Discussion: Can You Make A Ferrari 458 Better Looking Than It Already Is?
One Step Further

As Speedhunters continues our own Giro D’Italia we decided to ask: can you, or perhaps should you even try to, update perfection – especially when it comes from the hallowed halls of Pininfarina and Ferrari. After all, can mere mortals decide that the talented (for the most part) designers creating these machines have not done their jobs properly?

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Some say modifying the look of a car, any car, is a travesty. Others, who make up a higher percentage of the Speedhunters readership, see a car as a starting point waiting to be improved upon.

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If we were to ask about mods to your ‘everyday’ machines – M3s, Golfs, Skylines, 86s and all the other more attainable sports cars sitting low on aggressive wheels – that would be easy. But what about something special? Something that is, in theory, a no-compromise piece of high-art as it comes straight from Maranello, Italy?

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In order to best challenge the question posed, we decided to feature two Ferrari 458s in our Italian Theme: a Liberty Walk 458 shot in Japan (which you’ll read about soon), and the 458 gracing this feature – shot in Miami and from our partners at Vossen. But this is not about the body kits or wheels. We are seizing an opportunity to make a point, or perhaps provoke a fight about whether one should dare to cross a line and update perfection.

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Penned by arguably one of the greatest design houses in the world, Pininfarina, the 458 is an exercise in taking steel, alloy and carbon fibre, and shaping it into a thing of true beauty. Ferrari claim that the style of the car was born of simple practicality and purpose – form intersecting magnificently with function. Many would just say the 458 is perfect.

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This gorgeous piece of rolling art is, according to its owner, the best driving car he’s ever experienced. So why change it?

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Everything about this car is pretty, from its heavily raked, flowing body line.

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To the extremely wide, child-bearing hips in the rear.

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This is a car built to be loved, adored, and even lusted after.

After feasting your eyes on this Bella Macchina, we ask again: is it okay to mess with that, to try to improve upon it? Is that even possible?

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There are more extremely modified 458s around, so perhaps this one best frames the discussion as it does not stray too far from the Pininfarina nest. No extreme modifications to the body – like the famous Liberty Walk widebody fenders, for example. This 458s customization began at the earliest moment via Ferrari’s ‘Carrozzeria Scaglietti’ personalisation program when a rare satin red paint option called Rosso Fuoco Opaco was selected to adorn its body. According to the dealer, it’s one of only three 458s globally in this finish.

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A host of subtle carbon fibre aero additions were then added from German Ferrari tuning specialists Novitec Rosso, like the front lip spoiler, bumper flaps, ventilation louvers and side skirts seen here.

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Using Novitec Rosso springs, the car has been subtly dropped just over 30mm on new VPS-3151 lightweight forged Precision Series wheels, which are completely manufactured in the USA by Vossen at their state-of-the-art Florida factory. The fronts measure 21×9 inches and are wrapped in 255/30R21 Pirelli rubber.

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As you might expect, the rears are considerably larger: 22×12.5 inches running 335/25R22 Pirellis. It’s no easy job fitting this massive rubber within the confines of the 458’s sleek body, but the VPS-3151s do it effortlessly, while carrying less unsprung weight and complimenting the shapes and lines of the 458. This shot also shows the carbon Novitec rear lip spoiler, diffuser apron, fog light covers and stainless exhaust system, which is 46 pounds lighter than factory.  Does this improve on Ferrari’s ideal of simple practicality and purpose? You decide.

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None of these modifications are particularly extreme. But perhaps that’s exactly how it should be when you dare to update perfection.

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Where is the line? Air suspension? Widebody fenders? Aftermarket wheels? An air freshener in the cabin? Are certain cars off limits?

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Cars are perhaps the most personal statement of an auto enthusiast. Pure automotive enjoyment. Can we not only improve upon a designer’s vision but also perhaps inspire through pushing the limits uninhibited by the manufacturers’ constrictions of practicality? We would love to hear your thoughts in the comments section below!

Peter Kelly
Instagram: pedey_kenmeri_creative

Photos by Rod Chong
Instagram: speedhunters_rod

Cutting Room Floor
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Vossen wheels again? Why no airride?


Yes, it can be improved, because no car from the factory is going to appeal to everyone. For example, I've never been a fan of the 458. I might be the only person on earth, but it just looks weird to me. But the Liberty Walk version adds an aggression that I can really get behind (though I'd love to see one with the fenders smoothed in).


yes of course you can just ad the liberty walk body kit and lower it


Obviously the creations of peninfarina and the like are all magnificent and many would say to not tamper with the "purity" of the car, but these are vehicles being sold to us and so I think the owners can do as they please, as long as it's not hurting anyone. I mean sure cutting drilling fenders might feel like a stab in the heart for some people but its their car so let them be. Of course I am not all about modifications myself, If someone put airbags and tacky vinyl wrap on their Ferrari I would shake my head and ask what the hell were you thinking. But if it bothers someone that much then I guess you might as well buy your own Ferrari, leave it stock and be happy that you are keeping it pure and just the way maranello built it to be


Blasphemy. Leave the big wheels and lowering for the Civic and Golf owners.


