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Firmly placed in Ferrari's history as one of their finest modern-era big GTs, the 550 Maranello's combination of elegant lines and legendary front-mounted 12-cylinder engine, meant that these cars had the potential to become instant classics. Following in the footsteps and sharing the DNA of the 365 GTB/4 'Daytona', the 550 Maranello is inevitability compared to its forbear. Few front-engined Ferraris have quite justified that comparison quite like the 550 Maranello.
Styled by Pininfarina, like its illustrious predecessor, the 550 Maranello was similarly proportioned, adopting the classical combination of long bonnet, a small cabin and a truncated tail. Classic Ferrari styling cues include a bonnet air scoop and hot air outlets behind the front wheel-arches recalling the great Competizione Ferraris of the past, whilst the rear incorporates Ferrari's characteristic twin circular lights.
The heart of any Ferrari is its engine, and the 550 Maranello's 48-valve, 5.5-litre V12 develops 485bhp at 7,000rpm. The powertrain was housed in a tubular steel chassis, to which was attached aluminium coachwork, whilst the all-independent suspension incorporated dual-mode (normal/sports) damping, switch-selectable by the driver, which was complemented by speed-sensitive power-assisted steering.
The six-speed manual gearbox complements a slightly more even torque curve ensuring that the power delivery was a little less frenetic, whilst excellent weight distribution and delightful road manners make the 550 Maranello a truly refined driving machine, whilst still capable of almost 200 mph. With styling that is ageing particularly well, a high-quality cabin, generous storage and an enormous 100-litre-plus fuel tank, the 550 Maranello really is the consummate 'European Grand Tourer' in the true Ferrari mould.
Supplied by Al-Tayer Motors LLC, this left-hand-drive 550 entered the UK soon afterwards, and the history file shows that it has benefitted from a comprehensive service schedule with Ferrari main dealers and marque specialists. Nero is an unusual colour that suits the 550 profile well, and the Tan interior makes for a great combination. Having covered just 46,300 miles (79,494 km) this front-engined, V12, manual box Ferrari is the ultimate Grand Tourer.