©2021 Courtesy of RM Sotheby’s
What makes this Speciale Aperta stand out amongst its peers is its truly unique specification. Designed with the utmost attention to detail by one of Ferrari’s VIP clients with the Tailor Made department, its most striking details are the twin silver stripes running down the side of the nose and fading away midway onto both doors. The car also boasts Blu Indigo Lucido paintwork and the traditional Speciale Aperta central stripe in Sparkling Silver with a Giallo pinstripe. Inside, the interior is awash in beautiful Blu Scuro Alcantara trim, contrasted with yellow stitching and seat centers. The interior also boasts a rich blue carbon-fiber trim, bringing a splash of the car’s exterior color to the interior. The car has been regularly serviced by a Ferrari dealer, with its most recent service in January 2021 at 7,268 km. The car is offered with the remainder of its factory warranty, which will be valid until February 2023. It is accompanied by its original set of U.S. owner’s manuals, two keys, and some invoices from servicing undertaken in the U.A.E.

SCM Analysis


Vehicle:2015 Ferrari 458 Speciale A
Years Produced:2014–15
Number Produced:499
SCM Valuation:$532,500
Tune Up Cost:$600
Chassis Number Location:Driver’s door jamb
Engine Number Location:On a small plate to the right of the oil filter
Club Info:Ferrari Club of America
Alternatives:2015–16 McLaren 650S Spider, 2009–14 Lamborghini Gallardo LP560-4 Spyder, 2008–09 Ferrari 430 Scuderia Spider 16M
Investment Grade:C

This car sold for $500,500, including buyer’s premium, at RM Sotheby’s Online Only: Open Roads auction on March 25, 2021.

Just because you can personalize a car to your unique specifications does not necessarily mean you should. Manufacturers have long pushed high-margin upgrades like bigger wheels, custom paint and fancy interiors to add extra profit to a sale. In the exotic world, those added options can raise the price by staggering sums. Ostrich interior and 24k gold stripes may wow admirers at a car show, but do not mean the secondary market will feel the same when it is time to sell.

Awash in options

The average contemporary Ferrari has an estimated $45,000 in dealer options, well above the average sale price of a new car. Ferrari makes an estimated $7,500,000 a year just from its Scuderia shield option. Understanding the desire for personalization, Ferrari offers several programs to help clients personalize their cars.

At the dealer level, you can pick colors and common options, but if you want to build something even more special, Ferrari refers you to its Tailor Made and Atelier departments. These personalization programs work directly with a client to build the car of their dreams. There is hardly a limit to the possibilities, as long as they do not change any attributes of the base car that would run afoul of the DOT and EPA.

The ultimate 458

The 458 Speciale, like its predecessors the 360 Challenge Stradale and 430 Scuderia, was a special-edition hot rod introduced to stimulate interest in an aging model. Like those aforementioned, it lives up to its name. The Speciale features less weight, more power and just the right amount of racy trim.

Power in the 458 comes from a 4.5-liter V8 that puts out 605 hp in Speciale tune. This 9,000-rpm wailer is the winner of two International Engine of the Year Awards: Performance Engine of the Year and the best over-4-liter engine. It is the last normally aspirated V8 to be used in a Ferrari and owns the heart of the performance crowd for its non-turbo-muffled sound and response.

The “A” was Ferrari’s goodbye kiss from the 458 series, a retractable-hard-top version of the Speciale. The “A” stands for Aperta, Italian for “open.” Only 499 were built and they are the most desirable of the 458 models.

An over-the-top build

Our subject car was commissioned by someone that Ferrari noted on the build sheet as a “Very Important Client.” The car was built in coordination with Ferrari’s Tailor Made department. In addition to all the usual-suspect options, the car features two wide stripes running down three-quarters of the side of the car and a 458 Speciale stripe that runs down the center.

Inside, our subject Speciale A has an inordinate amount of bright blue carbon fiber: the dash, center tunnel and even the steering wheel are crafted with the stuff. The blue carbon appears to be unique to the car, specially made at great expense. Contrasting with the blue are bright yellow seat belts, a yellow stripe that runs down the center of the seat and three trim rings that surround buttons in the center console.

The whole effect was originally highlighted with special-order chromed wheels. Thankfully, the wheels have now been painted a matte gray.

To fix or not to fix

RM Sotheby’s photos of the car came complete with a finger pointing out defects. They showed lightly curbed wheels, minor damage to a $10,000 rear diffuser, and the obligatory scrape under the front spoiler. The damage was minimal but a bit unexpected for the 4,700 miles traveled.

Retail buyers do not want someone else’s problem, no matter how minor. Besides the unknown expense, time and hassle of fixing the problems, seeing the damage is something you can never forget.

A good detail shop could make all these issues disappear for a couple grand. The seller, however, made the mistake of not prepping the car and paid a much greater price at the auction block than what repairing the car would have cost.

RM Sotheby’s auction was online, and this car was in Dubai. The original owner of the car is an international businessman with interests on at least three continents. The car was originally delivered to the U.S., then apparently sold to an Emirati who imported it to Dubai.

The car sold for $500,500 against an estimate of $475,000–$550,000. Considering the Dubai Ferrari dealer is currently offering a similar-mileage car for $680,000 and most examples offered in the U.S. are in the mid-to-high $600k range, the price sounds like a deal.

Think before you order

People like to build custom cars, but they generally do not like to buy someone else’s. The side stripes and blue carbon on this car may have been the owner’s nirvana, but they were a bit severe to appeal to the general population. The configuration and the minor issues certainly turned off buyers, which was reflected in the price.

The seller got a less-than-market price, but that was not unexpected. Finding someone who liked the side stripes and the blue carbon might not be hard, but finding someone who will write a check for them is another story.

If the buyer appreciated the look, they got the deal of the day. If they were ambivalent about the aesthetics, they got a low-mileage, bespoke, one-of-499 special-edition Ferrari at a price they will not regret. ♦

(Introductory description courtesy of RM Sotheby’s.)

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