The 550 Barchetta Pininfarina was designed to recall the glories of successful road racers of the past, such as the 166MM, and thoroughbred front-engined 12-cylinder Ferrari roadsters of the calibre of the 250GT California and 365GTS/4 Daytona. Ferrari has always created very special runs of cars, and the 550 Barchetta Pininfarina was developed with the aim of being a unique Ferrari – one that deliberately seeks to be more provocative and less rational than the rest of the range.’ – Ferrari.
The long association between Ferrari and Pininfarina has been responsible for the creation of some of the most sublime fusions of art and automotive technology, and to mark the world renowned Carrozzeria’s 70th Anniversary in 2000, Ferrari supremo Luca di Montezemolo invited Sergio Pininfarina to submit designs for a front-engined roadster embodying the spirit of past Maranello classics. Choosing the 550 Maranello coupé as the basis, the maestro proposed a return to the traditional barchetta style.
In Ferrari’s own words: ‘Functional and unadorned with a simple manual soft-top, the barchetta-style solution has enabled Ferrari’s engineers to offset the additional weight gained by reinforcing the chassis and fitting rear roll bars. Consequently the 550 Barchetta Pininfarina weighs no more than the 500 Maranello.’
The heart of any Ferrari is its engine, and the Barchetta Pininfarina’s 48-valve, 5.5-litre V12 is the same as that of the 550 Maranello, developing 485bhp at 7,000rpm. All main engine castings of this state-of-the-art power unit are in light alloy, the aluminium wet liners are Nikasil coated and the connecting rods are titanium alloy. The design of the inlet and exhaust systems is derived directly from that of Ferrari’s Formula 1 engines, providing the optimum balance between volumetric and combustion efficiency. Variable intake geometry helps increase both torque and maximum power as its manufacturer explains: ‘Ferrari’s patented system incorporates a third plenum in the intake manifold which varies the fluid dynamic characteristics. Air is taken in via 12 electro-pneumatic throttle valves which are governed by the engine’s CPU. This control ensures optimum performance at all engine speeds, guaranteeing excellent torque delivery throughout the rev range.’ One expects nothing less from Ferrari.
The production run was limited to just 448 cars, each individually numbered and carrying a plaque inside with its own serial number and Sergio Pininfarina’s signature. The result was an instant classic, with production reserved for a handful of faithful Ferraristi including the owner of this immaculate example, the 264th produced. Delivered new in 2001, the car was ordered to this particular specification – including special ‘yellow fly’ over black hide. Maintenance has included a full major Ferrari service in 2015 when the cam belts were changed. Complete with its original Ferrari Helmets, book packs and certificate of origin from Ferrari; the 550 Barchetta has hardly been driven since. Presented in effectively ‘as new’ condition, this most exclusive modern Ferrari is only being sold due to lack of use and restructuring of the owner’s collection.