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Ferrari 550 Maranello: buying guide and review (1996-2001)

Ferrari 550 Maranello: buying guide and review (1996-2001) Classic and Performance Car
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In 1996, Ferrari made what many considered to be a controversial U-turn in the development of its top of the range GT model, the 550 Maranello. For years, since the introduction of the 365BB in 1971, Ferrari had gone down the path of mounting its 90-degree V12 ‘boxer’ engine behind the cabin, for much better dynamics and weight distribution. 
 
Following on from the Boxer was the Testarossa, the 512 TR and F512 M, all sticking to the mid-engined layout. For 1996’s 550 Maranello however, it was back to the formula that worked so well for the Daytona – A front-mounted V12, driving the rear wheels.
 
This brought with it new challenges for the company, having to work hard to manage traction and keep the handling balanced. For the company, the gamble well and truly paid off, with the 550 surpassing its predecessors in almost every measurable way. It could lap the Fiorano circuit 3.2 seconds faster than an F512M, and perhaps even more impressively, 2.2 seconds faster than the much more focused F355. 
 
All of this came about thanks to a huge shift in the company’s thinking, brought about by a new company boss, Luca Di Montezemolo. This new blood in the company wanted to bring about change, that would not only allow people to actually get out and enjoy their Ferraris more, but also conjure up images of Ferrari GT cars of old. 
 
Contemporary customers and road testers heaped praise on the car at launch, and thanks to the newly designed 478bhp 5.5-litre V12 driving the rear wheels, there wasn’t much to complain about. The fantastic powertrain combined with comfortable seats and a decent amount of space to make an absolutely brilliant grand tourer.
 
Today, the draw of a manual gearbox and well weighted steering, two features that are becoming harder to find in modern day sports cars, round off a desirable package.
 
Which one to buy?
 
Ferrari produced a total of 3083 550 Maranellos between 1996 and 2001, with a further 448 Barchettas rolling off the production line in 2000. The six-speed manual gearbox was the only transmission option, and few changes were made during the six-year production run. 
 
Options were mostly limited to exterior and interior colour preferences, but you also have a choice between left- and right-hand drive models. Prices are influenced considerably by which side of the dashboard the steering wheel is located, almost as much as condition. 
 
A comprehensive service history is important as even cars with low mileages suffer when not maintained regularly. Specialists can provide good servicing for these cars as they generally have extensive experience with older models so do not be put off if the stamps in the service book are not all from the main dealer.
 
Some were even converted into track cars, and while not initially intended for this purpose, the 550 had some moderate motorsport success in the FIA GT championships.

Perhaps the jewel in the crown of the 550 model range is the 550 Barchetta, which was first unveiled at the 2000 Paris motor show. While not a practical convertible, thanks to the fact that no usable roof was offered besides from a small rain cover, just 448 were ever built. 

Performance and specs
 
Engine 5473cc, 48-valve DOHC V12 
Power 478bhp @ 7000rpm 
Torque 419lb ft @ 5000rpm
Top speed 199mph 
0-62mph 4.4 seconds 
Fuel consumption 16-18mpg 
Gearbox Six-speed manual
 
Dimensions and weight
 
Wheelbase 2500mm
Length 4550mm
Width 1935mm
Height 1258mm
Weight 1690kg
 
Common problems
 
• Don’t let the cliché of the unreliable Italian sports car deter you from owning one of these modern classics. The 550 is a reliable car, spares and parts are still available, and while servicing and maintenance costs are very expensive, there’s not too much to worry about.
 
• Engines are strong and have no specific issues. The engine mounts tend to sag, but replacing these with the 575M ones resolves the issue.
 
• Cam seals can weep oil, which can end up on the timing belt. This is usually remedied during a service, but is worth checking.
 
• Tubi exhausts are a desirable option, improving the sound and weighing less than the original items.
 
• Radiator hoses can perish, especially the ones under the intake manifolds. Updated replacement items are available.
 
• Upper A-arm bushes can fail prematurely, causing a metallic rattling sound over rough roads.
 
• On cars built between 1997 and 1999 the original Magnesium wheels were recalled due to the wheel bolt inserts cracking. They were replaced with aluminium wheels by Ferrari and, you should check that this was carried out. Magnesium wheels had solid spokes when viewed on the inside, while the aluminium replacements were hollow.
 
• Electronics can cause issues and care should be taken when charging the battery to avoid frying the various ECUs.
 
• Gearboxes are robust and a pleasure to use, but the early cars do however have some issues selecting first, third and fifth gears. This was remedied in later years and should be checked as restoration is expensive.
 
• If the steering rack has excessive play in it, a rebuild may be on the cards. They usually last 30,000 miles, so check that this has been done at some point.
 
• Rust is not a big issue, however keep an eye out for corrosion of the aluminium body panels which can show up over time.
 
• The 550 has quite an appetite for tyres so check the wear pattern on the inside edge on both axles as the negative camber wears this section out first.
 
