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 striking 550 is presented in Nero with Nero leather and is complimented by optional Rosso belts, Rosso calipers and enamel Scuderia Wingshields. As the personal property of the Bamford family for three years, the car formed part of one of the finest car collections in the world. Purchased in 2007 by the current owner this 550 has an excellent service history as a result of meticulous maintenance by all of its four owners. The cambelts were replaced this year and since delivery the car has covered a total of 34,000 well documented miles. Fitted with a sports exhaust and complete with the original rare Ferrari optional spare wheel, books, tools and a comprehensive collection of invoices and MOTs this superb yet affordable V12 Ferrari is certainly an opportunity not to be missed.
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