Beautiful, powerful, exclusive and beautiful... Yes, I said that twice because there wasn’t anything on Italian roads in 1955 as hot as the 410 Superamerica. With Pinin Farina as the predominant coachbuilder (it built 12; Ghia, Scaglietti and Boano each produced a single body) Maranello’s latest thoroughbred was a stunner. Enzo Ferrari always wanted to build a few very exclusive grand tourers for his ultra-wealthy clientele and this one attracted the likes of the Shah of Iran, Mohammad Reza Pahlevi, Prince Bernhardt of the Netherlands and Emperor Bao Dai. It was a far more refined GT than the 375 America that it replaced too (both models belonged to Ferrari’s ‘flagship’ America series offering the highest levels of sophistication, exclusivity and performance) and many consider it the last of the great large-displacement road cars. The Italians had seemingly outdone themselves with this one.

First, just its chassis appeared at the 1955 Paris Auto Show and then a more complete looking concept the following year in Brussels before eventually all was revealed. It cost twice as much as a Mercedes-Benz 300SL at $17,000 — but current values touch the $2.6million mark...

Thanks to a stiffer chassis (with an independent coil-spring front suspension) and Ferrari’s ultraexotic 4.9-litre race-derived Lampredi V12 with triple twin choke Weber 40 DCF carburettors, a twin coil and distributor ignition system (it was the engine of the Fifties) under the long, muscular bonnet and mated to a four-speed all synchromesh manual, it made 340bhp and was blessed with a top speed in excess of 260kph making it the fastest road-going car of its time and easily one of the most prestigious motorcars of its era.

It was upgraded several times throughout its life span until being replaced by the 400 in 1959 (it had a smaller 4.0-litre Colombo engine but made as much power as its predecessor).

Three distinct series of the 410 SA were built and although they featured very minor changes between them (ladder-type frames slightly enlarged, wheelbase shrinking from 2,800mm to 2,600mm and spark plugs relocated on the engine block) the Ferrari purists list each series as different cars.

Whatever the series it isn’t a surprise that a car of this caliber is welcomed at the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance or Concorso d’Eleganza Villa d’Este and other best events in the world with open arms.