Call: 01428 606616
Entering production on Thursday 17th July 1997 and twelve days later 29th July 1997.Finished in Grigio Titanio with nero hide 8500 with nero carpets. The car was originally ordered by V R M of Bangkok Thailand and supplied via the Ferrari factories “grey market dealer”-Lightspeed SRL for Mr C P, the chairman of *** Plc, (tbc). The car was delivered to Ferrari UK arriving by truckload 39-on 13th October 1997 with 127kms.It was collected from Ferrari UK on 20th October 1997 by K H of Maranello Sales, who noted the mileage as 127 kms. K was also to complete the guarantee cards for the car and hi-fi system.
However, it appears the car never went to Thailand instead to Scotland where it was bought by the 39-year Mr M M director of Drambuie Liquor Co Ltd and then Ferrari agents in Edinburgh, Glenvarigill who bought it on 7th April 1998 registered ** *** and later re registering it * **. A 600-1,000-mile courtesy check was carried by Glenvarigill Company Ltd on 28th May 1998 with 867 miles. A change of ownership form notifying Ferrari of the change of ownership was completed on 2nd July 1998 with 981 miles.
The car is complete with a duplicate service book-16 services,17 MOT’s, handbooks, and leather wallet. One of 76 grey examples from the 379 that are taxed or SORN’d (July 2021)
PLEASE CONTACT MIKE WHEELER FOR MORE DETAILS AND TO ARRANGE VIEWING
Launched to the press at the Nürburgring in 1996, the 550 Maranello was Ferrari’s answer to those who believed the performance of a front-engined V12 car could not beat that of a mid-engined sports car. The successor to the F512M, the 550 Maranello proved quicker and, thanks to its better front-engined, rear drive packaging layout, far more practical.
The 550 Maranello also benefited from Ferrari’s maniacal attention to aerodynamics with a low Cd (0.33) and constant downforce over both axles. The combination of uncompromising performance and aerodynamic efficiency helped the car establish new production car speed records on the 12th of October 1998 in Marysville, Ohio, covering 100 km (62 miles) at an average speed of 304.1 km/h, (188.88 mph) and 296.168 km/h (183.955 miles) in one hour.
After over two decades of Ferrari production with a mid engine model as the performance pinnacle of the regular production range, the tables were turned in 1996 with the introduction of the 550 Maranello. The new model had a front mounted engine like its 456 GT stable mate, and had been developed from the technological progress and innovations of that model, to produce searing performance allied to impeccable road manners.
The 550 Maranello made its public debut at a major Ferrari gathering at the Nürburgring, Germany, in July 1996, which centred round the launch of the new car. The then current F1 team drivers Michael Schumacher and Eddie Irvine were on hand to put the car through its paces on the track, along with a host of previous Ferrari team drivers including former Ferrari World Champions Niki Lauda and Jody Scheckter.
The body lines from the pen of Pininfarina unsurprisingly had echoes of the new model’s 2+2 stable mate, the 456 GT, in the overall premise. However, there were also retro hints from earlier classic models, like the twin exhaust air slots in the front wings akin to those of the sixties 250 GTO and 275 GTB, whilst the tail light treatment was even closer to that of the fabled 365 GTB/4 “Daytona” model than it had been on the 456 GT.
The new model did have its own positive identity, with a shallow and wide radiator air intake, which with the integral front spoiler gave the look of a hungry shark approaching your rear view mirror, when being followed along the road by it. The styling details gave it an appearance of aggressive elegance, and although some people were initially a little subdued in their praise, no doubt expecting something more visually radical, the dynamic qualities of the car soon won over the doubters.
After all, here was a totally practical and comfortable 2 seat model, with plentiful luggage space, that had overall performance close to that of the bare bones F40 “racer for the street” of less than a decade earlier.
Technological advances during the intervening period, particularly with regard to suspension and traction control systems with electronic brains, meant that a front engine car could be made to handle as well as a mid engine model. One feature carried over from the preceding F512M model was the use of high intensity homofocal covered headlight units, that obviated the necessity of the retractable units of the 456 GT, and thus gave the car a homogeneous line whether the lights were in use or not.
