2001 Ferrari 550 Maranello

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2001 Ferrari 550 Maranello
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Mileage
50000 mi
Transmission
Manual

Vehicle story

When the 550 Maranello was revealed to the press at the Nürburgring in July 1996, you didn’t need a deerstalker to work out where Ferrari had looked for inspiration. The long, thrusting bonnet and short, clenched tail; the four round tail-lights; just two seats in a sumptuously furnished cockpit, and a big, naturally aspirated V12 engine up front. Spiritually, conceptually and materially, the Maranello was the Daytona reborn.

It was president Luca di Montezemolo who had decreed that Ferrari’s new series-production flagship should be front-engined, bringing to an end a 23-year-long line of flat-12 mid-engined supercars that stretched from Berlinetta Boxer through Testarossa to F512M. His reasoning was that a front-engined super-GT would be more useable, more driveable than a mid-engined exotic, and he was absolutely right. So right, in fact, that today’s 812 Superfast still follows the template set by the 550 Maranello more than 20 years ago.

The name combined references to the 5.5-litre capacity of the V12 engine and, of course, Ferrari’s home town. The styling was by Lorenzo Ramaciotti at Pininfarina, and as well as borrowing cues from the Daytona, it also included a visual nod to that car’s predecessor, the 275 GTB, in the form of the gills in the front wings. This was Ferrari unashamedly summoning the spirit of its legendary 1960s berlinettas.

The 48-valve quad-cam dry-sumped V12 (codenamed F133A) was a reworked and more highly tuned version of the F116 engine that had made its debut in the four-seater 456 GT in 1992. The main changes were redesigned cylinder heads and what Ferrari called a ‘resonance effect’ induction system with 12 throttle valves and variable-length inlet tracts to boost both low-rev grunt and top-end zing. It was a remarkable engine, blending abundant power – a peak of 478bhp at 7000rpm – with genuine GT refinement. Ferrari claimed 0-62mph in 4.4sec and a top speed of 199mph.

Despite the F1 paddleshift gearbox having already appeared in the F355, the 550 was offered only with a traditional manual gearbox, a rear-mounted six-speeder that was combined with the limited-slip differential. That manual gearbox with its exposed metal gate was key to the car’s appeal. Although this was a thoroughly modern Ferrari, it was also a front-engined GT in the classical idiom.

The 550 even had a race pedigree. Although not designed with competition in mind, a number of privateer teams developed the model into a reasonably successful GT racer. Most notably, a Prodrive-honed car won the GTS class at the 2003 Le Mans and the team also finished second in the American Le Mans Series the same year, while the BMS Scuderia Italia team won the FIA GT championship.

But it was as a road car that the 550 achieved greatness, and for once that epithet is fully justified. The V12 engine was and is a wonderful thing, delivering a creamy torrent of power and torque, but it was the handling that had road testers in raptures. Here was a Ferrari supercar that could be driven with the same brio as a compact, lightweight sports car. Skilled drivers found that balancing oversteer with the throttle felt like the most natural thing in the world.

When I think about the 550, though, my mind settles on another word: Delightful. Whether cruising down a highway as a quiet, supple GT car with beautifully smooth suspension, or sliding around a tight bend like a proper Italian supercar, the Ferrari feels awake, alive, and joyful underneath you. It is not a stiff GT3 or a shouty McLaren. It does not punish, or bruise, or bite. The frequency of its demeanor resonates with the driver, responding precisely to inputs but somehow elevating them through its own excellence.

I would take it to a race track. I would take it to a meeting in downtown LA during rush hour. I would take it for a last-minute drive-thru detour. I would take it across the country, and then look for an excuse to take it back. I would take it everywhere, knowing the controls are friendly, that the ride is not too punishing, that the A/C is good enough to make me cold on a 98-degree Houston day, that the styling isn’t flashy enough to cause a scene, and that the interior is a nice place to spend an entire day.

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Location
San Diego, CA
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Approved drivers will operate the car on public roads.

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Host or their approved agent drives the guest in the car. This option is popular for weddings or other special events.

Driving

Approved drivers will operate the car on public roads.

Event

This is intended for non-driving uses like photo shoots and static displays. The car will need to be delivered by the host to the guest's location.

Chauffeured

Host or their approved agent drives the guest in the car. This option is popular for weddings or other special events.

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Our insurance plans are reliable protection
Owner Liability coverage: Up to 1M
Renter Liability coverage: State Minimum
Full Comp & Collision Protection
Support: 24/7 Customer Support
DEDUCTIBLES
Physical: $6,000
Liability: $2,500
Owner Liability coverage: Up to 1M
Renter Liability coverage: State Minimum
Full Comp & Collision Protection
Support: 24/7 Customer Support
DEDUCTIBLES
Physical: $3,000
Liability: $1,000
Owner Liability coverage: Up to 1M
Renter Liability coverage: Up to 1M
Full Comp & Collision Protection
Support: 24/7 Customer Support
DEDUCTIBLES
Physical: $2,500
Liability: $500
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