2001 Ferrari 550 Barchetta Pininfarina Prototype
Sold For $423,000Inclusive of applicable buyer's fee.
- Presented by Ferrari at the 2001 Geneva Motor Show
- Rare prototype displaying unusual interior features
- Two decades of fastidious care by the original owner
- Showing only 3,044 kilometers (1,891 miles)
- Meticulously serviced every four years, including the timing belts
- Accompanied by racing helmets, owner’s manuals, and tool kit
- Features a $12,000 custom-fabricated top
To honor the 70th anniversary of its long-running coachbuilding and design partner Pininfarina, Ferrari unveiled a limited-edition model at the 2000 Paris Salon based on the concurrent 550 Maranello. The 550 Barchetta Pininfarina harkened to the tradition of the topless spiders of the 1950s, utilizing a redesigned and more steeply raked windscreen and a pair of rear rollbars to achieve modern safety requirements.
Fitted with two-piece alloy wheels and an aluminum fuel cap, the new barchetta avoided the weight gain of structurally reinforced convertibles by eschewing any retractable hardtop. With weather gear solely consisting of a manual soft top intended for emergencies only, the 550 Barchetta achieved the dynamic aesthetic appearance of yesteryear’s racing sports cars.
Mechanically a near copy of the coupe model, the new open Ferrari employed the same 5.5-liter V-12, utilizing light alloy construction for the block, cylinder heads, and sump, with Nikasil-coated aluminum wet liners and titanium connecting rods. The cylinder heads were equipped with hydraulic tappets and featured inlet and exhaust runners directly developed from the company’s Formula 1 cars. A six-speed paddle-shifted gearbox, Brembo ventilated disc brakes, and a self-adjusting suspension completed the chassis profile.
The cockpit featured racing-style seats crafted from carbon fiber and upholstered in leather, while the dashboard and surrounds were trimmed in carbon fiber and black Lorica finish, which was also applied to the central transaxle tunnel and rear bulkhead. The smartly appointed interior was completed with a bespoke placard underneath the center console that featured each car’s number in the build sequence and was inscribed with Sergio Pininfarina’s signature. An instant collectible, the 550 Barchetta Pininfarina was built in a limited quantity of just 448 examples, many of which were sold directly into prominent marque collections.
This very special example claims extremely important production provenance, being the actual car shown at the Geneva Salon in 2001 and officially the first of the 448 production examples built. Chassis no. 121680 is the second example built by VIN and is serial number 001, as noted by the console placard. The show car was purchased new directly by the consignor, an American collector based in Florida, in a transaction arranged by Ferrari president Luca di Montezemolo through the official dealer in Rome.
Benefitting from 20 years of single ownership, this Barchetta Pininfarina was imported to the United States and federalized for legal use on American roadways. To optimally maintain the car, the owner regularly submitted it for maintenance every four years, including a timing-belt service. In preparation for its current offering, the car recently underwent another such service, ensuring ideal running condition for the future caretaker. Currently displaying just 3,044 original kilometers (1,891 miles), the Ferrari has been exercised approximately 150 kilometers each year.
As a very early prototype, serial number 001 features a few differences from the more standardized production examples that followed, most conspicuously including a different arrangement of interior switches. It is worth noting that the car is accompanied by a $12,000 custom-made convertible top designed by a German technology firm that was specifically engineered to avoid scuffing to the paint and finish. With this top fitted in place, the car can comfortably exceed speeds of 100 mph.
Further accompanied by racing helmets, owner’s manuals, and a tool kit, this sensational 550 Barchetta is a particularly notable example of one of Maranello’s most collectable limited-edition supercars of the modern era. It is ideal for display at major events or enjoyment on the open road, offering a beautiful complement to any collection that is particularly suitable for marque purists or aficionados of rare open sports cars.