Sunday, December 18, 2011

Classic Car: Ferrari 550

After the production of Ferrari Daytona ended in 1973, Ferrari did not produce a two-seat, two-door, front-engine, rear-wheel drive grand tourer. Ferrari still made the 400, 400i, 412, and 456. They were all front-engine coupes with 2+2 seating. In 1996, Ferrari started producting the 550. The 550 is a front-engine, rear-wheel drive, two seat, two door coupe. The 550 was in production from 1996 to 2001, with 3,083 550s being produced. The 550 came in either as a Gran Turismo Berlinetta, called the 550 Maranello, and a convertible version, called the 550 Barchetta.The 550 Barchetta was used as a base for the Ferrari Rossa concept car and the 550 GTZ, a roadster that Ferrari and Zagato collaborated and five 550 GTZs were made. The 550 was replaced by the Ferrari 575M Maranello.

I first saw the 550 at the April 2011 edition of Houston Cars and Coffee. There was a 550 at the 2011 Houston Ferrari Festival. At both events, the 550 was overshadowed by other cars. In April, Hennessey was showing off his modified Camaro, with 600 hp. There were several Morgans, a Ferrari California, and a Lamborghini Countach at that event. At Ferrari Festival, there were 2 599 GTOs, a Ferrari FF, S.A. Aperta, Ferrari F40, several Ferrari 458 Italias and Californias, and a Ferrari F1 car. The 550 will not stand out when those cars are present. Also there are better looking Ferraris out there, including the 575M.

The 550 is powered by a 5.5L V12, paired with a six-speed manual transmission, that produces 485 hp and 419 lb-ft of torque. The 550 goes from 0 to 60 mph in 4.6 seconds and reaches a top speed of 199 mph. This is a fast car, even by today's standards. There are supercars made today that cannot compete with the 550 Maranello, a car made in 1996. On Auto Traders Classic, a 1998 Ferrari 550 Maranello is going for $72,900. It has 160,000 miles on it though. On Auto Traders, the 550 Maranello is for selling as low as $24,000 and goes as high as $119,000. That car has only 9,100 miles on it. The 550 Barchetta is selling for as low as$167,000 and as high as $199,000, which has 3,380 miles on it. If you want the Barchetta, it will cost you. However, the 550 Maranello is quite cheap for a supercar from the late 1990s/early 200s.

The 550 Maranello has been featured on Top Gear Russia, Motorweek, Cars TV, Bad Boys II, Cannonball Run Europe: Great Escape, The Family Man, Mischief Destroy, Top Gear, Apocalypse Clarkson, Clarkson: No Limits, Mischief 3000, Clarkson's Top 100 Cars, Crash and Burn, Gone in 60 Seconds, and Double Zero. The 550 is playable in OutRun 2006: Coast 2 Coast, Project Gotham Racing 2, Need For Speed: Hot Pursuit 2, Ferrari Challenge, Need For Speed III: Hot Pursuit, Need For Speed: High Stakes, World Super Police, Bad Boys: Miami Takedown, All Star Racing, GTR, ModNation Racers, GTR 2, and the Forza Motorsport Series.

This is a fast Ferrari. It is just overlooked because there are better and more memorable Ferraris out there, including the Ferrari 575M. If you want a Ferrari 550, the Maranello version can be found online for well under $100,000. But the Barchetta version will cost you, ranging between $167,000 and $200,000. The five 550 GTZs will cost over $1 million. Still, I would go with the 575M Maranello over the 550 Maranello. The 550 Maranello has average styling compared to other Ferraris. The Ferrari 365 Daytona and 575M Maranello are both better looking than the 550. The 550 is better looking than the Ferrari Mondial, 400, and 456. If you want a Ferrari with the engine in the front for under $100,000, then the 550 Maranello is for you.

Photo taken from a camera phone.
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