The Ferrari 550 was launched in 1996 – first came the berlinetta Maranello (named after the town in which Ferrari’s headquarters are located), and this was followed by the convertible Barchetta Pininfarina in 2000.
The 550 Maranello was a rear-wheel-drive grand tourer, with a 5.5 litre V12 engine positioned at the front – this classic drivetrain layout had not been employed in a Ferrari since the Daytona of the early seventies.
Its speed and acceleration were an effective riposte to those who believed that a front-engined V12 could not be as quick as a mid-engined sports car. With supreme aerodynamic efficiency, the car was able to establish new production car speed records of 100 km at an average speed of 188.88 mph.
The 550 featured a traditional tubular steel frame chassis, with a Pininfarina-designed lightweight aluminium alloy body welded on. Its aggressively elegant style had echoes of its 2+2 stablemate, the 456 GT, but also incorporated retro elements from classic models. High intensity headlight units did away with the need for the 456 GT’s retractable units, giving the car a homogeneous line at all times.
Standard features included a six-speed manual transmission, power assisted steering, front and rear anti-roll bars, and electronically-operated driver-controlled variable shock absorber settings. Vented disc brakes were provided all round, with a four-channel ABS anti-skid braking system.
It was marketed as the company’s most upmarket model, and had a higher degree of comfort than other Ferraris produced at the time – the luxurious and roomy interior was upholstered in leather as standard with electronically-adjustable seats, air conditioning, and electric windows and door mirrors. The luggage space was also impressive, big enough to swallow a full set of golf clubs.
Fiorano Handling pack, Electric Seats, Mirrors and Windows, PAS, Air Conditioning with climate control, Luggage shelf with straps, Sport Button, Traction Control.
In signature deep Red ‘Rosso Corsa’ this 550 is in superb cosmetic condition with only a handful of isolated chips to bumper and bonnet detracting from a near perfect example. The Pininfarina designed body incorporates the long bonnet sweeping out and low to the front culminating in some sharp black front spoilers. The covered headlights are immaculate spread evenly between the large centre air intake allowing the large capacity engine all the available air intake needed. The headlight rubber surrounds can typically become brittle and loose over time although pleasingly not the case with this example.
Two side exit grilles adorn the flanks to allow heat dissipation, a well designed feature and a nod to the classic V12 Ferraris of bygone days.
The interior is free from any rips, tears or unsightly marks and the large majority of the of the plastic coating, prone to wear on Ferraris, is in good shape.
ENGINE & TRANSMISSION
The 5.5L V12 engine is a design masterpiece and was commended with a win in the “over 4 litre” class of international engine of the year award for both 2000 and 2001; in this instance aurally amplified by the revered Tubi exhaust. Engine and drivetrain is in fine fettle having had a recent major service, including belts, on top of a regular and well documented maintenance regime from new. This example also features the revered Fiorano Handling pack to include thicker rear anti-roll bar and shock absorber ECU.
The mighty naturally aspirated engine is mated to the sublime ferrari 6 speed gated manual box, which slots into every gear with a satisfying bolt action, and there is no doubt that this GT will remain one of the last greats of analogue driving pleasure.
WHEELS, TYRES & BRAKES
The classic 5 spoke alloys are perfect with not a mark in sight; shod in Bridgestone tyres all round there is plenty of tread; an excellent road tyre in both wet and dry conditions.
Brake discs appear to have had little use with no lips, grooves and plenty of material on the pads.
Sold new by Cornes, Japan, this exquisite Maranello has been the subject of 9 services at routine intervals. The car has no fewer than 3 belt changes throughout it’s life with the most recent in April 2016, a service which also saw the install of 2 x engine mounts, front bushes and bonnet struts as well as a full wheel alignment.
More recently Joe Macari have just replaced the PAS pipes, a cat ECU and both door check straps with further work carried out during sales prep to ensure the car is on the button and ready to enjoy.
The book pack is complete with all corresponding service invoices as well as the spare key.
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