Somewhere in Britain, there’s a very happy and very proud car nut. This person, who wishes to remain anonymous, is the owner of the Ferrari 458 MM Speciale , a model built to his or her own vision by Maranello’s One-Off programme.
Based around the 458 Speciale’s underpinnings, this one-of-a-kind car, recently seen at the Goodwood Festival of Speed, has gone down a storm since it was first unveiled. Even Maranello is impressed with its own handiwork. “We think this is one of the best one-offs so far,” says Enrico Galliera, Ferrari’s commercial director. “The client came with a clear idea of what they wanted. That was one of the keys to the success of the project.”
Ferrari One-Off began a few years ago when Japanese Ferrari collector Junichiro Hiramatsu asked for something special to celebrate his history with the company. The result was the SP1, based on the F430, and the positive response convinced Ferrari that there was a market for such cars.
So how does one go about commissioning a bespoke Ferrari? Well, you don’t simply knock on Maranello’s door and brandish a blank cheque…
Be a devout Ferrari owner and enthusiast
No one can buy an invitation to participate in the One-Off programme and Ferrari doesn’t promote it. Instead, the company gauges the suitability of owners at events such as the Festival of Speed and its own special gatherings. A passion for all things Maranello is a given.
“It is something that develops from one-to-one contact,” says Galliera. “When we have in front of us a client who loves our special cars or is looking for something different, we might propose it. The selection of the clients is very important. We try to pick those who live and breathe Ferrari and appreciate how special a one-off car is.”
Be prepared to invest your time
Creating your own Ferrari can take between 18 and 24 months and includes regular consultations with the engineers and designers at Maranello. “It is like developing a house,” says Galliera. “If you change your mind several times, then it takes longer than expected. It also depends on how different the car is and how specific you are with your requests.
“The client has to come to Maranello to sit with our team quite frequently. It is a big investment in terms of time. They become like an employee of the company. They sit together with the designer and with the technical team. We receive input from the client if they have any ideas – so, for example, if they want to have a car inspired by an historical Ferrari, or by a racing car.
“We decide what kind of chassis they want to choose – 458, eight-cylinder, 12-cylinder, whatever – and then we come up with some design thoughts and show them some direction. From there is a series of meetings that take place, during which our design team is working with the client to take the direction they want to take.”
Don’t ask for pink…
Core mechanical components such as the engine and chassis remain standard, but everything around them can be changed. The 458 MM Speciale, for example, featured radically altered aerodynamics.
However, there are some things Ferrari won’t do, no matter how big a cheque is being offered. Galliera says: “It has to be consistent with our brand. So if someone asks us for a pink Ferrari, the answer is no. If they ask to have a hardcore racing GTC4 Lusso, the answer is no. If there is a specific request that we think is not fitting with the positioning of the car, it is not a matter of money; the answer is no. “This is first and foremost a Ferrari, which means that the performance cannot be compromised by the design.”
Be very patient
The One-Off programme will produce a maximum of three cars per year. Galliera says: “We have a big problem, which is that we are sold out until 2021. It has to remain something extremely limited. So even though we have a long list of clients, we are trying to cap it. And that’s the problem that we have so far: that we still have a lot of requests that we cannot satisfy. Raid your piggy bank
Galliera says: “The price depends on which chassis you are using and what kind of project you want, but the price can be around three million euros.”
Be prepared to drive it
Ferrari wants even the rarest of its cars to be used and enjoyed on the road. “Of course, we believe that our cars can live in a nice museum or a private collection, but we prefer every single car to be on the road,” says Galliera. “So whether we talk about the standard road cars or the One-Off projects, we tend to push our clients to bring their cars to life. It is really important.”
However, owners aren’t obliged to show off their cars at events like the Festival of Speed if they prefer greater privacy instead. “The visibility of the car very much depends on the client,” says Galliera. “We respect their wish. The only thing we ask is that they drive and enjoy the car.”