The bodies were mounted on a 2500mm wheelbase chassis, which was 100mm less than the 456 GT 2+2 model, with a front track of 1632mm and rear track of 1586mm. It was constructed in the traditional steel tube fashion, incorporating substructures to support mechanical and body components, bearing factory chassis type reference F 133 AB. The model was available in right or left hand drive form, with power assisted steering as standard.
The body was a lightweight aluminium alloy welded to the steel frame via a specially formulated sandwich material called Feran, which permitted the welding of the two dissimilar metals, whilst the front and rear valances were composite mouldings. Independent suspension was provided all round with front and rear anti roll bars, and electronically operated driver controlled variable shock absorber settings, to provide either “normal” or “sport” mode, integrated with an ASR drive control system.
When in “normal” mode the brain places an emphasis on stability relative to road conditions, reducing power to the driven wheels via the engine management system, or bringing the ABS braking system into play, to maximise traction. When in “sport” mode the brain provides the driver with the facility to control the situation by his or her own inputs.
The adjustable dampers were provided with an electronic “brain” that monitored various factions, like steering angle, road speed, braking effect or acceleration, to optimise the settings for the driving conditions.
The steering was of the Servotronic speed sensitive power assisted type, the degree of assistance varying with road speed, being greatest at parking speeds and reducing as speed increased. The standard road wheels were stylised renditions of the traditional five spoke “star” alloy design, featuring elegant convex spokes and five bolt fixing with 18″ diameter rims, 8.5″ wide at the front and 10.5″ wide at the rear. Four wheel ventilated disc brakes were provided, each disc having a four piston light alloy calliper, plus a four channel ABS anti skid braking system, integrated with the ASR drive control system as mentioned.
The engine was a derivation of that designed for the 456 GT with the same cubic capacity, although the total cubic capacity was chosen as part of the model title, 5.5 litres (hence 550) rather than the single cylinder swept volume figure that had been used with the 456 GT, with factory type reference 133 A. The 65 degree V12 engine had an actual cubic capacity of 5474cc, with a bore and stroke of 88mm x 75mm, four valves per cylinder, twin overhead camshafts per bank, and dry sump lubrication. The block, cylinder heads, sump, and sundry castings were constructed from light alloy, featuring Nicasil treated alloy cylinder liners, and titanium alloy con rods. A Bosch Motronic 5.2 combined fuel injection/ignition engine management system was fitted, plus a variable back pressure stainless steel exhaust system, to provide a claimed power output of 485bhp at 7000rpm, driving through a six speed + reverse transaxle.
The interior was upholstered in leather as standard, with electronic adjustment facilities for the seats, and a large luggage platform behind them. Twin airbags were provided, as was air conditioning, electric windows and door mirrors, plus a stereo system with CD player. As an option sports seats were available, along with a range of items from the “Carrozzeria Scaglietti” personalisation accessories that were introduced in 1997, to enable clients to individualise their cars.
The 550 Maranello was produced between 1996 and 2001, and all were numbered in the continuous chassis number road car sequence in the range 99928 to 126807. In 1999 a limited series of thirty three “World Record” examples were produced to commemorate the World Speed Record set at Marysville in the USA on 12 October 1998. Here the 550 Maranello broke the world speed record for a production road cars, covering 100kms at an average speed of 304.1kph (192.60mph), and covering 296.168kms (184.164 miles) in one hour, despite making a stop to refuel.
The 27 November 1996 issue of the British magazine “Autocar” featured a road test, where they recorded a 0-60 mph time of 4.6 seconds, a 0-100 mph time of 10.1 seconds, quoting the manufacturer’s claimed top speed of 199 mph. They also proclaimed it “Britain’s Best Driver’s Car 1998″, and in 1999 said of it “it continues to be the best GT on the block”.
Taken from Ferrari’s own website
Ferrari introduced the replacement for the F512M at the Ferrari Racing Days event held at the Nurburgring 19th-21st July 1996. Originally masquerading behind the designation F133, the new model is officially named the 550 Maranello (NOT F550 as you may have seen elsewhere) for its displacement (approximately 550 decilitres) and the city where Ferraris are made. No fewer than ten examples were seen in Germany that weekend. The model went on sale in Europe in September, and was launched in the American market in April of 1997. With the return to a V-12 front engine layout, Ferrari has now totally abandoned the flat-12 Boxer motor that had powered the marque’s flagship two-seater Sportscar since the advent of the 365 GT4/BB in 1973.
