The SP38 Is an Homage to the Most Legendary Ferrari of All Time

Why is it Ferrari makes better-looking cars when it’s for only one customer?

When the designers at Ferrari don’t have to worry about aerodynamics, they end up creating the most beautiful works of art. It’s a pity then that the cars the designers at Marinello come up with are merely on-off, custom commissions. The latest one-off Ferrari is the SP38. It might be a 488 GTB underneath, but it references the most legendary Ferrari of the last thirty years with subtle nods to another turbocharged prancing horse icon.

Aside from the more entry-level models, modern Ferraris are designed with aerodynamics as a top priority. The cars that come out of the Maranello factory these days are head-turners for sure, but they’re not nearly as elegant as the Pininfarina-designed models that came before drag and low-pressure air pockets became an eyesore for designers. The SP38 on the other hand benefits from the wants and needs of a respected Ferrari customer who wanted to use the turbocharged 488 GTB to pay homage to two other iconic forced-induction Ferraris: the F40 and 308 GTB.

Gone are the 488 GTB’s massive side scoops and in their place are sleeker more subtle intakes, reminiscent of the F40’s C-pillar vents. Another callback to the F40 is the way the designers deliberately framed the rear end with a rectangle of negative space. What the SP38 pulls from the 308 GTB is the incredibly slim front end, tapered nose and the single wide hood vent — a much more subtle and pretty alternative to the 488 GTB’s nostrils.

It’s a big wonder then that Ferrari doesn’t go back to this simplified, easier on the eyes design. Why not let the designers own the visible space up top and hide the ungainly work of the aerodynamicists underneath the car? With the advances in active aerodynamics and considering how much downforce Ferrari can generate from the bottom of the car alone, it wouldn’t be out of the realm of possibility.

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