In my opinion supercars must remain as they are when they get out off the manufacture, always. 

Visit my blog:      jdmspeed.blogspot.com :)


AdamBezzegh There are also Civic owners who like things like stock :)


As an unofficial president of 'More money than brains' club, I have to highlight the fact that I already ditched the factory wheels of my Ferrari 458 Challenge Evoluzione and converted the wheel hub assembly to install regular Vossen wheels. I am currently on my 4th set of Vossen aluminium wheels and I can safely say that these wheels are better than any racing magnesium wheel on planet Earth.

Gianluca FairladyZ

This is a good question... It takes actually some time to get a good answer. There is a said, that tells "the highest level in originality can be obtained by not modifing the car at all"..But there are a lot of tuners that still modify Ferrari's...  I have big respect for the engineers that made these cars, so I would tend to leave them as they are. I'm sorry to say this but in the end it's all a question of money and flavours..  From my expierience, where a lot of money is, often logical thinking and technical limits do not really work together hand in hand.. Damn that's a really good question..!

to make it short, if I had a Ferrari ( i hope so one day......F40 in my dreams...... ) the only mod would be TUBI STYLE :) the rest leave it like it is! AMEN!


Are you censoring comments and for what reason?  I have been religiously following SH since 2008, I remember guys like Antonio and Carl. I have never seen anyone deleting positive comments. That's new. It is really unfortunate that Paddy is no longer the community manager.


"Is it yours?"
Is the only question that matters. - if you own it do as you will, keep it stock, take a penknife (ahem, art car reference...) to the paint to accent the lines, attack it with gaudy (as in overly ornate, not literally to stick mad turrets on it) wrap if you wish, or paint. Stick big wheels on her and put a DONK on it, just be sure you are doing it because you want to, and not because a fashion dictates it. I don't think anyone has a right to enforce their opinion on such.
It was his/her/it's X hundred thousands of credits/pounds/dollars/rupees/beans that brought the car, it's theirs to do what ever the hell they want to it - if you disagree and think it should be kept stock that's cool too- you go off and buy one of your own and keep it stock, or better yet buy a modified one and spend some time doing a resto, far more fun then buying a stock car and never driving/working on it.

Gianluca FairladyZ

sonic2896  very good way of thinking!


As I already said in a previous discussion I think there are certain cars that are so beautiful one should think twice before even  driving them and don't even think about modifying them in any possible way (the 458 is, for me, among these machines). But the vast majority of cars are built to be sold and it is also true that the owner can do as he pleases with his car. If I'll ever be so lucky as to own one of these though, I would surely keep it stock.

Gianluca FairladyZ

JDM_Luca  so you mean like there are cars that are predestinated to tune and some not?


I can't possibly be the only one who is EXTREMELY over flat paint jobs... am I?  They take away from the cars design s much and make it look incomplete.  Especially on Ferraris and Lambos.


The flat/matte style is a little bit like hot pants; while I understand it's your right to wear them, clearly they only suit a select few people...


TarmacTerrorist Understand, flat/matte paint has it's place on hotrods and the like.  But on a supercar... no.  Especially when you brag "one of three 458s in the world with this color."  My MR2 has a modern Toyota color painted on it, guess can I brag it's the only in the world with that color?


Gianluca FairladyZ JDM_Luca In a way,yes. With this I'm not saying that a Mk1 Golf, for example, is worth less than a Ferrari 458 as a car. Both machines and brands have a well deserved and long history and are appealing in different ways. What I'm trying to say is that a Mk1 Golf is more suited to be modified than a 458 because the latter has already been built to achieve perfection in both a functional and aesthetical way. But this as I said in the previous post is totally down to the taste of the owner. I also think hat there are cars that shouldn't be touched at all not even if the owner doesn't like them. Would you ever modify a Bugatti Type 57SC Atlantic. I'm sure the answer is no.


Spindly Vossen might suit bippu but they don't look right on a supercar - and is this not just another bit of advertising bumf for a SH sponsor?

Also, I'd like to echo the comments about matte/very flat paint - it doesn't suit either - Ferraris look much better when they're shiny.  Actually, 99% of cars look much better for being shiny.

The neg is strong with this one BUT each to their godforsaken own.


