The concept of creating bespoke Ferrari cars dates back to the carmaker’s early years. Clients would liaise with Ferrari about a chassis and the engine and then reach out to an Italian styling house to come up with the bodywork.
It was to revive the spirit of these coach-built cars that the Ferrari Special Projects division was established in the late 2000s. This programme represented the pinnacle of Ferrari’s in-house personalization service, allowing only a few select customers the opportunity to realize their vision of a Ferrari supercar.
The initial idea was to let clients, in partnerships with top Italian design houses, create one-off redesigns of Ferrari sports cars with the full support and blessing of Ferrari engineers. However, this soon morphed into the creation of entirely new vehicle designs, prompted in part by the opening of Ferrari’s in-house Design Centre in 2010.
Ferrari Special Project cars are the height of exclusivity for the Prancing Horse brand—they simply reek of class, and, of course, lots of money. Fortunately, there is no shortage of wealthy clients who will jump at the opportunity to own a one-off Ferrari. Here are 10 of the most extreme creations of the Ferrari Special Projects division.
Wild One-Off #10: Ferrari SP1
The SP1, not to be mistaken for the Monza SP1, kickstarted the Ferrari Special Projects program back in 2008. The SP1, short for Special Project number 1, was made for Japanese businessman and collector Junichiro Hiramatsu. He was also, at one time, the president of the Ferrari Club of Japan.
The SP1 was based on the Ferrari F430 and styled by Leonardo Fioravanti, a legendary former Pininfarina designer responsible for Ferrari cars like the Dino 246 GT, 365 GTB, and the 512 BB. According to the story, Junichiro admired Leonardo’s 1998 F100 Prototype vehicle and wanted a custom design along the same lines.
Most of the car’s underpinnings, chassis, and V8 engine were lifted straight from the F430, but the external cladding and styling directly expressed Leonardo Fioravanti’s ideas.
Wild One-Off #9: Ferrari F12 TRS
Based on the F12 Berlinetta, the F12 TRS was a hardcore sports Barchetta commissioned by Ferrari lover and billionaire Sam Li. Power was derived from the same 6.3-litre V12 that drove the F12 Berlinetta, meaning an output of 729-hp and a 3.1-second sprint to 60 mph.
However, it was in the design that the F12 TRS really stood out. First off, there was no roof, hence the ‘Barchetta’ tag. The wraparound windscreen paid homage to the legendary 1957 Ferrari 250 Testa Rossa. A redesigned bumper and larger air intakes up front gave the F12 TRS a more aggressive look than the Berlinetta, but the real design highlight was the glass cutout in the hood that allowed a sneaky peek at the red power plant underneath.
According to reports, the development costs reached north of $4 million; no big deal for Sam Li, who ordered not 1 but 2 of the F12 TRS supercars. The first one was finished in liquid silver and the other in the more traditional Ferrari Rosso Red colour.
Wilde One-Off #8: Ferrari P540 Superfast Aperta
Before the 812 Superfast, there was this one—the P540 Superfast Aperta. The difference is that the latter was made for a single customer back in 2009.
Edward Walson, son of the guy who invented Cable TV, was so impressed by a car he saw in the 1968 Fellini film Toby Dammit that he approached Ferrari and asked if they could build a similar one for him. The vehicle was designed by Pininfarina and built in Maranello.
A 599 GTB provided the base for the implementation of Walson’s radical ideas. The roof was lopped off, and a lot of bracing was added to strengthen the chassis. Extensive carbon fibre use kept the car’s weight to within 45 lbs above the base 599 GTB.
The P540 Superfast Aperta had the same power plant as the 599 GTB, a 6.0-litre V12 that churned out 611-hp—enough firepower for whatever excitement Walson craved behind the wheel.
Wild One-Off #7: Ferrari Superamerica 45
The backstory for this one is just as interesting as the car itself. It was commissioned in 2011 by New York-based art collector and property developer Peter Kalikow. The supercar was designed by Ferrari Special Projects to commemorate the 45th anniversary of Kalikow’s first Ferrari purchase, a second-hand 400 Superamerica convertible.
The open-top car debuted at the 2011 Villa d’Este Concours and showcased what Ferrari described as ‘a latest-generation touch-screen infotainment system’ at the time. The Superamerica 45 is based on the 599. Still, it incorporates several unique touches, like the carbon-fibre hardtop that rotates and stows away in a redesigned boot, also made from carbon fibre.
The chrome grille is a custom design, as are the twin air vents in the front fenders. The car is finished in an exclusive ‘Blu Antille’ colour, a deliberate choice chosen because it matches another important car in Kalikow’s collection—a 1961 400 Superamerica cabriolet.
Wild One-Off #6: Ferrari SP12 EC
‘EC’ is short for Eric Clapton, and yes, Ferrari did make a custom car for the world-famous musician. The multi-Grammy award winner is a loyal follower of the Prancing horse brand and already had several Ferraris in his possession when he approached Ferrari with his idea for a one-off.
Of course, Ferrari agreed, and the retro-styled SP12 EC was born. The car, inspired by the classic 512 Berlinetta Boxer, is based on the Ferrari 458 Italia. Pininfarina did go to great lengths to ensure that it looked like a completely different car, though, with subtle styling cues that hark back to the classic era.
