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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
84995 155000 GBP
  • FERRARI 550 Maranello

    £99,999 £99,999

    Type: Used Year: 1997 Make: FERRARI Model: 550 Trim: Maranello Body: Coupe Trans: Manual Mileage: 14000 Engine Size: Ext Color: Red

    • Mileage: 14000 mi
    For sale
    £99,999 £99,999
    Kahn Automobiles
    01270869747 View contact number
  • 2001 Ferrari 550 Barchetta Pininfarina


    18" Split Rims, Large Racing Seats In Nero With Carbon Fibre Backing, Becker 6 Disc Changer, Nero Carpets, Fully Ferrari Classiche Certified, Matching Unused 2 Open Face Ferrari Helmets, Convertible Top, Tyre Pump Kit, Tool Kit, Recently Serviced, Previously Owned By A Director Of Ferrari, 1 Owner From New, Number 140 Of 448 Cars Worldwide, Low Mileage, Fastidiously Maintained, UK Registered, Great Investment, Impeccable World Class Example! Carbon Fibre Instrument Cluster, Carbon Fibre Centre Console, Carbon Fibre Gear Knob, Carbon Fibre Door Sills, Leather & Carbon Fibre Steering Wheel, Scuderia Shields.

    • Mileage: 541 mi
    For sale
  • 1998 Ferrari 550 Maranello

    $155,000(£0) $155,000(£0)

    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
    $155,000(£0) $155,000(£0)

    £154,995 £154,995

    Finished in Nero Daytona with a Crema leather interior and Nero piping. It has the following standard features: •18" 5 spoke alloy wheels •Remote central locking •Red brake callipers •Scuderia wing shields •Becker Ferrari CD radio system​;;This particular car has only covered 21k miles and has just had a major service at Ferrari including cam belt replacement. Mechanically it is in superb condition. This car has also received a Paint Correction detail from Cambridge Autogleam prior to entering the showroom.;;To arrange an appointment to view this car, please call the Showroom: 01223 755 911 or 07738 997 911. Viewing By Appointment.

    • Mileage: 21000 mi
    For sale
    £154,995 £154,995
  • 1999 Ferrari 550 Maranello LHD

    £115,000 £115,000

    This beautiful Ferrari 550 Maranello was originally delivered to Germany in 1999, and finished in Argento Silver with Black interior. Since then it has only covered 29,000 miles and has a very well documented service history. The 550 is one of the last great V12 Ferraris and with a manual gearbox, this really is a fabulous Grand Touring car. Complete with spare keys, in great condition and ready to be used and enjoyed.

    For sale
    £115,000 £115,000
  • Ferrari 550 Maranello 2000 Blu Pozzi 67.000 km


    Since 1973, when the traditional front-engined 365 GTB/4 Daytona had been replaced by the mid-engined Berlinetta Boxer, Ferrari's top-of-the-line 12-cylinder 2-seater model had used a mid-mounted 180° V12 flat engine. The Berlinetta Boxer had later been developed into the Testarossa, whose last evolution was the 1994 F512 M. Under the presidency of Luca Cordero di Montezemolo, who took office in 1991, the F512 M replacement was developed as a traditional front-engined V12 grand tourer. After a 30 months of development, the Ferrari 550 Maranello was presented in July 1996 at the Nürburgring circuit in Germany. Pininfarina executed both the exterior and interior design. Frame and main engine components were shared with the 2+2 Ferrari 456, although at 2,500 mm the 550's wheelbase was 100 mm shorter. The car used a transaxle layout, with the 6-speed manual gearbox located at the back, in-line with the driven wheels. The model number refers to total engine displacement (5.5 litres) and the model name Maranello refers to the town where the Ferrari headquarters are located. The engine is a 5.5 litre V12 with 4 valves per cylinder with dual overhead cams and variable length intake manifol

    For sale
    +31 0252 218 980 View contact number
    +31 0252 218 980 View contact number
  • Ferrari 550 Maranello Red '97

    €107,500(£0) €107,500(£0)

    Specification: Body : length/width/height – cm (in) : 455/194/128 (179/76.4/40.4); wheelbase : 250 cm (98.5 in); weight : 1645 kg (3631 lbs). Engine : V12 5474 cc (334 cid), front-mounted; 6 speed manual, rear wheel drive; Power : 485 bhp @ 7000 rpm. Top speed : 314 km/h (195 mph). >>>>> Oldtimerfarm specializes in consignment sales of vintage and collection cars and we are proud to present you this car. Oldtimerfarm is located in Belgium, 9880 Aalter, Steenweg op Deinze 51C, where this car is in our showroom. We are open from Tuesday to Saturday 10-17h (also without appointment). We are closed on Sundays and Mondays. Mondays on appointment only. Make sure you scroll down to look at the extensive photo report (100 pictures). Of course, a more detailed description can be obtained by telephone. Contact us: Xavier: 0032 472 40 1338 (NL, FR, DE, EN, IT) info@oldtimerfarm.be Olivier: 0032 473 11 7300 (NL, FR, DE, EN) olivier@oldtimerfarm.be Oldtimerfarm from Aalter would also like to sell your classic car or car collection. For more information, please contact Xavier. Exhibitions where you can find us: Pictures of the car:

    • Year: 1997
    For sale
    €107,500(£0) €107,500(£0)
  • Ferrari 550 Maranello

    £114,950 £114,950

    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 Rosso Corsa with black (Nero) hide and black carpets. It has air-conditioning, electric windows and electrically-adjustable seats. This Ferrari has been known to Foskers since 2009, with 38,275 miles now on the odometer. The car is supplied with its original leather toolkit case, books and owner’s wallet. Ferrari’s 550 Maranello is a wonderful GT car. Four-wheel independent suspension affords impressive ride comfort, while plentiful luggage space and a large 114-litre fuel tank make it a practical choice for longer journeys. These cars are becoming more sought-after every week, so call us now while we still have this lovely example for sale. For more information, or to arrange an appointment, please contact our sales team on 01474 874555.

    • Year: 1997
    • Mileage: 38275 mi
    • Engine size: 5.5
    For sale
    £114,950 £114,950