I think the 458 is ugly to begin with (yes, if you're wondering, I have seen them in person) so you can do with it what you want, however I could see the point of not wanting to alter one off (or very rare) and historically significant cars


So amazing! I love this 4-5-8 :)


Slappy Pistons  hi, there was A TON of debate on choosing this color, white was the original choice which does showcase the 458's lines in a traditional manner. This color is hard to judge completely in pictures, there is a depth to the paint unlike most matte finishes. The official color is Rosso Fuoco Opaco :)


I hadn't even considered the Liberty Walk modification to the 458 from a designers perspective, especially someone involved in the actual design of the 458. Maybe Speedhunters should attempt getting a response from them, from their perspective? Myself personally, I think it adds some nice aggression to the elegant lines of the 458. I'm a fiend for aggression.


Mike_Vossen Slappy Pistons Hi Mike, I understand that photos don't always convey the "depth" of a paintjob - and I'm pretty old fashioned when it comes to automotive design/styling so although I'm forever a gloss/metallic kind of guy, I do respect that new things come along and this certainly doesn't look terrible.  I did a quick google search of the color though and it turns out you can get a fancy laptop in the same colour so at least you can colour-coordiante when you accessorise :)



Slappy Pistons Mike_Vossen well I think Speedhunters is trying to get a good discussion going. Clearly a purist will only want a Ferrari stock in Rosso Corsa with a beige interior with beige carports. Today Ferrari has almost unlimited customization, the color choice was debated for quite sometime. At the time (last year) there was only one google image to see a 458 in this color and only a sample swatch. We feel the Novitec parts do an amazing job of framing the car and fitting in our personality when it comes to design. They have also been amazing to work with. 

The funny thing is in July we actually did a dual shoot with Kato and the baby blue Liberty Walk 458. We happened to be at the same show. I'll try to find a picture of two to post. 

Thanks for the feedback, different strokes for different folks!


Oh look, another Vossen ad.


I'm pretty sure those rims are the same diameter as the stock ones


Great post, don't like the car aha


Ain't crazy for the concave wheels, and that's saying something 'cause normally I'd kill for concaves on any car. IMO the 458 Challenge Stradale did it best.


Here's my opinion on the matter: I would say that unles there are fewer than 50 examples of a car, go ahead and modify it. Sure modifying a car will always make enemies, but why not improve what can be improved; be it appearance, performance, ergonomics, etc. I might not like the way someone modifies their car, but I think it's very immature and rude to openly express your hate to someone's pride and joy.


"state-of-the-art Florida"

That phrase is an oxymoron.


Looks like you forgot to put a watermark on the 9th shot down in the bonus images ;)


No offense, but isnt the whole point of cars to be you? Let your car be an extension of your personality. Who gives a flying crap if someone else dosent like what youve done with YOUR car. That being said, i do believe there are certain models that should never be touched. Mclaren F1, Ford rs200, 250 GTO.. to name a few. Imagine someone adorning a 250 with a liberty walk or rocket bunny kit... Enzo would come back and start his own rapture. haha


The front fins in the bumper are a stupid thing to replace. They're designed to flex at X speed for downforce. Switching it with carbon undid Ferrari's engineering. The car isn't sacrilegious, but I think it's stupid to change something that was that thought out and engineered. They paid a lot of money to make that particular part of the car worse


Some cars are off limits, such as S2000s and 250 GTO. Those 2 are basically living legends


SeanStott No, not an ad. Vossen is one of our valued partners, and when they offered us the chance to shoot this gorgeous 458, we jumped at this opportunity. We feel as if this vehicle is the perfect example for the discussion we are provoking in this article as part of our Italian theme, so please feel free to get involved in this discussion.


@TROLLS ROYCE We have full discretion to ultimately determine whether a comment is appropriate. Posting comments that disrupt the peace and harmony of our community are not in anyone's best interests. Please feel free to engage in constructive discussion. Thank-you.


If you want to, sure :) - but by the sounds of it it's a truly custom colour that's not shot very often, infact 3 times ever so it's not like you could grab the paint code and buy it in a rattle can down your local parts store as you could with a Toyota code.
I've read above it's hard to judge the colour from a picture, so maybe she's a little hotter IRL (that sounds a bit like I'm 13 and showing you a picture of my missus on face book...)


Anything but that god awful tacky bolt-on liberty walk bodykit


Agreed. Even the wheel suspension setup was created by some of the best engineers in the game. To my eyes it looks worse because you can see it would be slower. LM racers look awesome because you know what the mods do, not just because they have flared arches, carbon fibre etc.

Gappy451 GappYx

..BUt fact is: Its a fact that is written something now,


You could , but maybe Ferrari would sue you . :P


Answer is Liberty Walk
(just kidding, great article as always with awesome photos!!!)


Most modifications are subjective ("beauty is in the eye of beholder" as they say), but why the drilled rotors?


