Supercars to order. The SP38 is the latest in a series of Special Project Ferraris based on production cars and created for wealthy collectors. Words John Barker. Main Images Ferrari.
When you want a Ferrari but you want to stand out from the Ferrari crowd (such as it is), who you gonna call? Special Projects. This is the department Ferrari launched a decade ago to give clients the opportunity to personally shape a car, and the results – to judge by those that have been revealed publically – have been never less than intriguing.
The latest example, dubbed SP38, is based on a 488 and, as with the more handsome one-offs, looks as though it could have been one of the concepts Ferrari considered before settling for the 488 as we know it. There are hints of Lancia Stratos, though the inspiration is said to be the F40, subtly alluded to by the low-level hoop wing on the back.
The Special Projects enterprise was kicked off by a request from Japanese collector Junichiro Hiramatsu, who was a fan of a 1998 Ferrari-based concept by styling house Fioravanti. He approached Ferrari to see if a one-off could be built and the F430-based SP1 was the result. It retained the 430’s glasshouse and essential aluminium structure but was clothed in new carbonfibre panels.
Subsequently and initially under the banner of the ‘Portfolio’ programme, Ferrari approved three styling houses as collaborators on projects that could officially carry the Ferrari badge – Fioravanti, Zagato and Pininfarina.
We don’t get to see all of the cars that have been created, reckoned to be one or two a year. Some of the more interesting examples have taken modern donors and given them a classic twist. Back in 2012, Ferrari revealed the SP12 EC, the initials being those of legendary guitarist and long-time Ferrari enthusiast Eric Clapton. He commissioned a bespoke 458 Italia to incorporate styling cues from the Berlinetta Boxer, of which he had owned a number of examples over the years. The strongest references are the clamshell rear and matt-black lower body panels. The SP12 cost a reputed $4.7m to build.
An even more strongly inspired one-off was the SP275 Rw Competizione, revealed in 2016. Clearly modelled on the iconic 275 GTB, this homage was based or an F12 with bodywork crafted jointly by the Ferrari Styling Centre and Pininfarina, and using the more powerful 769bhp V12 from the TdF. There’s generous use of the GTB’s bonnet-vent style and the bright yellow finish references the livery of Ecurie Frarcorchamps – the Belgian team’s yellow 275 finished third at Le Mars in 1965 for a Ferrari 1-2-3.
Others that have broker cover are designs that Ferrari might have found hard to sell in justifiable numbers as production models, cars such as the speedster-style F12 TRS (2014). This open-topped, chopped-screen version of the Berlinetta has shades of 250 Testarossa about it and, unlike other Special Projects, there were two, maybe three examples delivered.
Satisfying more particular tastes are the P450 Superfast Aperta and the Superamerica 45. The 599-based Aperta was the second car from Special Projects and sprang from the imagination of Edward Walsor, sor of the mar who inverted cable TV. The Superamerica 45 was created for New York collector Peter Kalikow, who had bought his first Ferrari 45 years earlier, and featured more aerodynamic bodywork developed in Ferrari’s wind tunnel.
Left SP1 was where it all started, an F430-based ore-off commissioned by a Japanese collector Eric Claptor’s SP12 (far left) includes visual rods to his Berlinetta Boxers.
Below and bottom Rear wing, slatted engine cover and unique alloys are all said to reference the F40. Under the skin, the one-off SP38 shares the 488 GTB’s twin-turbo V8 and dual-clutch gearbox.
TECHNICAL DATA FILE SPECIFICATIONS 2019 Ferrari SP38 Deborah
Engine Petrol V8, 3902cc
Max Power 661bhp @ 6500rpm / DIN nett
Max Torque 561lb ft @ 3000rpm (in seventh gear) / DIN nett
Weight c1475kg (est)
Power-to-weight c455bhp/ton (est)
0-62mph 3.0sec (claimed)
Top speed 205mph+ (claimed)
Basic price in UK c£3.5million (est)
On sale in UK 2019