• Regular servicing costs are not for the faint hearted. Cambelt changes are required every three years, lambda sensors at around the 45,000 mile mark, so check that these have been done recently.
 
Model history
 
1996: Ferrari 550 launched as successor to mid-engined 512TR
2000: Limited edition 550 Barchetta introduced, with 448 units sold. Ferrari Rossa concept car based on 550 shown at Turin Motor Show, to celebrate 70 years of Pininfarina.
2001: Last 550 Maranello rolls off the production line with 3083 built
2009: In a collaboration with Zagato, 5 units of the special edition Ferrari roadster GTZ were made available.
 
Owners clubs, forums and websites
 
• www.ferrariownersclub.co.uk – UK-based Ferrari owners club and forum
• independentferrariservicing.co.uk – Ferrari servicing specialists
 
Summary and prices
 
Prices of more modern classics have been on the rise in recent years, and the Ferrari 550 is no exception. A good example will set you back around £100,000, and even a high mileage car can still command upwards of £70,000. The Barchettas are another step up and delivery mileage models are now trading around the £350,000 mark. 
 
A solid service history is key, as patchy maintenance records can lead to big bills further down the road. Once you’ve found the right one though, the 550 should provide you with years of exciting motoring. As a two seater grand tourer, at home on the autobahn and slicing up a mountain pass, there are few more compelling options out there.
 
Its combination of howling V12 and satisfying manual shifter add to the immersive driving experience. The vice free, predictable handling is a nice change from twitchy on the limit mid-engined setups but with these cars appreciating fast, better get one before they spiral out of reach.
 
Words: John Tallodi
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Last updated: 15th Aug 2016
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Ferrari 550 cars for sale

15 Search results
Ferrari 550
105000 375000 GBP
  • Ferrari 550 Maranello

    £132,995 £132,995

    Today the car presents in a remarkable condition, both the interior and exterior reflect the fastidious nature in which it has been cared for from new. This 550 is accompanied by its spare key and fob, all original books, tools and tyre pump. Located in our showrooms just outside London and available to view immediately this is a wonderful example of Ferraris last purpose built Manual V12 GT.

    For sale
    DK Engineering
    01923 287 687 VIEW CONTACT NUMBER
  • 2001 Ferrari 550 Barchetta

    POA POA

    2001 Ferrari 550 Barchetta VIN: ZFFZR52A810124357 Motor: 63868 Unveiled at the Paris Show in 2000, the 550 Barchetta Pininfarina was so named to commemorate the 70th anniversary of Ferrari's coachbuilder and stylist, Pininfarina. A strictly limited edition of just 448 numbered cars were built, with the last leaving the Maranello factory in December 2001. The 550 Barchetta Pininfarina was specifically designed to be reminiscent of legendary Ferrari road race stars of the likes of the 166 MM, the 250 GT California and the 365 GTS4 Daytona. The aim, in fact, was to create an open-top front-engined 12-cylinder with a retro feel to it. The 550 Barchetta Pininfarina was designed and developed to be a unique interpretation of Ferrari's purest and most extreme sports cars. It was a deliberate and provocative departure from the rest of the range, and as such, it was made available only as a limited edition of just 448. Each car was numbered and its number displayed on a special in-car plaque signed by Sergio Pininfarina. This car is number 379 of 448 made, and was originally sold at Ferrari of Central Florida in December of 2001 to Scott Rosen of Casselberry, Florida. The red Barchetta woul

    • Year: 2001
    For sale
  • 1998 Ferrari 550 Maranello

    $169,500(£135,413.55) $169,500(£135,413.55)

    1998 Ferrari 550 Maranello VIN: ZFFZR49A3W0113144 Black with Black Leather Introduced as the flagship of the Ferrari line in 1996, the Maranello replaced a long line of mid-engine cars that began with the Berlinetta Boxer and advanced to the Testarossa. Designed to capture the glory days of Ferrari’s legendary front-engine sports cars (most notably the 275GTG and 365 GTB/Daytona), the Maranello arrived to the eager public who welcomed it as a universally beautiful car. The Pininfarina styling evoked all the grace and muscularity of the legendary Ferraris without becoming overstated. The clean and beautifully proportioned body draped over the 485 hp V12 engine and 6-speed transaxle created a delightful harmony of power and grace. This particular Maranello is a low mile black on black example which is current on its major belt service, having had a full service and more in December of 2014 by F&M MotorSport (Los Angeles, California) less than 500 miles ago (at 13,648 miles). It is complete with books, tools, records, and is fitted with a Tubi exhaust system, which allows just a bit more performance from the already potent engine while delivering wonderful V12 sounds. This three-owner

    • Year: 1998
    • Mileage: 13919 mi
    For sale
  • 1997 Ferrari 550 Maranello

    $179,500(£143,402.55) $179,500(£143,402.55)

