Ferrari J50 revealed: ten bespoke roadsters for Japan

Published: 13 December 2016

► Only 10 cars to be built, for Japan only
► New targa design, 488 Spider running gear
► Created by Ferrari’s Special Projects dept.

This stunning creation is the Ferrari J50, a special evolution of the 488 Spider built to mark the company’s 50th anniversary in Japan.

The J50 was created by Ferrari’s Special Projects arm, the same department that created one-offs like Eric Clapton’s SP12 EC and the 458 MM Speciale.

Only 10 cars will be built, each one with individual trim to its customer’s taste, and the first was unveiled at an event at Tokyo’s National Art Centre.

Is there really a 488 under there?

The 488 Spider starting point has been rebodied with a completely new design. In contrast to the 488 Spider’s flat-deck engine cover, the J50 adopts a targa layout, with bodywork rising to the roll hoops and a carbonfibre hardtop which splits into two pieces, stowable behind the seats.  

Ferrari J50

The way the dark-pillared windscreen wraps around into the side windows is intended to echo a helmet visor, and the black dividing line running around the front of the car and diagonally up its flanks (à la F40 and F50) helps the appear even lower. The chiselled nose is the result of the radiators being positioned closer together, allowing a substantial redesign of the front bumper. Quad tail-lights, once a Ferrari hallmark, return at the rear in place of the 488’s single hoops.

The windscreen header rail has been dropped in height too, reputedly to allow a greater volume of air to flow over the rear spoiler as much as it is to continue the low-slung styling theme. The 20in forged wheels are a design unique to the J50.

Ferrari J50

Inside, there are fewer changes, with much of the 488’s existing cabin fittings carried over unchanged other than special trim for the seats designed to echo the rear bodywork’s contours.

What’s under that engine cover?

A 680bhp version of the 488’s now-familiar 3.9-litre twin-turbocharged V8, a near-20bhp increase in power. While Ferrari hasn’t yet quoted performance figures, that’ll make the J50 a very rapid roadster indeed.

Said engine cover is polycarbonate, moulded into humps drawing down from the roll hoops.

Ferrari J50

Naturally, no official word has been given on how much each J50 cost. That said, the usual cost of a special ‘Fuori Serie’ Ferrari car is somewhere between €2.5m-€3m, depending on the exact model and design.

Read more Ferrari news

By James Taylor

CAR's deputy features editor, occasional racer