Monterey 2024

1960 Ferrari 400 Superamerica SWB Cabriolet by Pinin Farina

United States | Monterey, California

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Chassis No.
1945 SA
Engine No.
1945 SA
Gearbox No.
4
Differential No.
4
Documents
Monegasque Certificat d'Immatriculation
  • The third of seven short-wheelbase 400 Superamerica Cabriolets
  • Fully restored to concours standards by US-based Ferrari specialists Classic Coach and Greg Jones
  • Well-maintained by Autofficina Omega in its current ownership
  • Ferrari Classiche Red Book certified; finished in its striking, factory-correct, one-off combination of Verde Bottiglia over Rosso
  • Formerly of the Oscar Davis Collection
  • Seldom shown since its most recent restoration; an exciting concours opportunity
Addendum: Please note that an import duty of 2.5% of the purchase price is payable on this lot if the buyer is a resident of the United States.

Ferrari’s Superamerica models of the late 1950s and early 1960s were truly the last word in sporting excellence. Offering the very best money could buy in terms of luxury and performance, it is no surprise that these cars often found their way into the garages of heads of state, barons of industry, and other well-to-do individuals.

Succeeding the 410 Superamerica, the 400 Superamerica offered numerous improvements over its predecessor. While the engine decreased in displacement from 5.0 liters to 4.0 liters, several other new features countered this. The 5.0-liter V-12 was a “long-block” Lampredi-designed unit, while the revised smaller engine was based on the Colombo single-overhead-camshaft powertrain that was first utilized in the 250 Europa GT. 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 capacity of 3,967 cubic centimeters. Furthermore, a twin-coil and distributor ignition system was used, along with triple Weber carburetors, granting the engine an improved 340 horsepower—but also an incredible 400 Nm (295 pound-feet) of torque from 2,000 rpm and a maximum torque or 450 Nm (331 pound-feet) at 6,000 rpm.

As a result, these cars are considered today among the best-driving of 1960s Ferraris. Boasting 25% greater engine capacity than a 250 GT Berlinetta or California Spider, the 400 Superamerica produces far more horsepower and torque than either of its forebears. The 400 Superamerica was also fitted with an overdrive as standard—while no overdrive was available for the 250 GT models apart from the GTE—making it far more comfortable to drive over long distances. Finally, it is important to remember that the 400 Superamerica’s chassis and powertrain were so great that they provided the basis for the 330 LMB and 330 TRi racing cars, of which the 330 TRi LM won the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 1962.

The 400 Superamerica production run can be divided into two groups, based on either long- or short-wheelbase chassis. The first batch of cars produced—which includes the car on offer here, chassis 1945 SA—boasted a 2,420-millimeter chassis, while the second batch boasts the longer 2,600-millimeter chassis. Of the short-wheelbase cars, just 25 examples were produced, with only seven bodied as cabriolets.

THE THIRD OF SEVEN SHORT-WHEELBASE CABRIOLETS

Chassis number 1945 SA was constructed in mid-1960 as the third of those seven short-wheelbase cabriolets, and it was built to left-hand-drive configuration with open headlamps. It was finished in a beautiful, one-off color combination of Verde Bottiglia (MM 16364) over Rosso (VM 3171). It was fitted from new with a set of three Weber 46 DCF carburetors, like on a 250 SWB “SEFAC Hot Rod,” and a pair of Bosch ignition distributors. The coachwork was completed by Pinin Farina in July of 1960 and was sold new to Helmut Horton, a German entrepreneur based in Croglio, Switzerland. In January of the following year, the car was registered in Milan under Horten Italiana S.r.l, and it remained in Italy for the following three years under Horton’s ownership.

The Superamerica was officially exported out of Italy in spring of 1964 and was next known with a Mr. Warzits in Germany. By 1985, the car was acquired by Bernard Pfister of Geneva, Switzerland, now repainted white. Pfister repainted the car red in 1989 and it remained in Switzerland with him for the next few years, typically on display at Ferrari Suisse SA in Nyon.

In June 1997, 1945 SA was listed for sale in Marseille, France and was purchased one month later by Scott Rosen of Bedford Hills, New York. Subsequently exported to the United States, the car remained in his ownership for two years before being purchased by the late noted sports car enthusiast Oscar Davis of Elizabeth, New Jersey.

One year later, Davis sold the Superamerica to a Florida-based collector, yet the car would stay in northern New Jersey for the time being, as it was entrusted to Classic Coach for a full restoration. Founded in 1972 and well-known and regarded in Ferrari circles in the United States, Classic Coach was Ferrari’s first authorized bodywork repair facility in the US. Their owners would later open two authorized Ferrari dealerships in the US: Ferrari of Central Florida and Ferrari of Tampa Bay.

It was decided that chassis 1945 SA would be returned to its original color combination of Verde Bottiglia over Rosso during this complete, frame-off restoration. No cost was spared to restore the Superamerica back to a spectacular standard. Following the completion of the restoration work, the car was shipped to noted Ferrari specialist Greg Jones of Stuart, Florida. Jones was entrusted with further dialing in the car mechanically, ensuring that every facet of the car worked perfectly. Receipts for the work completed by both Classic Coach and Greg Jones are in the car’s history file.

Remaining with that owner until 2015, the car was sold via RM Sotheby’s to its current owner, a Monaco-based enthusiast—a discerning collector who happened to do business in the past with the first owner. With him, the car returned to Europe, and has been used and enjoyed as its manufacturer would have intended. Seen occasionally driving around the streets of Monaco, the car has been shown once at Elégance et Automobile à Monte-Carlo in 2019.

Chassis 1945 SA was granted Ferrari Classiche certification in 2016, confirming that it retains its original body, chassis, transmission, and rear axle. Classiche documentation notes that the current engine, stamped 1945 SA, is a replacement engine that was installed by the Ferrari factory in November of 1963. With its current owner, the car has been very well maintained by Autofficina Omega of Corrado Patella, including further mechanical work to ensure it drives and performs as one would expect. Its most recent service work with them was the fitment of a new clutch in February 2020.

Presenting in excellent condition throughout, this special 400 Superamerica SWB Cabriolet is sure to be welcomed with open arms at major concours events worldwide. Well-maintained and enjoyed with its current owner, it could easily be used on the road as a warm-weather weekend driver. Regardless of whether it is to be enjoyed on the open road or the concours lawn, it will certainly be a joy to own and will attract only the most favorable of compliments wherever it goes.