Ferrari lifts the lid on a new special edition

14 December 2016 - 11:48 By AFP Relaxnews
World Premiere of the Ferrari J50
World Premiere of the Ferrari J50
Image: ©Ferrari North Europe

Proving beyond a doubt that it knows how to mark a milestone, Ferrari has unveiled a new special edition targa roof car -- the J50 -- to celebrate its 50th year in Japan.

The J50 is based on the current series production 488 Spider, but, from the outside at least, the only real clue is the engine note. The car's bodywork is a massive departure from the firm's current design language -- it's more aggressive, angular and sharp from its headlights to its side air intakes and its tail, yet it's still unmistakably a Ferrari.

The new model, developed by the company's Special Projects department in conjunction with its Styling Centre in Maranello, will be limited to 10 bespoke examples -- the company expects each owner to heavily customize his or her J50. But to get the ball rolling, the vehicle's style and stance has been heavily influenced by Japanese Ferrari collectors' tastes.


That's in part why, amidst all of this looking towards the future, the company has managed to resurrect several historic design features that used to bless all Ferrari V8s and which some purists miss. For example, that aggressive matte black rear boasts four individual circular tail lamps. Better still, this car is also the marque's first targa -- i.e., it has a removable roof panel -- in almost two decades. The targa or 'S' option used to be offered on every small Ferrari starting in 1975 with the 308 GTS and last seen on the Ferrari F355 (1994-1999).

What's more, while the J50 gets its power from the same 3.9-liter twin-turbo V8 powerplant that powers the 488 Spider to 100km/h from a standstill in 3.0 seconds and on to a top speed beyond 200mph, it's been retuned. Instead of 660hp, it produces 690hp. And because the car's also lower, has more pronounced aerodynamics, larger air intakes and some of its internal hardware, including radiators, have been moved for greater efficiency, it could be noticeably quicker.

However, Ferrari isn't giving out any performance data. Nor is it revealing any pricing details, but expect this car, if you can get on the waiting list -- bespoke Ferraris have a habit of selling out while they're still in the initial sketch stage -- to cost at least twice as much as the current $275,000 488 Spider.