Monterey | Lot 337
1959 Ferrari 410 Superamerica Coupe Series III by Pinin Farina
$6,000,000 - $8,000,000 USD
| Monterey, California
14 August 2021
- 12% of the hammer price up to and including $250,000
- 10% of the hammer price in excess of $250,000
- The fourth of 12 Series III examples built; one of only seven examples built from new with covered headlights
- The only covered-headlight example delivered new in Nero Tropicale IVI
- Ferrari Classiche certified; retains its numbers-matching engine, gearbox, and differential
- Restored by RM Auto Restoration from 2017-2020, returning the car to its original configuration
- Featured in Dyke Ridgley’s specialist monograph, Ferrari 410 Superamerica Series III
- Documented with history by marque expert Marcel Massini
- Platinum Award winner at the 2021 Cavallino Classic, and Best in Class Award at the 2020 Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance
At the Paris Salon in October 1958, Ferrari introduced the latest version of its boutique luxury supercar, the 410 Superamerica. Now in its third series of production, the newest 410 Superamerica rode on a shortened wheelbase of 2,600 milimeters, and most notably differed from its predecessor with updated Pinin Farina coachwork. The rakish new design featured elongated triple fender strakes, and a covered-headlamp front end reminiscent of the concurrent 250 GT California Spider.
Mechanically, the third-series 410 Superamericas continued to feature the twin-plug 4.9-liter Lampredi long-block V-12 that was originally engineered for sports car racing, and had powered a 375 Plus to overall victory at the 1954 24 Hours of Le Mans. But the Superamerica’s revision was more than skin deep, as the retuned type 126A/58 engine was equipped with a new head with outside spark plugs, huge Weber 36 DCF 3 carburetors, and polished billet connecting rods (a feature only found elsewhere on the 250 Testa Rossa and 250 GTO racecars).
The modified engine now developed 400 horsepower—40 horsepower more than the outgoing Series II cars—resulting in a weight-to-horsepower ratio of 8:1. Such power required further mechanical refinement, of course, so the Series III SA received a revised gearbox and 15.7-inch diameter brake drums. Borrowed from the Scuderia racecars, these were the largest drums ever featured on a grand touring Ferrari.
The Series III cars duly upheld the Superamerica’s tradition of offering the finest that money could buy, with luxury amenities and one-off design cues that mirrored the model’s advanced race-derived engineering. 410 Superamericas were owned by jet-set industrialists, celebrities, and royalty, including the Shah of Iran Mohammed Reza Pahlevi, Vietnamese emperor Bao Dai, pasta magnate Pietro Barilla, and Johnny Walker importer Enrico Wax, to name a few. The latest iteration only continued the degree of quality for which such luminaries sought to become Ferrari clients.
Just 12 examples of the final 410 Superamerica were built before the design was replaced by the smaller-displacement 400 Superamerica. As such, the third-series 410 Superamerica examples represent the ultimate iteration of the large-displacement cars whose roots lay in the soul of Le Mans. As summarized by marque expert and collector par excellence Dyke Ridgley, who wrote the definitive book about the third-series model and owned two examples, “If Enzo Ferrari is also considered to have built such a car [as Bugatti’s Royale], the title of the “Royale” must go to the Series III version of the 410 SA Superamerica.”
A SUPERAMERICA OF PARTICULAR DISTINCTION
Claiming rarity, important ownership history, a recent top-quality restoration, and a feature position in Dyke Ridgley’s book, this stunning third-series 410 Superamerica is one of the finest examples of Maranello’s ultra-luxury grand tourer. Chassis number 1305 SA is the fourth of 12 Series III cars, and one of only seven covered headlight examples built as part of the final series. Completed in May 1959, the car received specialized Pinin Farina coachwork with covered headlights, and special one-off tail lamps that required differently shaped fenders. The exterior was finished in Nero Tropicale paint, the only covered headlight example built in this striking black, while the cabin was trimmed with Naturale 3218 Connolly leather. Further, this was the only example originally fitted with the AL-Fin drum brakes, a feature which was fitted only to the most powerful Ferrari sports racers of the time, and which remain on the car to this day.
After being distributed to Garage de Montchoisy SA, an official Ferrari dealer in Switzerland, the Superamerica was sold in June 1959 to an American resident of Geneva named Griffin. The first owner kept the car for over 10 years, mostly storing it at an underground garage in Geneva. In 1970 Mr. Griffin sold the Ferrari to Hans U. Maag of Renens.
Later that year the Swiss dealer and enthusiast author Rob de la Rive Box purchased 1305 SA, although by 1971 he facilitated its sale to the respected American Ferrari connoisseur Richard Merritt, of Bethesda, Maryland. In 1972 Merritt sold the Superamerica to Tom Viltner of Oconomowoc, Wisconsin, and he retained possession for a period of four years.
In 1976 the Ferrari was purchased by John Hajduk, the well-known proprietor of Motorkraft in Bensenville, Illinois. One of the most esteemed American Ferrari restorers of his era, Mr. Hajduk conducted a full refurbishment of the car, including a repaint in dark green with yellow striping. The SA was then purchased by John Vernon of Vail, Colorado.
In 1978 the Superamerica passed to Peter van Gerbig of Hillsborough, California. A scion of one of New York City’s oldest and most socially prominent families, Mr. Van Gerbig was also a noted automotive enthusiast, being a preferred repeat client of both Ferrari and Rolls-Royce. 1305 SA remained with him until July 1982, when it was sold to George and Rosella Wamser of Bloomington, Illinois, longtime members of the local Ferrari Club of America chapter. The Wamsers enjoyed the 410 for nearly two decades, frequently presenting the car at Midwestern FCA meets through the 1980s and early 1990s. During this period the car was also featured in Dyke Ridgley’s 1983 monograph Ferrari 410 Superamerica Series III.
In the late 1990s the Superamerica passed to Dennis Machul, a noted collector and vintage racer based in Oak Brook, Illinois. In 1998 1305 SA was sold to a private collection in the U.S. where it would remain for nearly two decades before being offered for sale in 2017.
Once acquired by the consignor, 1305 SA was treated to a comprehensive restoration by Pebble Beach-winning shop, RM Auto Restoration of Blenheim, Canada. All mechanical systems were rebuilt as needed, though the engine was deemed to not require a complete teardown, and was therefore sympathetically freshened as needed. In a testament to the car’s originality, the Pinin Farina body numbers were found stamped on the expected locations including the bumpers, trim pieces and elsewhere on the body. Cosmetically, the car was returned to its original factory color scheme, with a fresh coat of Nero Tropicale paint and a new Naturale leather interior.
On the back of this impressive work, the 410 Superamerica was presented at the 2020 Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance, where it received a Best in Class Award. Subsequently the car was shown at the 2021 Cavallino Classic where it received a Platinum Award as well as the Robert Tallgren Memorial Elegance Cup, for the finest coach-built Ferrari and the Honorary Judges’ Cup, for the finest judged Ferrari selected by the Honorary Judges.
Retaining its numbers-matching engine, gearbox, and rear axle, this striking luxury Ferrari recently received its Ferrari Classiche certification and corresponding Red Book, a testament to its authenticity. As one of very few Series III cars built, 1305 SA offers rarity and assures a high degree of quality, being owned by some of the enthusiast niche’s most passionate collectors. It would make a stunning addition to any collection, particularly suited for connoisseurs of apex-level limited-series luxury grand tourers.