2019 Ferrari SP38 Deborah. Bespoke commission based on 488 GTB and influenced by F40. Text and photos by Jordan Katsianis.
This is the 2019 Ferrari SP38 Deborah, A bespoke commission designed, engineered and constructed by Ferrari for one very luck y customer. It’s becoming increasingly fashionable for high- end manufacturers to appeal to the 0.1 per cent, and like couture fashion or the hottest residential architecture, ‘bespoke’ is all the rage for the privileged few at the top.
It’s not surprising , then, to see a supercar marque such a s Ferrari responding to requests from its wealthiest customers and building single or super-low-volume models under its One-Off programme. We’ve seen cars like this before, such a s the SP12 EC (built for Eric Clapton), which was based on the 458 Italia and took direct design references from the 1976 512 BB. Now the SP38 is Ferrari’s latest bespoke rendition, built on underpinning s from the 488 GTB. More details opposite. And that name?
The SP38’s paint colour has been christened Deborah Red, but beyond that Ferrari isn’t saying who Deborah – or the car’s owner, if not the eponymous Deborah – might be.
Rather than employing a design house such as Pininfarina or Bertone for the project, the SP38 was designed in-house by Ferrari. Inspiration is said to have come from the iconic F40, so the SP38 features F40-style elements such as an integrated rear wing and a slatted rear clamshell, but executes them in a more contemporary style.
The front end combines slim, bespoke headlights with simple surfacing and is a little more generic than the F40’s nose, perhaps. But it’s still aggressive and also understated compared to the often fussy designs of many modern series production Ferraris.
A recurring theme on Ferrari’s exclusive projects is the use of a wrap -around windscreen and hidden A-pillars, and both are present here. The wheels, meanwhile, reference the F40’s star-spoke alloys.
At the rear are four roundel tail lights – a s seen on the F40, and reprised on the recent GTC4 Lusso and 812 Superfast. However, here the lights sit in a stylised void that mimic s the F40’s black rear grille.
Inside, there’s little significant change compared with a standard 488 GTB cabin, although bespoke materials and finishes have been specified. Given that the F40’s interior is known for its stripped-back nature, to the point where visible green adhesive could be considered a trim finish, it’s possibly for the best that the influence of the ’80s supercar legend didn’t ex tend this far.
The biggest aero departure from the 488 GTB, rear wing a side, is the lack of gaping side air intakes. Rather than having its intakes cut into the bodywork, the SP38 integrates them into a surface fold in the doors that contines upwards to encase the small rear-quarter windows. This technique is new to Ferrari, but is reminiscent of that found on the McLaren 720S, which also forgoes massive side intakes in order to keep the car’s flanks clear.
Sharing its underpinning s with the 488 GTB, the SP38 is powered by a mid-mounted twin-turbocharged 3.9-litre V8 that drives the rear wheels through a seven-speed dual-clutch transmission. With 661bhp the SP38 is hardly in need of more power, and as an exercise in aesthetic s rather than on-track performance, it’s no surprise that it doesn’t have the 488 Pista’s even more powerful engine.
Left: F40’s influence most evident in the car’s rear quarters and star-spoke alloy wheels.
“We’ve seen cars like this before, such as Clapton’s SP12, and this is Ferrari’s latest bespoke rendition”
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