I previously told the story about how I almost picked up a 550 a few years ago. The car I was posting about was “Giallo Modena” (yellow), but the actual car offered to me by friend Marty was Blu LeMan, with a coach interior. The one below looks just like it, with a black interior.
These are just lovely. The proportions are perfect, the long hood features that air intake scoop, the shark gills on the flanks stand out. The back has 4 rear round lights and 4 exhaust tips. The interior is comfortable and the cockpit features a perfect set of dials and switchgear, and is business like and appealing. The ergonomics are good, with lesser used witches much smaller and everything falling to hand nicely. If I have any complaints, the speedometer and tachometer dials in the center should be about 50% larger.
You can easily see how this lineage traces back to the ’60s era 275 GTB. That lineage continued in 2002, with the 550 replaced by the upgraded 575M Maranello in 2002. which itself was replaced by the 599 in 2006.
Its front-engine 5.5-liter V12 — the Tipo F133 naturally aspirated 65° V12 had four valves per cylinder, dual overhead cams and a variable length intake manifold. That made 478 horsepower and 419 lb-ft of torque straight from the factory. It came mated to a 6-speed gated manual shifter (which was easier to master then I expected). Only 3,083 550s were made by Ferrari from 1996 to 2001. It marked a return to a front-engine, rear-wheel drive layout for its 2-seater 12-cylinder model, 23 years after the 365 GTB/4 Daytona.
If you like big grand tourers (GT) — and I do — the 550 Maranello is intriguing. Its definitely not modern, with no turbos, no nannies, and a very analog experience. Ad yet, it is still too new to be consider a classic. It will likely hold onto its value for a while, and if you can manage the maintenance, it makes a lovely addition to any garage. It is yet another one that got away.
My advice to whoever purchased this one 2 weeks ago for $103,000: Just please drive the thing.