Ferrari Superamerica, limited edition innovation

The latest evolution of the Gran Turismo cars born from the 550 Maranello made its debut in 2005, with only 559 units: the Ferrari Superamerica is equipped with an original and innovative solution, created to transform the car from closed to open in a few seconds, and the other way around.

The Superamerica name is a double homage to tradition, both of the Prancing Horse and of Pininfarina. Indeed, the nomenclature celebrates the largest models of the 1960s, made in collaboration with the Turin atelier.

The engine, although firmly rooted in its historical roots such as the 12-cylinder V 65° configuration, the front and longitudinal arrangement, the extensive use of light alloy for the crankcase and head, the four valves per cylinder, and the four camshafts in the lead, it grows in power to reach 540 horsepower at 7.250 rpm. A significant leap forward, considering that the 550 Maranello has 485 horsepower, and the subsequent 575 M has 515.

In this limited edition car, the contents of an additional twenty-five horsepower were obtained thanks to three design improvements: a new and more efficient intake duct, a new geometry of the exhaust system, and a fluid dynamic optimization of the internal head ducts. and the intake manifold.

The six-speed gearbox, available both in the manual configuration with the characteristic H ring nut, and with the electro-hydraulics directly inspired by the world of Formula 1, is mounted in the rear together with the differential, to ensure maximum dynamic performance and the best driving behavior thanks to the transaxle scheme.

In this model, the role played by the electronics is important, reducing shift times up to 180 milliseconds, while the Bosch original ECU manages multiple injection, throttle body and the coils of each individual spark plug.

The driver can experience more and more emotions similar to those experienced by drivers on the track thanks to two modes of dynamic control of the car, Sport and Comfort: however, the real evolutionary leap from a dynamic point of view is achieved with the Handling GTC set-up.

The package includes a stiffer suspension both at the front, by 35% compared to the standard configuration, and at the rear, by 15%, changing the type of springs available, as well as a new sports exhaust, and a new Brembo braking system with disc in carbon-ceramic material, embellished with red painted calipers.

The frame, made of tubular steel, requires modifications and reinforcements compared to the closed version, affecting in detail the central part of the car, side members and floors, as well as the windscreen pillars.

The most impactful component, which characterizes the car, is the revochromic roof.

In an era in which folding tin roofs are starting to be widespread, Ferrari tries a third way to tackle the theme of open cars, and it does so in an innovative and unique way.

Made on a Fioravanti patent, a historical Pininfarina man and pencil of some very famous Reds such as the 512, the 308, the 348, the 288 GTO, and the Testarossa, the roof is made in such a way that it must never be stored in the trunk of the car. allowing the Superamerica to change configuration in just ten seconds.

The mechanism rotates 180° on a single point, present on the rear window, acting as the fulcrum for the entire rotary movement. The rear window itself automatically transforms into glass breakers when the car is open, and then returns to its original function once the roof is closed. Furthermore, the latter reclines and integrates perfectly with the rear hood, and is fixed through automated blocks, guaranteed cleanliness and aesthetic impact without sacrificing the load volume of the boot.

The study of materials is also innovative, which makes it possible to produce a type of roof that uses materials such as carbon fiber and electrochromic crystal glass on a large scale, representing the first application in the automotive field.

A series of films embedded in the glass contain electrodes that are sensitive to light and heat, once inserted into electrochemical cells. By exploiting the sensitivity of the electrodes themselves and their ability to exchange, completely comparable to the sensation of traveling in the open sky, up to a more filtering option, where only one percent of the sun's rays pass through the passenger compartment.

With the car off, the Ferrari Superamerica automatically sets the roof to the most filtering mode, while the safety, cleaning and maintenance of this component is comparable to that of a normal windshield, despite the great design and technological difficulty that lies behind this mechanism, which is only apparently simple.

The revochromic roof was not only a technological challenge, but also a design challenge. The perfect stylistic integration of this component with the rest of the car makes the Ferrari Superamerica recognizable even in the internal comparison with the other Gran Turismo cars of the Maranello family.

