Ferrari Superamerica sold to the highest bidder

Ferrari 400 Superamerica Cabriolet Pininfarina

This gorgeous 1962 Ferrari 400 Superamerica Cabriolet Pininfarina recently sold at auction for a cool €2.8 million. That’s around four million bucks in Australian money. We’re being told the result is well beyond the pre-auction estimate of AU$3.4m, even though in January we were told it could sell for AU$5m.

The sale took place at the RM Auctions ‘Sporting Classics of Monaco’ auction held last weekend In total almost AU$48m in sales were achieved. What financial crisis?

More after the jump.

Ferrari 400 Superamerica Cabriolet Pininfarina

Ferrari 400 Superamerica Cabriolet Pininfarina


A 1962 Ferrari 400 Superamerica Cabriolet Pininfarina SWB has set a new auction record for this classic Ferrari sports car, selling for Euro 2.8 million (AU$4,021,700/NZ$5,114,230), well ahead of its high estimate of Euro 2.4 (AU$3,447,170/NZ$4383,620) million at the RM Auctions ‘Sporting Classics of Monaco’ auction herald at the weekend (2 May 2010).

Nor was it the only top selling Ferrari in the auction, with a hugely desirable 1962 Ferrari 250 GT SWB Berlinetta selling for €2,632,000 (AU$3,780,390/NZ$4,807,370); the ex-Harrah 1957 Ferrari 250 GT LWB Tour de France, bringing €2,352,000 (AU$3,378,220/NZ$4,295,950); a beautiful 1959 Ferrari 250 GT LWB California Spyder fetching €2,072,000 ($AU2,976,060/$NZ3,784,530) a rare alloy-bodied 1965 Ferrari 275 GTB/6C Berlinetta, selling for €784,000 (AU$1,026,070/NZ$1,431,980) and a fully-restored 1967 Ferrari 275 GTB/4 Berlinetta, s/n 10045, selling for €767,200 (AU$1,101,940/NZ$1,401,3000).

RM Auctions’ inaugural Sporting Classics of Monaco event held at the Grimaldi Forum was a resounding success, achieving €33,235,917 (AU$47,737,400/NZ$60,705,700) in total sales and matching the highest dollar single-day collector car auction in history, also produced by RM. The 86 per cent sell through rate saw 88 of the 105 pre- and post-war motor cars changing hands, with five automobiles fetching prices in excess of €2,000,000, along with setting two new world records.

More powerful and much more exclusive than the vaunted 250 GT California Spyder SWB, the 400 Superamerica Cabriolet Pininfarina SWB that lead the sales in Monaco represents the ‘connoisseur’s choice’ for a top-shelf open Ferrari. With its remarkable show car origins, notable racing exploits, bulletproof ownership history, extraordinary restoration and stunning presence, its sale price proves its value in today’s market in addition to its unmatched desirability.

Production of luxury Ferrari GTs, which continues through to today’s Ferrari California and Ferrari 612 Scaglietti, began in 1953 with the introduction of the 342 America, which was based on the 340 America and featured an extended chassis to provide additional interior space. Then came the 375 America (built until May 1954), of which only 12 examples were built for Ferrari’s wealthiest clientele, selling for prices which sent chills up the spines of even Rolls-Royce owners. It could achieve a top speed of 250 kmh while accelerating from zero to 100 kmh in less than seven seconds – very impressive indeed for its day! Carrozzeria Pinin Farina of Turin was tasked with designing and building the bodywork which shared an outward similarity to 250 Europa, but their interiors, wings, bumpers and detailing were all unique.

The following year, Enzo Ferrari displayed the polished chassis #0423 SA at the Paris Salon. The completed version of the 410 Superamerica, also crafted by Pinin Farina, was on view at Brussels in January 1956. The 410 SA was given a larger engine and bigger brakes. Coil spring suspensions were used in the front. As was Ferrari practice, many variations of this model were built by several coachbuilders, including Boano, Ghia and Scaglietti.

In 1959, Ferrari ceased production of the Lampredi engine. Instead, an enlarged version of the Colombo-designed “short block” V12 engine would provide the power for the next iteration of Ferrari Luxury GTs, beginning with the 400 Superamerica, the outstanding successor to the 410SA.

