Happy birthday, Pininfarina. In honor of your 80th anniversary, your longtime client Ferrari decided to bake you a 670-horsepower, drop-top birthday cake — the 2011 SA Aperta — and unwrap it at the 2010 Paris Motor Show.
The SA in that awkward name stands for Superamerica, and like the 2004 575M Superamerica that came before it, the new SA Aperta is a version of Ferrari’s front-engine, V-12 sports coupe that exposes its occupants to the elements. Unlike the previous Superamerica, however, the SA Aperta does without a fancy flip-around top — or any top mechanism, for that matter. Aperta is Italian for “open,” and apart from a rudimentary soft top that can be deployed if needed, the SA Aperta is designed to be enjoyed en plein air.
Arguably, the SA Aperta differs from its 599 siblings only above the fenders, where designers reshaped the car’s windshield, pillars, and cabin in the process of chopping the top. The rear interior wall and integrated roll bar neatly flow into the elongated rear buttresses, while simultaneously echoing the shape and color of the scalloped sports seats.
Beneath the beltline, the SA Aperta picks and pulls parts from the entire 599 range. The majority of the car’s body panels come straight from the 599 GTB Fiorano, although the rocker panels have been massaged to accommodate larger brake cooling ducts. Underhood, the the SA Aperta is all 599 GTO — power comes from its 670-horsepower, 6.7-liter DOHCV-12, which channels its output to the rear wheels via a six-speed automated manual gearbox. It’s unknown if the suspension tuning borrows more from the GTB, GTB HGTE, or the GTO, but Ferrari does note it managed to reinforce the Aperta’s chassis without adding a significant amount of weight.
Although the Paris Motor Show marks the 599 SA Aperta’s first public debut, if you’re on Ferrari’s short list of preferred clientele, chances are you’ve already laid eyes on this beauty. It was a poorly kept secret that Ferrari was showing a topless 599 to VIPs this summer at the 2010 Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance. The privileged preview was apparently a smashing success: despite the SA Aperta wearing an estimated price tag of roughly $456,000, all 80 examples are already spoken for.