Ferrari America is a series of top-end Ferrari models built in the 1950s and 1960s. They were large touring cars with the largest V12 engines and often had custom bodywork. All America models used a live axle in the rear, were front-engined, and had worm and sector steering.
The America series was based on a series of concept cars which bore the Superfast name. Two of the series, the 400 and the 410, were called Superamerica. The final member of the America production family was called the 500 Superfast. The series also includes the 365 California.
The 330 America shared the outgoing 250 GTE's chassis but not its engine, being powered by the new Type 209, 300 hp (220 kW) at 6600 rpm, 4.0 L engine.
50 330 Americas were built, one of which was buried in 1977 in a San Antonio cemetery with its owner, Sandra West, at her request.
The first America cars were the 340, produced between 1950 and 1952. Using the new Lampredi V12 developed for Formula One racing, the 340 America could produce over 200 PS (147 kW; 197 hp). Only 23 copies were built: 11 by Vignale, eight by Touring, and four by Ghia.
The 340 America was replaced by its larger-engined brother, the 375 America.
Only 6 made: Vignale Cabriolet (designed by Giovanni Michelotti), 2 Pinin Farina Cabriolets and 3 Pinin Farina Coupes. Using same Lampredi-designed engine as in 340 America with different carburettor air filter arrangement. Both 340/342 Americas used even chassis numbering of a race cars, while 375 America and later used odd chassis numbering of a road cars. Black Pinin Farina Cabriolet was owned by King Leopold III of Belgium.
The 1966 365 California was a stepchild model. It used the America's chassis, with its 2650 mm wheelbase and live axle rear suspension, but had the 4.4 L Colombo V12 from the other 365 cars. Just 14 of the open roadsters were built, including two in right hand drive; production ended in 1967.
Another Pinin Farina and Vignale car, the 375 used the new 4.5 L Lampredi engine with up to 300 PS (221 kW; 296 hp). The 340 and 375 were expensive and exclusive - only about 40 were built from late 1951 through 1955.
375 MM "Ingrid Bergman"
Carrozzeria Scaglietti was commissioned by director Roberto Rossellini to build a one-off version of the 375 MM with custom bodywork for his wife, actress Ingrid Bergman. This design later became the inspiration for the car which would be named after Scaglietti himself, the Ferrari 612. The colour chosen for the vehicle was not available with other Ferrari models. It was later made available for all production Ferraris under the name "Grigio Ingrid."
The 400 Superamerica had a smaller 4.0 L Colombo engine, but produced as much power as its predecessor. It debuted in 1959 as 410 production ended, and was available as a coupe, spider, or cabriolet with custom Pinin Farina bodywork. Four-wheel disc brakes were a new addition. 47 Ferrari 400s had been built when the 400 stepped aside in 1964.
As if the custom, low-volume America was not fast enough, Ferrari produced another line of America cars, beginning with the 1955 410 Superamerica. The engine was now up to 5.0 L with 340 PS (250 kW; 335 hp) available. A 1957 Superamerica III had triple Weber carburetors for even more power.
Each 410 Superamerica had custom bodywork, with a few by Boano and Ghia but most by Ferrari stalwart, Pinin Farina. The price was extremely high — at US$16,800, the 410 Superamerica offered at the New York Auto Show by importer Luigi Chinetti was more than twice as expensive as the Mercedes-Benz 300SL "Gullwing" exhibited by Max Hoffman. Just 35 were built when the series ended in 1959.
The end of the top-line America series was the 1964 500 Superfast. Early in development, and even into production, these cars were to be called "Superamericas", but the decision was made at the last moment to use "Superfast" instead. The engine was a 5.0 L Ferrari Colombo V12 engine, with 400 PS (294 kW; 395 hp) available, now pushing the car to 275 km/h (171 mph). The engine had the same dimensions as the Lampredi "long-block" engines of the 410 Superamerica. The chassis was based on the contemporary 330 GT 2+2, and bodywork was again done by Pininfarina. 37 cars were made to 1966, including 12 "series II" models with an updated 5-speed transmission. Only coupes were made and no Superfast roadsters were available.
The 365 California replaced the 500 Superfast for 1966. It was the first 365 model, with its 4.4 L (4390 cc/267 in³) V12 based on the 330's 4.0 L Colombo unit but with an 81 mm bore. The 365 California used the same chassis as the 500 Superfast but with an evolutionary cabriolet body by Pininfarina. Debuting at the Geneva Motor Show in 1966, just 14 examples were produced (including 2 in right hand drive) before production ended in 1967. Whilst the prototype was built on a 330 GT 2+2 type 571 chassis, production cars featured type 598 chassis. Chassis' were sent to Pininfarina's Grugliasco plant to be bodied and trimmed which were later returned to Ferrari for fitment of the mechanical components. It was presented at the 1966 Geneva Salon.