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When Ferrari reintroduced to-seat, front-engined grand touring cars into their line-up in 1996 with the Pininfarina-designed 550 Maranello, it was evident that there would soon be a demand for a convertible version of the car. Though customers were thrilled with the 550 Barchetta Pininfarina, many felt limited by the lack of a conventional convertible top and only used their cars for quick out-and-back jaunts in the summertime. Looking to provide a solution to this sales-limiting problem when the 575M Maranello arrived, Ferrari introduced the Superamerica with its revolutionary rotating hardtop.
Unveiled at the LA and Detroit Auto Shows in 2003, the Superamerica was a Targa version of the 575M and was the first Ferrari to feature a motorised and folding hardtop. The title Superamerica extends back into Ferrari's history as a name that was given to the most exclusive and powerful luxury models. Derived directly from the 575M Maranello, the Superamerica's big 12-cylinder engine was boosted to deliver 540bhp through a six-speed electro-hydraulic F-1 transmission and independent front and rear suspension with coil springs, telescopic shock absorbers with adaptive damping and anti-roll bars, combined to keep the fastest convertible of the time on the road. Designed by Fioravanti, the innovative flip-top roof is made of translucent materials, which adjust to vary the amount of light coming into the cockpit. Called Revochromico by Ferrari, the system has five tint levels available and the glass can go from dark to light in under a minute. As the frame for the glass is made from very strong carbon fibre, the Superamerica can reach very high speeds with the top in the up or reclined position. The new car's performance figures were seriously impressive with 0-100 kph coming up in 4.2 seconds and a top speed of 320kph (199mph). A total of 559 Superamericas were built fitting in with Enzo Ferrari's philosophy that there should always be one fewer car available than the market demanded.
The Superamerica was a much more serious attempt at an open V12-engined Ferrari than the completely roofless and poorly executed 550 Barchetta and promised to bring a new dimension to the heavy-hitting thrills of the 575M Maranello without sacrificing too much in rigidity and real-world usability. This example is certainly no exception finished in the classic Ferrari hue of Rosso Corsa. The speedometer shows only 9,000km and as Montezemolo-era, six-speed F-1 transmission cars grow ever-more desirable, this example is surely a must-have for any serious Ferrari collector.