Ferrari has produced many iconic Grand Touring cars over the years but when the 365 series went out of production in 1973 it left a gap in their staple GT market and it would be another 23 years till the next front engine V-12 grand touring car was introduced. In July of 1996 Ferrari unveiled the 550 Maranello to the world, once again providing a lush driving experience with brutal acceleration to their adoring fans. Fitted with a front mounted 5.5 liters naturally aspirated V-12 engine producing 478 hp at 7000 rpm the new 550 was capable of 4.2 seconds to 60 mph and a top speed of 199 mph. The 550 was received very well, garnering praise for not only its superb engine but its phenomenal chassis as well. This was apparent in the success that it had when built and campaigned by privateer racing teams, eventually leading Ferrari to produce a factory race car, the 575 GTC which was based on the 550’s successor, the 575M. In total, approximately 3083 550’s were produced between 1997 and 2001 when the 550 was replaced by the very similarly styled Ferrari 575.
This particular Ferrari 550 Maranello, Chassis number ZFFZS49A410123565, is a 2001 model year with 24,765 miles from new. It is fitted with a desirable 6-speed manual transmission and is finished in Tour De France Blue with a tan leather interior. While exact ownership history is not known we do know that the car was delivered new by Ferrari Maserati of Ft Lauderdale. It later passed through 2 more owners in TX and IL before staying with it’s most recent owner since 2010. During that ownership it appears a major belt service was carried out in 2012 and since minor services have been completed along the way. While the car runs and drives well, by time, it is recommended by Ferrari that the car receive another major service in the near future.
This car would best be described as a driver quality example. While it remains a striking piece of Italian machinery with fairly low miles, it has numerous small blemishes and imperfections that could be corrected should the new owner desire.
The Tour De France blue paint is absolutely stunning in person and is fairly smooth and consistent throughout. The finish of the paint, however, shows many signs of usage. The front of the car has numerous small stone chips from every day driving. There is some scuffing present on the front bumper and the front lip is a bit scraped up and has some stone chips in it. The rear bumper is in similar condition with some chipping and minor scuffing. Both rocker panels have minor stone peppering on them as well. The mirrors have some minor peppering from stones. There is also some chipping on the edges of the doors, more than likely from careless opening incidents. The door handle areas are slightly scratched up from normal usage and black painted cowl at the bottom of the windshield has some stone chips and flaking paint. Body panel gaps are respectable and straight with possibly a bit of ill fitment in places such as the rear bumper. The body panels themselves are smooth and straight, showing no major dents or dings.
Glass & Trim
The glass appears to be all the correct type with proper Ferrari Sigla stampings on each of the panes. The windshield has some very minor pitting from stones but the rest of the glass remains clean and clear. The headlights, like the rest of the front end, show signs of usage with pitting, small scratches and a minor bit of haze. The front fog lights and taillights, however, are all clean and clear. Many of the painted trim surfaces are showing their age and the paint is chipped, faded and wearing, especially around the passenger window. The rubber trim around the passenger headlight has become loose towards the front edge and the fitment is off however the driver side remains supple and tight.
The wheels were more than likely refinished at some point as the painted surfaced are smooth and consistent with no curbing or rubbing, not entirely consistent with the clear usage present on the rest of the car. The center caps are brand new, having been replaced with OEM pieces. The mounting hardware is in good condition with no oxidation or damage present. Ferrari brand valve stem caps are in place.
The exterior surfaces of the car show significant signs of usage. The front has many small stone chips and there is fading and cracked paint on trim surfaces.
