The challenging yet rewarding driving experience endeared the V12 Ferrari to Leno.
Even though Jay Leno has a hard stance against owning a Ferrari, it is clear that he still has an appreciation for the iconic Italian supercar manufacturer. This time around, he shows his appreciation for the sleek and stellar 2001 Ferrari 550 Barchetta finished in Argento Nurburgring Silver. The 399th model of the 488 cars featured here is owned by Doug Cohen who previously let Leno drive his scarce Bizzarrini 5300 GT Strada.
Since taking delivery of the car seven years ago, Cohen confirms that he has put roughly 10,000 miles on the car which is quite a substantial distance to be covered by a car that belongs to a presumably large collection. Cohen states that the purchase was a good decision as the car lived up to his expectations. Leno echoes this by stating that this generation of Ferrari was the most impressionable for him.
The main reason for this claim is because of the F133 A/C naturally aspirated 5.5-liter V12 that sits under the lengthy hood. By today's standards, this powertrain's output of 478 horsepower (485 PS) and 420 lb-ft of torque is still impressive, despite it being close to half than that of the Ferrari 812 Superfast. This is delivered to the rear wheels exclusively via a gated six-speed manual transmission.
The key feature of the Barchetta was its manually folding roof. Although they don't show how the feature works, Cohen explains that it is a pain to cover the top so he leaves it off most of the time. However, with a large trunk and generous interior space, it's apparently a pretty practical car that has been used for weekend getaways.
While behind the wheel, Leno explains to Cohen that the Ferrari SF90 Stradale which he had on the show not too long ago has more impressive performance characteristics, but he much rather enjoys being behind the wheel of this almost retro open-top GT. The reason for this is that it is a more challenging and engaging car to drive both at both high and low speeds.
At the moment, the 550 Maranello and Barchetta are models that don't get a lot of attention in the classic scene compared to the likes of the Ferrari F50, for obvious reasons. Last year's auction of Richard Hammond's old hard-top model proved that the range may be slightly undervalued. In his closing statements, however, Cohen states that this is starting to change because it is one of the very few front-engine V12 products you can buy with a gated six-speed shifter from this era.