The man who designed the ugly Ferrari Enzo unveiled his best design yet

Ken Okuyama Cars, a small auto design firm headed by Japanese industrial designer Ken Okuyama, unveiled its latest creation, the Kode57, at the Monterey Car Week. Just a prototype for now, the stunning Kode57 will become a limited-edition production car in the near feature, according to Okuyama, who promises a highly customizable supercar that will rival offerings from Ferrari and McLaren. Needless to say, the Kode57 is stunning to look at and its design alone is enough to challenge the most expensive and exclusive modern supercars.

In case you haven’t heard of Ken Okuyama before, you need to know that he’s not the kind of designer that surfaced over night. He is responsible for many iconic car designs and has worked for a number of famous companies, including General Motors, Porsche, and Pininfarina. At Porsche, he helped design the 996-generation 911 and the Boxster, while at GM, he worked in the company’s Advanced Concepts Center in California.

His collaboration with Pininfarina was arguably the most prolific. Appointed as creative director in 2004, Okuyama oversaw projects such as the Ferrari 599, fifth-generation Maserati Quattroporte, Mitsubishi Colt CZC, Maserati Birdcage 75th concept, and Ferrari P4/5, a one-off built for James Glickenhaus. However, his most notable design is that of the Ferrari Enzo, which he penned for Pininfarina before being appointed as creative director. Other projects included the Pininfarina Metrocubo and Ferrari Rossa, the latter a modern interpretation of the iconic Testa Rossa of the 1950s.

Following his departure from Pininfarina, Okuyama set up his own design firm. In 2008, he introduced the Kode7, a carbon-fiber and aluminum two-seater that became a production car in 2011. In 2013, he launched the Kode9, a sports car featuring a retro design. Production of the Kode9 began in 2014.

The new Kode57 features a much more aggressive design and its name pays homage to the year 1957, "an iconic year in which many legendary cars were born and motor racing gained a strong worldwide following." Check it out below.

Exterior

2017 Ken Okuyama Cars Kode57 High Resolution Exterior
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2017 Ken Okuyama Cars Kode57 High Resolution Exterior
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2017 Ken Okuyama Cars Kode57 High Resolution Exterior
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The Kode57 looks unlike anything Ken Okuyama has launched so far. While the Kode7 had an Ariel Atom-like design and the Kode9 a 1960s-inspired styling with round cues and beefy fenders, the Kode57 has a more radical appearance with sharp edges and a V-shaped nose inspired by Formula One cars.

Granted, the Kode57 borrows a bit from both the Ferrari Enzo and the Ferrari Rossa concept, but the overall design is unique. The classic proportions of a long nose and short deck are paired with sharp features and muscular fenders that give the car a neo-retro appearance. Up front, the V-shaped engine hood is complemented by a large, trapezoidal grille flanked by big intakes. The thin and vertical oriented headlamps blend seamlessly into the front fascia design, but the same can’t be said about the splitter, which seems to float underneath the bumper. This isn’t bad though, as it gives the Kode57 the contrasting features all supercars should have. The front end design is rounded off by big cutouts above the wheels and the engine exiting through the sheet metal just under the windscreen.

The Kode57 borrows a bit from both the Ferrari Enzo and the Ferrari Rossa concept, but the overall design is unique.

Moving onto the sides, the design continues to be intricate and oriented toward extreme aerodynamics. There are massive vents and fins behind each front wheel, while the small doors leave room for beefy side skirts and a pronounced beltline. Speaking of the doors, they employ a reverse-hinged, butterfly design that’s not exactly common, not even among exclusive supercars. The styling becomes simpler toward the rear, but the rear wheels also feature vertical fins. A set of two-tone, five-spoke wheels and a low, speedster-like windscreen, and large flying buttresses round off the side view.

Around back, Ken Okuyama kept things simple with a pair of round taillights (of Ferrari inspiration most likely) set in triangular cutouts, a big honeycomb grille, and a massive diffuser with prominent vertical fins. The fuel cap was installed between the flying buttresses, a tribute to race cars of the 1950s.

All body panels are made from carbon-fiber, while the space-frame is made from aluminum, resulting in a lightweight design that would make many sports cars seem heavy. There’s no word as to how much the Kode57 weighs, but it’s safe to assume it weighs less than 2,200 pounds.

Interior

2017 Ken Okuyama Cars Kode57 Interior
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The interior of the Kode57 is pretty straightforward for a modern sports car and brings together high-end materials with a design worthy of a classic race car. The wraparound dashboard includes a simple center stack with various knobs and gauges, while the center tunnel is clean except for the three buttons and the parking brake lever. Although it seems pretty spartan, it is somewhat oriented toward comfort, featuring diamond-quilted, handmade leather and suede on the electrically-adjustable sports seats and door panels, air-conditioning, and an adjustable steering wheel. To make things more interesting, the passenger side is finished in red, while the driver side is mostly black. The center console is also split in two, with the driver side featuring exposed carbon-fiber.

Drivetrain

2017 Ken Okuyama Cars Kode57 Exterior
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Under the hood lurks what the company describes as "one of the worldʼs most powerful V-12 engines." The unit displaces 6.0 liters, sits behind the front axle, and even though Okuyama isn’t saying where it was sourced from, it most likely comes from a Ferrari. The firm mentions that the V-12 and suspension settings "can be tuned to suit the ownerʼs tastes" thanks to a collaboration with German specialist Novitec Rosso. The front ride height can be adjusted by up to 45mm (1.77 inches) using a dedicated switch. The wheels are wrapped in Pirelli P-Zero, making the Kode57 suitable for track days. Output sits at 600 horsepower standard, but Novitec is more than capable to increase that to more than 800 horses.

Prices

2017 Ken Okuyama Cars Kode57 Exterior
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Pricing is still a mystery at this point, but TMZ claims that American boxer Floyd Mayweather has already placed an order for the very first production model, paying $2.5 million. That’s a lot of dough for a vehicle that doesn’t have a Ferrari or McLaren badge, but not that ludicrous given the exclusivity and the small production run. We don’t know how many will be built, but we expect a two-digit run.

Competition

Ferrari F12tdf

2017 Ferrari F12tdf High Resolution Exterior
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Based on the F12berlinetta, the F12tdf is a special-edition grand tourer that matches the Kode57’s exclusivity with a 699-unit run. It pays tribute to the legendary Tour de France automobile race, an event Ferrari cars dominated from 1956 through 1964, featuring all sorts of extras compared to the standard model. Its design is far more aggressive than the regular F12berlinetta, the interior has a handful of unique features, while output has been increased from 730 horsepower and 510 pound-feet to 769 horses and 519 pound-feet. Coupled with a bespoke transmission that shifts 30-percent quicker and a four-wheel steering system, the F12tdf charges from 0 to 62 mph in an amazing 2.9 seconds and up to a top speed in excess of 200 mph. Pricing is rumored to sit around the $500,000 mark.

Find out more about the Ferrari F12tdf here.

Conclusion

2017 Ken Okuyama Cars Kode57 High Resolution Exterior
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Although it lacks the brand cachet of a Ferrari and comes without the chutzpah you get with Maranello-built vehicle, the Kode57 is definitely a great sports car to have if you’re looking for exclusivity. You won’t see too many of them on the road, and the Okuyama’s stunning and extremely aerodynamic design gives it a unique appearance, even for a modern supercar. The Kode57 definitely deserves more attention than previous Okuyama designs and if you ask me, it’s Ken’s best effort yet.

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    • * Likely very, very expensive
    • * Limited availability
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