• Ferrari 550 Barchetta

The Ferrari 550 Maranello is a sports car produced by the carmaker Ferrari.

It was sold in 1996 to be replaced in 2002 by the Ferrari 575M Maranello.

It is considered one of the finest and most modern models ever produced by the Prancing Horse. It marked the return by the Ferrari in the segment of sports sedans with front engine, which was missing from the ’60s and ’70s, as the days of the Ferrari 250 GTO (1962) the company had not produced a car with such features. The last front-engined Ferrari GT before the 550 Maranello was the 365 GTB/4 Daytona that went out of production in 1973, allowing for 23 years of rear-engined supercar from the 365 GT/4 BB to the F512 M (the last Testarossa). All front-engined Ferrari, which were built between the years 1996 and they were more like luxury cars and high performance representation with 2 +2, (eg, the Ferrari 412 and the Ferrari 456 GT), but not were conceived as racing cars adaptable to the road.

The 550 Maranello, just hit the line (Pininfarina), transmitting a picture fast, catchy, retro and modern at the same time. Aerodynamically effective, it has a cx of 0.33, obtained after 4800 hours of work in the wind tunnel.

The mechanics are refined and technologically advanced, with the engine placed in the front, in the longitudinal direction. The engine is the classic 12-cylinder (a must Maranello), which are arranged in a V, with a displacement of 5474 cm ³ (hence the name 550). The angle between the cylinder banks is 65 °, the maximum power is 485 hp at 7000 rpm/min, while maximum torque is equivalent to 58kgm at 5000 rpm/min, available from 3000 revs/minute onwards. This engine is completely made of light alloy (base, heads and oil sump), while the connecting rods are made of titanium (Ti16a 14V), therefore particularly read, and this allows a reduction also of the crankshaft, making the engine more ready.

The motion is transmitted to the rear wheels rigorously, thanks to the well-known transaxle, which provides the front engine and the gearbox in unit with the differential on the rear axle. This solution ensures optimum road holding, as the masses are distributed in an almost homogeneous (plus or minus 50% on the front and 50 on the rear). The transmission has six forward ratios and one reverse, is a mechanical manual frontal engagement.

The frame is made of welded steel pipes, while the body is made of light alloy. To be able to weld steel and aluminum, has made use of a particular technology called Feran.

The sedan, according to data reported by Ferrari, is capable of reaching a top speed of 320 kilometers per hour and acceleration from 0 to 100km/h in 4.4 seconds.

The interior is very nice, and can accommodate two people (driver included). Most of the coatings is in the skin, and the instrumentation is you setting corsaiola (therefore very easy), but also very elegant, and therefore luxurious sports car at the same time, where the indicators are always easily readable.

In 2000 he was made the Ferrari 550 Maranello Barchetta, whose design was always Pininfarina. It was an excellent opportunity to celebrate the entry of Ferrari in the new millennium, and the seventy years of the life of the famous house style.

This is the return of Ferrari to the boats, with a reference to the famous discoveries of the 60s. Basically it is a discovery of 550, of which 4 were built prototypes (baptized P1, P2, P3 and P4) and only 448 copies of the series ( all in 2001). A total of 452 specimens produced 550 Maranello Barchetta, each of which is identified by its data plate affixed to the center console. This version reached a top speed of less than the classic 550.

In 1998, Michael Schumacher bought a Ferrari 550, and on it the German champion and Scuderia Ferrari demanded numerous customizations and optional equipment. In 1999, the said car was built, providing it with a sports exhaust, the Fiorano Handling Package, seats and carbon fiber inserts and a leather-covered roll-over bars.

Some customers aware of the specific requirements demanded by the Ferrari driver a car with the same technical specifications and accessories. It is estimated that about 13 cars were made with a budget similar to that ordered by the pilot.

In 1999, the 550 Maranello won the World Speed ​​Record, achieving the highest average speed for a production car on a race lasting 24 hours.

To celebrate this important result with a sports car series, in testimony of both performance and reliability of the 550 Maranello, Ferrari offered to dealers to offer customers the possibility to prepare and have a 550 Maranello equipped as the one that established the World Speed ​​Record, Ferrari 550 Maranello WSR.

Only 33 cars were ordered and carried out with the specific WSR and all are recognizable by the relative plate silver plate. The 550 Maranello WSR were very similar to the earlier car made for Michael Schumacher all had that roll-bar (coated), leather seats type “Daytona” with carbon shell and 4-point belts (such as racing), Handling Fiorano (including the suspension stiffened and lowered) and a sports exhaust and filler tank “type race.”

Some of the last 550 Maranello resumed in 2001-2002 produced a layout similar to the WSR.

In 2002, the Swiss designer Franco Sbarro created a special version of the 550 Maranello. This car was equipped with a new sporty body kit and a new sports exhaust system with six terminals. The rims of the series were replaced with OZ Superleggera 19 “wrapped in Michelin Pilot Sport tires in sizes 255/35 ZR 19 at the front and 345/30 ZR 1 at the rear.

A 550 has been used in various competitions in Japan. Called GTS, was built by Prodrive Racing Hitotsuyama for the team that made the Super GT race in the JTCC. Entrusted to the pilots Takuya Kurosawa and Hidetoshi Mitsusada, the car failed to impose itself against its Asian rivals. In 2006, the Maranello was updated with a new aerodynamic set to compete in the Japan Le Mans Challenge, but the results were not re- satisfying.