The 400 Superamerica was introduced at Brussels in 1960 when chassis 1611 SA, a two place cabriolet, was first exhibited. It is considered one of Pininfarina’s great designs – an artful expression of Ferrari performance with stylistic elegance, minimizing the car’s apparent size while conveying its aggressive potential. Befitting their stature as the “top-of-the-range” and also the most powerful road going Ferraris of the time, the 400 SAs were superbly finished with the finest materials and, often with distinction, to the owner’s specification. Once again, their dizzying price tags ensured that the client base would be restricted to princes, potentates, captains of industry and the stars of Hollywood and Rome’s Cinecitta. The first series 400 SAs were built on a 2,420 mm short wheelbase (SWB) chassis, after which a second series was produced with an extended wheelbase of 2,600 mm (LWB). More common to both series are the Coupe Aerodynamica versions, while a smaller number of cabriolets were produced. With their elegant lines and notably more aggressive stance, the SWB cabriolets are considered the most desirable of all the 400 SAs.

The extraordinary example sold at the weekend, s/n 3309 SA, is the last created of only six SWB 400 SA cabriolets bodied by Pininfarina (as the company was now known). As such, it was built as Ferrari’s star car for the Geneva Salon and New York Auto Show of 1962 and included many special features. For example, it is the only one of the six which displays the covered headlights so coveted on California Spyders. Extra brightwork is also abundant, including an attractive wide stainless steel panel along the sills, a chrome trim line across the side of the car, and chromed wheel arch and bonnet scoop accents completing the show detailing. There is further brightwork noticeable in the door openings and under the bonnet.

Chassis number 3309 SA is also equipped with its optional factory hardtop. An extravagant yet handsome design, it ensures the car remains as attractive in coupe form as it is with its top down. (Plus, the permanently installed soft top is neatly folded behind the seats.)

Chassis number 3309 SA was sold to Phoenix, Arizona Ferrari dealer J.A. Stallings off the show stand in New York by Luigi Chinetti Motors. Wasting no time before enjoying its sparkling performance, Mr. Stallings used the car for hillclimbs before taking it to the Bonneville Speed Trials in 1962, where he was officially recorded reaching speeds over 145 mph, as featured in the November 1962 issue of Road & Track documenting the event. (An album with numerous photographic prints from Bonneville, along with copies of the original timing sheets, is included with the sale.)

In 1964, 3309 SA was acquired by well known GT racer Bob Grossman (a colour photocopy of a print of him with the car, believed to be from Virginia International Raceway, is included in the file), after which he traded it back to Chinetti in 1967. It was subsequently sold to well known Ferrariste Norman Silver of High Point, North Carolina. Mr. Silver kept the car until 1973, whereupon it was sold with the assistance of Tom Meade to Charles Robert of Nogent-sur-Marne and Paris, France.

Following his acquisition, and with further assistance from Mr. Meade, Mr. Robert had the car restored by Carrozzeria Fantuzzi in Modena. It was repainted a more stately maroon and fitted with a tan interior, altering the original colour scheme of Rosso Metallizzato Speciale (metallic red) with Avorio (ivory) upholstery.

Mr. Robert owned the car for the next 30 years, during which he showed the car occasionally at Ferrari club events and at a special Ferrari exhibit at Retromobile 2000, in Paris.

In 2005, the Ferrari returned to the U.S., whereupon its current keeper embarked on a meticulously researched, no-expense-spared total concours restoration by marque specialists. Patrick Ottis of Berkeley, California managed the project and restored all the mechanicals, including digging deeply into his trove of NOS parts for this favoured client. The striking and flawless body, black paint and trim were lovingly attended to by Brian Hoyt of Perfect Reflections. Finally, the luscious red leather interior was done by Ken Nemanic. Each of these restorers is an award-winning artisan of his respective craft.

In its first show outing at the XVIII Cavallino Classic in 2009, 3309 SA was awarded Platinum Status by Ferrari Club of America judges and featured in the April/May 2009 issue of Cavallino magazine.

Later, in August, 2009 – after further preparation by the restoration team – the Ferrari was shown at the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance, where it earned a respectable Third in Class and was awarded 98 points. (Four half-points were deducted for minor issues, three of which have subsequently been addressed. The fourth – for exhibiting “too shiny paint” – has been left as shown!) The car was then again featured in Cavallino, October/November 2009.

Fresh, correct and superb, 3309 SA includes its full complement of books, complete tool roll, jack and restoration documents including dyno testing results. Although it is presented both cosmetically and mechanically in ‘as new’ condition, its road miles have been limited mostly to the 50-mile Pebble Beach Road Tour, where it performed flawlessly.