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Saturday, June 4, 2011

Ferrari Builds One-Off Superamerica 45 Based on the 599, It Debuts at Villa d’Este

Here to put beauty and Ferrari droptop back in the same sentence, we present the Ferrari Superamerica 45, a one-off roadster based on the 599. Ferrari’s Special Projects division has specially fabricated the roadster for a wealthy client, Peter Kalikow, an American property mogul, and the Superamerica 45 will debut at this year’s Villa d’Este Concorso d’Eleganza in Italy. Although it exposes occupants to the blue sky, the Superamerica is not a ragtop, and it doesn’t have a folding hardtop either—instead, the Superamerica has a rotating hardtop. A movable roof panel is mounted on hinge along its trailing edge, allowing it to rotate 180 degrees backwards until it lies on the rear deck. Ferrari’s last Superamerica-badged roadster, the 575M, utilized this innovative and simple roof design as well. (We should add, to Ferrari’s eternal pain, that a tiny front-wheel drive Renault, called the Wind, uses a similar system.) While the 575M’s roof used an electrochromatic glass panel, the Superamerica 45’s roof is carbon fiber.

To accommodate the roof, a carbon fiber decklid has been fashioned, with a slightly different shape than what comes on the standard 599s. Flanking the new rear deck are two “flying buttresses” that are flatter and lower than the 599GTO’s—and set wider on the body—making the 45’s roofline seem lower and sleeker. One touch we’re quite fond of is the chromed egg crate grille, an homage to classic Ferraris. The Superamerica 45's wing mirrors, A-pillars, and door handles are finished in brushed aluminum, nicely matching the machined-face five-spoke wheels with body-color inserts. The whole ensemble is set off by a bright blue paint job, with a darker blue hue covering the roof, rocker panels, rear diffuser, front spoiler, and the carbon-fiber interior trim. The blue was more than just a pretty color for Kalikow; he also owns a 1961 Ferrari 400 Superamerica in the same shade.

While we’d imagine the right number on a check would convince Ferrari’s Special Projects team to build another Superamerica 45, potential customers will probably be satisfied with the production 599 roadster, debuting at this August’s Pebble Beach show. That means two new open-top Ferraris will be introduced this summer. We can’t wait!

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