    1997 Ferrari 550 Maranello: 8k Miles and Major Service Just Completed This 1997 Ferrari 550 Maranello has just 8,858 original miles and is an excellent original example. Silver with black interior. Major service just completed with $10k invoice included in the sale. It runs and drives fantastic. The 550M is the ideal modern classic Ferrari with it's front engine V12 and 6-speed gearbox. Not to be missed at a bargain price of just $179,500

    • Year: 1997
    • Mileage: 8858 mi
    For sale
  • 1999 Ferrari 550 Maranello

    $105,000(£83,884.50) $105,000(£83,884.50)

    Exhilarating 1999 Ferrari 550 Maranello The 1999 Ferrari 550 Maranello is a gorgeous example and a fantastic driver with 49k miles. It comes finished in a rare and unique color combination, red with red and white interior. The car runs and drives excellent and has a clean carfax report. An excellent buy and a very collectible modern classic with lots of investment potential. This front engine V12 6-speed Ferrari is not to be missed. Price: $105,000

    • Year: 1999
    For sale
  • Ferrari 550 Maranello

    POA POA

    The Ferrari 550 Maranello was presented to the world at a grand launch event at Germany’s famous Nurburgring race track in 1996. It was more than 20 years since Ferrari had last produced a two-seat Grand Tourer (the last models of the 365 GTB/4 Daytona were built in 1973), but the 550 Maranello is certainly a worthy successor. Its looks are a world away from the wide, mid-engined F512M that preceded it, but the 550 is now rightly regarded as a Pininfarina classic. The 5.5-litre V12 first used in the 456 GT was revised by Ferrari’s engineers to produce 485 horsepower in the 550 Maranello, mated to a six-speed manual gearbox. Its performance remains staggering today: 0-62mph in 4.4 seconds, and a top speed of 199mph. This particular Ferrari 550 Maranello is finished in Tour De France blue with dark blue hide and Beige carpets. Quilted Fiorano parcel shelf and head lining, Modular three piece alloy wheels, air-conditioning, electric windows and electrically-adjustable seats. The file that accompanies this 550 Maranello includes a well-documented service history, showing this Ferrari to be known and maintained by Foskers, with 27,800 miles now on the odometer. The car is supplied with

    For sale
  • FERRARI 550 MARANELLO - GRIGIO TITANIO METALLIC

    POA POA

    Information 1998 – FERRARI 550 MARANELLO LHD (GRIGIO SILVER METALLIC) – 55,000 Miles Manual, LHD, Silver Coachwork, Full Leather Interior, Original Black Carpets, Fully Electric Seats, Electric Windows, Electric Mirrors, Climate Control, 18" Alloy wheels, Sony Upgraded Sound system, Sports Mode, ASR, Brass Steel Gated Gear Shifter, Full Ferrari Service History - Fully Documented Service History with a Recent Service, Original Tool Kit Interested In Vehicle Print Vehicle Details Back To Index

    • Year: 1997
    • Mileage: 55000 mi
    For sale
  • 1996 Ferrari 550 Maranello

    POA POA

    Introduced in 1996 the 550 Maranello is a true Pininfarina styled front-engined V12 Ferrari - raw power and performance. The Ferrari 550 is the descendant of the 275 GTS, and the 275 NART, 365 California and Daytona. The V12 dual overhead camshaft engine produces 485 horsepower, the car is comfortable and secure on the road at 300 kph; It sucks the doors off most of its competitors, and does it with style, grace and panache. The 550 Maranello was considered by Ferrari a suitable car to represent the Factory at the Le Mans Twenty-Four Hours and in international GT racing.

    • Year: 1996
    For sale
  • Ferrari 550 M

    POA POA

    Features : Splendid 550 with all his maintenance file . Complete with warranty books. Just done major service including Cam belts change to Pozzi Authorized dealer ship. Comment : Interesting Maranello Coming in this eéégant combo Blue Pozzi , tobacco leather.

    • Year: 2009
    • Mileage: 42946 mi
    For sale
  • Ferrari 550

    £375,000 £375,000

    Split Rims, Scuderia Shields, Red Alcantara Seat Centres, Carbon Fibre Gear Knob , Carbon Door Sills Romans International are proud to offer this 2002/02 Ferrari 550 Barchetta for sale presented in Rosso Corsa with Black Leather & Red Alcantara Inserts. This left hand drive version is number 222 of 448 cars that were built worldwide. A stunning ultra low mileage example which was originally part of an important Ferrari collection and was registered in the UK in February 2014. This 550 Barchetta has had the full Ferrari Classiche, a certificate of authenticity provided by Ferrari which all classic Ferrari's strive for confirming this as one of the best examples in the world today and carries great potential for future appreciation in value.EXTRAS:1 of 448 Cars Worldwide, Concours Condition, Ferrari Classiche, 2 Owners From New, Exceptionally Low Mileage, Great Investment!

    • Mileage: 490 mi
    • Engine size: 5474
    For sale
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