Ferrari Special Projects: a detailed overview (part 1 of 3)

Ferrari Special Projects: a detailed overview (part 1 of 3)

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A rundown of Ferrari's Portfolio, or as some call them 'Ferrari Special Projects' and 'Ferrari One-Offs'.

Launched in 2008, the Ferrari Special Projects or 'Portfolio' is a very exclusive section of the design department. High profile clients have the possibility to work close with Ferrari designers and in the early days were even able to pick between Pininfarina or Zagato as their coach builder of choice.

How does Ferrari Special Projects work?

Customers select a current production car (chassis and drivetrain) to begin with, ensuring that the Special Project retains the base car's homologated details, including headlights, taillights, and steering wheels with airbags, to remain road-legal. As for design, customers start with a blank slate and collaborate with Ferrari's own designers.

Ferrari claims to launch at least one Special Project annually. However, as you can see from this list, a significant number of these cars remain unknown to the public.

While the official launch year of the Ferrari Special Projects program is 2008, we will also include two cars from 2006 that are not officially part of this program. To date, there have been 24 known Ferrari Special Projects, and we will discuss all of them in this three-part series.

1. 2006 Ferrari P4/5

2006 Ferrari P4/5 front

Photo: Ethan Haynes

The Ferrari P4/5 and Ferrari 612 Kappa (which we'll discuss later) can be considered the first two Ferrari Special Projects, both designed and built by Pininfarina. The Ferrari P4/5 was initiated by Pininfarina when they approached film director James Glickenhaus with the idea of commissioning a one-off car.

Glickenhaus aimed to create a modern version of the iconic Ferrari Prototype cars from the 1960s. Glickenhaus purchased the last unsold Enzo Ferrari as the base car, which was then used by Pininfarina. According to an interview with Autoblog in 2006, the total project costs (including the donor car) amounted to around $4 million.

2006 Ferrari P4/5 rear

Photo: Ethan Haynes

In the timeline of Ferrari Special Project cars, the Ferrari P4/5 stands out as the most extreme, as it's challenging to recognize any resemblance to the Enzo. The exterior is crafted entirely from carbon fiber-reinforced plastic, resulting in a weight reduction of 595 pounds (270 kg) compared to the Enzo. Improvements in aerodynamics led to superior downforce compared to the Enzo, enhancing the car's stability at high speeds.

The interior remained largely identical to the Enzo, with the exception of the addition of a GPS screen with a complete parts list and custom-built seats for Glickenhaus and his son.

2. 2006 Ferrari 612 Kappa

2006 Ferrari 612 Kappa front


The Ferrari 612 Kappa was not part of the 'Ferrari Special Projects' division; instead, it was a project by Pininfarina. It incorporates distinctive features, including a functional hood scoop, additional air vents, rear lights inspired by the Enzo/F430, personalized door handles bearing the initials of the owner (Peter Kalikow, a New York-based businessman and Ferrari collector), and an electrochromic sunroof.

2006 Ferrari 612 Kappa rear


As you can see in this picture, the electrochromic sunroof utilizes photovoltaic cells to adjust the glass's transparency, allowing it to shift from fully clear to non-transparent, similar to the current Ferrari Purosangue.

3. 2008 Ferrari SP1

2008 Ferrari SP1 side profile

Photo: Syouken Photography

The Ferrari SP1 is officially the first car from the Special Projects department, indicating Ferrari's recognition of a demand for unique, one-off cars tailored to their top clients' preferences.

In this instance, a Ferrari F430 served as the base model, which was subsequently refined by Pininfarina designer Leonardo Fioravanti for Junichiro Hiramatse, a Japanese businessman. Reportedly, Junichiro Hiramatse was a devoted admirer of the 1998 Ferrari F100 prototype, and it's evident that the SP1 shares some resemblances with it.

2008 Ferrari SP1 rear

Photo: Syouken Photography

The Ferrari SP1 features a two-tone color scheme, a different front bumper, and 430 Scuderia wheels. The rear end of the SP1 has been raised, incorporating Ferrari 599 GTB lights, while the side air intakes have been redesigned with sharper lines. The overall result is a sleeker appearance, and the car even appears to have been lengthened.

4. 2008 Ferrari P540 Superfast Aperta

2008 Ferrari P540 Superfast Aperta front


Introduced in the same year as the Ferrari SP1, the Ferrari P540 Superfast Aperta is the second car from Ferrari Special Projects. Edward Walson, the owner (son of John Walson, the inventor of cable TV), drew inspiration from the Carrozzeria Fantuzzi-designed Ferrari featured in the 1968 Toby Dammit movie when creating the P540 Superfast Aperta, which is based on the 599 GTB.

The P540 Superfast Aperta underwent extensive modifications compared to the Ferrari SP1. It boasts a striking gold exterior paint, improved brake cooling, the integration of carbon fiber components, a redesigned front bumper and rear deck, eye-catching hips above the rear wheels, and a minimalist rear design. The entire journey, from initial sketches to the finished car, spanned 14 months.

