|2005 Ferrari 575M Superamerica
|Original List Price:
|Median to date, $440,000; high sale, $926,390
|Tune Up Cost:
|Chassis Number Location:
|Around right front shock tower
|Engine Number Location:
|Passenger’s side of block towards the front
|Ferrari Club of America
|2001 Ferrari 550 Barchetta, 2005 Porsche Carrera GT, 1971 Maserati Ghibli Spyder, 1963 Jaguar E-type
This car, Lot 2072, sold for $385,000, including buyer’s premium on June 26, 2016, at Auctions America’s Santa Monica, CA, auction.
By the mid 1990s, Ferrari’s Testarossa models had run their course. They were an astonishing success, but they overstayed their welcome.
Ferrari shook things up in 2006 by following the Testarossas with the 550 Maranello. Abandoning the mid-engine formula in favor of a front-engine configuration, the 550 Maranello was a step back in time and a step into the future. Featuring a long hood and a fastback rear, the Maranello was a modern interpretation of a Ferrari Daytona.
It was a resounding success and set the stage for more incredible Ferrari GT cars.
Enter the paddle shifter
Following the 550 Maranello in 2002 was the 575M Maranello. The 575 indicated a little larger engine, and the M noted “modificato,” or modified. The 575M looked slightly different from its predecessor and was slightly faster. However, the big difference was the introduction of an F1-style paddle-shift transmission.
The controversial F1 unit would eventually lead to the demise of the three-pedal manual-shift transmission — and lead to endless posts on Ferrari Internet chat sites.
The 575M featured traditional Ferrari architecture. The frame was a tubular steel box section with unequal-length double-wishbone A-arms and coil-over adaptive shocks at each corner. The transmission was a 6-speed rear transaxle. Power came from a front-mounted 5.75 liter, 12-cylinder engine pushing roughly 508 horsepower.
The results of Ferrari’s 575M efforts yielded 0–60 mph times in the 4.2-second range, with 0.05 second added for manual-gearbox models. The top speed is 199 mph.
By 2004, the 550/575 line was getting a bit stale, and as is traditional in the industry, it was time for a special edition to wake up sales. At the end of 550 Maranello production, the almost-no-top 550 Barchetta Pininfarina was the special edition.
The 575M Superamerica would fill the spot for the 575M.
The 575M Superamerica would be a new take on the convertible concept. Rather than a traditional soft top or a folding hard top, the Superamerica would feature a novel rotating glass roof.
Going topless can be risky
Originally shown on Alfa Romeo’s Vola show car, the Revocromico roof panel is hinged at the rear window. When activated, it flips up and back and comes to rest on the rear deck. In less than 10 seconds, the car converts from a closed hard top to an open-top model.
The rotating top was designed and patented by Leonardo Fioravanti. Fioravanti is a former Pininfarina designer credited with such classics as Ferrari’s Daytona, F40, 308 GTB and 288 GTO.
The Superamerica’s flip top has a carbon-fiber frame and electro-chromatic glass. The transparency of the glass can be changed electronically from clear to near opaque. An important part of the design is the ability to access the trunk even when the top is open.
The top is practical and novel, but the supporting buttresses do little to enhance the 575’s lines.
Unfortunately the cool top is the Achilles’ heel of the Superamerica. A problem with the electronic controls causes the electro-chromatic function to malfunction, making the glass delaminate. Also, the hydraulic struts, which rotate the top, can fail.
Fortunately, the top can be rotated manually, and there are aftermarket struts that seem to be more reliable. The glass delamination, on the other hand, is a serious issue. Ferrari has long ago quit warranting the tops, and new tops are $32,000 — if you can find one.
Cars with 6-speeds bring a premium
Like all newer Ferraris, an extensive option list was offered to Superamerica clients. Carbon-fiber interior, carbon-fiber trunk, a handling package, shields, Daytona seats and assorted trim combinations could add tens of thousands to the base price.
Ironically, it is a base feature that has the most influence on the resale value.
The F1 transmission was a $10,000 option that all but 43 clients chose. It turned out that only a handful of 6-speed, 12-cylinder Ferraris were produced after the Superamerica. Today the 6-speed cars bring a substantial premium.
Our subject car has the F1 paddle-shift transmission.
A couple of high sales of rare 6-speed cars brought attention to the Superamerica, and prices boomed in 2014. Giddy sellers underestimated the market when they priced their car above the last one offered. It turns out the optimism was short-lived, as several cars have languished on the market for as much as eight months.
A deal for the buyer
Auctions America’s Superamerica appears to be an excellent car. It had low miles, good options, service documentation, and was judged at 100 points at an FCA event. The Santa Monica venue should have been a great place to sell the car, but it wasn’t. The $385,000 sale price was a good bit below any other Superamerica available. The buyer got the best of this deal. The seller probably should have kept the car to try again on a later date. ♦
(Introductory description courtesy of Auctions America.)