Monday, August 4, 2014

1959 Ferrari 400 Superamerica Coupé Speciale

Catering to the world's most fortunate, Ferrari built the America and subsequent Superamerica models to special order throughout the 1950s. As a successor to the 410 Superamerica series, the 400 Superamerica used a version of the Colombo short-block V12. With the engine enlarged to four-liters, and such upgrades as 3 Weber 42 DCN carburetors and four-wheel hydraulic disc brakes, the 400 Superamerica could produce a very ample 340 horsepower. Top speed was approx. 280 kph / 174 mph. 0-60 mph took 9.2 seconds. Until the end of the production run in 1962, 25 Series I 400 Superamerica models were built. They had varying bodywork styles by Pinin Farina and Scaglietti and all rested on a short wheelbase. (Note: Pinin Farina changed name to Pininfarina after 1961, as reported in

Late in 1959 at the Salon de Torino , Pinin Farina presented a striking one-off special, chassis 1517SA, commissioned by Fiat boss Gianni Agnelli. It was the first of the Series I 400 Superamericas. In somewhat of a daring move, the order was to design a car that didn't appear like a Ferrari. 1517SA had a large square grille, a 'panoramic' wraparound windscreen, forward-leaning A-pillars, and an Aerlux sunroof with sliding shades. The rest of the car was similar to the out-going model, the 410 Series III (see photos below). Initially the car was presented to Gianni Agnelli, who sent the car back for drastic alterations. The split-bumpers were changed to a full-width design and the side flanks of the car were outfitted with stainless-steel panels and a distinctive spear, finished in the Agnelli family colors of green and blue.

The inside continued the blend of old and new features. It was given a full array of instrumentation, pairing standard Veglia gauges with a Jaeger chronometric clock and Heuer stopwatches. There was a distinctive shift knob and a custom steering wheel which features black trim on the spokes in lieu of the typical filigree. Seats were covered in black Connolly leather upholstery.

1517SA was Pinin Farina's second custom Ferrari he designed for Agnelli. He also created Agnelli's first custom-bodied Ferrari, chassis 0355AL, a 375 America that had been styled by Franco Martinengo. Many of the features on 1517SA could also be found on 0355AL which had been created four years earlier. Perhaps one of the most prominent departure from 0355AL was the use of a four-headlight arrangement. ( &

(Photos from,,, &

Ferrari 410 Series III Coupe (1958-59)

(Photos from

1962 Maserati 5000 GT Pininfarina Coupe 

From 1959 to 1962, 1517SA served as Mr. Agnelli's personal transport for 
over two years before being sold and replaced with a custom made 
Maserati 5000 GT fitted with a similar Pininfarina body. (

(Photos from, &

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