Stunning, isn’t it? You’re looking at the Ferrari J50 – a limited-run special edition built to celebrate the 50th anniversary of Ferrari in Japan.
Well, what did you expect? A lavish do and a few friends over for dinner? No, when Ferrari celebrates an anniversary, it does it in style. There’s just one catch: only 10 examples of the J50 will be built. And we suspect that – if history tells us anything – each one has been snapped up.
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Based on the Ferrari 488 Spider
Based on the already-quite-lovely 488 Spider, the Ferrari J50 is a two-seater, mid-rear-engined roadster that, according to Ferrari, “marks a return to the targa body style evocative of several well-loved Ferrari road cars of the 1970s and 1980s.”
Each one will be created by the Ferrari Special Projects department and designed by the Ferrari Styling Centre team in Maranello. The launch car is finished in a special shade of three-layer red with a red-over-black interior trimmed in leather and Alcantara. Naturally, each customer will be invited to stamp their own mark on the Ferrari J50. That’s a scary thought.
“Futuristic design language”
Ferrari claims the bodywork is ‘‘all new and heralds a radically futuristic design language”. Note the slanted top edge of the side window, continuous with the windscreen, and the raked black swage line that appears to vanish into the air intakes.
The ‘helmet visor’ effect is said to be reminiscent of Ferrari’s open competition barchettas going back as far as the 1950s, while the black dividing line is a nod in the direction of iconic Ferraris such as the GTO, F40 and F50.
The front-end is suitably aggressive and dominated by a pair of full LED headlights. In comparison, the Ferrari 488 Spider looks a little meek and mild.
But it’s not all about the styling. Ferrari has spent time on the aerodynamics, going as far as positioning the radiators closer together and completely redesigning the front bumper. Meanwhile, the windscreen header rail has been lowered to allow more airflow over the aerofoil.
Not unlike the Ferrari Sergio
To our eyes, the Ferrari J50 doesn’t look too dissimilar to the achingly pretty Ferrari Sergio. It was built to celebrate the 60-year partnership of Ferrari and Pininfarina and was based on the 458 Spider.
The Ferrari J50 is based on the 488 Spider and, as such, is powered by a 3.9-litre V8 engine. However, Ferrari has added an extra 20hp to the standard 670hp, which should shave a little off the three-seconds-dead 0-62mph time.
Transparent engine cover
The engine is framed by a transparent polycarbonate cover, shaped to provide a visual link to the pair of hoops protecting the heads of the driver and passenger.
A transverse aerofoil provides a bridge between the hoops, a subtle tip of the hat – or Ferrari baseball cap – in the direction of Ferrari sports prototypes of the 1960s.
Jet engine afterburners
Assuming the lucky owners actually drive their prized possessions, the rear of the Ferrari J50 is probably the view you’ll need to get used to.
The quad taillights hark back to icons such as the F40 and 288 GTO, while the rear diffuser “features an extractor shape inspired by jet engine afterburners”. Fancy.
20-inch alloy wheels
You won’t have seen those 20-inch alloy wheels before, as they’ve been created specifically for the J50.
Expect ‘authentic replicas’ to start appearing in a car accessories catalogue near you soon.
Two-piece targa top
Inside, you’ll be able to create a cabin of your choice. Specific trim adorns the sports seats and echoes the design of the rear bonnet contour.
Meanwhile, carbon fibre targa top is divided into two pieces and can be stowed behind the seats.
For Japan only
As for price, if you have to ask…
Besides, the Ferrari J50 is available for Japan only and – even if you jumped on a plane to Tokyo – we suspect you’d be too late.