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One-off SP38 takes inspiration from Ferraris of the past

It’s hard to imagine wanting anything more than a new Ferrari, but some of the Italian automaker’s wealthiest customers simply aren’t satisfied with an off-the-rack supercar. Ferrari does take requests for customized, one-off builds, and the SP38 is the latest example of one.

Built for what the automaker describes as one of its most dedicated customers, the Ferrari SP38 is based on a 488 GTB, but features custom bodywork inspired by some of Ferrari’s classic models, as well as the automaker’s racing heritage.

The 488’s face received substantial cosmetic surgery, including new slimmer headlights and a protruding front bumper Ferrari says was inspired by the 308 GTB. The side air scoops were also covered up for a smoother look. At the back, Ferrari replaced the stock glass engine cover with a slatted carbon-fiber one reminiscent of the F40, and the design of the rear fascia is meant to reference that legendary supercar as well.

Ferrari did not discuss mechanical details, but the stock 488 GTB on which the SP38 is based uses a 3.9-liter twin-turbocharged V8 producing 660 horsepower and 560 pound-feet of torque. In stock form, the 488 GTB will do 0 to 62 mph in 3.0 seconds, and reach a top speed of 205 mph, according to Ferrari. The 488 GTB relies heavily on aerodynamics to achieve that performance, so it’s unclear how the bodywork changes will affect the way the SP38 drives.

Ferrari is no stranger to building one-off cars. In 2016, it unveiled the SP 275 RW Competizione as a tribute to the classic 275 GTB of the mid 1960s, and the automaker even customized a car for Eric Clapton. Going back even further, Ferrari collaborated with Italian coachbuilder Pininfarina to clothe numerous cars in unique bodywork in the 1950s and 1960s. Custom bodywork was fairly common in that simpler era of automotive engineering, and automakers are once again using it to cater to wealthy customers willing to pay for exclusivity.

The Ferrari SP38 will be displayed at the 2018 Concorso d’Eleganza Villa d’Este, near Italy’s Lake Como, May 26. Ferrari does not plan to build any more copies, and won’t say exactly how much the owner paid for this one-off car. But the SP38 surely won’t be the last of Ferrari’s custom builds.

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Stephen Edelstein
Stephen is a freelance automotive journalist covering all things cars. He likes anything with four wheels, from classic cars…
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