Masterwork

Inspired by history and imbued with creative spirit, Ferrari Special Projects’ latest one-off is a true scene stealer.

April 13, 2017
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The concept of “specialness” is deeply relative when it comes to new Ferraris, inasmuch as even the carmaker’s most pedestrian offering, the California T, is nothing less than a 560-hp bravura work of road-going performance art backed by more than seven decades of engineering expertise and racing success. At the other end of the exclusivity continuum lie stunning machines such as the F60 America and Sergio, built in severely limited numbers (ten and six examples, respectively) and made available only to repeat customers with a demonstrated fealty to the marque.

Still, even those lowest-volume fuoriserie models fall short of being unique, a term that, present usage trends notwithstanding, really does mean one of a kind. For that tiny handful of Ferraristi who desire the ultimate in automotive exclusivity—a one-off vehicle built to their specifications—the firm’s Special Projects department stands by at the ready.

Though Ferrari Special Projects, or FSP, has only officially existed since 2007, Maranello has been quietly slaking the desires of car-crazed Croesuses for years, most famously with a range of special cars, including 456 station wagons and paddle-shifted rebodied F512Ms, built by Pininfarina for the Sultan of Brunei in the 1990s. Today, FSP imposes greater limitations on its clients’ creative impulses while still providing a significant degree of individual latitude.

The latest vehicle to bear the FSP imprimatur, the scintillating SP275 RW Competizione seen here, made its public debut at December’s Finali Mondiali in Daytona, and put in an encore appearance at the Cavallino Classic in Palm Beach several weeks later. But while the car’s essential details have since been duly covered on all the usual automotive websites, its origins and inspiration have remained a mystery—until now.

WHEN WE ARRIVE at the custom-designed car “vault,” we’re met by Tom Hill, the caretaker of the collection in which the SP275 RW Competizione is currently a headline player. Though we’ve been tipped to the scope and quality of this assemblage, it’s necessary to stifle a gasp when Hill throws open the door and hits the overhead LEDs.

Naturally, there are Ferraris—most prominently a modern supercar quartet of 288 GTO, F40, F50 and Enzo, but also an alloy-bodied 250 GT SWB, a 400 Superamerica, a short-wheelbase Cal Spyder, a 275 GTB/C, a NART Spyder, and, just for kicks, a 458 Speciale A. These Prancing Horses are joined by an eclectic lineup of other performance and classic vehicles, including vintage Corvettes, Bugattis, and Mercedes, and, somewhat incongruously, a 1959 Cadillac Eldorado Biarritz convertible. (“[The owner] likes to take the family for ice cream in that one,” notes Hill.)

At center stage, atop a logistics-easing car turntable, is the SP275 RW Competizione, its darker-than-standard Giallo Triplo Strato paint practically refulgent under the lights. Hill twists the ignition key and the car’s 780-horsepower V12 sparks to life, burbling placidly as we chat. “The car photographs really well,” he says, then activates the roll-up garage door opening onto the courtyard.

Also from Issue 158

  • 812 Superfast
  • V8-powered 246 GTS
  • 212/225 Inter
  • Jose Froilan Gonzalez remembered
  • F1 preseason testing
  • FORZA Tifosi Challenge: 458 Challenge
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