Watch Jay Leno fall in love with a Ferrari 550 Barchetta

Some people love cars much more than others. This adoration can become something else – a car lover can collect cars. The collection may vary, depending on the taste and preferences of the collector. For example, one might become an avid muscle car collector who is always on the lookout for a rare piece on the market.

Most people know Jay Leno as a TV host, comedian and actor. But only some know that Mr. Leno is also an avid car collector. He’s pretty knowledgeable about cars of almost any kind, whether it’s a supercar, a muscle car, or a cool classic vehicle. His garage is full of these wonderful pieces from the automotive world.

Interestingly, it is impossible to find one Ferrari in Jay’s garage. It’s not that he isn’t impressed by the gorgeous engineering that goes into each of them supercar from Maranello. Jay doesn’t own a Ferrari, simply because he thought the Italian car maker was hard to accept.

However, that doesn’t mean Jay wouldn’t let a Ferrari visit his garage every now and then. In fact, Ferraris have been in Jay’s garage a few times, including this 2001 Ferrari 550 Barchetta. He seems to have fallen in love with this featured Ferrari, even though he doesn’t like its manufacturer.

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Ferrari 550 Barchetta under Jay Leno’s sights

Finished in a gorgeous Argento Nurburgring Silver, this sleek and smooth 2001 Ferrari 550 Barchetta may not be as powerful or as modern as Ferrari’s current sports and supercars, but it’s certainly its own thing. After all, even Ferrari-loathing Jay Leno can’t help but become impressed with the 21-year-old Shaved Horse.

By the way, this 2001 Ferrari 550 Barchetta belongs to Doug Cohen, who once let Jay drive his very rare Bizzarrini 5300 GT Strada. More than happy to have another car featured on Jay Leno’s Garage, Doug let the host borrow and drive his 550 Barchetta.

According to Doug, he purchased the 550 Barchetta from its original owner about seven years ago. At the time of its purchase, the 550 Barchetta already had approximately 12,000 miles on the odometer. At the time of the ride with Jay at the wheels, the sports car’s odometer was already around 22,000, meaning that Doug had driven the Ferrari quite a distance since purchase.

So far, in Doug’s seven years of ownership of the 550 Barchetta, he has never regretted his decision. He also liked the fact that his Ferrari is quite a rare model. The automaker built just 488 cars, with Doug’s silver 550 Barchetta rolling off the line as the 399th model.

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Combining old and new schools with 550 barchettes

2001 Ferrari 550 Barchetta front cab interior
Via: Jay Leno’s Garage on YouTube

During the trip, Jay seemed to enjoy the experience behind the wheel of the 2001 Ferrari 550 Barchetta too much. Not only that, the longer Jay drove the sports car, the more he fell in love with the 550 Barchetta. He enjoyed his time in the driver’s seat. However, that doesn’t mean he would be buying a Ferrari anytime soon.

As Doug says, the 550 Barchetta is a combination of old school and new school. It is quite old at 21 years, but it contains technologies that were impressive in its time and even today. This is not surprising, as Ferrari revealed the limited edition version of the 550 Maranello in 2000 – a time before smartphones and infotainment systems became the norm.

The design of the 550 Barchetta is reminiscent of the classic Ferraris of the 1960s. It comes with a front-mounted V12 engine – minus the unnecessary plastics – and 6-speed manual transmission with a paddle shifter.

Ferrari also designed the 550 Barchetta as an open car with no convertible roof for protection from the elements. However, it comes with a tent-like roof that could protect its occupants from the rain. Doug, however, revealed that it’s quite a hassle to cover the top, which is why he just leaves the sports car exposed to the elements.

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To fall in love with a 21-year-old Ferrari

silver 2001 Ferrari 550 Barchetta driving down the road
Via: Jay Leno’s Garage on YouTube

But just as Doug is in love with the 2001 Ferrari 550 Barchetta, so is Jay Leno. He even compared the 550 Barchetta to the very modern Ferrari SF90 Stradale supercar. Of course, the difference between the two cars is quite huge, especially in terms of numbers and road performance.

In terms of power, the 550 Barchetta couldn’t dream of beating the SF90, as its naturally aspirated 5.5-liter F133 A/C V12 engine only delivers 478 hp of peak power and 420 lb-ft of torque. In today’s supercar arena, this pales in comparison, but at the time of the 550 Barchetta’s launch, these numbers are already impressive.

Jay told Doug in the video that despite the SF90’s more impressive performance characteristics, he’d rather be behind the wheel of the 550 Barchetta. Jay’s reason is quite simple – the 550 Barchetta is a more challenging and engaging car when driving at both high and low speeds.

The formula for the 550 Barchetta is a sure magnet for those looking for a purer driving experience – a huge naturally aspirated V12 engine, a six-manual transmission and an apparent lack of complex driving aids. No wonder Jay Leno fell in love with this car.

Source: Jay Leno’s Garage on YouTube

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