Custom Ferrari One-Off Comes To America

If your car-buying tastes and budget have burgeoned to the point where a standard Ferrari is no longer an adequate expression of your automotive passion, then you may want to consider commissioning an authentic, factory-sanctioned, one-off custom job, care of Ferrari’s Special Projects division.  Of course, showroom visits and test drives are not an option for such an extravagant order, but the next best thing would be a trip to this year’s Concorso Italiano, the annual August celebration of Italian cars, fashion, and food that is held at the Laguna Seca Golf Ranch in Monterey, California, just down the road from the almost-concurrent Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance.  Concorso Italiano’s organizers recently announced that the first Ferrari Special Projects car, aptly named the SP1, will make its North American debut at the event.

The story actually starts in 1998, when noted Japanese Ferrari collector Junichiro Hiramatsu saw a concept car called the F100 that was penned by former Pininfarina designer Leonardo Fioravanti to commemorate the 100th birthday of Enzo Ferrari.  With a resume featuring 24 years at Pininfarina (including credits for seminal Ferrari models such as the Daytona, Dino and 308) and a short stint as General Manager of Ferrari during the late 80s, Fioravanti had sufficiently mastered the Prancing Horse’s design language to attract the attention of a discerning enthusiast like Hiramatsu, whose collection also includes a substantial archive of Ferrari brochures and printed materials.

An ensuing dialog between Hiramatsu, Ferrari, and Fioravanti eventually led to the commissioning of a one-off based on the F430 chassis and powertrain, a creation that would be formally presented in September 2008 as the inaugural car of the Special Projects division.  Visually rooted in the F430, the SP1 offers new cosmetic cues such as sweeping door scallops and rear haunch intakes, a wraparound carbon fiber undercarriage, and revised treatments for the canopy and rear fascia.

Since the time that Hiramatsu took delivery of his SP1, only one other Ferrari Special Project car has appeared, a 599 GTB Fiorano-based vehicle called the P540 Superfast Aperta that was first publicly presented at last January’s Cavallino Classic in Palm Beach.  No word yet on when we can expect a third installment, but clearly these are extremely desirable cars whose long term value and collectibility will skyrocket given their rarity and provenance as official Ferrari-issued and sanctioned customizations.  So if that Enzo or FXX in the garage no longer seems exclusive enough, and you’d like a chance to take an active role in the design of a bespoke and unfathomably expensive Ferrari, Maranello’s finest are taking orders.  For everyone else, the SP1 will be posed for photo opportunities at Concorso Italiano along with numerous other cars designed by Leonardo Fioravanti, who is being honored as the featured designer at this summer’s event.