Villa Erba

25 May 2013

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Lot 120

1962 Ferrari 400 Superamerica SWB Coupé Aerodinamico by Pininfarina

  • Chassis no. 3559SA
  • Engine no. 3559SA

Sold for €2.184.000

340 hp, 3967 cc SOHC V-12 engine with three Weber 46 DCF carburettors, four-speed manual transmission, independent front suspension with double wishbones and coil springs, live rear axle with semi-elliptic leaf springs and trailing arms, and four-wheel hydraulic disc brakes. Wheelbase: 2,420 mm (94.5 in.)

  • From the collection of Mr Skip Barber
  • The 12th of 36 built for the factory’s best clients
  • Matching-numbers SWB model with covered headlights
  • Platinum Award winner at the 2012 Cavallino Classic
  • Ferrari Classiche certified
  • Documented by Ferrari historian Marcel Massini

As the echoes of World War II austerity faded in Europe, it occurred to Enzo Ferrari that his wealthiest clients were ready for a superfast road going gran turismo. The result was the 410 Superamerica, which took the big four-litre Lampredi V-12, increased its displacement to 4.9 litres, and wrapped it in a series of elegant coupé and cabriolet bodies by the finest Italian coachbuilders. Truly a bespoke offering, each car was individually tailored to its owner’s requests, blisteringly fast, and sophisticated enough to transport a royal. It was Ferrari’s gift to his best customers: a car that truly proved one had arrived in the hard-to-breach hierarchy of Maranello.

Like all Ferraris, the Superamerica enjoyed gradual evolution. By 1959, with the Lampredi V-12 ageing, a new model was introduced with a four-litre version of the Colombo V-12 that powered the 250 Series. Five inches shorter and much lighter than the Lampredi unit, the engine was fitted into the 400 Superamerica, which featured disc brakes, a first on a Ferrari street car, and was offered in two wheelbase lengths. Once more, the Superamerica was exclusive, driven by Enzo himself, as well as by the Aga Khan, Gianni Agnelli, minor European royalty, and major Hollywood stars. No doubt, they were all appropriately impressed by the top speed of 160 mph and its acceleration from 0–100 mph in 18 seconds, figures that remain impressive in an era of variable valve timing and sophisticated direct fuel injection.

Car & Driver tested the prototype 400 Superamerica in April 1963, reporting that it was “the best example extant of the true GT car, in the traditional, non-Detroit, non-FIA manner, a closed two-seater, slightly hysterical, and designed expressly for long-distance, high-speed travel…owning one is, or should be, the goal of every automotive enthusiast anywhere”.

The car offered here, 3559SA, was built to the most desirable specification, with covered headlights on the short-wheelbase chassis, and was finished in Blu Sera Italver with Blu Connolly leather interior. Originally delivered to Luigi Chinetti Motors in Greenwich, Connecticut in 1962, it was supplied new to C.O. Marshall, of Toledo, Ohio, in whose hands it was shown at the 5th annual Ferrari Club of America show in Greenwich in March 1968, winning the Judge’s Choice Award.

Marshall installed a new exhaust system in 1968 and then offered 3559SA for sale, with its engine overhauled and showing only 16,000 miles. Four years later, Michael Kerr, of Carrollton, Texas, acquired the car, which by that point had a sunroof installed. He maintained the Ferrari until 1989, at which point it was passed to Arnold and Werner Meier, of Meilen, Switzerland, on the Lake of Zurich. The Meiers would keep 3559SA for a full decade, remedying various items on the car for factory correctness and using it in the manner for which it was intended, whilst also maintaining it properly. In 1993, 3559SA was completely restored by Edi Wyss Engineering, of Zurich, which repainted it the original Blu Sera, removed the sunroof, and restored the roof; the naturale leather interior that was already installed still remained.

The car was shown at the 32nd annual Ferrari Club of America meeting at the Hyatt Hotel in Monterey, California, in August 1994, followed by an appearance in the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance. In 1997, it was displayed at the 8th annual Concours Automobiles Classiques et Louis Vuitton at Parc de Bagatelle in Paris, rewarded with a win in Class VIII, as pictured in issue number 70 of Automobiles Classiques. Encouraged by this success, Meier drove his Ferrari to the 50th anniversary meeting in Modena and Rome, as seen in the 1997 Ferrari Yearbook. In 2002, 3559SA was shown at the Grand Prix of Montreux.

Meier finally parted with his beloved Superamerica in April 2003, and it was displayed by a subsequent owner at the Cavallino Classic at The Breakers in Florida in 2005, before coming into the ownership of its present caretaker, legendary racing driver Skip Barber.

Whilst the Ferrari was in fine condition as-purchased, Mr Barber had extensive work performed by noted Prancing Horse specialist Greg Jones, of Florida, a list of which is available for inspection, with the goal of the car being recognized as a Platinum Award-winner at the Cavallino Classic. It was returned to The Breakers in 2012, and it was awarded that sought-after prize in Class 10, Speciale/SF/SA. Having completed a rigorous approval process, the 400 Superamerica has been awarded Classiche certification by the Ferrari factory, the ultimate stamp of approval on a Ferrari’s authenticity and excellence.

With the ride-ranging travels and religious maintenance practiced by its loving owners, past and present, this covered-headlight SWB 400 Superamerica stands as among the bluest of the blue-chip Ferraris, and it ranks among the finest examples of its type that RM has ever had the pleasure of offering.

Alexander Weaver

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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

Michael Squire

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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