Ferrari has revealed a new strictly limited series of bespoke cars, the J50, at a special event held at the National Art Center in Tokyo to mark the brand’s 50th anniversary in Japan.
Based on the 488 Spider, the J50 is a two-seater, mid-rear-engined roadster that marks a return to the targa body style that the designers claim is evocative of several 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, the bodywork is all new and is indicative of a new design language that will be introduced on future Ferraris.
Sitting on bespoke 20-inch forged rims, the car’s flank is dominated 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 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 somewhat reminiscent of Ferrari’s open competition barchettas going as far back as the 1950s, the black dividing line is a new interpretation of a recurring Ferrari styling cue seen on famous 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.
The bonnet section is also lower than normal, and is inset with two carbon-fibre air channels that combine with slenderised LED headlights to create a diminutive and sharper looking front mass.
For aerodynamic purposes, the radiators have been positioned closer together, and the front bumper has been completely redesigned. The windscreen header rail has also been lowered to allow more airflow over the aero foil and thus over the rear spoiler.
The tail section, meanwhile, sees an interplay of graphic design themes and three-dimensional elements. For example, the engine is framed by a transparent polycarbonate cover which is shaped to provide a visual extension of the two separate roll hoops protecting the heads of driver and passenger, while a transverse aero foil projects as a bridge between the hoops.
At the very back of the car, there is the traditional Ferrari quad taillight design, albeit tucked beneath a raised, all-black wing profile. The rear diffuser also features an extractor shape, which is claimed to have been inspired by jet engine afterburners.
Underneath, the J50 is powered by a 680 hp version of the 3.9-litre V8 that won the overall International Engine of the Year Award this year. Just 10 examples of the car are set to be built.