Ferrari P540 Superfast Aperta (2009) first pictures

Published: 14 December 2009

A bespoke Ferrari built by the Italian supercar manufacturer's secretive Special Projects department has undergone its first shakedown test at the Fiorano test track.

The Pininfarina-designed P540 Superfast Aperta was comissioned in 2008 by the necessarily wealthy Edward Walson, son of John Walson, the inventor of cable television. Based on the 599 GTB Fiorano, the one-off machine was inspired by a Carrozzeria Fantuzzi-designed model featured in the 1968 Fellini film Toby Dammit.

'I had always dreamed of designing sports cars,' said Watson. 'When I saw this film the decision came of its own accord: one day I would have 'my' Ferrari. This is the most special Christmas present of my life.' Well, what else would he expect for the probable seven-figure price tag?

Is the P540 Superfast Aperta just a re-clothed 599?

In many respects, yes. The P540 is 20kg heavier than the donor 599, thanks to chassis strengthening required by the loss of its roof. However, it retains the 599's 6.0-litre V12 powerplant and six-speed sequential gearbox. That means 612bhp, 448lb ft of torque and a Copenhagen-troubling 415g/km of CO2.

We expect the P540's performance relative to the 599 to be slightly blunted by that added weight but, since we're talking about 0-60mph in around four seconds and a top speed in the region of 200mph, we're really just splitting hairs.