Performance at no compromise:
The 550 Maranello is Ferrari’s interpretation of the 12-cylinder berlinetta, with a front engine and a pronounced sports personality for the 21st century. The brief given to the technicians was particularly demanding: design and build a car able to meet the needs of Ferrari customers looking for driving emotions and exciting performance, who do not want to forego driveability or comfort. Customers attracted by state-of-the-art technical proposals from a company, which has always treated design as an aesthetic solution to the demand for performance and has always built its cars with sophisticated craftsmanship. The formula that produced the 550 Maranello is the sum of several factors: superb response to every requirement (acceleration, speed, braking, roadholding), quality of life on board (driving position, passenger comfort, soundproofing, loading space, climate control) styling efficiency (aerodynamic shape, including the sixth surface) by way of a design that combines an extremely modern concept with the best of Ferrari tradition.
The result is a car capable of covering Ferraris private track at Fiorano in 1:34, namely 3.2 secs faster than the best time ever achieved by a 512. When assessing performance of this kind we must remember that the ethos of the 512 was optimised to obtain extreme performance on a circuit. The 550 Maranello is best seen in action. It is a car designed to offer strong emotions to those capable of driving it and it represents the synthesis of excellence in the automotive field today. This documentation is intended to outline the features of the 550 Maranello following a natural progression from its functional and styling definition, to the evaluation of its driveability.
Top Speed 199mph
0-60mph 1.3 seconds
0-1/4 mile 12.6 seconds
0-1 mile 30.9 seconds
Pininfarina has designed a body with characteristically extreme proportions for this return to a front engine on Ferrari’s top performance berlinetta: low and wide, with a large bonnet and cut-off tail, features that immediately give the impression of a great sports car.
To do this, Pininfarina used only the following requirements:
• the need to create an understatement by the adoption of sober, functional features that are consistent with today’s tastes and requirements;
• the need to propose a car for the widest possible range of uses;
• the need to respect Ferrari’s styling history and the unmistakable personality of the lines it has proposed over the years.
The large wings that point up the big wheels, the small roof resting on the solid shoulders of the car’s sturdy body and the long bonnet shaped by a functional air intake, all respect this tradition.
The design of the 550 Maranello is fast and sinewy, with marked dihedrons that stretch the soft surfaces of the sheet metal creating strong characteristic signs from whatever angle you view the car. The columns are clean and frank, not smoothed or tapered, so that the car’s physical presence underlines its performance.
The roof is unusually light for a Ferrari with fine pillars that make it less obvious visually and stress the importance of the car body by contrast, the structure housing the mechanicals, which are the heart and soul of the 550 Maranello and lower the optical centre of gravity.
The front has several original elements: the air intake is positioned very low down and has a narrow shape, incorporating the foglights at either end. The lower edge has a complex, modelled shaped that creates an aggressive play of lights
The air intake for the fuel is positioned at the centre of the large bonnet, and engineering requirements that links the present to the past.
This is the first Ferrari to have been conceived and designed from the start with visible light clusters, integrated in the shape of the bodywork.
The side is highlighted at the top by a dihedron that gives it force and dynamism, forming a strong, personal motif that emphasises the rear wing. The relationship between the long bonnet and the small rear cabin, and the smooth link with the high tail are typical of Ferrari.
Two outlets for hot engine bay air have been created in the large front wing, between the wheelarch and the door, close obligatory reference to the classic front-engined berlinettas. The rear is simple and powerful; it is higher in the middle where it links up to the roof with a small spoiler, and lower around the wings; the double round lights are characteristic of Ferrari car design.
This apparently natural, spontaneous shape is, like the front spoiler in particular and more generally the whole of the 50 Maranello, the fruit of work to integrate styling and aerodynamics.
