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.