In the early 90’s Ferrari was not the company we know today. After the death of Enzo Ferrari, the company struggled greatly with making a financial profit from their road cars as well as winning races with their Formula One cars. In November 1991 Luca Montezemolo was appointed as President of Ferrari and everything began to change. Albeit several years after his Presidency began, the 550 Barchetta was an embodiment of that change. The newly designed, front-mounted V12 positioned under a long swooping hood helped redefine the public perception of the Italian manufacturer, solidifying Ferrari road cars back in the history books as the true Gentlemen’s Express.
What is there not to love about a Ferrari interior? Elegant hand-stitched leather, tasteful use of badging and logos along with a perfect blend of luxury and functionality. The 550 Barchetta does an excellent job of providing the optimal driving experience while falling into a production time-frame that pre-dates a lot of unnecessary features. The gauge clusters are easily visible and keep the driver well informed. The electronically adjustable seats look timeless in their appearance while offering the driver an excellent driving position, long-distance comfort and stability for those hard turns. While the cabin is spacious, all the controls are easily within reach and simple to understand. The cherry on the cake is the iconic gated shifter. Machined to perfection, it slides into position like a bolt-action rifle with a deeply satisfying and precise “click”, a very inviting and addictive sensation.
Although it was very different from the cars they were making at the time, the 550 Barchetta has all the design cues of a classic Ferrari. Handling is excellent due in part to the efforts to reduce unsprung weight. Magnesium Alloy Wheels, drill ventilated disc brakes and aluminum brake callipers all contribute to this. The low hood provides an excellent view from the cockpit. While the 550 lacks aerodynamic technology by today's standards, the clean minimalist exterior is actually quite slippery in the wind tunnel, making an easier time accelerating through the top end of the speedometer. True to its name the Barchetta has no convertible roof in sight, instead the factory did provide a cloth soft top, but it was intended only for temporary use to protect the interior from rain as using the top above 70 mph (113 km/h) was not deemed safe. A large hood scoop helps the engine breathe a little easier while a gorgeous set of hips on the posterior not only look fantastic but the wide stance provides great stability and traction in the turns.
Under the elongated hood lies a masterfully presented engine. No silly plastic covers here, only beautifully adorned intake covers, exquisite welding and assembly. This beautiful 5.5L V12 engine produces 479hp and 419lb/ft of torque. It's able to accelerate from 0-60mph in 4.2 seconds and can reach a top speed of 199mph (320kph). Everything about this car not only looks but functions perfectly as it has only 5103 km ( 3171 mi) on the odometer and remains in showroom like condition.
When Luca Montezemolo took over the reins at Ferrari he made it his goal to revive the company by redefining it. Almost three decades later and the world is able to observe and appreciate his success. The 550 Barchetta is a manifestation of Montezemolo’s principles of success and this car speaks volumes to the ethos Ferrari has carried forward into the 21st century. Whether it's the first or tenth prancing pony in your stable, every Ferrari owner knows that the 550 Barchetta is a quintessential piece to any car collection. As this particular model only shows 5103 km ( 3171 mi) from new, presented in a stunning Giallo Modena paint with Nero Leather interior it is a flawless time capsule eagerly anticipating many long and winding roads for plenty of years to come.