May 08, 2010

Ferrari Superamerica

A little history

Early in the history of Ferrari, North America became an important export market for the Italian company thanks to its local importer Luigi Chinetti. But while Europeans were driving small and economic family saloons during the Fifties, Americans perceived automobiles as chromed and finned monsters. With such discrepancies in the tastes of its potential customers, Ferrari soon developed two lines of automobiles: the famous 250s were rather aimed at the European market, while a new, larger America would be sent beyond the Atlantic.

Starting as a 4.0-litre car the America soon evolved into a 4.5-litre machine when it received the Lampredi V12, originally designed for racing. Apparently this still wasn’t enough, and in 1955 the America gave way to the Superamerica – the name says it all.

The first Superamerica, the 410, was set into motion by a huge 5.0-litre, 335-hp V12 engine. Prices were extremely high, all the more as the car was fitted with custom-built bodies. Only three dozens of them left the Maranello factory until 1959, when the 410 was replaced by the 400 Superamerica, fitted with a smaller 4.0-litre engine but capable of similar performances. Going fast is nice, but being able to stop when needed is equally important, so four disk brakes were made standard equipment. The 400 was the largest-volume Superamerica… though the final tally didn’t exceed fifty copies of the car… In 1964, the 400 Superamerica was replaced by the 500 Superfast. By then custom automobiles were becoming unthinkable, so all Superfasts received a similar Pininfarina coupe body. Two years later, production was stopped for good after 37 Superfast had been built – the need for especially designed models for the American market was no longer as obvious as it had been fifteen years before.

About the model

Model: Ferrari 400 Superamerica
Year: 1960
Maker: Ixo
Scale: 1/43
Distributed by: Fabbri as no.19 of its Ferrari Collection press series
Acquired: brand new, in October 2005, in Souillac, France

Ixo proposes a fine model of a Pininfarina-bodied 400 SA. Its blue paint is superb and most details correctly reproduced. My rating is 14/20.




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