Ferrari 550 Buying Guide
Offering a beguiling mix of performance and usability that makes it a desirable modern classic, here's what to look for when buying a Ferrari 550
• Project £40,000-50,000 • Good £60,000-80,000 • Concours £100,000-200,000 •
• Most expensive at auction: £400,500 (delivery mileage 550 Barchetta)
Running costs ★★
DIY Friendly ★★
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The Ferrari 550 Maranello arrived in 1996 as a replacement for the long-running mid-engined Testarossa/512TR range. With a return to a front-engine layout, handling predictability was improved, although at the expense of outright grip levels – a compromise that perhaps better suited its role as a long-distance tourer.
A number of chassis components were shared with the 2+2 456, but the 550 offered more power from its 5.5-litre V12 and possessed far tighter sporting characteristics too. A six-speed manual was the sole transmission option throughout, while the majority of the cars were coupés with a smaller batch of Barchettas being crafted near the end of the six-year production run.
The overall design and handling balance was spot on from the very beginning and very few changes were carried out until the updated 575 arrived in 2002. Build-quality too was decent throughout. Values are generally influenced more by which side the steering wheel is on rather than the overall condition of the vehicle.
Your AutoClassics Ferrari 550 inspection checklist
The 5.5-litre V12 remained unchanged throughout production. Engines are robust and many 550s have covered big distances with no major issues. The key to a happy ownership is ensuring that a regular maintenance schedule is not deviated from; cambelt changes should be undertaken every three years and lambda sensors every 45,000 miles. As with the 456, which shares the same basic engine, cam seals tend to weep oil, which if left unchecked can end up on the timing belt.
Radiator hoses require periodic replacement. The set under the intake manifold are especially prone to cracking due to the excessive heat generated.
The six-speed manual is pleasant to use and few examples have suffered any major issues in this area. It is worth noting that a batch of early cars could exhibit some notchiness when changing into first, third and fifth gears, rebuilds are expensive so make sure gearchanges are smooth.
Clutches tend to get hard as they wear and if excessive pressure is required it may indicate that a replacement is on the cards.
Suspension and brakes
Steering racks tend to last approximately 30,000 miles. Excessive play around the mid-point may indicate that a rebuild is on the horizon. Some owners tend not to notice or simply ignore the issue, so check the service history if the car does exhibits any signs of a worn rack.
With so much power and a heavy kerb weight, the 550 goes through tyres with alarming regularity. Check for excessive wear on the inside edges as the negative camber can affect this section first.
Vehicles produced from 1997 to 1999 were fitted with magnesium wheels, which had a tendency to crack at the wheel bolt inserts. These were all replaced by Ferrari with aluminium wheels. The magnesium items had solid spokes while the aluminium replacements were hollow.
The suspension bushes will require periodic checking too, especially the upper A-arm units as these can sometimes fail prematurely; a metallic rattling sound over rough surfaces is what you should listen out for.
Buick Riviera 1967
1967 Buick Riviera condition: excellent cylinders: 8 cylinders fuel: gas odometer: 120000 title status: clean transmission: automatic Bought from original owner! Runs great, carb was rebuilt last year! Have all maintenance records since new!! Tires are new! New water pump last year! Fresh oil change just done! Ac does work, just needs more freon. If interested contact us ASFor Sale | 19 Jun 2018 | Indianapolis, IN, USA$ 11,500
Ford Galaxie 500 1967
1967 Ford Galaxie 500 condition: excellent drive: fwd fuel: gas odometer: 49125 paint color: green size: full-size title status: clean transmission: automatic type: coupe 1967 Ford Galaxy 500 49,125 original miles. Originally sold by Borchers Ford in Dayton, Ohio. I have documentation for work preformed on car over the years. Includes dealer brochures, warranty cards, gloFor Sale | 19 Jun 2018 | Vienna, OH, USA$ 17,400
Chevrolet BelAir 1959
1959 chevrolet belair condition: good fuel: gas paint color: yellow title status: clean transmission: automatic Here we have a 1959 Belair 2 door sedan with a 455 pontiac v8 and tons of chrome. Automatic transmission, power steering and power brakes. Power doors, trunk and antenna. It is an old show car that still looks very well. It runs and drives great, just finished a 4.5 hour roFor Sale | 19 Jun 2018 | Clarksville, IN, USA$ 19,500
Dodge Polara 1964
1964 Dodge Polara 500 Convertible fuel: gas title status: clean transmission: automatic 1964 Dodge Polara 500 Convertible- 440 V-8 Engine- Don't know if it's the original engine. White Convertible Top- The Top Does Go Up and Down. Bucket Seat- Console Car, Original Gold Exterior Paint. Metallic Fawn Interior- Original Interior, 33k Miles On Odometer, Original 14" Spinner Hubcaps. HFor Sale | 19 Jun 2018 | Indianapolis, IN, USA$ 15,000
Chevrolet Corvette LT1 1972
