Amelia Island

12 March 2016

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Lot 163

1962 Ferrari 400 Superamerica LWB Coupe Aerodinamico by Pininfarina

  • Chassis no. 3949 SA
  • Engine no. 56 SA

Sold for $4,400,000


340 bhp, 3,967 cc SOHC V-12 engine with three Weber 40 DCZ 6 carburetors, four-speed manual transmission with overdrive, independent front suspension with unequal-length A-arms and coil springs, live rear axle with semi-elliptic leaf springs and parallel trailing arms, and four-wheel hydraulic disc brakes. Wheelbase: 102.3 in.

  • The 1962 Turin Automobile Show car
  • A factory covered-headlamp example with numerous special-order features
  • Originally delivered to American sportsman Erwin Goldschmidt
  • Well-known ownership history; only four family owners from new


The hypercar—an automobile of performance insane in comparison to its contemporaries—is often thought of as being a late–20th century invention. It is nothing of the sort. It existed in the 1960s, when Ferrari built its series of Superamerica and Superfast cars for its very best clients, that tiny percentage of men (and the occasional woman) who regularly bought the company’s automobiles and had earned something a little extra. Each was coachbuilt on a chassis derived from the latest racing engineering, with a fearsomely powerful engine. In the 400 Superamerica, this translated to the new Colombo short-block V-12, bored out to nearly 4.0 liters and fitted with 250 TR–style outside plugs. It was mounted on an advanced chassis with Dunlop disc brakes and an overdrive that increased the top-end ratio by 28 percent, markedly improving the car’s performance and road manners and bringing its driving characteristics in line with the sumptuous luxury of its interior.

The car offered here is the iconic 400 Superamerica, the long-wheelbase coupe aerodinamico, one of 18 similar vehicles built. Like almost all of its brethren, it has a distinguished and fascinating history, deserving of an automobile that defined its own genre.

ERWIN GOLDSCHMIDT AND HIS FERRARI

Goldschmidt was impressively wealthy, his father having been a German banker who fled to the United States in 1933. He was a talented racing driver, famously winning the Watkins Glen Grand Prix behind the wheel of an Allard in 1950 and going on to other successes in his Ferrari 375 MM and, later, a 375 Plus. He was a bookish perfectionist of mercurial personality, who insisted upon the best of everything in life and who pursued his goals relentlessly. Uneased by the Nazis’ requisition and subsequent sale of his family’s impressive art collection, he spent decades on the hunt and in and out of courtrooms, acquiring the pieces back—and then sold them at Sotheby’s for numbers that are still impressive.

He was, in short, exactly the sort of iconoclastic personality for which a 400 Superamerica was a perfect fit. And so, perhaps unsurprisingly, in December of 1962 he took delivery of chassis number 3949 SA, in Davos, Switzerland, with the car having been driven out to the vacationing Goldschmidt clan from Modena by a factory test driver, accompanied, it is said, by several logs of its new owner’s favorite Italian salami, a gift from Enzo Ferrari.

Chassis number 3949 SA was already a car familiar to the relatively young scene of tifosi, having been shown on the Pininfarina stand at the 1962 Turin Automobile Show. It had been ordered directly through Dr. Amerigo Manicardi, director of sales in Maranello, and in typical fashion, Goldschmidt had specified many details of its finish. The car was to be painted Rosso Cina with black upholstery and matching black-faced gauges; two pieces of fitted luggage were supplied for the rear parcel shelf, and a leather bolster was added between the front seats, as a saddle of sorts for the Goldschmidt children. Mrs. Goldschmidt requested an alloy grab handle on the passenger side, as well as red trim to the upholstery. Competition-style covered headlights were specified, as were Marchal driving lights and, most significantly, extractor vents in the lower rear fenders, which serve as this car’s instant unique identifying characteristic. From the rear, SNAP exhaust extractors produced a glorious noise, indeed.

Perhaps because of its one-off characteristics for a special client, chassis number 3949 SA was used not only as a showpiece but also for Pininfarina publicity photography, which appeared in the 1962–63 edition of Automobile Year and subsequently in Angelo Tito Anselmi’s La Ferrari di Pininfarina.

Then delivered to Davos, the 400 Superamerica accompanied Erwin Goldschmidt and his family for some 1,300 miles of European touring and then was serviced at the factory before accompanying them to the United States. Upon its arrival here, it would be enjoyed by its gentleman owner for the remaining 17 years of his much-too-short life, mostly as a weekend driver but also for events of the nascent Ferrari Club of America, including the 1967 meeting and concours at the Showboat Inn in Greenwich, Connecticut.

MODERN HISTORY

Following Mr. Goldschmidt’s passing in 1970, the 400 Superamerica was taken over by his son, Anthony, who had so often ridden on its center bolster as a child. Subsequently driven to his own home in California—a cross-country trip no doubt of thrills aplenty!—it was entrusted in 1977 to renowned Ferrari specialist Bill Rudd for a complete mechanical and cosmetic restoration, lasting over six months. Later, in the fall of 1979, it graced the cover of Cavallino magazine’s 7th issue and was the subject of a feature article within by Ferrari historian Allen Bishop, humbly titled “The Greatest Beast of Them All.”

