Though Europe was still struggling back to its economic feet in the early 1950s, its enthusiasm for glamour was already shaping Ferrari’s success. Of course, only a chosen few, even among the wealthy, could hope to drive one of the stream of fabulous race and road cars the company produced; and most of them were more than happy to own one or another version of the Ferrari 250GT like the Boano or the Ellena.
But from the very beginning, Enzo Ferrari had been careful to foster the cream of his clientele by continuously upping the ante on his own success. For the discerning (targeted) elite, and with an eye on the much wealthier, emerging US market, he created a series of big V12 touring models with customized coachwork. The Ferrari America was one of them. It had beauty, luxury and high performance — but it still wasn’t exclusive enough. In 1955 the 375 Ferrari America chassis was re-conceived as the wider, heavier and yet more muscular Ferrari 410 Super America.
In just four years, the 410 Super America appeared in three versions, and the 5 litre Lampredi V12 engine could be tuned up to 400 horsepower. They came as coupe or cabriolet, with swooping curves that spoke insouciantly of elegance and speed. The very best – coachbuilders (Ghia, Scaglietti, Boano) designed at least one, and Pininfarina worked his magic on the rest. Of the total of 35 Ferrari 410 Super Americas, the only features common to all are the signature low front grille, and the side vents behind the front wheels. They are not just ultra-exclusive. When the cars were made, they were reassuringly expensive – double the price of the contemporary Mercedes-Benz 300SL ‘Gullwing’, enough to satisfy the exalted status of owners including the Aga Khan, Gianni Agnelli and Nelson Rockefeller.
COUNTRY OF ORIGIN:
1955 (until 1959)
4,962 cc V12
Top speed of 162 mph (261 km/h); 0-60 mph (97 km/h) in 5.8 secs
YOU SHOULD KNOW:
It’s easy to confuse the 410 SA with the Ferrari 400 Super America, introduced in 1959 after the 410 SA. The 400 SA was given an uprated 4.0 I version of the refined and generally more reliable Colombo V12 engine, which never matched the Lampredi’s power.