Aerodynamics and its values:
The 550 Maranello is a creature of the wind tunnel. Its aerodynamic shape is the result of hard work that needed 4,800 hours of wind tunnel tests to achieve the targets set by the project, which consisted of:
• constant vertical load on the wheels, independent of the car’s set-up;
• minimal sensitivity to side winds;
• minimal drag (Cd = 0.33)
The 550 Maranello is another step forward in the aerodynamic development of the car underbody, which has led to excellent stability and driving safety. The vertical load independent of set-up and a Cz lower than nought are a unique result for a car with no mobile parts or added aerodynamic surfaces. Particular care went into the design of the front of the car with characteristic groove, the aerodynamic efficiency of the air intakes and the interior air flows.
The bodywork adopts the criteria of a classic front engine two-seater Ferrari berlinetta. The car is built around a tubular steel frame to which the bodywork is welded.
The latter is in light aluminium alloy, welded to the steel frame using a special alloy known as Feran which allows steel to be welded to aluminium. In addition to the aerodynamic features mentioned above, the bodywork is distinguished by technical apertures, typical of Ferrari styling, at the points of greatest efficiency.
Fixed homofocal front light clusters were designed for this model and they were incorporated in the bonnet to improve the Cd and wind noise during night driving. The foglights are incorporated into the front bumper. The door windows are flush with the bodywork and fitted with an automatic opening/closing device that is activated when the doors are opened or closed for better all-round scaling.
The driving position:
The driving position has been designed to offer every driver maximum comfort in all conditions, in terms of: steering wheel position, seat position, and the type and position of pedals. The steering wheel, with a new three-spoke design, has two possible settings – longitudinal and inclination in a 12 degree angle. The seat has eight settings, five of which are electrically assisted (squab rake, lumbar support, reach, height and seat tilting) and three are manual (width of squab shoulders, height and rake of head restraint). The squab has a rapid release for access to the rear luggage shelf. Racing seats are available upon request. The pedals are fitted with drilled light alloy racing supports.
Information is displayed on the LCD analogue instrumentation. The air conditioning unit incorporates a radiation’s sensor for more accurate cabin temperature regulation.
Function and utilisation
In the best Ferrari tradition, the interior harmonises the functional practicality of the sports car with the lavish array of equipment and the finish of a luxury car. The contoured facia links the central control, where all the car’s instruments are concentrated, with the doors, in two symmetrical curves. The driver has a cockpit where all the instruments are grouped at the field of centre vision and the controls, all positioned in front of the gear lever, can be reached easily and instinctively. The passenger has plenty of space at their disposal and seat adjustment is identical to that of the driver’s seat. There is a second air bag in front of the passenger’s seat.
Behind the wrap-around seats, whose simple design is enhanced by the quality of the upholstery, there is a large storage shelf, complete with classic leather straps. The car is equipped with a Sony radio and a CD changer (holding 6 CDs) is located in the boot. The boot is equipped with a tool kit, and provides 6.5 cu. Ft. of storage space.
The car incorporates an anti-theft system combined with the engine management unit (Immobiliser) and activated by a radio frequency.
The engine that powers the 550 Maranello is a 334 cu. in. unit with 12 cylinders in a 65-degree V, whose most outstanding feature is the fact that it delivers peak torque from 3000rpm, which makes it extremely elastic in all conditions. Maximum power output 485bhp at 7000rpm, peak torque 568.5 Nm at 5000rpm, compression ratio: 10.8:1, bore 3.46 in. stroke 2.95 in. Bosch Motronic M5.2 ignition/injection system, weight 518lb.
The cylinder case and head and the oil sump are in light alloy with damp press-fitted aluminium cylinder liners coated in Nikasil. The crankshaft is supported by seven journals on anti-friction bearings of three types of metal. The con rods are in Ti6a14V titanium alloy, for constant, reliable utilisation at high speed. This has also made it possible to lighten the counter-weighting of the driveshaft, which improves the response and balance of the mechanical masses. The Mahle forged aluminium alloy pistons have a particular crown design to enhance the thermodynamic efficiency of the combustion chamber. Lubrication is by dry sump with two recovery pumps and one input pump, double filter, separate tank and special radiator.
Cylinder head with hydraulic tappets:
The cylinder head, with four valves per cylinder is fitted with hydraulic tappets. This system helps to curb the level of polluting emissions, making it unnecessary to periodically adjust tappet play and guaranteeing constant engine performance.
