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Super-limited Ferrari J50 is Japan-only. Image by Ferrari.

Super-limited Ferrari J50 is Japan-only
Based on a Ferrari 488, just ten J50s will be built to celebrate 50 years of Ferrari in Japan.
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What's all this about?

Try not to hate ten very lucky Japanese car nuts. Because the stunning, stunning car you can see in these pictures is only for them. It's called the Ferrari J50.

Wow, what's the reason behind its creation?

The clue's in the name: Ferrari has been in Japan for 50 years. Thus, to celebrate this fact, it handed the 488 Spider over to its Special Projects department in Maranello and told them to get cracking on making ten very special cars for the Asian country. The resulting J50 was revealed during a special celebration held at the National Art Centre in Tokyo to commemorate the country's 50th anniversary of Ferrari and each of the ten cars built will be tailored specifically to the relevant customer's requirements.

Is it just a 488 Spider in a fancy frock?

Hardly. That bodywork is beautifully wrought, but also aerodynamically sound, apparently, with the radiators positioned closer together, the front bumper completely redesigned to minimise its resistance factor and a windscreen header rail lowered to aid airflow over the car to the rear spoiler. It also features some sumptuous design touches, the most obvious being the bold line that runs from the low front end of the car, through the doors and then into the air intakes on the sides - it's a nod to similar features seen on the GTO, F40 and F50. Of course, there are also the bespoke 20-inch forged alloys. Or that super-aggressive rear end. Or the window tops that are slanted to keep a neat side profile. The whole car is finished in triple-coat red and inside is a red-over-black leather and Alcantara interior with specific trim adorning the seats that echoes the rear bonnet contour. Also, the roof splits in two and can be stored behind the seats; yes, that's right, the J50 is a targa - a body style Ferrari hasn't really toyed with since the 1970s and '80s.

Very cool. What's powering it, a standard 488 engine?

It is indeed the 3.9-litre twin-turbo V8 from the 488 line, which normally delivers 670hp and 760Nm; enough for Ferrari to claim the Spider is the fastest open-top it has ever made, with a three-second 0-62mph sprint, a startling 8.4-second 0-124mph time and a 203mph top speed. So, if we tell you the aerodynamically focused J50 has an additional 20hp for a 690hp headline, then we think it's fair to say this could take the crown from the 488 Spider on which it is based.

Blimey! And it's definitely only for Japan?

It's definitely only for Japan. Although, look on the bright side: they drive on the correct side of the road over there, so maybe one day... a J50 grey import? It's entirely possible. If you're seriously, seriously rich.

Matt Robinson - 13 Dec 2016

2017 Ferrari J50. Image by Ferrari.2017 Ferrari J50. Image by Ferrari.2017 Ferrari J50. Image by Ferrari.2017 Ferrari J50. Image by Ferrari.    - Ferrari road tests
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