The first drive of any new Ferrari is always exciting; they don't tend to happen very often, and the cars themselves are typically exceptional. The 296 GTB is coming very soon, and even by the standards of new Maranello supercars, it's a big one. This is the first RWD Ferrari plug-in, after all, following the four-wheel drive SF90. Not only that, it marks the return of a V6 engine after decades away. And rather than being a half-million pound hybrid or limited run special, the 296 GTB will join the rest of the Ferrari range for your common-or-garden millionaire to buy. Which is a huge deal. Not least with the SF90 having met with a few reviews that weren't entirely glowing. The 296 will likely be sublime, though. Either way we can't wait.
Things used to be so much simpler, of course. When it came to the stripped out V8 berlinettas, the Challenge Stradales and Scuderias of this world, you knew what was coming: a lot less weight, a lot more noise, some stripes, and the sort of driving experience that reminded you why a Ferrari has always been the dream. Start with a great mid-engined supercar, make it even better to drive, and watch an enormous queue form. 15 years on from the launch of the 430 Scuderia and almost 20 from the 360 CS, you'll still need more than £180k for a RHD example of either. Because they're epic.
Then Ferrari announced the 458 Speciale in 2013, employing the same sort of measures as before but going one better. Or about six better, really. The Speciale was lighter, louder and more powerful than the 458, of course - but with an even better base berlinetta than before (a regular Italia had way more power, a whole new chassis and the dual-clutch 'box over an F430) the results were astonishing. The Speciale's 4.5 V8 was cranked up to 125hp per litre (for 605hp in total, at 9,000rpm), the weight dropped to less than 1,300kg dry and up to 1.33 lateral g promised from an overhauled chassis. With the turbocharged 488 GTB looming, the Speciale was a fittingly fantastic farewell to the naturally aspirated berlinetta.
All of which might help explain why a Speciale is now so valuable. That the later, even more powerful 488 Pista is now worth as much as the older car says a lot about the regard in which the Speciale is held. Plenty for sale are red, as so many of the mid-engined Ferraris are, and fantastic they all look. But then there are Speciales like this one. A Tailor Made car from 2015, it's painted Verde Manta, which must be a rare one even by the standards of bespoke Ferraris. We've certainly never seen it before - there'll certainly be no missing it!
The colour is just the start for the spec, with a host of carbon bits (even down to the Scuderia shields) and the NART stripes in black. Sadly, there aren't any interior pics in the advert, though we're promised plenty more carbon, as well as lashings of Alcantara. The description does say 'Radio - unspecified' alongside four-point harnesses, however, so be prepared for the unfiltered Speciale experience.
With just 535 miles covered in almost seven years, this 458 is about as close to a new one as you're likely to get. And more expensive than a factory fresh 296 GTB as a result, at £425,000. With 'just' two-thirds the power, don't forget. But power isn't everything, believe it or not - a few more miles in a Speciale should prove that beyond any doubt.
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