The Ferrari J50 Is Maranello’s Latest Limited-Run Supercar
Only 10 of the 488 Spider-based tributes to the company’s Japanese history will be built.
Fifty years ago, Ferrari sold its first car in Japan. The only reason we know this, for what it’s worth, is that Maranello is commemorating the occasion with the Ferrari J50, a super-limited-edition supercar based off the 488 Spider and destined for a handful of stupidly rich Ferraristas.
As you might expect from a car with its inspiration rooted to some degree in Japanese culture, the J50 comes clad in styling that we’ve taken to describing as “tastefully nutrageous.” It’s futuristic, edgy and wedgy; the front end is dominated by Fry-squint LED headlights and a broad, hungry mouth of a front intake, the side a set of sleek, long lines book-ended by bulbous wheel arches, and the tail end a vaguely Veyron-esque two-tone sculpture that returns the four taillamp look to the mid-engined V-8 lineup. There’s a certain LaFerrari Aperta flair to the whole effect, albeit with a healthy dose of Akira influence added in for good measure. The cockpit glass is designed to bring a motorcycle helmet to mind, while the 20-inch wheels were whipped up just for the car.
The modifications extend beneath the skin, too. The radiators have been moved closer to one another, and the lowered windshield allows more air to flow over the wealthy scalps within the car and back to the rear spoiler. Ferrari’s press release says the J50 uses a “specific” version of the 3.9-liter twin-turbo V-8 mounted in the 488 that’s been tuned up to 680 horsepower—19 more than the car it’s based on. (Because if there’s one complaint about the Ferrari 488 Spider, it’s that it needs more power.)
The J50 occupies the penultimate level of Ferrari exclusivity—one step below the custom-made one-offs like the SP275 SW Competizione whipped up on special order for the carmaker’s best clients, but a clear distance above the most-extensive modifications of the carmaker’s bespoke Tailor Made division. That said, buyers of the new Japan-centric supercar won’t be forced to take the J50 and like it as it is; every car will be customized to its owners’ very ex
Not surprisingly, Ferrari didn’t say how much the J50 will cost, but based on what we’ve heard previous limited-run models like the F60 America went for, we’re guessing each of these limited-edition Prancing Horses will sell for somewhere in the seven-figure range, in dollars, pounds, or euros alike.
WORLD PREMIERE OF THE FERRARI J50
Tokyo, 13 December 2016 – During a special celebration held at the National Art Center in Tokyo to commemorate the 50th anniversary of Ferrari in Japan, Ferrari revealed a new strictly limited series of bespoke cars, the J50.
The Ferrari J50 is a two-seater, mid-rear-engined roadster that marks a return to the targa body style evocative of several well-loved Ferrari road cars of the 1970s and 1980s. Created by Ferrari’s Special Projects department and designed by the Ferrari Styling Centre team in Maranello, just 10 examples of the J50 will be built and, in the spirit of Ferrari’s fuori serie tradition, each one will be tailored specifically to the customer’s requirements.
Based on the 488 Spider, the J50 is powered by a specific 690 cv version of the 3.9-litre V8 that won the overall International Engine of the Year Award this year.
The bodywork is all new and heralds a radically futuristic design language, with a highly distinctive personality that suits the tastes of a clientele that seeks the utmost in innovative styling. The design approach was led by the desire to create a very low-slung roadster, encapsulating intrinsic Ferrari values of nimbleness and agility. To achieve this, a strong dynamic was imprinted on the flank of the car by the converging interplay between two main guiding lines: the slanted top edge of the side window, continuous with the windscreen, and the raked black swage line which dramatically rises from the low-set nose until it vanishes in the air intake aft of the doors.
While the “helmet visor” effect, which spawns from the window graphic, is reminiscent of Ferrari’s open competition barchettas going as far back as the 1950s, the black dividing line is a novel interpretation of a recurring Ferrari styling cue seen on iconic models such as the GTO, F40 and F50. Circling around the front of the car below knee height, it is a key element which alters the perception of the beltline, setting it at a much lower height than usual, transforming the J50 into a barchetta.
The bonnet section is lower at the centre with raised wheelarch crests giving the emphasized muscularity typical of Ferrari mid-engined sports cars. Two carbon-fibre air channels in the front bonnet create an even more diminutive and sharper looking front mass underlined by the full LED headlights that feature a specific and very dynamic profile.
The J50 benefits from detailed aerodynamic development with a number of significant functional solutions. Firstly, the radiators have been positioned closer together, and the front bumper has been completely redesigned. The windscreen header rail has been lowered allowing more airflow over the aero foil and thus over the rear spoiler.
The sophisticated tail section is dominated by the artful interplay of graphic design themes and three-dimensional elements. The engine is framed by a transparent polycarbonate cover which is intricately shaped to provide a visual extension of the two separate roll hoops protecting the heads of driver and passenger. A transverse aero foil projects as a bridge between the hoops, effectively revisiting one of the most distinctive features of Ferrari sports prototypes of the 1960s.
The rear is decidedly aggressive in nature, with the quad taillight design widening the car visually under a high-downforce wing profile. The rear diffuser features an extractor shape inspired by jet engine afterburners, giving the car a powerful stance. 20” forged rims of unique design were crafted specifically for this limited-edition model.
Inside the cabin, specific trim adorns the sports seats, echoing the design of the rear bonnet contour to provide a unmistakable signature feature. The carbon-fibre hard targa top is divided into two pieces which stow conveniently behind the seats.
The J50 presented at the launch in Tokyo is finished in a special shade of three-layer red with a red-over-black interior trimmed in fine leather and Alcantara.