► Unusual Ferrari patent pictures filed
► Likely bespoke one-off commission
► Tell us what you think it is!
We’ll be straight with you; we don’t know precisely Ferrari’s plans for this new LaFerrari-derived styling exercise. But the fact that Maranello has successfully applied for multiple patents around its shape suggests it’s a serious project.
While virtually every car’s styling gets patented, it’s unusual for the process to finish and the patents to be published before there’s an official roll-out. That’s not the case here, though. Ferrari filed a whole raft of patent applications for this machine with the European Union Intellectual Property Office in August 2016, and they were published this week with no hint from the firm as to the car’s purpose or intentions.
So what do we know about the Ferrari patents?
A lot can be gleaned from the images themselves, which include several line drawings and a batch of photos of a large-scale – possibly even full-sized – styling model.
The central monocoque looks to be from the existing LaFerrari; the rising waistline at the back of the doors, along with A-pillars that match the existing car’s, suggest the new styling is bolted around the same set of hard points. That means under the skin there’s a full carbonfibre monocoque. Given that, it’s odds-on that the same 6.3-litre, 789bhp V12 sits under the rear glass, aided and abetted by 161bhp of electric assistance for a total of 950 horses.
Around it all lies new bodywork styled, according to the patent documents, by Ferrari’s design chief Flavio Manzoni. He also headed the original LaFerrari styling team, and the latest design has some evolutionary elements, notably in the deeply scalloped sides and the multi-layered surface treatment.
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At the front lie headlights that appear to hide under body-coloured cowls, with only the day-running lights visible. With pop-up lights effectively banned by modern construction and crash regulations, odds are that the covers slide aside when the main headlights are needed.
There are large expanses of bare carbon both front and rear; it’s the detail of the visible weave that gives away the fact that the styling model is so close to full size. The roof, while retaining the LaFerrari’s canopy style, is rather neater than the car it’s based on and appears to be entirely glass. Small, inset side windows in the doors allow for more compound curves around their front edges where they meet the A-pillars.
So who’s it for?
Before you whip out your chequebook and head down to the local Ferrari dealer, it’s worth bearing in mind that this might well be a unique machine. There certainly doesn’t appear to be a place for it in Ferrari’s existing range. While it’s a step forward from the LaFerrari in styling terms it’s unlikely the firm would recycle that car’s monocoque and mechanical components when the time comes to create a replacement.
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On the rare occasions that Ferrari patents have revealed unfamiliar cars in recent years, they’ve almost invariably turned out to be projects from the firm’s secretive Special Projects arm. This division labours to create one-offs for buyers so wealthy and dedicated to the marque that they can both afford and are seen to deserve a bespoke car carrying the Prancing Horse badge.
If that’s what this is, its LaFerrari basis makes it the most exotic creation yet. Previous Special Project cars include Eric Clapton’s 458-based SP12 EC (reckoned to have cost upward of £3 million) and recently the SP275 RW Competizione, based on the F12tdf.
Given the incredible cost of those machines, which use the bones of more mass-made Ferraris, it’s quite possible that a bespoke LaFerrari-based special would be the most expensive new Ferrari that the firm has ever sold.
Any idea what this Ferrari is? Sound off in the comments below!