RM/Sotheby’s says it’s the first Ferrari Special Projects model offered publicly for sale

As you know, Ferrari will build you a unique model based on one of the cars they’re currently making if you’re wealthy enough to pay for the bill. Such a car is this, the SP30, which started life as a 599 GTO and went through a dramatic makeover receiving 458-style headlights and taillights that are identical to those on a 599 GTB.

Ever since Jim Glickenhaus and a few other Ferrari aficionados bathed into the limelight with their one-off Ferraris, the Maranello-based manufacturer realized there’s a market for ludicrous personalized cars made-to-order by very rich customers. Thus, Ferrari created the ’Special Projects’ program that helps long-standing Ferrari collectors that aren’t interested in buying just any boring model that rolls off of the production line to bring their vision to reality.

The SP30 was born back in 2012 and has since only traveled 65 miles according to the odometer. It’s so pristine that it even has the plastic wrap on the infotainment screen. RM/Sotheby’s wants you to send an inquiry if you’re interested in the price estimate, so we had to dig a bit to find the estimate and, in the end, just as expected, the auction house looks to get big bucks on the SP30: between $4.5 million and $5.7 million, to be precise.

This Special Projects 2011 Ferrari SP30 One-Off Will be One of the Stars of the Auction

Car for Sale: Unique 2011 Ferrari SP30 One-Off by Ferrari Special Projects
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How often have you seen a one-of-one Ferrari show up at an auction, be it Bonhams, Gooding & Co., Barrett-Jackson or, indeed, RM/Sotheby’s? I’ll refresh your memory for you: never. This is the first time such a car, built following the express desires of its original owner, will be sold to, well, whoever bids the most money. Usually, such cars are shrouded in secrecy as their ultra-rich owners don’t even want people to hear that Ferrari is building them a special car. It’s been rumored that, in the 11 years of the ’Special Projects’ program, Ferrari built approximately 40 cars and we only got to know about half of them over the years.

The SP30 was commissioned in 2012 by Cheerag Arya, a petrochemical tycoon living in the United Arab Emirates.

At the time, Ferrari allowed some of the early drawings of the car to fiddle through to the media as it announced that the SP30 was to be built for an undisclosed sum of money.

Car for Sale: Unique 2011 Ferrari SP30 One-Off by Ferrari Special Projects
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As per the said owner’s requests, the SP30 has a narrower mouth up front with another opening just below and two more inlets outboard in a recessed position, within the carbon fiber-covered splitter. The vertical headlights are lifted straight off the Ferrari 458 Italia, and you’ll notice the black accents across the hood, the doors, and the front fenders. These are actually separate parts on the body. For instance, the black stripe horizontally traced down the hood, hides a rearward-facing two-step inlet carved in the hood similar to that on the F12 TdF.

The fin-style element aft of the front wheels also acts as both an air vent and as an aerodynamic device that directs air across the side of the car.

Then there are the protruding side skirts whose outer edges go up to create a vertical winglet. The side mirrors, the A-pillars, the roof, and the B-pillars are all painted in black although the rotor-esque 5-spoke wheels are silver and one-off. The B-pillars have received 599XX-inspired winglets with their edges pointing down. At the back, you’ll spot the huge quad exhaust tips and the fact that this coupe features roadster-like buttresses which reduce the rear window to a small opening the size of a piece of paper from a desk agenda.

Car for Sale: Unique 2011 Ferrari SP30 One-Off by Ferrari Special Projects
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The taillights are from a 599 GTB Fiorano, and they sit either side of an incorporated ducktail. The overall design of the car is reminiscent to both the F12 and the 812 Superfast, two cars that have taken into production the idea of putting the elongated headlight design on a GT model.

Inside, the SP30 combines the seats and steering wheel of the 599 GTO with the infotainment system from the post-facelift 612 Scaglietti also known as the 612 OTO.

There’s grey Alcantara leather on the seats, transmission tunnel, door panels and the lower areas of the dash. There’s also a darker grey stripe crossing the seat upholstery. The handbrake lever and the handle on the passenger’s side are made covered in cherry red carbon fiber. Behind the seats you’ll find a storage shelf big enough for two bags which are offered with the car and are bespoke, too, displaying the same number 30 on them as the number on the bodywork.

Car for Sale: Unique 2011 Ferrari SP30 One-Off by Ferrari Special Projects
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Performance wise, the SP30 should be as snarly as any 599 GTO.

The 6.0-liter V-12 is pushed to 661 horsepower at 8,250 rpm and 457 pound-feet of torque at 6,500 rpm.

That’s 41 horsepower and nine pound-feet of torque more than the standard 599. Weighing in at just 3,538 pounds, the 599 GTO was capable of reaching 62 mph in just 3.3 seconds and go on to a top speed of 208 mph. For comparison’s sake, an 812 Superfast with all of its 789 horsepower has a top speed of 211 mph.

The SP30 was last seen for sale in The Woodlands, Texas, where Crave Luxury Auto had it listed in their inventory. Comparing RM/Sotheby’s listing to the one dating back to September 2018 from Crave Luxury Auto reveals that the SP30 has effectively stood still since showing less than two more miles added to the odometer in the past three months. It would be sad to see it go to a collection and retain that low mileage, but this is the story of many of these unique machines. I mean, even a standard 599 GTO is a prized example in any collection since only 599 were ever made which 598 more than the number of SP30s ever made...

