Imagine making a pilgrimage to the Bonneville Salt Flats in Utah, the cathedral of speed. Surrounding you is a varied sea of high performance machinery, from dedicated salt flat specials capable of pushing through the 400mph barrier at one end, to production cars at the other and everything else in between on four wheels and two.
Now let’s say that you’re watching the production cars being flogged mercilessly across the corrosive surface, then slowly returning coated in sodium chloride which then bakes to whichever surface it sits on in the immense heat. Now imagine that the car you’re looking at is a LaFerrari. This is effectively what happened at Bonneville in 1962 with the very car you see here. What’s more, it apparently hit a highly impressive 145mph.
In 1962, this 400 Superamerica was the equivalent to today’s LaFerrari in that it was the most expensive Ferrari you could buy. Its first owner was a semi-retired car dealer who evidently had done well for himself and who felt no compunction about thrashing his cars across Bonneville. Prior to the Superamerica’s baptism of fire he’d driven on the salt both a Mercedes-Benz 300SL (143.769mph – a class record) and an earlier, 4.9-litre Ferrari with which he apparently clocked a one-way speed of 154.90mph.
In stark contrast, mere months before the car’s appearance at Bonneville it was under the spotlights at the Geneva motor show before it was air-freighted to the States and shown at the New York International Auto Show. Those who gazed lovingly at its shiny paintwork under the lights won’t have guessed that it was shortly to go charging across Bonneville at full throttle.
The car’s original owner kept the Superamerica for just a couple of years before getting rid. Over the next decade or so it skipped between America’s East and West coasts before being shipped to France and then on to Carrozzeria Fantuzzi in Modena for restoration, during which it was painted maroon. The French owner enjoyed the car for the following 20 years before selling it to another American.
So, back to the States it went and another high-quality restoration. Since then it has graced many a prestigious gathering, often scooping a pot or two. In 2010 it was made a part of the famous ‘Andrews Collection’ which RM Sothebys will be selling on behalf of Paul and Chris Andrews on the 2nd May at Fort Worth in Texas. As you can see, the car looks about as close to perfect as it’s going to get.
With an upper estimate of $8,500,000 there had better not be any traces of salt left …