Presented by Mecum Auctions – Established almost immediately after the close of wartime in Europe, Ferrari and its enduring legend were built upon racing success from inception. Intense demand, fueled by Ferrari’s winning reputation, brought about the company’s first dual-purpose road/race cars in 1949. Spurred by epic wins that year at the most important European races—including the Mille Miglia, Targa Florio and the Le Mans 24 Hours—Enzo Ferrari built his new factory in Maranello, Italy. Road-car production soon began, albeit in strictly limited numbers, mainly to finance Scuderia Ferrari’s racing commitments.
By the late 1950s, road models were largely consolidated around the 250 GT, but Ferrari’s wealthiest and most demanding clients were offered the 400 Superamerica (400 SA) of 1959-1964 and 500 Superfast (500 SF) of 1964-66. For its part, the 500 Superfast debuted at the March 1964 Geneva Salon, marking the end of an era as the last of Ferrari’s elite, limited-edition closed models. While only as few as 36 were produced (some experts quote 37), the 500 SF captured the automotive world’s imagination in a manner unseen since the great prewar coachbuilt models from Bugatti, Duesenberg and Hispano-Suiza.
The sleek bodywork of the 500 Superfast was directly influenced by Pininfarina’s prior 400 Superfast Aerodinamico coupes and glamorous Superfast II show car (Chassis No. 2207 SA), which was largely the work of Pininfarina’s longtime master designer Aldo Brovarone. Refinements applied to the rolling design laboratory provided by Chassis No. 2207 SA were previewed at the era’s top international motor shows, confirming Pininfarina’s design prowess and laying the foundation for the 500 Superfast.
Powering the 500 Superfast was the ultimate development of Aurelio Lampredi’s “Long Block” V-12 engine, with lineage dating back to some of Ferrari’s most glorious racing cars of the early 1950s. Designated Tipo 208, the 500 SF engine displaced nearly 5.0L—4961cc, to be exact—and featured removable cylinder heads, a choice of 8.8:1 or 9:1 compression ratios, and triple 40mm Weber twin-choke carburetors; altogether, it was good for 400 HP at 6,500 RPM. Riding a tubular chassis with a 2.65-meter wheelbase, the 500 SF included independent front suspension and a live rear axle with leaf springs, dual-circuit servo-assisted Dunlop disc brakes all around, and a 4-speed manual transmission with electrically operated overdrive for Series 1 models and a 5-speed for Series 2. As one of the most powerful road cars of its time, the aero-efficient 500 Superfast was capable of nearly 170 MPH while cosseting occupants in leather and fine details.
Pininfarina’s renowned craftsmen produced the bodies for the 500 Superfast with exceptional care and, unlike prior high-level Ferrari/Pininfarina collaborations, with few deviations from the basic design of the 1964 Geneva Show car. Only a neat hood bulge was added for carburetor clearance, and detail differences were limited to door handles and tail lamps. Production included approximately 25 “first series” cars, followed by a dozen “second series” examples, which shared updates with the 330 GT including a 5-speed gearbox, “hanging” pedal arrangement and revised front-fender vents.
Production was unhurried, at a rate of roughly one 500 Superfast per month, with the final example, 8897 SF, delivered to British Ferrari importer Colonel Ronnie Hoare of Maranello Concessionaires on August 1, 1966. Buyers of the 500 Superfast formed a “who’s who” list of top Ferrari clients including the Aga Khan, Prince Bernhard of the Netherlands, shipping magnate Peter Livanos, Shah Reza Pahlavi of Iran, German playboy Günther Sachs and brilliant British actor Peter Sellers, the star of “Doctor Strangelove” and the “Pink Panther.”
This “Series I” 500 Superfast, No. 6305 SF, is steeped in fascinating early history and documented by marque historian Hilary A. Raab in “Ferrari Serial Numbers Part I” as the 15th example produced. Originally finished in Nero (black) paint over Natural (beige) leather upholstery, 6305 SF differs from the other Series 1 cars with its factory-fitted 5-speed manual gearbox.
Delivered to Milanese Ferrari dealer Crepaldi S.p.A., 6305 SF was purchased new in May 1965 by Count Guido Monzino, scion of Italy’s Standa grocery chain with offices in Milan. While born in 1928 to a logical future in business, the Count lived an amazingly adventurous 60-year lifetime, one which could certainly fill many volumes or easily inspire a decades-long, James Bond-style movie franchise. Best-known as one of Italy’s premier adventurers, explorers and mountain climbers, Monzino ascended the deadly Matterhorn by his early twenties and went on to complete 20 more arduous and hazardous expeditions throughout the world by 1973. The Count’s motorized adventures were equally prolific, including ownership of numerous elite-level Ferrari models and associations with the era’s top racing drivers. Monzino was also famous for rocketing across Lake Como in his beautiful racing hydroplane, the San Marco. Featuring supercharged Ferrari 340/375 MM V-12 power, the San Marco was once piloted by Count Monzino to a new speed record of over 150 MPH in the 1950s, demonstrating his ample bravery and skill.
By 1969, the 500 Superfast was with a new Italian owner, and through the intervening years, it has formed part of some of the finest private collections on both sides of the Atlantic, including the 1998-2007 timeframe in the Seattle area with John McCaw, Ken McBride and Bill Cotter in succession.
As offered at Mecum’s upcoming Monterey auction, 6305 SF continues to benefit from a complete engine rebuild and attention paid to its various mechanical systems by the Ferrari specialists at Wayne Obry’s Motion Products Inc. Retaining the matching-numbers original engine and mechanical components, this extremely rare Ferrari masterpiece has also received Ferrari Classiche certification, with the “Red Book” accompanying it.
Finished in factory-specified black paintwork as new, 6305 SF is well equipped with power window lifts, an AM/FM radio, and it includes a proper tool roll and roadside jack. Brutally powerful, supremely elegant, blindingly fast and outrageously expensive when new, 6305 SF remains a truly rare example of Ferrari’s ultimate “classic era” V-12 Gran Turismo in every respect. Owned new by one of Italy’s most enigmatic business tycoons and daring adventurers, it is also one of the most fascinating.
This 1965 Ferrari 500 Superfast will be auctioned off during Mecum Auctions’ Monterey 2021 event, which runs August 12 to 14.