Brief History of the ’Special Projects’ Program

Car for Sale: Unique 2011 Ferrari SP30 One-Off by Ferrari Special Projects
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Indeed, the cars that are built through the ’Special Projects’ program are some of the rarest in the automotive world. Ferrari asks you to choose a model in their lineup for the underpinnings and then asks you to almost let your imagination run free. I say almost because the car still has to comply with safety regulations which is why you can only choose headlights and taillights from modern Ferrari models, and you can’t get an ultra-low roof or ’60s-style narrow A-pillars, for example. But, besides that, nothing is off the table if you can afford it.

Ferrari got the idea to kickstart this program after seeing that Pininfarina and other coachbuilders would duly take orders from well-to-do collectors - like the Sultan of Brunei - for bespoke cars with the Prancing Horse on the nose. The company had been quietly agreeing to this practice already for years by the time Glickenhaus’ P4/5 model based on the Enzo appeared in the news and Ferrari tried to stop Glickenhaus from calling it a Ferrari.

2009 Ferrari P540 Superfast Aperta
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The first ever bespoke Ferrari built through this very exclusive program, known as the time as ’Portfolio,’ was the SP1. It was commissioned by Junichiro Hiramatsu, ex-Ferrari Club of Japan Chairman, using the F430 as a base. Designed by Leonardo Fioravanti, the man who also penned the F40, it sports some design cues - like the elongated nostrils up front - that were carried over to the 430 Scuderia. The 490 horsepower 4.3-liter V-8 engine of the F430 was left untouched.

Many other cars have been built since then but, as I said, some owners don’t want any media attention bestowed upon them, so we don’t know how some of the ’Special Projects’ cars look like.

However, some of these cars have become pretty famous and here are just three examples: the P540 Superfast Aperta, the SP12 EC and the SP38 nicknamed 'Deborah.'

The P540 Superfast Aperta, known to be the second ever ’Special Projects’ car, reportedly took only 14 months to complete. The man who came forth with the request was Edward Walson, son of John Walson, the inventor of cable television. He’d seen a Fantuzzi-bodied Ferrari 330 LMB in a 1968 Frederico Fellini movie called ’Toby Dammit’ and decided he wanted a modern version of it.

2011 Ferrari Super America 45 by Pininfarina High Resolution Exterior
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The result is a golden marvel, based on the underpinnings of the 599 GTB. Thanks to the Targa body style, the chassis had to be strengthened up which added 44 pounds to the 3,953 pounds curb weight of a standard 599 GTB Fiorano, but that’s all that’s different under the skin. The 612 horsepower 6.0-liter naturally-aspirated V-12 is still there, it still takes the car to over 190 mph, and the power still reaches the rear wheels through a 6-speed sequential box.

But the body makes the difference, and it's a huge one because, with 612 Scaglietti headlights and a bigger mouth, as well as those straked vents on the sides, the P540 Superamerica Aperta is one of the prettiest modern Ferraris.

The SP12 EC is less of a looker but what matters are those two letters at the end: EC. They refer to the illustrious musician who ordered the car, none other than guitar virtuoso Eric Clapton. It was designed to harken back to the 512 BB of the ’70s and, this time, we know how much it cost: $4.7 million. That’s why the body is painted in a two-tone combo of red and black and why there’s a rectangular mesh grille up front.

Under the luscious body, there’s the screaming 4.5-liter 570 horsepower V-8 of a 458 Italia and the rest of its running gear. Clapton’s owned a number of Berlinetta Boxers in his past, including one that he crashed quite heavily and then displayed a photo of the aftermath on the inner sleeve of the ’Slowhand’ album. You can bet that the SP12 EC is worth much more today, some seven years later, just because it’s been in Clapton’s garage for all this time.

2018 Ferrari SP38
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Finally, there's the SP38, one of the latest 'Special Projects' creations. This model, based on a 488 GTB, was inspired by an F40.

You can see it by the fixed rear wing incorporated in the clamshell-type carbon fiber rear engine lid. It has way narrower headlights - almost similar to those of a Huracan - a protruding front bumper and huger star design wheels. Ferrari said back in 2018 that it was made for “one of Ferrari’s most dedicated customers” who has a “deep passion for racing.”

Underneath the beautiful body, ’Deborah’ sports the same twin-turbocharged 3.9-liter V-8 as any other 488 GTB. That means the expected 661 horsepower are all there and they are sent to the wheels through the usual dual-clutch gearbox. It should, thus, do 62 mph from a standing start in just 3 seconds and reach a top speed of 205 mph if the remodeled body doesn’t interfere in any way.

The SP30 might not be as pretty as ’Deborah’ or as that golden Superfast Aperta, but it’s just as rare and, as such, incredibly desirable. We know that a 599 GTO usually sells for anything between $560,000 and $670,000 so you could probably buy five for the price of this SP30 if it will sell for over $4.5 million as per RM’s broad estimate.

Further reading

2011 Ferrari 599 GTO Exterior
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Read our full review on the 2011 Ferrari 599 GTO.

2006 Ferrari 599 GTB Fiorano
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Read our full review on the 2006 Ferrari 599 GTB Fiorano.

Source: RM Sotheby’s

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