12-14 August 2010
1966 Ferrari 500 Superfast
- Chassis no. 8565 SF
Sold for $1,127,500
- One of the last of the 36 Superfasts built, delivered new to John von Neumann
- One of 12 Series II examples
- Air conditioning, power windows and power steering
- Shown and judged in multiple concours d’elegance, including Pebble Beach, Amelia Island, Cavallino Classic and Rodeo Drive
- Paul Russell Concours Award Winner
In its day, the 500 Superfast was the undisputed pinnacle in Ferrari ownership. At a time when a 275 GTB’s V12 produced about 300 horsepower, the 500 Superfast’s 4.9-liter V12 put out a full 400 horsepower, was capable of exceeding 170 mph and was produced in miniscule, ultra-exclusive numbers. The list of owners was the usual who’s who of Ferrari’s elite clientele – Principe Sadhruddin Aga Khan, Peter Livanos (later to own Aston Martin), Georges Filipinetti, the Shah of Iran and Peter Sellers, to name a few.
The 500 Superfast was a supercar in the truest modern sense of the word – impossibly powerful, beautiful and unbelievably expensive yet perfectly suited to high speed continental trips in true GT fashion. Introduced at Geneva in 1964 and designed and built by Pininfarina, the 500 Superfast was built in a limited run of only 36 cars. It was a logical evolution not only of the 410/400 Superamerica but also the one-off “Superfast” styling/engineering executed by Ferrari in previous years. Its Type 208 V12 was unique to this model with the bore and stroke dimensions of the Lampredi V12, but its construction with detachable cylinder heads was more akin to the Colombo motor.
Enthusiasts typically divide the car’s production run into two series, the first having 24 cars and the second 12. Generally speaking, the difference with Series II examples is the five-speed gearbox, suspended pedals, Borg and Beck clutches, power steering and other features, but as with all things Ferrari, the distinctions are not as cut and dry.
The 500 Superfast we have the pleasure of offering here is definitely a Series II model and is the 33rd of the 36 total cars built. The fourth from the last built, it was delivered new with left-hand drive, air conditioning, power windows and power steering. Completed by Pininfarina in April 1966, it was sold new the same year to first owner John von Neumann, resident of Los Angeles, California and Geneva, Switzerland. The Austrian-born von Neumann is of course best known for his involvement in West Coast racing and as an importer for European sports cars, including Ferraris. A founder of the California Sports Car Club, in many ways, he and his colleagues were responsible for the growth of imported sports car racing in the United States, and he enjoyed great success as the founder of Competition Motors.
Von Neumann owned this Superfast for several years, and in 1973, it was sold to Charlie Hayes of Tustin, Texas. It is also known that at some point in the 1970s the car was temporarily fitted with the engine from 8083 SF, another Superfast, and that later in the decade it was acquired by Sal di Natale’s S&A Italia Sports Car Specialists of Van Nuys, California.
Charles Borin of Calabasas bought the car in 1979 and had it repainted red with a tan interior. Ed Waterman of Ft. Lauderdale acquired the car in the early 1990s, before it was fully restored, reunited with its original engine and repainted dark blue with a cognac leather interior. In 2003, Charlie Morse of Seattle, Washington, yet another well respected collector, owned the car and showed it at the Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance and the Palm Beach Cavallino Classic at The Breakers, where it handily won first in class in both events. It also won the DuPont Registry award for the Most Elegant Sporting Car.
In 2004, Morse sold the car to Dr. Ervin “Bud” Lyon, yet another well known collector, of New Hampshire. Lyon actively campaigned the car at all the major concours events, first showing it the following year at the 55th Annual Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance in Class M-1 for Ferrari GT cars, where it received a score of 95 points (copy of National Ferrari Concours scoring sheet in file) as well as at the Palm Beach Cavallino Classic at The Breakers in January 2006. Following this showing, the car received extensive mechanical and cosmetic work by marque expert Paul Russell. In 2007, the car returned to Florida and won the Amelia Award at the Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance.
The current owner acquired the car in 2008 and has driven the car less than 400 miles since Paul Russell finished preparing the car for the 2007 Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance. The current owner is also the proud owner of a Paul Russell restored Mercedes 300SL Gullwing, and he immediately flew to Paul Russell’s facility when he heard this car may be available for sale, because he knew what quality of workmanship to expect. He was not disappointed when he inspected the car, and he purchased it on the spot! He showed the car at the 2009 Rodeo Drive Concours where Charlie Morse, one of the previous owners, came up and introduced himself. The car is still finished in blue with a lovely cognac interior and retains its air conditioning, power windows and power steering, the way it left the factory.
Offered in outstanding restored condition, the car comes with a comprehensive dossier of information including receipts and records of the restoration totaling over $280,000 as well as all its books and tools. The current owner has recently had mechanical work completed at Francorchamps of America and Ferrari Beverly Hills, and the car is on the button and ready to be driven.
The offering of a 500 Superfast of this caliber is a rare occurrence indeed and a unique opportunity for the true connoisseur. These cars are rarely brought to auction, and they were and remain one of Ferrari’s finest gran turismos. Chassis 8565 SF combines all the elements of desirability tifosi look for – an award-winning restoration, superb color combination, matching-numbers original engine and known provenance, provided in this case with ownership by John von Neumann, one of this country’s most important Ferrari personalities.
AddendumPlease note that according to Ferrari authorities, this car was sent back to the factory early in its history to be upgraded with coil-spring front suspension to improve drivability.
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