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Recently sourced on behalf of a client as part of our acquisition consultancy service.
The 500 Superfast is of the most elite Italian hyperboutique GTs of the 1960s. At the time it was near-mythical, exquisitely couture and fast in an epic way. The Pininfarina Ferrari is long and sensual, a conventional beauty with curves you want to caress. The Ferrari's V12 has a growl that is silken and confident. These were the last coachbuilt, limited-production cars to be offered by the greatest name in Italian Exotica. Nothing else was available for those who required race car performance combined with GT comforts, and their huge price-tags inspired as much awe as their legendary potential for speed. The fact the £11,500 Ferrari cost £2000 more than a Rolls-Royce Phantom V Limousine in '66 shows what a rarefied universe it inhabited. Cars were only ever built to order, expressly to appeal to the tastes and mores of the wealthiest individuals in society - special international clients who could afford a car that combined uncompromised power with supreme luxury.
In fact cars were targeted directly at royalty and celebrities: even the brochure for the Ferrari proclaimed that it was "destined to be a car for sovereigns, performers and great industrialists" - people who did not have to ask the price. To the potential Superfast customer, an 'ordinary' Ferrari was quite simply too pedestrian and too commonplace. Like many of the world's rarest and most extravagant vehicles, each 500 Superfast would come to be identified by the name of the individual who commissioned it, be it the Shah of Persia, Peter Sellers or as in this case, Sir Eric Miller.
With their heady (unsubstantiated) 170mph plus top speeds, tiny production runs and vast prices, the Superfast was truly in a class of their own. They were born to a world of gilded hand-built exclusivity and effortless Glamour. The 12 cylinders - each the size of a Chianti flask according to Enzo Ferrari - with a combustion volume of 5 litres in total produce a whopping 400bhp @ 6500rpm and 3041b ft @ 4000rpm.
There is something deeply satisfying about guiding the Superfast spiritedly through some of ones favourite curves, riding on the torque of that silken turbine through gear ratios ideally plotted to make the most effortless use of the potential. Romp between corners in fourth and fifth, slice into third and feed in just enough power to kill the understeer, feel the wood rim of the Nardi wheel slide between your fingers as it self-centres and you'll note that your horizon remained fairly level, your position in the generously dimensioned seat stayed firm. Of course, the high-geared 400bhp Superfast is really all about big roads, big destinations and motoring as a glamorous event and adventure. For that, there can still be few better places to be.