2001 Ferrari 550 Barchetta
Among the great cars produced by Ferrari, the 550 certainly must rank among the very best. Ferrari’s return to a proper front-engined, two-seater touring coupe made its introduction in 1996 with 3,083 examples built through 2001 and Ferrari has been producing front engined V12s as part of their flagship series of cars ever since.
The 550 Maranello was designed by Pininfarina’s Lorenzo Ramaciotti and the beautiful design ushered in the first front-engined Ferrari V-12 coupe since the 365 GTB/4 Daytona as Ferrari concentrated on mid-engine flat 12-cylinder layout Berlinetta Boxer coupes from 1973 with the 365 BB to the Testarossa series which ran through 1996 culminating with the 512M.
The 550 Barchetta (designation for drop top in this case) made its debut in 2000 and production was limited to just 448 examples total.
Styling & Debut.
First, the 550 just looks the part. Long, bullet-shaped, dramatic and luxurious, every bit a Ferrari touring coupe in the great Ferrari tradition. The shape is as timeless as it is functional, a more modern incarnation of the iconic 365 GTB/4 Daytona and a long-awaited return to Ferrari’s front-engined roots after twenty-three years and believed to be an answer to many who believed that a front-engined Ferrari could not outperform a mid-engined touring sports car.
Making its debut to the motoring press in July of 1996 at the historic Nurburgring circuit in Germany, the car’s name refers to the 5.5 liter displacement and to the Italian town of Maranello, the fabled home of the Ferrari headquarters and factory. Pininfarina carried out the exterior and interior design and the 550 Maranello shared frame and main engine components with its slightly older brother, the 456 2+2 which was likewise designed by Ramaciotti.
The unusual move of Ferrari debuting the car at a racing circuit, much less a German one, was a good indication of the direction Luca di Montezemolo was taking the coupe version as the company’s sports car racing aspirations were all but a forgone conclusion with the 550 Maranello.
Open Top Luxury
The 550 Barchetta mades its public debut at the 2000 Paris Auto Show to commemorate the 70th Anniversary of Pininfarina. The car was a true roadster with only a snap-on/snap-off cloth covering to protect the gorgeous leather interior from the elements. As the top was only considered temporary at speeds approaching 70MPH, it was deemed to be not safe as initial customers complained about buffeting and wind noise with the covering in place at speed.
Pininfarina gave the Barchetta a bit more aero treatment with a slightly more raked windscreen, dramatic and functional rollover hoops aft the seats presenting a marginally longer and functional car.
New 19” wheels were specially made for the Barchetta line as well. Ferrari produced a total of 448 examples, four more than initially planned due to Japanese superstitions about the number 4. The 448 production cars were preceded by 12 prototypes numbered P01 – P12 on special interior plaques.
Pininfarina gave the Barchetta a bit more aero treatment with a slightly more raked windscreen, dramatic and functional rollover hoops aft the seats.
This 2001 Ferrari 550 Barchetta (#4300) is finished in the rare combination of silver with black upholstery, this 550 Barchetta was purchased new by an Ohio-based enthusiast who barely used the car.
Upon being serviced by the Symbolic Motorcars in September 2004, the odometer still displayed just 90 miles. Acquired by its second owner in July 2005, the 550 Barchetta remained well-maintained and sparingly used. It’s a fair statement that this highly collectable Ferrari has continued to live a pampered life of ideal storage and minimal use over the course of its documented ownership history.
With its unique open-top styling and extreme rarity, this minimally driven 550 Barchetta checks all the boxes of a great collectible Ferrari and one of Maranello’s rare limited-production supercars. Recently serviced and currently showing 171 original miles the car is also primed for the next owner whom will carry on the car’s history as one of, if not the, lowest mileage 550 Barchettas in existence.
“At Curated, we do not acquire cars simply for inventory but rather based on what the car is. We love interesting provenance, very low production, very low mileage, very special and often weird cars.”
John Temerian, Jr.
1991 MERCEDES-BENZ SL60 AMG
1998 Lamborghini Diablo SV
2006 Spyker C8 Spyder
2004 Lamborghini Murciélago LP580-4
1997 Lamborghini Diablo VT Roadster
1994 Lamborghini Diablo SE30
2003 Lamborghini Murciélago 40th Anniversary
2005 Porsche Carrera GT