I am always astonishing myself. It’s the only thing that makes life worth living,” said Oscar Wilde. However, it isn’t easy to amaze, especially in an industry such as the automotive one. Yet, presenting the Superamerica, Ferrari did manage to astonish – and once more surprise – by creating a car that was highly original and innovative, combining the excellent performance of a 12-cylinder berlinetta with the versatility of a convertible.
The Superamerica used a highly advanced roof solution, being the first car in the world with a “Revochromic” roof. The main surface of the roof was made of an electrochemical glass panel allowing the driver to operate a dashboard control that could adjust the amount of light inside the car from 4 to 40%. The roof had another special feature too – designed by Fioravanti – using of a rolling mechanism for its opening. Made out of carbon fibre, it was very light, causing minimal variance in the centre of gravity between its closed and open configurations. The new roof concept, integrated with electrochromic glass technology applied to large glass surfaces, enabled the car to morph in seconds from coupè to convertible, adding the functional advantages of the coupè to the traditional advantages of open-top models. Ferrari first used the name Superamerica between 1956 and 1961. It marked a number of models, all strictly 12-cylinder and produced in limited series. This model was no exception.
Built on the base of the 575M Maranello, the Superamerica used what was then the latest development of the Ferrari 12-cylinder engine, boosted to 540 hp. The full integration of the roof opening system and the electrically actuated kinematics made the Superamerica the world’s fastest convertible, with a top speed of 320 km/h. The styling of the Ferrari Superamerica, entrusted to Pininfarina, made it possible to respect the balance of volumes typical of a Maranello 12-cylinder engine, while at the same time providing an original integration of the car’s most distinctive function: the “Revochromic” roof. This innovative component connected to the car body thanks to its two side fins that refer to Ferraris of the past and that, in the Superamerica, also serve the roll-bar function in synergy with the roof and windscreen.
The front view stood out thanks to the new look of the headlight covers and the air intake on the bonnet, both were aluminium in colour. The rear of the vehicle, with its new boot carrying an embossed Ferrari shield, was instead designed to highlight the muscular curves and lines, which were at the same time graceful and fascinating. The Superamerica’s exclusivity was also clear in the interior, with its detailed leatherwork and the use of carbon fibre for the roof controls, radio frame and the instrument panel. The entire interior was also visually redefined due to the brightness of the glass roof, which was achieved without compromising habitability and space.