006 restoration and in some areas displays lifting and crazing. It is also important to note that the car retains mechanical stampings that indicate the continued presence of the matching-numbers chassis and the rare type 208 engine.
Still beguiling in its dark blue-over-Cognac interior, this handsome 500 Superfast continues to display the benefits of the expert restoration by Paul Russell, offering further exhibition on finer concours fields.
|Vehicle:||1966 Ferrari 500 Superfast Series II|
|Tune Up Cost:||$3,500|
|Chassis Number Location:||Left frame member by steering box|
|Engine Number Location:||Right rear above motor mount|
|Club Info:||Ferrari Club of America|
|Alternatives:||1964 Maserati 5000 GT, 1964 Lamborghini 350GT, 1964 Bentley S3 Continental|
This car, Lot 160, sold for $2,225,000, including buyer’s premium, at RM Sotheby’s Phoenix, AZ, sale, on January 26, 2023.
The Americas, Superamericas, and by extension, the Superfasts, were a series of small-production, ultra-high-performance Ferrari road cars. They were produced for Ferrari’s best customers, featuring the marque’s most powerful production engines of the time and bespoke coachbuilt bodies. They were luxuriously appointed and represented the finest grand-touring cars money could buy.
The series is made up of the 340 America, 342 America, 340 MM, 375 America, 410 Superamerica, 400 Superamerica and 500 Superfast. Ferrari also produced 330 Americas, 575 Superamericas and 812 Superfasts. While they carry the names of the original Americas, these latter models should be considered tributes rather than a continuation of the earlier series.
The largest production of the earlier series was 36 examples of the 500 Superfast. Other model in the series had production runs as small as just a couple of cars. The newer “Americas” are full-scale production cars with production numbers that can reach into the hundreds or thousands of examples.
Entrants in the Ferrari-only Cavallino Classic concours in Palm Beach line up on the driveway to The Breakers resort early on show morning, waiting to get on the field. Walking along the bumper-to-bumper line of Ferraris is the best opportunity on the planet to get a close look at important Ferraris. This year there was one Ferrari that stood out over all the others. There was no doubt the white coupe was a high-profile former show car.
The car was indeed a show car: the 1956 Paris Auto Show 410 Superfast I. The Pinin Farina-designed Superfast I featured covered headlights and American-style tail fins. There was no mistaking the car for any other Ferrari and no chance that it was a standard production Ferrari. The first of the Superfast series, 410 Superfast I carried the chassis number 0483SA (SA for Superamerica). Later Superfasts would carry a corresponding SF suffix.
There would be two more Superfast show cars before Ferrari introduced the 500 Superfast in 1964. It used a modified 330 2+2 chassis wearing a unique Pininfarina body. Power would come from a 5.0-liter Ferrari Tipo 208 V12 engine. The engine was a blend of Lampredi-type physical size and Colombo-type improved serviceability. The engine would be rated at 400 horsepower with a front-end-lifting 350 lb-ft of torque.
The 500 Superfast’s power dwarfed the competition. Lamborghini’s flagship 350GT featured a mere 280 hp. Maserati came closer with the 450 S race motor in its ultra-exclusive 5000 GT, but at 340 hp, it still fell significantly short of oomph. The Superfast’s price also dwarfed the competition. You could buy a new Rolls-Royce and a 275 GTB for the price of a new 500 Superfast.
As expected of a significant Ferrari, chassis number 8565SF has led a storied life. It was originally delivered to California foreign-car importer and race driver John von Neumann. Subsequently, it passed through legendary race driver and Ferrari dealer Charlie Hayes. Hayes drove for important race teams such as NART, Carroll Shelby and Scuderia Bear. He was often found intimidating competition in a Ferrari 250 GTO, a Ferrari prototype racer or a Shelby Cobra. Sometime during these early years, exotic-car repair guru Claudio Zampolli swapped 8565SF’s engine with one from 8083SF.
In the mid-’70s, 8565SF passed through another legendary character in Ferrari history, Sal diNatale. His S&A Italia Sports Car Specialists in Van Nuys, CA, was the go-to destination of many early exotic-car enthusiasts. In 1992, 8565SF made its way to Fort Lauderdale, FL, where it found a home at Ed Waterman’s Motor Car Gallery. Waterman is particularly fond of 500 Superfasts, having owned at least four of the 36 built and still retaining one in his collection. While with Waterman, the car was reunited with its original engine.
In 2004 the Superfast made another historic stop, this time in the New Hampshire collection of the late Dr. Bud Lyon. Lyon was a noted engineer, car dealer and prolific enthusiast, having owned over 100 collector cars. Lyon commissioned Paul Russell and Company to freshen the car, then sent it to the Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance, where it won the Amelia Award. The last known owner of 8565SF was Brendan Gallagher, a well-known California-based Ferrari collector.
Super well sold
RM Sotheby’s pre-sale estimate for this Superfast was $2.2m–$2.8m. The hammer struck at a no-sale high bid of $2 million, with the car selling post-auction at $2,225,000. RM Sotheby’s noted that at the time of this auction there were some issues with the paint. However, painting the car will certainly lead to other expensive adventures, adding to the new owner’s cost.
In 2016, a 500 Superfast sold for $2.7m, and then in 2017, one sold for $2.9m. In 2020, the market settled with two no-sales in the $2m range. RM had previously sold this car in 2010 for $1,127,500. This $2.2m sale is nearly double that amount, indicating a significant increase in value. Despite the 2016 and 2017 sales being much higher, modern supercars have now seized Ferrari collectors’ attention. This car featured all the Series II updates but needed refreshing. It was well sold, with the seller getting all the money and the buyer getting a great car to add to their collection. ♦
(Introductory description courtesy of RM Sotheby’s.)