Ferrari is a brand steeped in history, so when the styling team is challenged to build a one-off model, it is not surprising that the designers don’t waste the opportunity to mine the vintage vault. The result is the P80/C is a radical look at what Ferrari could build if freed from things like crash standards and headlight height restrictions.
The P80/C was a challenge set upon the Ferrari Styling Center by one Ferrari enthusiast and owner. The project kicked off in 2015, giving this car the longest development time of any Ferrari special build. Even though the team used a 488 GT3 as the base platform, the P80/C styling and aerodynamics are influenced by models such as Dino and 250 LM Berlinetta.
On occasion, Ferrari makes unique and special vehicles for its most faithful clients. (Read: very well connected and wealthy.) Prior one-off special-editions have included the Berlinetta Boxer inspired SP12 EC, which was commissioned in 2015 by Eric Clapton at a reported cost of $4.7 million, and is based on the 458 Italia platform. The Speciale MM is another 458 Italia-based custom that blends the smooth styling of 488 GTB and the 288 GTO, a pleasant mix of old and new. Much like the P80/C.
Thanks to the utilization of the 488 GT3 as the base, this track car sports a 3.9-liter V-8 that is twin turbocharged and backed by a F1-style transmission. The chassis is a carbon-fiber monocoque that also gets a full roll cage integrated into the interior, which is race-car Spartan. With no requirements to be road legal, the interior clearly focused on track time—butterfly steering wheels don’t tend to work well for street driving.
The car gets two distinct looks, a racing kit and an exhibition kit. The track-ready setup includes the gigantic carbon-fiber rear wing and 18-inch single-nut wheels, while the exhibition package gets massive 21-inch wheels and removes all the aerodynamic aids. Presumably the big-wheel look, which highlights the overall design better, is for shows and events, not just garage tours.
From where I sit, this design harkens back less to classic Ferrari and more to De Tomaso and ‘60s Ford racing. A glance at the front three-quarter view makes the P80/C look like a modernized Pantera, while the rear view and roofline look an awful lot like a Ford GT—vintage or modern.
Mid-engine layouts generally limit styling range a bit, but Ferrari claims to have used the 488 GT3 specifically because it provided more stylistic freedom. It clearly worked out. The car is aggressive and beautiful, even if it doesn’t look much like a Ferrari.