In August 2013, the 458 Speciale was unveiled, a car that was destined to become an important chapter in Maranello’s history. Why? To answer that question, we’re going to have to take a step back; The noble lineage of Ferrari’s V8 berlinettas, which immediately took the lion’s share of production numbers from the Cavallino, began way back in 1975 with the 308.
Over the years certain versions of the 8 cylinders that left the gates were a little more “special” than the others. Why? The answer this time also comes from racing: starting in 1993 the Prancing Horse decided to organize a single-marque championship, called the Ferrari Challenge, featuring their own V8 models suitably adapted for use on the track. From these, for each model, street-legal versions were built, which have always represented the final evolution of the model. The first example was the 348 GT Competizione in 1994, passing through the 360 Challenge Stradale in 2003, the first Ferrari road car made entirely of aluminium, the 430 Scuderia in 2007 and finally the 458 Speciale in 2013.
Why, then, do we consider the Speciale a car destined to enter history? The answer lies in the beating heart of the car, its 4,497cc direct-injection V8 that’s good for 605 hp, produced using the same processes and machinery employed by the F1 team, so that components with extreme structural characteristics can withstand the stress of roaring up to 9,000 rpm. Ferrari’s most powerful naturally-aspirated eight-cylinder engine ever, as well as the last one built, before making room for the twin turbos used on the 488 Pista to conform to rules that demanded a reduction in emissions. An engineering masterpiece sealed by it receiving the Engine Of The Year international award, organised in the UK.
But the value, in addition to its clear excellence, is deeply symbolic: the 458 Speciale will remain the last 8-cylinder naturally-aspirated engine in Ferrari’s history. A trait which, beyond the romanticism, will make this magnificently coveted berlinetta forever attractive.