The variable geometry intake:
Ferrari developed a particular type of variable geometry intake for the 550 Maranello engine to enhance torque and power features.
The system, patented by Ferrari, comprises a third capacity added to the intake manifold, which alters its characteristics. The third capacity is linked to the manifold by 12 throttle valves with electropneumatic servo control, driven by the engine management control units. The additional capacity means that the airflow has a longer length in which to “resound”, improving combustion chamber filling and enhancing engine efficiency. This translates into optimised engine performance at all speeds, extremely elastic driving and an outstanding power output. Engine management is by an electronic Bosch Motronic 5.2 system with combined injection and static ignition.
The two systems, one for each row of cylinders, are linked by a high speed serial line (CAN).
Exhaust system with variable back pressure:
Particular attention went into the design of the exhaust system, resulting in a system with variable backpressure (similar to that on the F50), and by-pass valves situated on the rear silencers. The by-pass valves are activated by an electropneumatic servo governed by the engine management system, on the basis of engine speed and throttle valve. The possibility of governing the backpressure at the exhaust also makes it possible to optimise engine efficiency in the various use conditions. Greater backpressure with the valve closed, allows the torque to be improved in average load conditions, while reduction of the backpressure at the exhaust by opening the by-pass valves enhances engine efficiency at high speeds with a full load. The exhaust system is in insulated stainless steel with “six into two into one” mixing nodes for each row. The system has two input lines into the silencer.
The layout of the car is classic with a front engine and rear-wheel drive. The differential unit incorporates the gearbox and is positioned at the rear (transaxle) for better weight distribution. This solution makes it possible to distribute weight equally between the axles with the driver on board. Drive is transmitted by the clutch to the gearbox by a propeller shaft supported by three bearings and housed in a rigid steel tube, which links the engine and the gearbox. The single plate dry clutch is mounted on the flywheel and is driven hydraulically.
The gearbox has six synchronised speeds plus reverse. The synchronisers are of the dual cone type. Lubrication is pressurised with an oil pump and radiator. Gearbox control is the classic Ferrari type with an aluminium knob, lever and grooved selector; commands are transmitted by a rigid shaft.
The efficient frame:
The frame for the 550 Maranello is built of high tensile welded steel tubes, with a variable section to optimise the weight. Torsional rigidity is 1,500 kgm/degrees and flexional rigidity 800kg/mm. The Ferrari frame has the constructional simplicity that comes from many years of experience in building racing cars.
Simplicity and structural discipline combined with extremely stable performance in time produce an excellent result for vehicles with a strong sports temperament destined for production in limited numbers. All this guarantees total engineering safety in terms of structure, and the reliability of engines, transmission, suspension, steering and brakes anchorage. The safety features are outstanding, particularly with regard to the central cage, which is very strong and protected by peripheral elements, which constitute a system with high energy absorption. Such high safety standards are a must for a company like Ferrari, which exports over 85% of its production to foreign markets, which means that the strictest safety standards must be met.
Suspension and non-suspended masses:
Great care was taken to lighten the non-suspended masses: drilled brake discs, aluminium callipers and stub axles, magnesium wheels. The result is pinpoint steering and perfect control of the car in all conditions, but particularly in those problem situations when excellent overall dynamic balance is necessary. The 550 Maranello has independent suspension on all four wheels with transverse parallelogram structure and triangular arms, aluminium gas dampers with coaxial coil springs and anti-roll bars on the front and rear axles.
Constant set-up adjustment:
The suspension incorporates a system to vary damper settings, which can be adjusted by the driver, using a switch on the facia, in two different levels of ranges of dynamic performance (normal and sport). An electronic control unit with four electric motors monitors the adjustment of each damper. The damping logic changes inside each range, depending on speed and taking into account vertical acceleration, the steering angle, the throttle valve angle and brake circuit pressure. The same system controls car pitching during transients. The front track is wider than the rear to guarantee prompt turn-in to corners and the structure of the front axles is designed to ensure an antidive effect when braking.
ASR drive control system:
The system prevents the driven wheels from spinning by the combined action of the rear brakes and the engine management system, which it communicates with a CAN line.
