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Firmly placed in Ferrari's history as one of their finest modern-era big GTs, the 550 Maranello's combination of elegant lines and legendary front-mounted 12-cylinder engine, meant that these cars had the potential to become instant classics. Following in the footsteps and sharing the DNA of the 365 GTB/4 Daytona, the 550 Maranello is inevitability compared to its forbear and very few other front-engined Ferraris could have stood up to that comparison. Styled by Pininfarina, like its illustrious predecessor, the 550 Maranello was similarly proportioned, adopting the classical combination of long bonnet, small cabin and a truncated tail. Classic Ferrari styling cues include a bonnet air scoop and hot air outlets behind the front wheel-arches recalling the great Competizione Ferraris of the past, whilst the rear incorporates Ferrari's characteristic twin circular lights. The heart of any Ferrari is its engine, and the 550 Maranello's 48-valve, 5.5-litre V12 develops 485bhp at 7,000rpm. The powertrain was housed in a tubular steel chassis, to which was attached aluminium coachwork, whilst the all-independent suspension incorporated dual-mode (normal/sports) damping, switch-selectable by the driver, which was complemented by speed-sensitive power-assisted steering. The six-speed manual gearbox complements a slightly more even torque curve ensuring that the power delivery was a little less frenetic, whilst excellent weight distribution and delightful road manners make the 550 Maranello a truly refined driving machine, whilst still capable of almost 200mph.
550's, along with the 355, are probably the pinnacle of that analogue Ferrari period and although Dinos and Daytonas are undoubtedly sublime, when it comes to the combination of performance and looks combined with an engaging drive the 550 is a winner, especially given the current differential in market values compared to the older cars. Obviously, some modern cars may indeed see them off but 550's are deceptively nimble and certainly rapid enough to exceed most people’s driving capabilities. They're also a reasonable size and comfortable enough to hustle down your average twisty B-road without worrying whether you'll make it through that gap. With styling that is ageing particularly well, a high-quality cabin, generous storage and an enormous 100-litre-plus fuel tank, the 550 Maranello really is the consummate European Grand Tourer in the true Ferrari mould.
The superb example presented here dates from 1998 and is a right-hand drive car built from new for the UK and finished in Rosso Corsa with a tan interior. It was supplied by Charles Hurst Ltd. (Ferrari) of Belfast in July 1998 to its first owner whose hectic international business life meant that it was used infrequently but always correctly garage stored. It was serviced by Charles Hurst Ltd. at 2,095 miles and 2,580 miles (belts replaced) and then again at 3,429 miles (belts replaced) by respected Ferrari specialists Keys Motorsport Ltd. of Towcester, who inspected the car and were impressed with its overall condition, noting its particularly sweet-running engine and slick gear-change. However, its lack of regular use meant that its first owner decided to let it go and it was offered at Silverstone Auctions Ferrari Sale in May 2018 where its amazing condition and tiny mileage generated much appreciation.
The car’s second owner obviously used the Ferrari gently as well, indicated by an invoice from Graypaul Nottingham in late October 2018 when the mileage is recorded as 3,437. Graypaul spent some time servicing the 550’s brakes and with new discs, pads, flexible pipes and a new distribution block the account was in the region of £3,200. At the time of photography, the odometer indicated 3,445 miles and, naturally, the service history is fully documented in the accompanying books and manuals.
Patently immaculate, a new owner can derive real confidence from the glowing report from Keys Motorsport and the comprehensive brake service by Graypaul, both within the last 20 miles.
The old adage “A busy Ferrari is a happy Ferrari” is still true and it would be nice to think that the car’s new owner would use this stunning 550 Grand Tourer for just that, a bit of Grand Touring.