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 requires just 4.3 seconds while a top speed of 199mph is 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 was originally supplied to an Italian Gentleman resident in Padova, Italy. It is believed to have had only two Italian owners before the car was imported into the U.K by the current, third, owner and is now UK registered. This 550 is presented in the classic combination of Argento with Blue Scuro leather and optional matching leather headlining. The car is also currently fitted with a Tubi Style sports exhaust. The car was serviced by the Ferrari main dealer in Padova for the majority of its life and will be supplied with a fresh annual and cambelt service. Since delivery this example has covered 67,000kms (just over 40,000 miles).
The 550 Maranello, often referred to as the "Daytona of the Nineties" is without doubt one of the finest modern GT Ferraris. The front engined V12 allows for many thousands of enjoyable and comfortable miles behind the wheel. This example being LHD is ideal for long distance European tours.