1972 Corvette LT1 VIN: 1Z37L2S523509 condition: excellent cylinders: 8 cylinders drive: rwd fuel: gas odometer: 62000 paint color: yellow size: full-size title status: clean transmission: manual type: coupe For Sale is one 1972 Corvette LT1 Coupe. This car was originally sold by Nankivell Chevrolet in Indianapolis, In. I would be interested if anyone in that area might knFor Sale | 19 Jun 2018 | Jefferson, OH, USA$ 52,950
Cord 810 Sedan 1936
1936 Cord 810 sedan VIN: 1437S condition: good cylinders: 8 cylinders drive: fwd fuel: gas odometer: 67000 paint color: custom size: full-size title status: clean transmission: other type: sedan 1936 Cord 810 Sedan Custom Beverly 4 door V-8 Lycoming as Original Pre select 4 speed trans as Original Certified Cord by the ACD club Rich Maroon in color Tan leather interFor Sale | 19 Jun 2018 | Holly, Michigan, USA$ 62,000
Chevrolet II Nova 1966
1966 chevy nova fuel: gas title status: clean transmission: manual 1966 Chevy II nova SS 117 vin code Built for power tour 2018 Featured in local calendar Kentucky car Professional built 355 cubic inch aluminum heads Aluminum radiator Muncie 4-speed manual Disc brakes Vinatage AC Painless wiring and fuse box Chrome hood hinges Tri-bar headlights Billet steering wheeFor Sale | 19 Jun 2018 | Grand Rapids, Michigan, USA$ 48,000
Chevrolet Camaro RS/SS 1967
1967 Camaro SS RS Convt. condition: good fuel: gas odometer: 95000 title status: clean transmission: automatic 1967 Camaro SS/RS Convertible "12 Bolt rear end "....REAL DEAL FACTORY SS/RS Convertible. Factory Cowl tag LOADED with options. RARE Factory Tags are still on the Camaro. This project has been in Dry storage since the mid 80s. VERY SOLID original Floor pan metal. Original SOFor Sale | 19 Jun 2018 | Vincennes, IN, USA$ 18,500
Decent corrosion protection and a generally pampered life mean that rust is not a big concern on the 550. Aluminium panels can sometimes exhibit corrosion though so it is worth giving the bodywork a once-over to ensure that everything is in order.
The rare Barchettas came supplied with a basic soft-top cover, which was intended for occasional use, though few owners bothered with them. Check around the footwells and behind the seats for any evidence of water having settled there from an unexpected shower.
Barchettas may exhibit more discolouration on the headrests and dashboard than their coupé counterparts although the interior tends to be pretty hard-wearing overall.
Buttons and switchgear can show signs of wear though and the dashboard leather has been known to bubble and lose its tight shape on some cars.
- 1996: Ferrari 550 launched as successor to mid-engined 512TR. 5.5-litre V12 produced 478bhp and the power was sent the to the rear wheels through a six-speed manual transmission.
- 2000: Limited edition 550 Barchetta introduced.
- 2001: Last 550 Maranello rolls off the production line with 3083 coupes and 448 Barchettas built.
- 2002: Ferrari 575M introduced, more an upgraded 550 than an entirely new model.
- 2009 (post production): In a collaboration with Zagato, five units of the special edition Ferrari roadster GTZ were made available. These cars were based on the Barchetta Roadster.
The 550 follows a long line of classic front-engined Grand Tourers such as the 275 and Daytona, its superlative performance and added practicality over its mid-engined predecessors has ensured its continued popularity on the classic car scene. Values have been on a steady upward trajectory and low-mileage garage queens are now commanding big numbers.
The majority of 550s tend to have led pampered lives, but with the first cars now celebrating their 21st birthdays, some may have slipped through the cracks, so avoid patchy service histories as remedying mechanical issues can get very expensive.
Don’t dismiss high-mileage cars with good service histories though, as the robust mechanicals can make this the most cost-effective way into 550 ownership.
The red exterior/cream interior combination typically tends to be the most common, although the curvy lines look stunning in rare Tour De France Blu as well.
Barchettas are the rarer and more collectible option but the added practicality and arguably better-resolved lines of the coupes make them very desirable too, especially for owners intending to put some mileage on their cars.
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Classic Cars for Sale
1967 Buick Riviera condition: excellent cylinders: 8 cylinders fuel: gas odometer: 120000 title status: clean transmission: automatic Bought from original owner! Runs great, carb was rebuilt last year! Have all maintenance records since new!! Tires are new! New water pump last year! Fresh oil change just done! Ac does work, just needs more freon. If interested contact us AS
1967 Ford Galaxie 500 condition: excellent drive: fwd fuel: gas odometer: 49125 paint color: green size: full-size title status: clean transmission: automatic type: coupe 1967 Ford Galaxy 500 49,125 original miles. Originally sold by Borchers Ford in Dayton, Ohio. I have documentation for work preformed on car over the years. Includes dealer brochures, warranty cards, glo
1959 chevrolet belair condition: good fuel: gas paint color: yellow title status: clean transmission: automatic Here we have a 1959 Belair 2 door sedan with a 455 pontiac v8 and tons of chrome. Automatic transmission, power steering and power brakes. Power doors, trunk and antenna. It is an old show car that still looks very well. It runs and drives great, just finished a 4.5 hour ro