Shown over the years at various Southern California concours and FCA meets, as well as in the Petersen Automotive Museum, the 400 Superamerica was finally sold by its original owner’s son in 2003. Its buyer then was the noted Arizona collector Ron Pratte, from whom it was soon acquired by renowned coachbuilt Ferrari connoisseur Lee Herrington, who would own it for nearly a decade. Mr. Herrington displayed the car at the XV Palm Beach Cavallino Classic in 2006, receiving an FCA Gold Award, and saw it displayed at the Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance in 2007.

In 2012, the 400 Superamerica was purchased for its current owner's own illustrious collection. Recently, it received a complete concours-quality restoration by the noted marque specialists at Dennison International of Puyallup, Washington. As part of this work, the body was stripped down to bare metal and refinished in a fine Blu Chiaro Metallizzato, an original color from the Pininfarina paint-chip book, with a proper tan interior retaining the original special-ordered features requested by the Goldschmidts in 1962. During restoration the door sills and floorpans were replaced, while the balance of the panels remain original, including the roof, doors, hood, and deck lid, preserving the integrity of the body for future generations. The original engine, gearbox, and rear axle were all fully rebuilt by Dennison’s in-house craftsmen and the engine dyno-tested to produce its proper correct output. Extensive research went into ensuring that all components of the car would be correct, including installing proper original horns and headlights; the Borrani wheels are also correct and beautiful.

One of the most significant 400 Superamericas, the finely and uniquely detailed chassis number 3949 SA is still a one-of-a-kind masterpiece that makes a lasting impression on all who see and drive it. Erwin Goldschmidt would have had it no other way.

Please contact our exclusive automotive transportation partner, Reliable Carriers, for a shipping quote or any other information on the transport of this vehicle.

Alexander Weaver

aweaver@rmsothebys.com

+1 864 313 6844
California, United States

Alexander Weaver joined RM Sotheby’s in 2011 as a Car Specialist after graduating from Furman University in South Carolina. Born... read more

Augustin Sabatié-Garat

asabatie-garat@rmsothebys.com

+44 (0) 74 1511 4179
United Kingdom

Augustin Sabatié-Garat joined RM Europe in 2012 as a Car Specialist after more than a decade in the collector car hobby. Gradua... read more

Barney Ruprecht

bruprecht@rmsothebys.com

+1 203 912 7168
Ontario, Canada

Barney’s interest in classic cars began at an early age after being introduced to his father’s all-original 1965 Porsche 911. Barney l... read more

David Swig

dswig@rmsothebys.com

+1 415 302 2247
California, United States

David Swig joined RM Sotheby’s West Coast division as a Car Specialist in May 2015. David is a life-long automobile enthusi... read more

Don Rose

drose@rmsothebys.com

+1 617 513 0388
United States

Don joined RM in 2006 after several years of professionally trading sports and classic cars, and after earning a reputation as a noted... read more

Donnie Gould

dgould@rmsothebys.com

+1 954 566 2209
Florida, United States

Donnie Gould joined the RM team in 2002 as a partner and Car Specialist after more than two decades in the vintage automobile auction ... read more

Gord Duff

gduff@rmsothebys.com

+1 519 352 4575
Ontario, Canada

Gord Duff began his journey with RM Sotheby’s in 1998. Since then, he has gained an intimate knowledge of a variety of marques a... read more

Jake Auerbach

jauerbach@rmsothebys.com

+1 310 559 4575
California, United States

Jake Auerbach got his start in the automotive industry at an early age, spending his summers during high school working at a classic c... read more

Kurt Forry

kforry@rmsothebys.com

+1 717 623 1638
California, United States

Having worked for Bonhams’ Automobilia department for over 10 years, Kurt Forry joined RM Sotheby’s with more than a decad... read more

Matt Malamut

mmalamut@rmsothebys.com

+1 805 231 6410
California, United States

A long-time car enthusiast and Southern California native, Matt studied Automotive Technology at San Diego Miramar College and complet... read more

Michael Squire

msquire@rmsothebys.com

+44 (0) 20 7851 7070
United Kingdom

Michael Squire joined RM Sotheby’s European Division in the summer of 2016. He comes to RM with a prestigious racing background ... read more

Mike Fairbairn

mfairbairn@rmsothebys.com

+1 519 352 4575
Ontario, Canada

As one of the three founding partners of RM Sotheby’s, Mike has a long-standing interest in the classic car industry. Graduating... read more

Oliver Camelin

ocamelin@rmsothebys.com

+44 (0) 75 0110 7447
United Kingdom

With an extensive background in exotic sports car history and sales, a particular passion for American curves, and fluency in three la... read more

Paul Darvill

pdarvill@rmsothebys.com

+44 (0) 20 7851 7070
United Kingdom

Paul Darvill joined the RM Sotheby’s European team at the beginning of 2015. Paul holds a degree in French and Politics from the... read more

Pete Fisher

pfisher@rmsothebys.com

+1 519 784 9300
Ontario, Canada

Pete Fisher was first introduced to antique cars in high school, working for Classic Coachworks in his hometown of Blenheim, Ontario. ... read more

Shelby Myers

smyers@rmsothebys.com

+1 310 559 4575
California, United States

Shelby Myers grew up with the classic car industry infused into every aspect of his life. He had the unique opportunity to watch the R... read more

Tonnie Van der Velden

tvandervelden@rmsothebys.com

+31 653 84 19 60
United Kingdom

Tonnie Van der Velden joined RM Sotheby’s European division in September 2015 as a Car Specialist. A lifelong enthusiast, Tonnie... read more