The 550 Maranello was Ferrari’s answer to the insanity that was the Diablo over at Lamborghini. Where the Diablo zigged, Ferrari zagged, developing a front-engine, clean looking sports car with a beautiful new V12. So what the hell happened to it?
My knowledge of the history of the 550 Maranello is limited to the handful of old reviews I’ve seen over the years. I remember that the suspension was firm, but the exhaust noise, understated design, GATED SHIFTER and big power made it clear that Ferrari knew exactly what it was doing at the time. Something I’ve noticed, though, is that it never really comes up.
We’re talking about it now because of Harry Metcalfe’s new “real world” review of the 550 Maranello—a car he’s owned twice and thoroughly enjoyed.
Of course I know what happened to the 550. Eventually it was replaced by the 575, and then the 599, the F12berlinetta, and now the 812 superduperquick.
Perhaps the 550 is just in that grey area of time right now, where it doesn’t feel new anymore, but it’s not quite old enough to join the conversation of future and modern classics. Or perhaps its relatively reserved styling just wasn’t enough to keep people’s attention. I don’t find it “too pedestrian” though; it’s still exotic to my eyes.
But I know it as the car Top Gear liked better than the Aston Martin Vanquish. I know it as one of my favorite Hot Wheels cars growing up. And I know it as the car Will Smith drove in Bad Boys II (the movie switches between a 550 and 575 annoyingly). Now I’m just curious how everyone else knows it.