Every time Ferrari reveals one of its customer-commissioned One-Off cars it feels like a win-win for the brand. First and foremost, it reminds us that the Special Projects programme exists and that it really does offer an unparalleled level of customisation. And secondly, even if that level of customisation has delivered something a bit ‘meh’ (which is not entirely unknown) Ferrari is on safe ground because everyone knows it's the buyer calling the shots. Accordingly, none of the cars are judged by quite the same history-making criteria that we’d apply to any other Maranello-built model. Which allows the Styling Centre plenty of freedom with none of the usual risks.
Case in point, the new Ferrari SP-8. Which is essentially an F8 Spider with its folding roof removed. Had the manufacturer done this of its own volition you might be inclined to ask ‘why’ on the basis that the roof is pretty useful when out and about. But that’s clearly the way the unidentified Taiwanese client wanted it so fair dos. Ferrari calls it a ‘thoroughbred two-seater roadster in every respect’ and while we’d be inclined to argue that description also applies to the standard F8 Spider, it certainly doesn’t take anything away from the engineering effort, which apparently demanded extensive refining of the car’s aerodynamics to maintain an appropriate level of ‘acoustic comfort’.
Additionally, the removal of the retractable hard top meant that Ferrari’s designers got to have another go at the F8’s tail section. The car’s two-tone effect is partly a consequence of its volume being divided into two parts connected by a functional central area in matte black. This includes the side air intakes with separate ducts for the intercoolers and engine, while the upper section incorporates another vent that is supposed to reference the lateral strakes of previous Ferraris.
To the front, an all-new grille continues the strake theme, with Ferrari confessing that it spent much time here - not only in producing the full-width, cast aluminium affair from a single, 3D-printed mould, but also in carefully finessing the airflow in CFD to properly feed the two front radiators. The headlights are new, too, as are the rear lights (derived from the Roma, in fact) plus the windscreen and tailpipes. Oh as are the specially designed five-spoke wheels, which are said to ‘offer a modern take on the classic rims used on Ferrari Sports Prototypes as well as the legendary F40’. Which is pretty cool.
Inside, it’s mostly about an exclusive level of finish, although Ferrari also modified the centre console to house the F1 gearbox commands. Otherwise, mechanically speaking, we’re going to assume the one-off version is unchanged from the regular F8 Spider - which means the SP-8 get 720hp from its scintillating twin-turbo 4.0-litre V8 and ought to still be good for 0-62mph in under three seconds given that it must’ve lost some weight. It would be interesting to know if it can still crack 210mph with the roof gone, but Ferrari isn’t saying.
It does mention that the car’s name is intended to celebrate the critically acclaimed V8 - and we’re all for that - while at the same time acknowledging that the number eight is also considered very lucky in Chinese culture, auguring success, good fortune and personal achievement. The recipient of the SP-8 is likely to have accrued all three on their way into Ferrari’s good books, and has been kind enough to let the manufacturer display the car in its museum following its reveal at the Mugello this weekend. You can see it there till next March.
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