RIDES: World Premiere of the Ferrari J50
December 16, 2016
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, Italy, just 10 examples of the J50 will be built, each one tailored specifically to each customer.
Based on the 488 Spider, the J50 is powered by a specific 690 cv version of the 3.9-liter 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, according to Ferrari. 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 center with raised wheelarch crests giving the emphasized muscularity typical of Ferrari mid-engined sports cars. Two carbon-fiber 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 windshield 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 3D elements, according to Ferrari. 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 aggressive in nature, with the quad taillight design widening the car visually under a high-downforce wing profile, according Ferrari. The rear diffuser features an extractor shape inspired by jet engine afterburners, giving the car a powerful stance. Twenty-inch 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-fiber hard targa top is divided into two pieces, which stow conveniently behind the seats.
The J50 was presented at the launch party in Tokyo this week finished in a special shade of three-layer red with a red-over-black interior trimmed in fine leather and Alcantara.