With a provenance “rap sheet” long enough to raise the eyebrows of any concours judge, this Ferrari 400 Superamerica Series I Coupé Aerodinamico is a remarkable rarity from the Prancing Horse. One of only seven examples of its kind, and the only one to wear aluminum bodywork, Maranello’s black bolide first broke through the atmosphere in 1961 and will definitely have an impact on collectors during Gooding & Company’s Pebble Beach Auctions on August 20.
The car was a custom-built creation for wealthy 24-year-old Count Giovanni Volpi di Misurata, founder of Scuderia Serenissima, one of the top privateer racing teams of the early 1960s. Followers of Italian-car fashion will recall that the Count (who inherited his fortune from his father, a fascist adjutant to Mussolini) was a valued Ferrari customer who, once spurned by the mercurial il Commendatore, went on to found ATS, itself an exploding automotive star. But back to the Ferrari at hand.
Chassis No. 2809 SA has an unbroken provenance going back to the Count himself, and from its beginning to the present, this car has been a showstopper. In 1961, it took Best of Show at the XV Concorso d’Eleganza di Rimini, and has been presented at similar events ever since—including multiple FCA International Meet Concours and Cavallino Classics—where it has amassed many awards. Most recently, it participated at the Concorso d’Eleganza Villa d’Este in 2021.
Cited in numerous publications on Ferrari, this Superamerica is a true reference specimen. Powered by a 4.0-liter V-12 topped with three Weber carburetors, the car makes a healthy 320 hp at 6,600 rpm and easily crests 150 mph. Its four-speed gearbox with electric overdrive speaks to the model’s long-legged touring agenda.
Ferrari’s “America” series of custom-bodied, large-displacement grand-touring cars were built for elite (and no doubt demanding) customers who included emperors, shahs and industrialists. Volpi’s 400 Superamerica was one of the first to feature Pininfarina’s new Coupé Aerodinamico body style. Derived from Pininfarina’s Superfast II show car, just 14 of the streamlined coupes were hand-built on the short-wheelbase chassis exclusive to the Series I 400 Superamerica.
One of only seven covered-headlight, short-wheelbase Coupé Aerodinamicos produced, chassis No. 2809 SA is among the most significant coachbuilt Ferraris ever made and, unquestionably, one of the best-preserved. The only aluminum example, and painted in a one-off color scheme of Nero Tropicale complemented by an interior dressed in tobacco Connolly leather, it features bespoke details and remains in largely unrestored condition with fewer than 24,000 km (about 14,913 miles).
Volpi kept the car only until 1962, when it was sold to a buyer in Naples, Italy. Later, owner Umberto Camellini of Modena kept the car for 28 years, during which he obtained Ferrari Classiche certification acknowledging that the vehicle retains its original chassis, body, engine, gearbox, rear end and other important components.
Camellini sold it to stateside Ferrari collector Dr. Richard Workman in 2015, who showed the car and subsequently passed it on to the current consignor. Offered with Ferrari Classiche Red Book, Massini Report and extensive supporting documentation, this Ferrari’s value is estimated as high as $5 million.
Click here to see all the photos of this 1961 Ferrari 400 Superamerica that’s heading to auction.