The system adopted by the Ferrari 550 Maranello is the only one to offer a choice of two operating levels, selected manually by a switch on the facia:
• the ‘normal’ mode tends to favour stability according to the condition of the road surface;
• the ‘sport’ mode favours drive control as a function of performance.
Depending on which mode is selected, the system intervenes by cutting off the torque delivered by the engine, or, co-ordinated by the ABS system, by braking the two rear wheels independently. In other words, it is the first active anti-wheel spin system which the driver is able to control. The normal/sport selection of the ASR system coincides with selection of the function level of the suspension (one switch governs both selections), giving the driver total control of lateral and longitudinal dynamics of the car.
Speed-sensitive power steering:
The ZF rack and pinion steering system comes complete with the Servotronic speed-sensitive power steering device, which varies in relation to the speed the level of power assist, in order to adapt steering wheel response to different operating conditions. The direct steering ratio is 13.8:1, while the turning circle is 39.3ft.
The braking system:
The car’s performance is determined not only by its acceleration and stability but also by the quality of its deceleration. Ferrari developed the braking system of the 550 Maranello jointly with Brembo, applying methods borrowed from Formula 1. The system is structured as follows:
• front: fixed calliper in aluminium alloy, 4 pistons with differentiated diameters 1.5 in./1.8in. Drilled disc, diameter 13in., 1.26 in. thick.
• Rear: fixed calliper in aluminium alloy, 4 pistons with differentiated diameters 1.2 in./1.3 in. Drilled disc, diameter 12.2 in., 1.1 in. thick. The brake pads use ITT Galfer 3321 GF friction materials.
The enormous amount of energy exerted on the front axle when braking required a system with large, extra thick diameter drilled front discs and pads made of friction material that guarantees high performance whether hot or cold. The car’s outstanding performance also make it necessary to develop pistons for the front callipers with special thermal insulation devices, that exploit concepts tested by Brembo on Formula 1 Ferraris in recent seasons. This made it possible to keep the brake fluid temperature at a very good level, even in difficult conditions.
The excellent performance of the braking system is enhanced by the drilled discs, which ensure better grip, even in wet weather, because they burst the film of water when the road comes into contact with the braking surface. Continuos refinement of all the components of the braking system ensures prompt braking and shortens the braking distance in all situations. The system is completed by a four-channel ABS incorporating electronic brake effort proportioning which guarantees ideal performance in deceleration above 0.5g. The whole system was produced taking particular care to limit the weight of the complete assembly.
The wheels of the 550 Maranello were manufactured by Speedline, to Pininfarina’s styling indications and Ferrari’s technical specifications; they have a monolithic structure, made of magnesium alloy with low pressure casting. The wheel has five convex spokes, with five central boreholes. The front wheels measure 8.5 x 18” and the rear 10.5 x 18”. The choice of diameters was decided by the need to fit large brake discs and low profile tyres. As a result the front wheel weighs 22lb and the rear wheel 24.9 lb, a 25% reduction on standard values.
The wheel has passed both Ferrari’s own severe tests and those of the German LFB Technical Institute (duration at least 300,000km). Each wheel is protected by a special cycle of anti-corrosion paint patented by Speedline.
Tyres and fuel tank:
For the first time on a production car, the tyres were designed with the car. Having set a target for the car’s performance level, the frame, suspension and tyres were developed in parallel, deciding the characteristics of each subsystem, including the tyres and optimising performance on the basis of the final result. The 550 Maranello has homologated four different types of tyres, all produced specially for this car. Each manufacturer has given a particular interpretation to the brief, based on specific experience in racing and longstanding co-operation with Ferrari. The homologated tyres have the following measurements: front, 255/40 ZR18, rear; 295/35 ZR 18 and are: Bridgestone Expedia SO2, Goodyear Eagle GS Fiorano, Pirelli P Zero, Michelin MXX 3 Pilot (front tyre 235/45 ZR 18).
The fuel tank is in light aluminium alloy and holds 30 US gallons. The fuel pumps are of the immersed type. The tank is in a protected position in front of the rear axle, underneath the car.
Taken from Ferrari Market letter, August 1996.
Whilst every effort is made to ensure the accuracy of the above details, we do not warrant that such details are accurate.
Copyright Mike Wheeler 2022
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