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Coachwork by Pininfarina
Formerly the Property of Dieter Holterbosch. The 1965 Chicago Auto Show Car
The 500 Superfast At the 1964 Geneva Auto Show, Ferrari debuted the latest evolution of its traditional, top-of-the-range grand touring car – the 500 Superfast.
The projected owner of the new car was likely to already have a stable of Ferraris at his disposal for racing or for exciting, on-road adventures. The Superfast, however, was a car designed to cross continents in great speed, comfort, and style: a luxurious gran turismo with the soul and character of the firm’s racing cars that, at the time, were the dominant force in Formula 1 and sports car racing.
Displacing five liters, the single-overhead cam engine was unique to the Superfast and produced an even 400 bhp, enough to motivate the lavish coupe to a claimed top speed of 280 km/h; by comparison, the contemporary 275 GTB was capable of just 258 km/h. Even at these extraordinary speeds, the Superfast was utterly refined, with well-spaced gear ratios, powerful Dunlop disc brakes, and a relatively long wheelbase.
The standardized coachwork of the 500 Superfast – if one can refer to the limited run of 36 cars as “standardized” – emphasized refinement and consistency over the ostentatious customization and individuality that typified the previous 410 and 400 Superamericas. Still, because of the enormous expense and intricate detail work, Ferrari completed only one or two examples each month. All 36 of the 500 Superfasts were numbered in the odd chassis number sequence reserved for road cars and were designated by an SF suffix. Significantly, the 500 Superfast series was the last to carry chassis number suffix letters.
The Pininfarina design was an evolution of the earlier “Aerodinamico” coupes mounted on the 400 SA chassis. The bodywork featured elegant proportions, a large greenhouse, graceful, fluid lines, and a functional Kammstyle tail, reminiscent of Ferrari’s racing cars. Inside, the lucky occupants found a sumptuous interior, replete with adjustable seats upholstered in Connolly leather, a spacious luggage platform, a fluted headliner, teak veneer, a deluxe radio, and a spread of gauges to monitor the magnificent 12 cylinder.
Commensurate with its staggering performance and exclusivity, the price of a Superfast was twice that of a 275 GTB and was nearly the equivalent of a 250 LM Competition Berlinetta. In a broader context, for the price of a single Superfast, one could have bought two new Rolls-Royce or nearly six Jaguar E-Types.
Original customers included longtime Ferrari clients, such as Peter Sellers, Barbara Hutton, Lord Hanson, Gunter Sachs, John von Neumann, Colonel R.J. Hoare, and Prince Sadruddin Aga Khan. The Shah of Iran bought two Superfasts in a span of just four months.
This Car The history of this 500 Superfast begins on March 28, 1964, when chassis 5985 entered the Carrozzeria Pininfarina plant in Torino. Assigned Pininfarina job number 99585 and completed on December 23, 1964, this Ferrari was the sixth 500 Superfast built.
Consistent with its early build date, 5985 was equipped with the subtle 11-slot fender vents, floor-hinged pedals, and a four-speed synchromesh gearbox with a mechanical clutch and electronically operated overdrive. Originally, this rare coachbuilt Ferrari was finished in Blu Scuro (dark blue) with Arancia (orange) leather upholstery, making it the only example specified in this attractive color scheme.
In January 1965, 5985 was delivered to official North American importer Luigi Chinetti Motors, Inc. in New York. Between February 20th and 28th, Chinetti presented the ultra-exclusive Ferrari at the 57th Annual Chicago Auto Show held at McCormick Place. As the second 500 Superfast to arrive stateside, 5985 must have been an exciting preview for Ferrari enthusiasts. Only one other 500 Superfast was ever displayed at a major US auto show, 8299, which served as the 1966 New York Motor Show car.
After the Chicago debut, the 500 Superfast was sold to its first owner, Heineken importer Dieter Holterbosch of New York. A pioneering American collector, Mr. Holterbosch built an exceptional stable of automobiles, with a focus on the finest racing machines. Over the years, he owned a Bugatti Type 57 Tank, a Type 59 Grand Prix, a Mercedes-Benz W154, and a Duesenberg Model J Walker-La Grande Roadster. Post-war models were also well represented, with several Maseratis (a Birdcage and a 450 S), Ferraris (a 340 MM and a 375 Indianapolis), and an ex-works Lotus Eleven.
After a brief period, Mr. Holterbosch returned the Ferrari to Luigi Chinetti Motors and it was sold to Judge Samuel Simon Leibowitz, a successful criminal defense attorney living in Glen Cove, New York. An early supporter of Luigi Chinetti, Judge Leibowitz is associated with several important Ferraris including a competitionprepared 250 GT LWB California Spider and an alloy-bodied 275 GTB.
In 1966, Dr. John L. Brady of Goodrich, Michigan, acquired the 500 Superfast from a seller in Grosse Pointe. Over the next few years the 500 Superfast was driven minimally and, when an engine noise developed in 1973, it was put away in Dr. Brady’s climatecontrolled garage.
In the late 1990s, following approximately two decades of static storage, Dr. Brady’s Superfast underwent a sympathetic re-commissioning. Around this time, the Superfast was sent to noted Ferrari mechanic Terry Myr of Port Huron, Michigan, for a complete engine rebuild and additional attention to the braking and fuel systems. According to a small ledger, approximately $50,000 was spent returning the Ferrari to its former splendor.
Since being displayed at the Chicago Auto Show in 1965, 5985 has made only one other public appearance. In August 2002, Dr. Brady was invited to display his prized Ferrari at the Concours-Italian Style held at the Edsel & Eleanor Ford House on Lake St. Clair in Grosse Pointe, Michigan.
After 47 years in the care of one owner, 5985 has re-emerged from hiding. As a result of its prolonged period of storage and minimal use since a mechanical restoration, the odometer displays just over 13,500 miles. Surely, this 500 Superfast is among the lowest-mileage examples extant.
The Ferrari’s lovely condition is another happy result of its long-term ownership. The beautifully preserved Arancia leather upholstery and handsome wood-grain trim contribute to one of the most appealing unrestored Ferrari interiors imaginable. At some point, quite possibly before Dr. Brady’s purchase, the Ferrari was refinished in the present silver metallic shade. The finish works well with the clean lines of the car and serves as a nice complement to the lightly patinated interior. Further contributing to the Ferrari’s superb presentation are period-correct Pirelli CA72 tires and the inclusion of a tool roll.
On a recent outing, the Superfast performed beautifully with the characteristic feel that can only be found in a low-mileage, fundamentally unrestored car. Immensely powerful and longlegged, this 500 Superfast would be an ideal classic Ferrari for the collector in search of a comfortable, elegant, and truly fast grand touring car.
Once the darling of the 1960s jet set, the 500 Superfast has long been admired for its unrivalled touring capabilities, sophisticated mid-century styling, and inherent exclusivity. Of the limited supply remaining – just 34 examples – most are found in the finest collections or in the hands of long-term owners.
Presented here is an exceptionally rare opportunity to acquire what must be the last undiscovered example of the legendary 500 Superfast – a wonderfully original, low-mileage car that has been virtually unknown to the Ferrari community since the mid-1960s.
With 5985, the new owner will be acquiring a coachbuilt Ferrari of the very highest order.