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The 550 marked Ferrari's return to producing a front-V12 engined two-seat Berlinetta, a type of car they hadn't manufactured since the demise of the 365 GTB/4 Daytona in 1973. The 550 Maranello features a high tensile welded tubular steel chassis, a frame that featured an extremely rigid central cage and advanced underbody aerodynamics. Wider track at the front than rear improves turn-in while a variable damper control system affords the driver Normal and Sport suspension settings. Speed sensitive power steering varies the level of assistance accordingly. Lightweight components were used throughout the construction of an all-new 5.5-litre 65° V12, cast alloy being used for the cylinder block, four-valve heads and sump while there were also forged alloy Mahle pistons and titanium conrods helping produce an enormous output of 485bhp at 7,000rpm, 45bhp up on the outgoing F512 with its five-litre flat-12. All 550 Maranello's used a six-speed manual gearbox and variable back pressure exhausts similar to those previously seen on Ferrari's limited production F50. Weight distribution was split perfectly 50/50 front/rear and greatly contributed to the exceptional handling and balance dynamics.
Performance-wise, 0-60 required just 4.3 seconds while a top speed of 199mph was attainable given suitable road conditions. The body design by Pininfarina featured a number of acknowledgements to the 550's forebears, not least with its 250 GTO-style fender vents carved out from behind each front wheelarch and a Daytona-inspired cut-off tail with two circular light clusters either side. Other prominent features were a hood-mounted engine scoop that boosted air pressure inside the intake system to gain 20bhp, and a solitary vent on the left-hand side rear wing forcing cool air into a brake radiator. The 550 was also Ferrari's first all-new model since their 1968 Daytona not to feature retractable headlights, fixed homofocal front clusters enhance the rakish nose with its wide grille opening. The Maranello was replaced in 2002 by Ferrari's 575M, the new car heralding the arrival of Magnetti Marelli's F1 paddle shift transmission for the first time on a V12 GT.
This 550 has been part of a major private collection (that includes a Maserati 250F and a competition 250 GT SWB to name but a few) since delivery in 1998 and as such is a one owner from new example. The car is presented in its original and the classic 550 combination of Argento with Nero leather and has covered just 29,000 miles from new. The car has been regularly maintained by the owners personal mechanics and main dealers or well respected specialists with the cambelts being last changed in 2010 by JCT 600 @ 28,789. A fresh service by DK Engineering including a new set of tyres will be included as part of the sale.
This car is in superb condition and represents an excellent opportunity to acquire a real rarity - a one owner from new 550 Maranello; an appreciating future classic in a classic colour combination - the Daytona of the 90's.