1999 Ferrari Maranello 550

Finished in eye-catching Rosso Corsa over Nero leather, this Euro-spec example was acquired by the actual owner in late-2000 and imported to the United States. V12 engine and only 13,000 miles.

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1999 Ferrari Maranello 550

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A car that honored its origins by carrying the name of its hometown for all to see and the displacement of its 5.5-liter engine, the 550 Maranello was momentous. It replaced the mid-engine F512R in 1996 and thus marked the return of a front-engine, rear-wheel-drive, two-seat grand tourer to the pinnacle of Ferrari’s regular production lineup. The clean, elegant lines of its sultry aluminum body, designed by Pininfarina, bely the aerodynamic complexities that enabled the 550 Maranello to set multiple speed records. Certain stylistic details recall earlier Ferrari grand tourers: Twin exhaust air slots behind the front wheels are reminiscent of those on the 250 GTO and 275 GTB of the 1960s, while quad taillights evoke the 365 GTB/4 “Daytona.”

The 5.5-liter V-12 engine was rated to produce 485 horsepower and 420 pound-feet of torque. A six-speed manual was the only transmission offered. With a wheelbase nearly four inches shorter than that of the contemporary 456GT, the 550 Maranello’s chassis featured a two-setting electronically variable suspension, ventilated disc brakes at all four corners, and 18-inch five-spoke wheels. Its uncompromising performance and superior aerodynamics quickly quashed any doubts that a front-engine layout might be a disadvantage relative to mid-engine supercars of the day. Ferrari claimed 0 to 60 mph in 4.3 seconds and a top speed of 199 mph. Indeed, the 550 Maranello set three production-car speed records in 1998, covering 100 miles at an average speed of 190.2 mph, 100 kilometers at an average speed of 188.9 mph, and driving one hour at an average speed of 184 mph.

The 550 Maranello’s record-setting performance was even more impressive considering how comfortable the car was to drive daily and over long distances. The luxurious interior, with Ferrari’s iconic metal gearshift gate as centerpiece, was equally elegant and accommodating for two occupants, with a generous leather-lined luggage shelf behind the seats.

Finished in eye-catching Rosso Corsa over Nero leather, this Euro-spec example was acquired by the current owner in late-2000s and imported to the United States. Ex-NART originator Dick Fritz’s from Amerispec Corporation, Connecticut, carried out the official U.S. conversion, according to documents on file and a card affixed to the driver-side door jamb. Documents from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, and U.S. Customs Service attesting to the car’s compliance with federal laws also accompany the sale.

Dick Fritz and Amerispec Corporation, one of a handful of importers, the Danbury, CT-based company, claimed to be the first firm to specialize in taking the finest Ferrari models, originally delivered in Europe, and federalizing them for American roads. Though heavy demand in the United States allowed for several of these importers to carve out a niche for themselves, Amerispec was considered to be one of the most meticulous of the bunch.

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