Most of the Ferrari’s model names have been based on the capacity in cubic centimeters of a single cylinder, 12 of the 250 GT cylinders gave 3 liters; for cars specifically designed for the American market where cubic centimeters are unrecognized, the name became more important than the numbers. The 410 Super American was a very fast late fifties Gran Turismo powered by a 4.9 liter V12 engine with 360 bhp available for the third series, one of which produced these figures for Road and Track; 410 wasn’t far out, as its 4962 cc engine had 413.5 cc per cylinder. Like most of the road going Ferraris, the body was styled by Pininfarina.

Ferrari 410 Super America

Ferrari’s first recognition of the American market potential came very shortly after the company was set up in 1946; where the European market expected small efficient engines, the American wanted big horsepower figures from big capacity engines.

Ferrari’s first engine had been the Colombo designed V-12 which had been used in supercharged 1500 cc form for the post war GP formula; as the formula also accepted 4.5 liter unsupercharged cars, 1950 saw a change of tack with the bigger V-12 designed by Lampredi. These two basic engines would power Ferraris for a considerable time to come.

The 340 American used a 4.1 liter version of the Lampredi unit; with road going simplification it produced 220 bhp and was fitted in some 25 cars of mixed road and track intention during 1951. Four 240 Mexicos were produced for the 1952 Carrera Panamericana with 280 bhp, three coupes and a spider. Despite 340, these were actually 12 x 342 cc; the 342 American had emerged in 1951 as Ferrari’s first real road car, a 2+2, which unfortunately marked one of Pininfarina’s less appealing designs, only six were built.

Ferrari 410 Super America Series III

This was quickly superseded by the 375 American with 4523 cc, 300 bhp and amore appropriately styled body similar to that of the 250 Europa, a dozen were built this time. Shorter wheelbase open and closed competition derivatives were produced as 340 MM and 375 MM with the 375 Plus using a 4.9 liter version through 1954, just in time for a Le Mans victory.

Then came the replacement for the 375 American as the 410 Super American, also a 4.9 liter but with different bore and stroke from that of the 375 Plus. Against its predecessor it was lower and wider, the front suspension adopted coil springs instead of the transverse leaf, and 37 were to be produced in purposeful rather than graceful style over the period 1955-59.

Two of these were used by Pininfarina for show cars; the striking 1956 Superfast 1 (the one was added when 2 came out) was a somewhat uncomfortable marriage of Ferrari front to American tail fins, while Superfast 2 was the 1960 forerunner of the new 400 Super America coupe, long, slender, elegant and one of Pininfarnia’s best.

Under this was a 340 bhp 4 liter Colombo engine stretched to its ultimate, it should have been 330, but that seemed like a backward step from the 410 whereas the two were very closely matched; some 30 coupes and a dozen other were built from 1960 to 64, including three more Pininfarina show cars, Superfast 2 (a second version), 3 and 4. Just to confuse everyone, Ferrari bought out a final coupe in the series, the 500 Superfast which was even better than the 400 Super America.

This too failed to match the single cylinder dictum by having a 4.9 liter of the same dimensions as the 410; its design was actually a unique cross using the bottom half of the fixed head Lamperdi engine with Colombo style detachable heads, it was the final fling of the big block. With 400 bhp and a more modern shape, the 500 Superfast should be quicker than the 410 Super America, but none of the 36 cars produced from 1964-66 seems to have been tested. By this time Ferrari was into comparative volume production; Americas, Super Americas and Superfast were the last of the hand-built GTs when each was different from its nominal brother.