The front-engine setup returns after a 23-year absence.
Unlike the legendary Ferrari Testarossa, its V12 successor, the 550 Maranello, had its V12 placed up front, as opposed to mid-ship. This marked a return to the classic Ferrari GT car setup, and it’s remained this way ever since. The 550 Maranello, one of the first completely new Ferraris under the controlling eye of CEO Luca di Montezemolo, hit the market in 1996 and remained on sale until 2001. During those six years, this V12 grand tourer sold quite well, and it also marked a definite improvement in overall build quality and a greater push towards luxury.
Under that long hood lies a naturally aspirated 5.5-liter V12 with 478 hp and 419 lb-ft of torque, with all power directed to the rear wheels through a six-speed manual, the sole transmission offering. Nice. Its performance capabilities were also quite admirable, sprinting from 0-60 mph in 4.2 seconds.
Along with the hardtop coupe, Ferrari later launched the 550 Barchetta, a real roadster that didn’t even come with a top. If you got stuck driving in the rain, well, you likely had a problem. Although Ferrari did offer all 448 owners with a soft top, it was really more of temporary piece because it wasn’t recommended to be used above 70 mph, and that’s obviously no fun for Ferrari owners. And speaking of owners, Harry Metcalfe is back with a new episode of his fantastic Harry’s Garage series. This time he profiles, as you can probably guess, his 550 Maranello. He’s had quite a history with this particular Ferrari as over the years he’s driven three of them more than 50,000 miles.