Ferrari 500 Superfast, the Prancing Horse coupe model that bewitched Prince Bernard of Holland



Presented at the 1964 Geneva Motor Show, the Ferrari 500 Superfast is designed to satisfy those customers looking for a high-performance and extremely elegant car. Derived from the 400 Superamerica, the new car was produced until 1966 as a limited edition. The engine equipped on the 500 Superfast takes shape following both the studies of Colombo and those of Lampredi.


With its three Weber 40 DCZ/6 engines, the engine delivers 400 horsepower, thus allowing the 400 Superamerica to place itself at the top of its category. Only twenty-five examples of the first series are built, equipped with a four-speed gearbox, and in 1966 the second series will appear, consisting of twelve examples, which will boast a five-speed gearbox.



In practice, the Ferrari 500 Superfast becomes the last Ferrari coupé created in this way by the Maranello-based manufacturer, thus representing the end of a tradition that began with the America and Superamerica series of the 1950s and early 1960s. As the on-line production of automobiles grows in number and uniformity of construction, the availability of the necessary equipment for small series production is drastically reduced, despite the higher prices of the cars sold.


The Ferrari 500 Superfast is produced in only thirty-seven examples, with chassis numbers ranging from 05951 SF to 08897 SF, and one of these, precisely the one known with the number 06267 on the chassis, is made for Prince Bernard of Holland, keeping the lines of the Superfast, starting however from the base of a 330 GT 2+2. This exclusive model will cost as much as two Rolls Royces, and will be purchased by special customers, such as British actor Peter Sellers and Mohammad Reza Pahlavi, the Shah of Persia. The latter, in 1965, will withdraw two within four months.



The car body is designed by Pininfarina, and has numerous characteristics typical of the 400 SA Coupe Aerodinamica, famous for its oval and shallow air intake for the radiator.


Usually the front light clusters are recessed in the front part of the fenders, and can count on the protection provided by Plexiglas covers, but only in two examples.


A long inclined bonnet joins the section of the luminous passenger compartment near the pillars designed to support the windshield and the roof, at the end of which the rear window connects with the trunk, maintaining its line; the tail is truncated and oval in shape.



The horizontal rear light clusters are characterized by their bullet shape and are composed of three circular elements, made following this scheme only and exclusively for the Ferrari 500 Superfast. Two wraparound and chromed semi-bumpers decorate both the nose and the tail of the car, but there are recesses in the front ones, so as not to obstruct the light emission of the direction indicators.


This solution will not be launched immediately, so much so that the first model of the production has lights made in an elliptical shape, placed above the bumpers.


The first examples made have a lateral air vent, consisting of eleven slits placed laterally on the front fenders: these, later, will be replaced by an element with three larger slots.


The same choice will be adopted for the 330 GT 2+2 and 275 GTS models. In this period Ferrari has already embraced the idea of ​​equipping its cars with light alloy wheels, but throughout the production the 500 Superfast remains faithful to the Borrani 7Lx15 spoked wheels.


The bodies are built on chassis with a wheelbase of 2650 millimeters, with internal reference number 578, and are numbered with the sequence of odd digits typical of road cars, with the addition of the suffix SF: the Ferrari 500 Superfast represents the latest Cavallino car series to have a suffix after the chassis numbers.



The chassis and its accessory parts have a construction very similar to those of the contemporary 330 GT 2+2, with tubular steel, independent front suspension, rear rigid bridge with leaf springs and telescopic shock absorbers, and left-hand drive or, in the case of only eight examples, with the steering wheel on the right side of the car.


As for the 400 Superamerica, the model abbreviation is defined by referring to the total displacement of the engine, which in the case of the 500 Superfast is five liters, although Ferrari usually reports the unit displacement value. The power unit is a V12 with a single overhead camshaft per cylinder bank, and has the internal reference number 208.



The total displacement is 4963 cubic centimeters, while the bore and stroke is 88 by 68 millimeters. The spark plugs are located outside the V, and the power supply is ensured by a battery of three 40 DCZ/6 double-barrel Weber carburetors. In addition, there is a double coil, while there are two ignition distributors, both located in the rear area of ​​the drive unit.


When the model comes out, the Maranello company declares a power of 400 horsepower. The 400 Superfast boasts an engine designed exclusively for it, with the distance between the center of two adjacent pistons equal to 108 millimeters: this configuration is introduced with the long block engines, designed by Aurelio Lampredi, representing the only aspect that follows the diagram presented by the engineer from Livorno, since all the rest of the design is based on the guidelines drawn by Gioachino Colombo, creator of the short block drive unit.



The gearbox has four synchronized gears, but an electrically controlled fifth overdrive ratio is introduced on the first examples of the 500 Superfast.


On the latest cars produced, this choice will be abandoned in favor of a gearbox with five speeds, all synchronized. Cars equipped with a four-speed gearbox will have a mechanical clutch control, while those with five gears will have a hydraulic clutch control.

DATA SHEET


Coupé, two seats

Length 4820 mm

Width 1730 mm

Height 1280 mm

Wheelbase 2650 mm

Front track 1397 mm

Rear track 1389 mm

Weight 1400 kg when empty


Engine


Front, longitudinal, 12 V 60 °

Bore and stroke 88x68 mm

Unit displacement 413.58 cm³

Total displacement 4962.96 cm³

Compression ratio 8.8: 1

Maximum power 294 kW (400 hp) at 6500 rpm

Specific power 81 hp/liter

Single shaft distribution, two valves per cylinder

Fueled by six Weber 40 DCZ/6 carburettors

Mono ignition, two distributors

Wet sump

Single plate clutch


Frame


Tubular steel

Independent front suspension, wishbones, coil springs, telescopic shock absorbers, stabilizer bar

Rear suspension with rigid axle, double struts, longitudinal leaf springs, coaxial coil springs with telescopic shock absorbers

Disk brakes

Four-speed gearbox + overdrive + RM

Worm and sector steering

Fuel tank capacity 100 liters

Front tires 205x15

Rear tires 205x15


Performance


Maximum speed 280 km/h

Simone Pietro Zazza

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