Seats & Surfaces
The tan leather interior compliments the exterior color superbly. The overall condition mimics the exterior with signs of wear and usage present throughout. The driver’s side door card is in good shape but there is some discoloration where one’s elbow would rub on the door card. Both seats show a bit of wear around the bolsters and edges with minor sagging and creasing. The driver seat stitching has come undone near the upper portion and padding is visible poking through. The rear parcel shelf is in good shape with clean and tight leather and only minor signs of age in the form of a bit of creasing in spots. The buckle straps appear to have seen very minimal usage as they are in great condition. The carpets in the cabin are worn in high traffic areas with some staining present throughout. The steering wheel has some minor imperfections from normal usage. The dash and accent leather are finished in blue compliment the exterior of the car. The dash is relatively clean and smooth with only some minor pulling occurring around the top instrument cluster. The headliner is finished in quilted patterned leather similar to the rear parcel shelf and is tight and clean. There is a set of aftermarket speakers installed near the door jams, finished in complimenting tan leather with the rest of the interior which could be kept or removed easily at the discretion of the new owner. Some of the plastic surfaces display fading and light peeling (such as the air vents) but overall the interior is essentially free from the dreaded “stick bits” that plague Ferraris of this era.
Functionality & Accessories
All switches and gauges appear to function as they should, however, some of the surfaces do show signs of wear and usage. The air vents, in particular, have some fading and flaking of the surfaces around their edges. The power seats function as they should and the windows power up and down with ease.
The driver’s side seat has some stitching that has separated towards the top edge. The carpets are faded and have some staining present. Some of the interior plastic surfaces have flaking paint, fading, and signs of usage.
ENGINE BAY, TRUNK, UNDERSIDE
The engine bay appears like much of the rest of the car with signs of usage but in relatively good condition. The entirety of the engine bay could stand to receive a good detail which would help it to clean up nicely. Painted surfaces are relatively smooth and consistent. Black plastic surfaces are in good condition with some minor fading present in some spots. the metal intake and valve covers have a slight yellow hue to them, likely from normal usage, dirt and heat. All rubber hoses and wires appear in good condition with no cracking or worn components present upon inspection. The fire pad under the hood is in good condition with no major wear or discoloration.
There is an amp in the trunk to power the aftermarket speakers located in the cabin as well as a 6-disc cd changer, both properly mounted. The carpeting in the trunk is clean and free of major wear or staining.
The underside of the car shows signs of usage with the black plastics having some scuffs and scrapes. Wheel wells are a little dirty but in overall good order. There are no signs of any issues such as leaks etc.
Other than an aftermarket amp being mounted in the trunk there are no notable issues.
The engine fires right to life with a turn of the key and settles into a smooth idle. It makes good power with no flat spots or stumbling to speak of. It revs freely and sounds excellent even through the stock exhaust.
The clutch take-up and engagement feel great. The shifter moves through its gated slots with no issues and the transmission engages all gears with no issue. It holds good powers and revs freely.
Brakes & Suspension
The brake pedal feels properly firm and reassuring. The cars comes to a smooth and controlled stop with no chatter or noises to note. The suspension feels compliant and responsive and there is no odd noises or excessive body roll to speak of.
The tires are BF-Goodrich g-force T/A on all four corners. They are relatively new and have plenty of treadle left in them with no signs of aging.
Ferrari Grand Tourers were made to be driven long and hard and that is precisely what they excel at. Upon entering the cabin you are greeted by a comfortable seat that provides adequate support and bright and airy cabin feel. The seating position is good and feels as though you could cover many miles in comfort. The car fires to life with ease and engaging first gear through the gleaming gated 6-speed shifter is sublime. Once on the road, the car is surprisingly easy to drive at slow speeds. It is mundane and well behaved at low rpms but once you find that open stretch and press the throttle a bit further its true nature shines through. The 5.5 liter V-12 relines at 7500 rpms but the long legs mean that no matter what gear you are in that you are probably doing excessive speeds by the time you reach that little red hash. It is worth it to hold out though because taking a Ferrari V-12 to redline is surely one of those joys that everyone should experience a few times in their lives. The chassis of the car is equally fantastic and handles the power that the engine puts out superbly. Its soft but in all the right places. It absorbs unwanted bumps but still feels as if its on rails when you point it through the twisty bits.
Looking past the minor imperfections of this car, it remains a fantastic example of one of Pininfarina’s best modern Ferrari designs. Finished in striking colors and mechanically sound, this is the perfect car to take out and thoroughly enjoy without having to worry about things like stone chips or other people parking to close to your precious V-12 manually shifted beauty.