Written by Eric Becker
From the big American V12s of the early 1900s to the 12-cylinder power plants residing under the hood of today’s modern machines, these glorious engines have been revered as more than just feats of engineering; in many cases they are respected as works of art. This is perhaps best illustrated by the dozen cylinders residing in the automotive masterpieces known as Ferraris.
It is hard to deny the appeal of a V12 at full throttle, especially when that music to every gearhead’s ears is emitting from a head-turning Ferrari. Exhibit A: Three very special Prancing Horses on offer during the Barrett-Jackson Online Only July 2020 Auction.
Ferrari made its name with front-engine V12 sports cars. The Ferrari 550 Maranello carried on that legacy when it was unveiled to the world in 1996. It was a return to the front-engine V12 Ferrari – the “Gentleman’s Express” and the ultimate in Ferrari’s Grand Touring catalog. A few years later the 550 evolved into the 575M. The M stood for “Modificato,” and the 575 boasted updated styling and improved performance. The engineers bored out the 550’s aluminum 65-degree V12 by one millimeter and also lengthened the stroke by one millimeter. The result was 508hp at over 7,000 rpm. The quad-cam dry-sump engine, with four valves per cylinder (48 valves total), propels the 575 to 202 mph, with a sprint to 60 mph in 4.2 seconds.
The beautiful 2004 Ferrari 575M Maranello (Lot #146) on offer features a rear-mounted 6-speed F1 electrohydraulic transaxle and limited-slip differential. At full throttle, that F1 gearbox can switch gears in 0.22 of a second ‒ a true carryover from the Luca Di Montezemolo and Michael Schumacher era of Ferrari’s history. The Grand Touring Ferrari sports a Pininfarina-designed body, with this example finished in Grigio Titanio. The Charcoal leather interior features power-adjustable Daytona-style seats. The 575M Maranello is the ultimate exotic for the open road or racetrack, combining decades of racing know-how with the comfort and poise of an executive sedan.
In 1992, at the 40th anniversary celebration of the Circuit of Spa-Francorchamps in Belgium, Ferrari chose to introduce its newest 4-seater Grand Touring car, the Ferrari 456 GT. Also designed by Pininfarina, the 456 combined the classic proportions of a front-engine Ferrari with contemporary touches, such as pop-up headlights. After a 6-year run Ferrari updated the 456 GT and introduced the 456M, or Modificato, for 1998. The update introduced several subtle changes to improve the overall driving experience. New seats were fitted, the dashboard revised, the hood scoops removed, and a slightly larger grille was fitted. The 456M also received a fixed undercarriage spoiler in place of the original motorized spoiler.
This 2001 Ferrari 456M GT (Lot #132) is finished in the seldom-seen and attractive color combination of Blu Porzi over a light blue leather interior with contrasting dark blue piping. It is fitted with brake calipers in aluminum and Scuderia Ferrari shields, as well as color-matched stitching and steering wheel. The 456M is the ultimate in analog Grand Touring, devoid of superfluous displays and unneeded screens. Best of all, it has a gated 6-speed manual transmission and is completely practical, yet it’s a V12 Ferrari ‒ a car designed for the driver and passenger to enjoy the open road.
In the 1980s the Prancing Horse left its mark on pop culture with the Testarossa, an all-new supercar that graduated with honors in the excess of the day. It was launched as a successor to the Ferrari 512 BB and shared some componentry. The Testarossa continued the use of the flat-12 layout. Power came from a 4.9-liter engine with red-painted cam covers; hence the name Testarossa, literally translating to “red head.” The DOHC 12-cylinder produces 385hp and 361 ft/lbs of torque routed through a rear-mounted 5-speed manual transaxle.
In its day it was one of the fastest cars available, capable of accelerating to 60 mph in 5.8 seconds, and on to a top speed of 171 mph. The Pininfarina-designed body was wide and low – and quickly became an icon of 1980s pop culture. The Testarossa was the poster child of the “Outrun” video game series and the ride of choice for Sonny Crockett and Rico Tubbs in the “Miami Vice” television series. It’s no wonder it became a feature on every teenage boy’s bedroom wall.
The iconic 1989 Ferrari Testarossa ready to cross the virtual block at the Online Only July 2020 Auction as Lot #166 is finished in black over a black leather interior, has 23,338 original miles, and is ready to “Outrun” anything that pulls alongside it.
For up-to-date information on these and other vehicles lined up for the Online Only July 2020 Auction, click HERE.