14 March 2015
1960 Ferrari 400 Superamerica SWB Cabriolet by Pinin Farina
- Chassis no. 1945 SA
- Engine no. 1945 SA
Sold for $6,380,000
- Proceeds to benefit the owner’s foundation for the education of children
- The third of seven short-wheelbase Superamericas
- Fully restored to concours standards by Classic Coach and Greg Jones
- Formerly owned by Oscar Davis
- Matching-numbers example
THE SHORT-WHEELBASE SUPERAMERICA
In the late 1950s and early 1960s, the Ferrari Superamerica was the last word in sporting elegance. It offered the very best in terms of luxury and performance and was the very best car money could buy. These cars often found their way into the garages of the world’s elite, with numerous heads of state, barons of industry, and other well-to-do individuals being the privileged first owners of Superamericas, putting them in the upper echelon of automobile enthusiasts.
The successor to the 410 Superamerica was the 400 Superamerica, and it boasted numerous improvements over its predecessor. While the engine decreased in displacement from 5.0 liters to 4.0 liters, the new unit introduced a number of benefits. The 5.0-liter V-12 was a “long-block” Lampredi-designed unit, while the new 4.0-liter engine was based on the Colombo single overhead-camshaft engine that was first utilized in the 250 Europa GT. In order to increase the capacity from 3.0 liters, the bore was enlarged to 77 millimeters and the stroke was lengthened to 71 millimeters, providing a total cubic capacity of 3,967 cubic centimeters. Furthermore, a twin coil and distributor ignition system was utilized, along with triple Weber carburetors, granting the engine an improved 340 horsepower.
The first batch of 400 Superamericas were built on a 2,420-millimeter chassis with both coupe and cabriolet coachwork, with the convertible versions being the rarer of the two. Later, a second series of Superamericas was constructed, and it boasted a wheelbase extended to 2,600 millimeters in an effort to increase interior space. Thanks to their elegant lines and notably more aggressive stance, the first-series SWB Cabriolets are considered the most desirable of all Superamericas.
CHASSIS NUMBER 1945 SA: THE THIRD OF SEVEN
According to noted Ferrari historian Marcel Massini, chassis number 1945 SA was built in mid-1960 as the third of seven short-wheelbase Superamericas built. This particular example was built with left-hand drive and fitted with open headlights. Finally, it was finished in an interesting, although unusual, color combination of Verde Bottiglia (MM 16364) over a Rosso (VM 3171) Connolly leather interior.
The coachwork was carried out by Pinin Farina and the body was completed at their factory in Turin on July 6, 1960. Later that year, it was sold to Helmut Horten, a German entrepreneur based in Croglio, Switzerland. In January 1961, the Superamerica was registered in Milan under Horten Italiana S.r.l., and it would remain in Italy for the following three years under Horten’s ownership.
Sometime thereafter, 1945 SA was owned by a Mr. Warzits in Germany, and it is believed to have been exported to the United States for a brief period of time. However, by 1985, the car, which was now wearing white paint, had returned to Europe, where it was acquired by Bernard Pfister, of Geneva, Switzerland. By 1989, Pfister had repainted the Superamerica red, and it would remain in Switzerland for the next few years, where it was displayed at the official Swiss Ferrari importer, Ferrari Suisse SA in Nyon.
The Superamerica was listed for sale in Marseille, France, in June 1997 and was purchased one month later by Scott Rosen, of Bedford Hills, New York. The car remained with him for two years before being purchased by noted sports car enthusiast Oscar Davis, of Elizabeth, New Jersey. One year later, Davis sold the car through nearby Classic Coach to its current custodian, who would also entrust them to fully restore the car to its original specifications.
Classic Coach took great care in restoring 1945 SA to its former glory and chose to refinish it in its original color combination of Verde Bottiglia over Rosso, which was a unique color scheme when the car was new. During this complete, frame-off restoration, no cost was spared to restore the 1945 SA back to a spectacular standard. Following its restoration, the car was sent to noted Ferrari specialist Greg Jones, of Stuart, Florida, who further dialed-in the car mechanically, ensuring that every facet of this wonderful Superamerica works perfectly. Receipts chronicling the extent of the restoration are in the car’s file for inspection.
Since the completion of the restoration, the car has remained with its current owner, residing alongside other vehicles from Maranello. As 1945 SA has never been shown following the completion of its restoration, it would be an ideal concours entrant at the world’s most prestigious events, where it would undoubtedly garner much attention. There is no question that it would pass the rigors of concours judging with flying colors, and it would surely impress its next owner on tour as well. After recently being driven by an RM specialist, it was noted that this Superamerica was “on the button” and runs and drives beautifully in every regard, with performance that is befitting of its immaculate cosmetic presentation.
In the realm of the Ferrari Superamerica, the 400 Superamerica SWB Cabriolets have always been the most desirable. As this car features gorgeous coachwork, unrivaled luxury, the shorter wheelbase chassis, and the most potent 4.0-liter V-12 engine, it can truly be considered one of the greatest grand touring Ferraris of all time.
Furthermore, proceeds from the sale will be donated to the owner’s foundation for the education of children—an act of generosity befitting of such an incredible car.
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