It retained the same 4.5-litre V8 engine from the 458 Italia, but Eric Clapton can have few complaints about that. That engine can propel the 458 to 60 mph in as little as 3.1 seconds and on to a top speed of about 202 mph.
Wild One-Off #5: Ferrari 458 MM Speciale
The 458 Speciale was a pretty unique machine, the last of the naturally aspirated V8 screamers from the Maranello-based carmaker. However, for one wealthy British collector, the stock car was not enough, and he wanted something in a league of its own; something nobody else could own.
That desire ultimately birthed the 458 MM Speciale. It uses the same high-revving 597-bhp V8 engine from the 458 Speciale but sports significant visual changes that immediately set it apart.
The design language includes redesigned front and rear bumpers and more aggressive lines around the car’s front and sides. In addition, there is a new air scoop and intakes to funnel even more air into the engine bay and over a fixed ducktail spoiler. The car is finished in a shade of white—known as Bianco Italia in Ferrari lingo—and complemented by the Italian flag livery.
Wild One-Off #4: Ferrari SP 275 RW Competizione
In 2016, the SP 275 RW Competizione was unveiled to pay homage to the 275 GTB, Ferrari’s V12 sports car manufactured from 1964 to 1968. It was built for American dentist Rick Workman, who serves up living proof that you can make a lot of money fixing people’s teeth.
The car rides on a slightly modified F12 Berlinetta chassis but draws its potency from its hardcore sibling—the F12 TDF. That means a formidable 6.3-litre V12 under the hood that delivers 789-hp at 8,500 rpm to the rear wheels.
The SP 275 Competizione includes visual 275 GTB cues like louvres cut into the bodywork, aluminum fuel cap, and bespoke rear-end styling. The bright yellow paint is a nod to racing team Ecurie Francorchamps’ 275 GTB that won the GT class at Le Mans in 1965.
Wild One-Off #3: Ferrari SP38
Ronnie Kessel owns a racing team and is a highly respected Ferrari dealer. He also happens to be the lucky owner of the SP38, a $4 million one-off Ferrari supercar that had its official debut at the 2018 Concorso d’Eleganza Villa d’Este.
It rides on a 488 GTB platform, but every external body panel has been replaced with new ones that reference a mix of other cars in the Ferrari lineup like the F40, the 308 and even the 458 MM Speciale (another Special Projects Ferrari). The most distinguishing feature of the SP38 is the louvred engine cover, made from carbon fibre.
The air intakes on the 488 GTB are gone. Instead, the intercoolers receive air from special inlets beside the side windows. It shares the same powertrain with the 488 GTB, so packed within that frame is a twin-turbocharged V8 that churns out an impressive 661-hp and 561 lb-ft of torque.
Wild One-Off #2: Ferrari P80/C
The P80/C carries the distinction of being the first track-only car from the Ferrari Special Projects division. It is also the first built on a competition chassis, that of the 488 GT3.
However, the fact that the P80/C cannot be used for any competition racing meant it was free from any FIA restrictions. That allowed Ferrari to go all out in designing a truly bespoke hardcore machine.
The P80/C reportedly took about four years to develop and involved several meetings between the design team and the car’s owner, Hong Kong businessman and Ferrari diehard TK Mak. A standout feature is the gigantic T-wing, inspired by Ferrari F1 cars and designed to help reduce turbulence as air flows over the car’s rear.
Then there’s the massive rear diffuser that juts out aggressively, keeping the car planted as it is put through its paces at the track. The P80/C gets the 488 GT3’s twin-turbo V8, but in this case, it’s derestricted, and power output is thought to be in excess of 700-hp.
Wild One-Off #1: Ferrari Omologata
This is one of the latest creations from Ferrari Special Projects. To create the Omologata, Ferrari took the already-bonkers 812 Superfast and stretched the design and engineering boundaries even further.
According to Ferrari, this is more than just a mere facelift. In fact, only the windscreen and headlights are shared with the 812 Superfast.
The Omologata was hand-crafted from aluminum and took two years to develop. The Rosso Magma shade was specially created for the supercar and is complemented by the racing number roundels on the hoods and doors. The rear windscreen is gone, replaced by slats similar to the F40 to highlight the car’s racing pedigree.
Ferrari has been very secretive about the powertrain, but it will not be out of place to assume it is the same 789-hp V12 unit found in the 812 Superfast. Hopefully, the Omologata will not waste away in some private collection and will get opportunities to really stretch its legs.
The Eleventh Horse: Ferrari BR20
I was just finishing up this piece when I came across the news of the latest Ferrari Special Projects baby. There was no way I was going to pass up the chance to slide it in here.
It’s called the BR20 and is based on the 2+2 GTC4 Lusso. However, the chassis has been reworked to accommodate a longer, sleeker ‘fastback’ profile, reminiscent of the classic Ferrari coupes like the Ferrari 410 Superamerica and the 500 Superfast.
There are no rear seats in the BR20, but in its place, Ferrari has crafted an elegant luggage deck, complete with genuine oak trimmings. It ties in nicely with other parts of the interior, which is done up in expensive leather and carbon fibre inserts, giving off a mix of classy and modern vibes.
Ferrari is being coy about the powertrain, but since the BR20 borrows from the V12 GTC4 Lusso (and not the V8 version), it’s logical to assume that the same 6.3-litre unit powers the one-off fastback. That’s at least 680 horses under the hood, more than enough to transform the BR20 into a speedy grand tourer in a flash.