The history of the Ferrari 550


The Ferrari 550 Maranello and 550 Barchetta are 2-seat grand tourers built by Ferrari. Introduced in 1996, the 550 was an upmarket front-engined V12 coupe of the kind not seen since the Daytona. It shared its platform and 5.5 L (5474 cc) engine with the 2+2 456 (Engine Code: F133) but was positioned as the company's highest-end model. 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 of Maranello refers to the town where the Ferrari headquarters are located.
The demise that same year of the F512 M left the company with only the exotic F50 and V8 F355 as mid-engined models. Although the 550 was a softer GT model, it did take the place of the F512 M as the company's upmarket coupe, discounting the F50.
The 550 featured a luxurious and roomy interior. The boot was tall and wide, though not very deep, and could accept a full set of golf clubs or standard overnight bags. It also had performance to look up at, with a top speed at 323 km/h (201 mph) and a 0-100 km/h acceleration time of just 4.5 seconds.
The 550 Maranello is a front-engined car. The engine is a naturally aspirated V12 with 4 valves per cylinder, and dual overhead cams. It displaces 5474 cc (334 in) and produces 492 PS (485 hp, 357 kW) at 7000 rpm and 568.1 Nm (419 ftlbf) at 5000 rpm.
The 550 Maranello has a tubular steel frame chassis with light aluminum bodywork welded to it and 6-speed manual transmission. The steering is rack and pinion with variable power assist. The vented disc brakes are 330 mm (13.0 in) for the front and 310 mm (12.2 in) for the rear.
The 550 Maranello can accelerate to 60 mph (97 km/h) in 4.2 seconds and can reach 161 kilometres per hour (100 mph) in 10.5 seconds. The mile (0.4 km) time is 13.1 seconds and the top speed is 320.3 kilometers per hour (199.0 mph).
Ferrari introduced a convertible version of the 550 at the Paris Motor Show in 2000. This Barchetta was a true roadster with no real convertible top provided. The factory did provide a soft top, but it was intended only for temporary use as it was cautioned against using the top above 70 mph (110 km/h). A total of 448 Barchettas were produced, four more than initially planned due to concerns of superstition in the Japanese market. The 448 cars were preceded by 10 prototypes numbered P01P10 on their interior plaques. To an observer the prototypes and production cars are indistinguishable.
On October 28, 2009, Zagato and Ferrari revealed that they have been working on a drophead version of the GTZ to celebrate the 90th anniversary of the long collaboration between the two Italian establishments. The roadster GTZ is limited to five units and based on the 550 Barchetta Pininfarina.
Following the success of the 550-GTS, Ferrari would adapt the 575M for racing and offer it as a customer car for privateers. Some road legal Ferrari 550s would also be modified by small teams for racing, although these differed from the Prodrive-built 550-GTSs.

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