When Maranello discontinued the 365 GTB/4 Daytona in 1973, it also put an end to the traditional front-engined, two-seat Ferrari, replacing it with Berlinetta Boxer — a sports car that used a rear mid-engine layout. Though Ferrari kept offering front-engined grand tourers, the configuration wouldn’t return for the two-seater sports car until 1996.
With Luca di Montezemolo named president of the brand in 1991, the Italians began working on a front-engined replacement for the F512 M. The end result was the 550 Maranello, which went on sale in 1996 to become the first front-engined two-seat Ferrari in 23 years.
Like many Ferraris, the 550 name referred to the engine’s 5.5-liter displacement (in deciliters), while "Maranello" was added as a tribute to the company’s home town. The grand tourer was introduced at the Nurburgring track in Germany in July 1996 and was discontinued in 2001, after a production run that included 3,083 units.
The 550 Maranello was replaced by the 575M Maranello, an improved version with a larger engine.
The sports car also spawned a convertible — the 550 Barchetta — and two concept cars, the Rossa and the 550 GTZ. Although the Maranello was not intended for motorsport, some privateer teams modified it for various racing series, creating the GT and the GTS. The latter’s success prompted Ferrari to develop a race-spec version of the 575M.
Continue reading to learn more about the Ferrari 550 Maranello.
The idea of developing a unique Ferrari 550 GTZ begun when Yoshiyuki Hayashi, the famous Japanese collector, asked for a special body for his Ferrari 575M, in the style of the famous 250GTZ Berlinetta of 1956. When Zagato received his request they informed Ferrari of the project, and they considered it an ideal opportunity to celebrate that model’s 50th anniversary. This chain of events is what led to the creation of a Ferrari that harkens back to the 250GTZ with aFerrari 575 base. The car was great as a coupe model, but Zagato wanted to create a special roadster version, and so they did.
For this project Zagato chose to work with the 550 Barchetta. This model is powered by the same 5.5-liter V12 engine that develops 485 HP at 7,000rpm. The design of the inlet and exhaust systems is derived directly from that of Ferrari’s Formula 1 engines. After five months of intense work they obtained an amazing car featuring the Ferrari prancing horse on its bonnet and the ’Z’ of Zagato on its side.
The right-hand drive Barchetta Zagato ’N9’ features a combination of a dark gray exterior finish and cream leather interior, and has only 900 miles on the odometer. At a recent Bonhams auction in UK it was sold for £353,500 or around $550,000 at the current exchange rates.
We do not have the chance to talk about cool cars like the Ferrari 550 and the 575 Maranello every day, but today we want to present to you a Novitec Rosso tuning kit for both of them. So, if you drive one of the two models, you need to know that the tuner can improve both your car’s performance and aerodynamics.
The aerodynamic kit includes: a front bumper, side skirts, rear diffuser and rear wing (offered in reinforced fiber glass or carbon fiber), smoked rear lights and side markers. The exterior package is finished by 19" NF2 alloy wheels.
Under the hood, the tuner upgraded the engine’s electronic mapping and added a stainless steel sport exhaust system without flap-regulation. The result is an output of 533 hp. Top speed goes up to 223 mph.
The interior gets an aluminum pedal set, an ergonomic sport steering wheel, and seats for tall drivers in multiple leather color choices.
Ferrari 550 GTZ by Zagato
The Ferrari 550 Maranello came to be in 1996, when it replaced the F512M, the last iteration of the aging Testarossa. Not just a significant departure from its predecessor in terms of technology and design, the 550 Maranello also marked the beginning of a new era for the company’s grand tourer, putting an end to the mainstream mid-engine 12-cylinder Ferrari. The 550 Maranello had its V-12 mounted in front of the driver, a configuration that has been kept on the current F12berlinetta.
The 550 Maranello remained in production until 2001, but before it was discontinued, Ferrari launched the limited-edition Barchetta, a roadster designed by Pininfarina. The grand tourer was replaced by the 575M, which was essentially un upgrade that feature minor styling changes and a revised drivetrain. This version was built until 2006, when the completely redesigned 599 GTB Fiorano stepped in as the company’s flagship grand tourer.
However, two years after the 575M was discontinued, Ferrari unleashed a special-edition roadster based on the 550 Maranello. This happened in 2008, no fewer than seven years after the last 550 rolled off the assembly line. This special-edition goes by the name 550 GTZ, it was penned by Zagato, and it’s one of the most exclusive Ferraris ever built.
Continue reading to learn more about the 2008 Ferrari 550 GTZ Zagato.
All Ferraris are limited edition pieces, some more so than others. With only 448 produced, the 550 Barchetta Pininfarina is a very special car indeed. It is a salute to the 70th anniversary of the house that has styled more Ferraris than any other, the 50th anniversary of the two company’s first joint endeavour, and a celebration of the Scuderia Ferrari’s 2000 and 2001 World Championships for Formula 1 Constructors. With a shape and a name that harkens to the sports racers and legendary sports spiders of the 1960s, and all the technology of a modern Ferrari GT car, the 550 Barchetta Pininfarina is perhaps the ultimate expression of a sun-lover’s Italian automobile.