All photos, Neil Fraser ©2014, courtesy of RM Auctions
All photos, Neil Fraser ©2014, courtesy of RM Auctions
The SA Aperta was announced at the Paris International Motor Show in 2010. It carried on Ferrari’s tradition of creating limited-edition, drop-top V12 grand tourers, which included the 550 Barchetta and the 575 Superamerica. Only 80 examples would be made, and they had all been spoken for by the time they were announced publicly. The SA Aperta offered here wears the distinction of being the last SA Aperta constructed, number 80 of 80. It shows just 290 kilometers (180 miles) and features all the available options as well as Ferrari Classiche certification.

SCM Analysis


Vehicle:2012 Ferrari 599 SA Aperta and 2012 Ferrari 599 GTO
Number Produced:599 Aperta, 80 (Ferrari spotters claim more than 120 were built); 599 GTO, 599
Original List Price:Aperta, $528,450; GTO, $416,550
Tune Up Cost:$3,000
Chassis Number Location:Top left of dash near the windshield
Engine Number Location:Right rear above motor mount
Club Info:Ferrari Club of America, Ferrari Owners Club
Investment Grade:599 Aperta, B; 599 GTO, B

This car, Lot 127, sold for $955,564, including buyer’s premium, at RM’s Monaco auction on May 10, 2014.

The name Gran Turismo Omologato was first used on the 1962 Ferrari 250 GTO, the pinnacle of the 250 series. The 250 GTO accumulated numerous wins at the Tour de France, Targa Florio, and the 24 Hours of Le Mans, proving to be the ultimate dual-purpose sports car.

In 1984, Ferrari unveiled the 288 GTO with the intention of competing in Group B rallying. Regulation changes canceled racing plans, but Ferrari produced 272 road-legal versions. Twenty-six years later, Ferrari would use the GTO name for a third time for their newest supercar, the 599 GTO.

The 599 GTO was not intended for racing, but it was developed directly from the track-only 599XX. It was the most powerful Ferrari road car ever at the time of its introduction.

This car is number 599 of 599, the last 599 GTO produced. It shows 290 kilometers (180 miles) and features every available option.

This car, Lot 128, sold for $493,194 at RM’s Monaco auction on May 10, 2014.

Ferrari shocked the car world in 1996 by abandoning the popular Testarossa line in favor of the 550 Maranello. The 550 eschewed the Testarossa’s mid-engine configuration in favor of a traditional front-engine placement.

The 550 was a reinterpretation of Ferrari’s traditional berlinetta configuration — with modern features such as power steering, good air conditioning, power seats and traction control. Ferrari dispelled any notion that design compromised performance by driving a 550 Maranello 100 kilometers (62 miles) at an average speed of 188.88 mph — a new world speed record.

The 550 Maranello was updated by the 575 M Maranello in 2002, and then the 599 GTB arrived in 2006. The 550 was a great car with excellent performance, a comfortable interior and a pleasant — but hardly breathtaking — body. The 575 upped the performance bar a little, but the appearance stayed nearly the same.

Enter the fire-breather 599

The 599 came from a different planet. It featured a 612-hp, 6-liter V12 engine derived from the Ferrari Enzo that blasted the 599 to 62 mph in a scant 3.7 seconds, an incredible half-second faster than the 575.

On the outside, the 599 was a Pininfarina design done under the supervision of Frank Stephenson. The body served a dual purpose of dressing the 599 and contributing to its performance. Details such as the wrap-around rear window were designed to utilize the airflow across the body to enhance performance.

Particular attention was given to the 599’s interior. It was luxurious, functional and highly customizable. Ferrari customers spend an average of over $40,000 on options, and the interior is the cash cow. Carbon fiber, contrasting stitching and exotic skins were available at an extra cost. If you can dream it and it’s legal in your market, Ferrari has a program to take your money.

The many versions of the 599

Several variations of the 599 were built as the model aged. Some were clearly credible — while others appear to exist merely to kick-start sagging sales.

The HGTE — Handling Gran Turismo Evoluzione — package was the first tweaking of the 599. Electronic upgrades speeded up shifts and improved acceleration. Larger wheels, stiffer springs, a new anti-roll bar and other suspension upgrades improved handling. Modifications to the exhaust tone were made to improve the driving experience, while the carbon-fiber interior accents sets the HGTE apart from the base 599.

The 599XX came next. This million-dollar, track-only model was marketed as a test bed of performance technology for customers to drive in an ultra-exclusive track series. The 599XX featured engine modifications that boosted the redline to an incredible 9,000 rpm and upped the power output by nearly 130 horsepower. Engine upgrades were complemented by corresponding suspension and aerodynamic upgrades.

The 599XX morphed into the 599XX EVO through a $200,000 package of body, suspension and engine upgrades. The EVO was only incrementally faster than the XX, but increments count at this level.

The 599 GTO was announced in April of 2010 and immediately met with skepticism. The GTO is the most revered name in the Ferrari lexicon. The original 250 GTOs earned their status as the most valuable cars on the planet on racetracks throughout the world.

The next GTO, the 288 GTO, was also designed for competition but was felled by changing regulations. The 250 and 288 GTOs were unique in design and built in small quantities. In contrast, the 599 GTO would not earn its name on the track, and was not be particularly unique. Even the limit of 599 examples would hardly be a small production by Ferrari standards.

The 599 GTO featured performance upgrades passed down from the 599XX as well as others unique to the model. It was lighter than the standard model and had about 50 more horsepower. Styling cues set the model apart from the standard 599, but the 599 GTO was hardly distinctive.

Aperta means “open” in Italian, and the 599 SA Aperta is exactly that — an open-top 599. SA was added to honor Sergio and Andre Pininfarina for their contributions to Ferrari through the years. Like the Barchetta version of the 550, the Aperta was a very limited edition offered only to Ferrari’s best clients. The Aperta boasts the mechanical underpinnings of the 599 GTO but softened for grand touring rather than sporting. The Aperta is essentially a convertible 599 GTO.

Ferrari also built a special-edition 599 GTB 60F1 Alonso, a couple of 599 one-offs and a hybrid 599.

A firecracker instead of a rocket

RM’s two 599s were the rarest of the rare. They’re probably the only matched-serial-number pair and absolutely the only last 599 GTO and last 599 SA Aperta. Certainly they were an important acquisition for the vendor. Keeping these cars together could ignite a bidding war, but would there be anyone else to share the passion?

The GTO sold for slightly less than it would have when new — and at about the current asking prices for 599 GTOs on eBay. The depreciation was less than most nearly-new cars — but a big disappointment for a limited-production, hyper-performance Ferrari GTO. The Aperta sold at a good premium over list — and also about the asking price of the few on the market today. Considering the Aperta was a special-edition one of 80 open-top, 12-cylinder Ferraris, anything less would have been a disaster.

In the end, the bidding war was just a skirmish. It was quickly over without either side losing many Benjamins. They seller had every reason to hope for more, but it wasn’t to be. This was a day everyone should have gone home happy. ♦

(Introductory descriptions courtesy of RM Auctions.)

Comments are closed.