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Report From The Street!

Superman your car is ready     

   The current car era that of the retro car may be looked back at in the future and laughed at as to why people wanted to drive cars that reminded them of their youth. You only have to see the small independent film Motorama (1991) to understand the retro car era. There were cars we saw on the streets as children that we could not buy ourselves and we could not convince our parents that those cars were more important then saving for our college educations, So when we achieved adulthood we look to cars to give us that same neat feeling we had as a kid when we see a new really cool car. In reality, from behind the wheel the feeling was never really there, that is until now, the grand daddy of all the retro cars arrives, and baby this one delivers. I saw the current Batmobile on display (Batman Begins) and it seemed very militaristic, harsh and out of control. The Ferrari Superamerica is the real car super heroes’ drive. The car is made in Italy where the passion for building super cars thrives. But the soul is strictly late 50’s California. People who lived in California in the 50’s, new they had life beat, they had found the good life before it became out of reach, before the Vietnam War reminded American’s that their was another World beyond their borders. But during the late 50’s if you had a really nice convertible car, and a way to pay for it, then your only problem was no problems at all. That is the feeling you get sitting behind the wheel of the 2006 Ferrari Superamerica.

   The SuperAmerica is not a new model; it is actually a special limited edition convertible of the 575M model. Ferrari is only building 559 of these to celebrate the end of the run for the Maranello. The demand for this car has caused them to sell out just as the word of their arrival to dealers hit the press, on EBay a 2005 575M can be had for $170k to $180k and there were no Superamericas listed at the time of this article.  The 2005 575M has a list price of $220k, so why does the SuperAmerica list for $60k more? The answer is exclusivity, like the Ferrari Enzo and the Porsche 959.

    Ferrari claims the Superamerica is the fastest production convertible in the world. I am not going to argue that point, but I will tell you that the seven seconds it takes for the roof to automatically disappear is the fastest conversion I have ever heard of.  Ferrari hasn’t used the name Superamerica since the 1957 410 Superamerica. Ferrari did build a half a dozen 1961 400 Superamericas but that model never got beyond the auto shows. Those cars now being priceless didn’t hurt Ferrari either. I think besides the current retro movement Ferrari was waiting for something really special to use the name. What makes this car so incredible cool is it is the first car to have a rotating roof. To understand how it works imagine the roof of your car being a giant door hinged at the back roof line. Now imagine the door opens and then gets pinned back against the trunk. This is exactly how it works. And because all you’re doing is opening a door and securing it down this feat is done lightening fast.

   The car itself has a V12 540 horsepower engine, that’s 25 more horsepower then the standard 575M and the same horsepower as the scagletti 612. Ferrari gets the additional horsepower from increasing the air intake and by modifying the exhaust. Even though this car weighs in at 3950 lbs, a 150 lbs heavier then the 575M the Superamerica feels faster, especially so when the roof is down. Ferrari lists the 0-62 mph time at 4.2 seconds. The engine is in the front which greatly improves visibility vs. most V12 mid engine models. To insure that each owner gets a car that he can easily identify at Ferrari Club of America meetings, Ferrari has decided to give buyers choice of color. Not just yellow, black or red, but any color the buyer wants even if it means matching paint samples. The Superamerica will be the flagship of Ferrari until the rumored replacement for the Enzo is. 

   There are lots of great cars out there, especially at the 100k plus price. What makes the Superamerica such a complete package is the way that this car pulls off the super car thing. This car is not one of those great invisible vehicles like the Audi A8, BMW745 or VW Phaeton. This car is not just a toy like the Lotus Elise. It has a working roof that can be deployed or removed at will. The roof does not need to be stored like T-tops and Targas. The car has real visibility, unlike so many of those near race cars on the road. For these reasons most super car ownership requires that you own other cars do deal with these issues, not the Superamerica. If you own a 2006 Superamerica, you don’t need another car; in fact if you own a Superamerica you don’t need another thing.

    The only disappointment I have about this car is I can’t tell you how to get one. Most expensive luxury items come down to just two things, your ability to pony up to their cost and your willingness to do so. With the Superamerica the rules are different. Most buyers will have already owned a Ferrari at one point or another, and now want to get behind the wheel of a car with a little more history.

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