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2000 Ferrari 550 Maranello Road Test

2000 Ferrari 550 Maranello - Pinch Me, Have I Died and Gone to Heaven?

It's red of course. What color should a Ferrari be? Still, I personally like this model better in its particular shade of dark silver - a sort of pewter metallic. But why be picky? After all, the 550 Maranello just might be the best performing automobile on the planet, and I get to drive it.

Introduced to Canada in 1997, the 550 Maranello caused a stir among Ferrari's mid-engine faithful. After all, when the 365 GT4/Berlinetta Boxer replaced the legendary 365 GTB/4 Daytona in 1973, it was officially declared that its mid-engine configuration was the only way to achieve optimal performance. To many believers the return to a front-engine design was heresy. The older crowd knew better, of course, remembering back to better days of unrestricted exhaust, leaded fuel and predictable front-engine handling dynamics.

With that in mind, the 550 Maranello pays greater homage to past Ferrari styling than merely a front-engine, rear-drive layout. Hints of the 275 GTB are evident in the front grille, long elegant hood and shark-like fender vents. Its overall shape conjures images of the aforementioned Daytona coupe, no bad thing. In the rear, while reflecting the smooth surfaces of the current 456 GT, its four round tail lamps are a Ferrari trademark. While not as distinct as the 512 M it replaced, itself an evolution of the mid-engine Testarossa, the 550's curvaceous sheetmetal is infinitely more graceful.