BOOK REVIEW: THE FERRARI 550 AND 575 ROAD AND RACE LEGENDS

Jim Weed

Volume 44 Issue 05

Mar 16, 2019

Prolific writer Nathan Beehl has done it again. He has authored many books on Ferrari automobiles. His previous titles covering the Ferrari ‘P’ Series racecars, Daytona, Ferrari 512, Dino 246 GT and Supercars are at home in our library.

    Prolific writer Nathan Beehl has done it again. He has authored many books on Ferrari automobiles. His previous titles covering the Ferrari ‘P’ Series racecars, Daytona, Ferrari 512, Dino 246 GT and Supercars are at home in our library.

    One of his previous books was The Ferrari Berlinetta Boxer, The Road and Race Legends. Continuing this theme is his newest book, The Ferrari 550 and 575 Road and Race Legends.

    My first thought was, how much can be said about a 550 Maranello? My next thought was gee, I’ll have to do a review.

    Sometimes the thought of reading about boring Ferraris makes it difficult to get motivated.

    Several days later there is a box on the front steps all the way from Great Brittan. I opened the box and put on top of my reading pile. I try to spend twenty minutes every day quietly reading some random Ferrari book from our extensive library.

Since acquiring the entire Gerald Roush library there are many books I have never seen, much less read. So, I am trying to cram as much knowledge as possible into my head.

    The next morning I crack open The 550 and 575 Road and Race Legends, and do a quick flip through its pages. I’m greeted with large clear pictures inviting me into the pages.

    Starting with the 550 Maranello, Beehl begins with a short history lesson putting the reader into the mind of Ferrari and Pininfarina. What did Ferrari want to accomplish with the next great V-12 engined car? How would Pininfarina bring elements of the past and meld them into the future?

    Beehl explains the design process with many of the drawings created by Pininfarina. Although many of the styling cues were not used on the 550 Maranello they have been used on subsequent models like the 612 Scaglietti and F12berlinetta.

    The information highlighting important details are presented in a clear and concise manor with photos along the way for emphasis. The mechanical details are also covered. Engine design, brakes and suspension are all described in detail without the boring recitation of various facts and figures.

    Following the evolution of the series, the variants are presented with clear explanation of the changes necessary to create the next models: the 550 Maranello WSR and 550 Barchetta.

    There is also a section listing the options available, what the tool kit contents should be and examples of luggage and manuals. All are shown with large pictures for reference.

    Sometimes the perfect car becomes the perfect platform for modifications. Speciales are covered in their own chapter. The Pininfarina Rossa, Barchetta GTZ by Zagato, Koenig Twin-Turbo, Sbarro and others all have a mention.

    The next evolutionary models, the 575M Maranello and Superamerica are treated to the same standard with clear explanations of the changes and upgrades coupled with fantastic photos.

    Again, the Speciales have their place with many photos of the 575 GTZ, the 575 GTRS by Edo Competition and the Novitec 575.

    There is also a chapter on every manual, brochure and press release from the factory and if that is not enough information, there is another list of every scale model made of the 550 and 575 in every size and scheme.

    Of course you know that there were race cars. Each 550 and 575M that was turned into a racing vehicle has its own section. Details as to who modified the chassis and what the outcome of its racing career is comprehensively recorded for each chassis.

    I was surprised by the detail of each car’s racing history.  Every chassis, every finish and each page is peppered with action photos.

    Then to finish, the last chapters have a complete racing database by date, race, serial number, finish position and other details.

    If that isn’t enough, every serial number is identified; I mean every serial number.

    Well, I can’t guarantee every number because I haven’t compared the list to our database, but it looks like every one is there.

    My twenty minute morning session turned into more than an hour each morning reading this book. I had trouble putting it down.  I learned so much while flipping through the pages there were several sections I went back and re-read.

    This book has everything: history, racing, literature, database and serial numbers. If you ever think you will need reference material for the 550 Maranello and 575M, or any of its variants, this book is a must-have.

    Nathan Beehl has again created a high-standard reference book that will be consulted well into the future.

    Available directly from Nathan Beehl, email ferraribook@gmail.com.

 

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