2008 Ferrari P540 Superfast Aperta rear


The most radical modification was the removal of the roof. It's worth noting that the 599 SA Aperta, a convertible variant, was introduced two years later in 2010. To our knowledge, this makes the SP3 the very first 599 Convertible.

Fun fact: the code name for this car was SP3, raising the question of whether Ferrari officially recognized the Ferrari 612 Kappa as the first car from Ferrari Special Projects.

5. 2011 Ferrari Superamerica 45

2011 Ferrari Superamerica 45 front

Photo: Péter Bodrog

Peter Kalikow continued his unique relationship with the Prancing Horse by commissioning the 2011 Ferrari Superamerica 45, his second Ferrari Special Project. It was created to celebrate the 45th anniversary of his initial Ferrari purchase, which was a 400 Superamerica in the same colour 'Blu Antille'.

2011 Ferrari Superamerica 45 rear

Photo: Nicholas Kalikow

This car boasts several distinctive features, such as a chrome grille, twin air vents in the front fenders, aluminum-trimmed A-pillars, colour-keyed alloy wheels, and contrasting blue accents on the front splitter, side sills, and rear diffuser element.

The most significant distinction from the 599 SA Aperta is the inclusion of a one-piece carbon-fiber roof and a glass rear window.

6. 2011 Ferrari SP30 'Arya'

2011 Ferrari SP30 front

Photo: Sami Sasso for RM Sotheby's

The Ferrari SP30 is a car that largely stayed out of the spotlight. While some drawings were initially released or leaked, the actual car remained unseen until eight years later. Originally known as the Ferrari SP Arya, the car was named after its owner, Indian businessman Cheerag Arya. In 2019, the Ferrari SP30 became the first Ferrari Special Project available for public purchase.

Built upon the 599 GTO platform, the Ferrari SP30 showcases distinctive features such as 599 XX-style rear winglets and two rear humps connected to the roofline, giving the car a more compact appearance compared to the 599 GTO. Additionally, the rear lights section has been redesigned, and four exhaust outlets are positioned in the middle.

2011 Ferrari SP30 rear

Photo: Sami Sasso for RM Sotheby's

The interior largely remained the same, featuring a two-tone grey Alcantara look and retaining the GTO animation on the dashboard. Notably, it includes a red carbon parking brake handle and a passenger-side grab handle. RM Sotheby's estimated the car's value at $4,354,800 to $5,443,500, but it remained unsold at the 2019 auction.

7. 2012 Ferrari SP12 EC

2012 Ferrari SP12 EC front

Photo: Cavan Collins

Eric Clapton's long-standing relationship with Ferrari, which began when he purchased his first Ferrari from George Harrison in the late 1960s, ultimately led to a Ferrari Special Project. Inspired by the Berlinetta Boxer, the base car chosen was the Ferrari 458 Italia, and Clapton received assistance from both Pininfarina and Ferrari Centro Stile in the process.

In terms of the exterior, a two-tone scheme was selected to replicate the iconic look of the Berlinetta Boxer. While the rear exhaust of the 458 Italia was retained, its curvy design was replaced with a more angular appearance, and the strakes of the Berlinetta Boxer were faithfully imitated. These strakes were also incorporated into the front grille, and even the Berlinetta Boxer's front hood aero outtake was added.

2012 Ferrari SP12 EC front

Photo: Cavan Collins

Inside, the interior showcases stunning seats, seemingly upholstered in Cuoio leather. Clapton initially aspired to install a V12 engine, but that plan did not come to fruition.

8. 2013 Ferrari SP FFX

2013 Ferrari SP FFX front

Photo: @kougouf

The 2013 Ferrari SP FFX, derived from the Ferrari FF, was custom-built for a Ferrari customer in Japan. The car's overall appearance differs significantly from the standard Ferrari FF's shooting brake profile, sporting a coupé-like rear design.

2013 Ferrari SP FFX rear

Photo: @kougouf

Additional distinctive elements encompass a revised grille, increased air intakes and outlets, a prominent diffuser, and a carbon roof. The car's red and white livery draws inspiration from the Scuderia Ferrari Formula 1 car of its time, the Ferrari F138 driven by Fernando Alonso and Felipe Massa.

What's your favorite Ferrari Special Project from this list? Share your thoughts in the comments below, and don't forget to check out part 2 and stay tuned for part 3.

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  • Brett Thompson

    Probably the only Special Projects car I like is the Arya. There’s a reason Ferrari is the designer and people who purchase are the customers. If you have enough money, want to design your own and it works for you that’s great. When I know how beautiful the original is and I see what the customer does to it there’s no love from me. Remember the Simpsons episode featuring the Homer.

  • James S. MacLeod

    CAR PORN!!! … LOOOVE it!!! … Already lookin’ forward to the next installment

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