The most characterizing view is the side, where massive uprights, in addition to supporting and reinforcing the kinematics of the roof itself, become a reference to tradition, recalling the typical uprights of the mid-engined berlinettas of the 1980s in shape and surface treatment. like the 512, or the 308, not by chance designed by Leonardo Fioravanti.

In addition to the sleek and sinuous profile, the style of the Superamerica is embellished by a continuous contrast between toned lines, muscular but treated in a soft and elegant way, a mix between class and sportiness.

At the rear we find the classic Ferrari lights, four circular elements, two on each side, formed by concentric elements, where in the central part, in white-transparent color, there are arrows and reversing lights. The Prancing Horse, chromed, is on display in the center of the vertical panel made of carbon fiber, a material that has made it possible to obtain a bas-relief, in the same color as the body, of the emblem of the Scuderia, where the legendary logo is housed.

From the front, compared to the 575 M from which it derives, the Ferrari Superamerica features a new aesthetic treatment of the eyelids of the headlights, and a new design of the air intake on the engine hood.

Detail with a racing flavor are the nineteen-inch modular rims, which translates into a speed from 0 to 100 km / h in less than five seconds, a maximum speed of 320 km / h, and the kilometer from standstill in twenty-two seconds.

Performance that improves even more with the quick Formula 1 type gearbox.

The interiors, while maintaining the same physiognomy of the remaining Maranallo, is highlighted by the tailoring, the quality materials, and the constructive care. The perforated leather seats recall in their texture the seats of the Gran Turismo of the past, and are further enhanced by the brightness of the glass roof, which reaches almost one square meter of surface.

The selling price, in 2005, was between 240.000 and 250.000 euros, but after fifteen years the prices are constantly growing, with some cars being resold at double the starting cost.

A small curiosity concerns the fact that in 2001 an open version of the Ferrari 550 Maranello was built: the 550 Barchetta. The uncovered version of the series, if we can define it that way, is made in only 452 copies, against 559 of the subsequent limited edition evolution.


Two-seater spider

Front engine

Rear-wheel Drive

Size and Weights

Length 4550 mm

Width 1935 mm

Height 1277 mm

Front track 1632 mm

Rear track 1586 mm

Step 2500 mm

Mass in running order 1790 Kg

91 liter tank


Displacement 6748.36 cm³

Type V12 65°, front, longitudinal

Bore and stroke 89 x 77 mm

Compression ratio 11.2:1

Double camshaft distribution, four valves per cylinder

Bosch Motronic ME7 electronic injection

Mono ignition, Bosch Motronic ME7 static electronics

Dry sump lubrication

Power 397 kW/540 hp at 7,250 rpm

Specific Power 94 hp/ liter (69 Kw/liter) and 102 nm/liter

Torque 588 Nm (60 Kgm) at 5,250 rpm


Single plate clutch

Six-speed gearbox + RM, manual or electro-hydraulic F1


Tubular steel

Front independent suspension, wishbones, coil springs, electronically adjustable telescopic shock absorbers, anti-roll bar

Independent rear suspension, wishbones, coil springs, electronically adjustable telescopic shock absorbers, anti-roll bar

Front brakes with Ø 398 Brembo carbon-ceramic discs, with 6-piston calipers

Rear brakes with Ø 360 Brembo carbon-ceramic discs, with 4-piston calipers

Front tires 255/35/19

Rear tires 305/30/19

19" rims

Consumption and emissions

Emissions 499 g/Km

Consumption urban cycle 34.5 liters/100 km, extra-urban cycle 14.3 liters/100 km, combined cycle 21.8 liters/100 km

Performance declared

Speed ​​320 Km/h

Acceleration from 0 to 100 km/h in 4.25 seconds (4.20 s in F1 gearbox), from 0 to 200 km/h in 12.30 seconds (12.25 s in F1 gearbox), and from 0 to 1000 meters 22 seconds (21.90 s F1 gearbox)

Luca Saitta

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