1960 Ferrari 400 SuperAmerica

Ferrari 400 Super America

The 400 Superamerica, manufactured from 1960 to 1964, was a flagship model created in response to customer demand. It boasted a powerful 4-liter V12 engine, providing ample power and torque. The interior exuded a sense of luxury while maintaining a refined and understated design. The firm suspension settings struck a balance between comfort and performance, and the car featured a gearbox with overdrive.

All the vehicles were expertly crafted by Pininfarina and offered in various versions such as spider, cabriolet, and aerodynamic coupé. The renowned one-off Superfast models, namely II, III, and IV, were also part of this exceptional lineup.

The chassis, identified by the factory reference number 538, initially had a wheelbase of 2420 mm, which was later extended to 2600 mm to enhance interior space. The chassis numbers for the road cars were assigned in odd numbers, followed by the suffix ‘SA’. The construction followed a similar approach to the concurrent 250 GT series, featuring a pair of large oval longitudinal tubes passing over the rear axle, robust cross bracing, and a built-up front cross-member. The front suspension consisted of independent wishbones with individual coil springs and shock absorbers, while the rear axle was rigid and supported by semi-elliptic leaf springs, radius arms, and hydraulic shock absorbers for each wheel.

The Superamerica boasted hydraulically operated disc brakes on all wheels, complemented by a cable-operated handbrake for the rear wheels. With the exception of chassis 2311SA, all the cars were left-hand drive. The engines, denoted by the factory type reference 163, featured a compression ratio of 8.8:1 and represented a departure from the “long” block Lampredi-designed engines used in the previous 410 series. Instead, they featured a “short” block motor based on the original Colombo SOHC per bank design found in the concurrently produced 250 GT series. The engine capacity was increased by enlarging the bore to 77 mm and lengthening the stroke to 71 mm, resulting in a total capacity of 3967 cc.

The first prototype, built on chassis 1517SA in late 1959 for Fiat’s Gianni Agnelli, was showcased at the Turin Salon in October of that year. It displayed a distinctive design with a large square radiator grille extending almost to the bottom of the front valance, accompanied by quarter bumpers on each side. The design also incorporated American styling elements, such as a horizontal twin headlight layout at the wing extremities, a single fog light below it, and a wrap-around windscreen. The tail lights featured vertical chrome bezels with three circular lenses, which would later become a signature element in series production models like the 400SA cabriolets, early coupés, and the 250 GTE series introduced in 1960.

Between its debut at the Turin Salon and delivery to the client in May 1960, the design underwent refinements. The frontal metalwork was modified, reducing the size of the radiator grille while retaining its square shape and adding a full-width bumper below it. The horizontal inlets above the quarter bumpers were removed, the shape of the bonnet air intake was altered, and a bright metal trim strip was added along the body’s side swage line to accentuate the feature.

The second example, serving as the first production series model, was a cabriolet with chassis number 1611SA. It premiered at the Brussels Salon in January 1960 and subsequently appeared at the New York Show a few weeks later. The 400 SA Cabriolet shared a similar overall shape with the 250 GT Cabriolet of that year.

Ferrari 400 Superamerica Technical Specifications

Year of Manufacture – 1960

type front, longitudinal 60° V12
bore/stroke 77 x 71 mm
unitary displacement 330.62 cc
total displacement 3967.44 cc
compression ratio 8.8 : 1
maximum power 250 kW (340 hp) at 7000 rpm
power per litre 86 hp/l
maximum torque
valve actuation single overhead camshaft per bank, two valves per cylinder
fuel feed three Weber 46 DCF/3 carburettors
ignition single spark plug per cylinder, two coils
lubrication wet sump
clutch single-plate
frame tubular steel
front suspension independent, unequal-length wishbones, coil springs, telescopic shock absorbers, anti-roll bar
rear suspension live axle, twin radius arms, semi-elliptic springs, co-axial springs and telescopic shock absorbers
brakes discs
transmission 4-speed + overdrive + reverse
steering worm and sector
fuel tank capacity 120 litres
front tyres 6.50 x 15
rear tyres 6.50 x 15
type two-seater coupé, cabriolet
wheelbase 2420 mm
front track 1359 mm
rear track 1350 mm
weight 1250 kg (dry, coupé)
top speed 265 km/h
acceleration 0-100 km/h
0-400 m
0-1000 m

Ferrari 400 Superamerica Servicing