Well, well - we certainly weren't expecting this to brighten a dreary December morning. A new Ferrari, called J50, of which just 10 will be built to mark 50 years of Ferrari in Japan.
And what a beautiful thing it is, no?
Developed as part of the limited-run Ferrari fuori serie scheme, every body panel is new and, although it's based on
the 488 Spider
, it's actually a targa-top. And the last one of those to join Ferrari's road car catalogue was the F355 GTS.
To our eyes, it bears more than a passing resemblance to the beautiful Pininfarina Sergio, and is far, far more than just a 488 Spider with a body kit. Exhibit 1: that mean front end, with its moody headlights blending into a black swage referencing the 288 GTO, F40 and F50. We like? We adore.
Ferrari promises that, because this front beltline is so low, it visually makes the J50 look like a proper barchetta. Lowering the centre of the front hood helps there, and carbon fibre air intakes give it extra visual clout, as if that whopping front bumper aero section (think 'snowplough') wasn't enough. Behind it the conversion is so extensive Ferrari's reengineered the radiators to nudge them closer together.
Each passenger gets their own rollover hoop and, further back, the transparent engine cover has double bubbles that mirror these. An aerofoil bridges them near the top to pay tribute, says Ferrari, to its 1960s sports prototypes. The windscreen header rail has been lowered so more air can flow towards it.
We love that aggressively high-downforce black rear wing, and the quad taillights, and the rear diffuser that's shaped to look like a jet engine exhaust. Purposefully aggressive, reckons Ferrari. Those forged 20-inch alloys are rather pretty too, and easy to clean, which will be of relevance to exactly zero owners.
Ferrari hasn't bothered to engineer an auto-retract targa roof for the J50: instead, the two carbon fibre sections can be stowed against the rear bulkhead. It has fancy sports seats and bespoke trim, but it's otherwise more generic 488 Spider; the scene stealing stuff is on the outside. There's a bit of Enzo Ferrari 'engine above all' logic in the J50, too. At its heart is not just an off-the-shelf turbocharged V8, but one that's been further boosted up to 690hp. A specific version for the 10 J50s, says Ferrari. The old man would be proud.
The J50 chosen to reveal the car at a special event in Tokyo is finished in three-layer red with a red and black interior but each production car will be tailored exactly to its Japanese owner's wishes. Price? Not quoted, inevitably. The Sergio, of which just six were built, cost around $3m so take that as your ballpark and dream away. Because that's likely as close as you'll get to having one!
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