At $720,000, this Ferrari 550 Barchetta Pininfarina is looking for its top

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You know what they say: When the top goes down, the price goes up. Even when said top is ugly, difficult to put up, and pretty much useless. But you don’t buy any car dubbed a Barchetta (Italian for “little boat”) with rain on the brain.

Last week, a rare Ferrari 550 Barchetta sold for $720,000. That’s 43 percent above its condition #1 (concours) value in the Hagerty Price Guide. It’s also 2.5 times as much as a 550 Maranello—the one with the roof—in similar condition would typically sell for. It’s not quite a record price, but it’s close, and it highlights how irregular values for these low-production Italians have been over the years.

550 Ferrari Barchetta side
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Ferrari and Pininfarina have had quite a relationship since 1951, and the catalog of hits for the carmaking/coachbuilding duo is just too long to list here. But to celebrate Pininfarina’s 70th anniversary, the two unveiled the 550 Barchetta at the 2000 Paris Motor Show. The first open-air, front-engined V-12 Ferrari since the 365 GTS/4 Daytona of the 1970s, the 550 Barchetta was something of a back-to-basics approach. Some of the earliest Ferraris, like the 166 MM, carried the “Barchetta” designation, and front-engined V-12s were the company’s bread and butter until the 1970s. Beyond its traditional configuration, the 550 Barchetta was also a collecting opportunity, as production was kept low at a planned 444 units. Then, apparently to avoid running afoul of a superstition in Japan (an important Ferrari market) that the number 4 is unlucky, Ferrari built 448 instead. List price was steep at about $258,000 (roughly $440K in 2023 dollars) but, no surprise, all the Barchettas sold out quickly. The last one left the factory in December 2001.

550 Ferrari Barchetta engine bay
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Mechanically, the Barchetta is similar to the already-brilliant 550 Maranello, with its tubular steel space frame, aluminum body panels, and alloy 48-valve V-12 making 485 horsepower and shifting through the classic open-gate six-speed manual. Top speed, though, drops from the coupe’s 199 mph to “just” 186 mph, and visual differences include a steeper rake for the windshield, roll-over hoops behind the seats, and special Speedline wheels. The cloth “accessory top,” meanwhile, provides little actual protection and isn’t even designed to handle speeds above 70 mph. But a simple top also means that the car doesn’t need to have a bloated rear end housing a chunky, over-engineered power folding unit. Instead, it can have a clean rear deck, which on the Barchetta is slightly longer than the Maranello’s.

This car was represented as number 166 out of the original 448 built. Delivered new to Virginia in Rosso Corsa over Nero leather, it sold this week from Canada. The urge to drive a bright red Ferrari droptop must be strong for any car enthusiast who still has a heartbeat, but someone resisted it here, because the car shows just 468 miles—roughly a one-way drive from Boston to D.C.—in 22 years. It was also represented with factory literature and a matching luggage set.

550 Ferrari Barchetta interior
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We saw this very car in Scottsdale five years ago, in essentially the same unused condition, where it sold for $522,500. This week’s result doesn’t necessarily come from a constant upward trajectory for these modern classics, though. The world-record auction price for a 550 Barchetta is $726,000, but that sale was from way back in 2015 during a general surge in classic Ferrari values. At Amelia Island a few weeks ago, that same record-setting car from 2015 sold for just $665K, despite its odometer showing only 26 more miles than it did eight years ago. Following that value spike in the mid-2010s, Barchettas plateaued and then dipped significantly, only to rebound during the 2020–22 pandemic boom. They dropped again in 2023, a full 11 percent with the latest update of the Hagerty Price Guide. Sale prices have been a bit all over the map, from $300K for one in late 2020, to $700K for one last July, and $425K for another one this past January.

It’s possible the market hasn’t figured out these Ferraris yet. While a 448-unit run is ultra-rare in Camaro country, it’s not all that low for Ferraris. That may partly explain why, with few exceptions, 550 Barchettas have struggled to exceed their inflation-adjusted original list price. However, given their ingredients (front-mounted naturally aspirated V-12, manual gearbox, open top, limited production, and Ferrari badges), these are a bit like a 21st century version of the Daytona Spider, and that’s a $2M car. It’s not inconceivable, then, that 550 Barchettas will be seven-figure Ferraris in the not-too-distant future. This one just put them a bit closer.

550 Ferrari Barchetta rear
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Via Hagerty Insider

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