JDM_Luca Gianluca FairladyZ When you can't improve a car, then you simply cannot improve a said car…everything that you'll do thinking that it'll improve it (especially at such high level of engineering as Ferrari's) will only make it worse. In the end, if you're not sure about whether a modification will improve a car or won't, then you shouldn't be touching the car, period - you'll only lower the car's resale value and value of the car itself. I wish more people used their heads before ruining their cars in the name of the latest trend.


jdmspeed AdamBezzegh Agreed. Sounds like he's a closet "riser" waiting to come out.


Do you complain when we show cars running Rays wheels too? They also support Speedhunters :)
I'm just saying.


The paint on this car looked amazing in person!


You could yes.


21s & 22s??.. thats a bit big isnt it? anything over 20s should never be put on any supercar... but thats just me.
other than that, this 458 looks good.
regarding the discussion... yes, i do think a 458 can be made better looking. but to a certain degree. the small details. altering it to much, just ruins its looks... and in somes cases, even tacky.


The question if you can improve a Ferrari is answered by Ferrari. If it wasn't possible they wouldn't have come up with the 458 speciale or in the near future the M458T (were  the M is for Modificato or Modified).
The only problem is that there are some people that think a Ferrari is something holy and you shouldn't touch it. I think that is complete bullsh*t. Historically Ferrari's were born to be racing cars so they were being used and abused and if you could do something to it to make it better it was done. Many very low production number ferrari's from the 50's and 60's were modified by the teams that raced them.

So those self claimed purists who buy a Ferrari in Rossa Corso and store it away in a climated garage didn't understand it. I would say, buy one, build it and improve it and trash the hell out of it.

Besides Ferrari sells something like 2000 of these 458's a year. In total Nissan made 1945 Hakosuka's. So if rareness is a criteria for not touching a car we should stop modding KPGC-10's and all start tuning Ferrari's


Yes. Sell it and buy a Pagani.


Those wheels are hideous.


apex_DNA Science actually begs to differ. Fibonaccis' ratio (ironically an italian) begs to differ.  


Beauty isn't in the eye of the beholder but is actually a quantifiable number and relationship found in the natural growth of plants, snail shells, and the human face. 


I would further argue most modifications are not subjective. Stiffer springs are not subjective, custom valved shocks re not subjective and softer compound tires are proven mathematically to gain performance advantages over harder compounds. Such is the same for aero, weight etc etc. 

Just saying.


Speedhunters SeanStott Because nothing says Italian like a Florida based wheel company manufacturing with a German name.


Skr1bble Every single car you mentioned can be improved. If cars couldn't be improved, engineering would have stopped at those cars and we wouldn't see any progress. The reality is (and I'm not disagreeing with you) there were more extreme versions of every single car you just mentioned. 

The F1 saw the F1 LM GTR, the RS200 was a road going version of a race car, the 250 GTO had a racing edition as well. Hate to break it to you, but Enzo's rapture probably started before his 30th birthday. 

A liberty walk or rocket bunny kit on any of the cars you just mentioned would be ridiculous, because to compare Rocket Bunny to Goran Murray is laughable. Those guys are not wind tunnel F1 engineers, they are creating aftermarket cars based on looks. Gordon Murray is infinitely more skilled in aero dynamics and engineering than anyone at Liberty Walk or Rocket Bunny. Just a fact. 


No offense.


I think no car is off limits for modification but the closer to perfection a car is the more one should think twice before doing it.
This particular Ferrari is quite subtle and shows a lot of respect for the stock car. The better the car the easier it is to screw up, an example that comes to my mind is the Pagani that appears in this article 


It's not my taste, but the only thing that really bothers me are the tinted tails.


Many critics at the beginning, for this 458 .don't forget it, ugly headlights by example.


I think they look amazing myself.


There would be a deficit Hahaha.


The lowered ride height really adds a lot here IMO.

turbo BEAMS ae86

So sick of matte wraps!!!!  This the new "dragon decals" from 2001!!!

just my thoughts..

turbo BEAMS ae86

RodChong Rays "the concept is racing"
Vosson "the conept is stance"

turbo BEAMS ae86



RodChong i would agree. its looks just right. not slammed, yet without a huge gap between the wheel arc and the tire. 
but i still think the wheels look too big for the car.


The funny thing is that Ferrari will do most of all these mods for you if you ask - and pay.  They will "mod" virtually everything.  Even back when I bought my Scuderia, Ferrari smoked the tail lights and also painted the stripes an old school silver.  My wheels were also painted to match the stripe.  It just cost.  It might not be on the sticker when you resell it but my mods were just lumped into one line of special equipment so..... 

I like what was done here - was much more democratic and I am sure less expensive - so smarter :-)


It isn't a wrap.


Modifying a more "normal" car makes sense as even performance models are compromised as they have to remain attainable and usable for average Joe, owners can then go ahead and remove those compromises made by the manufacturer as they see fit.
This is not the case with something like a 458 no compromises were made in the name of cost or practicality, it was designed and built to be a weapon, modifying it will only ever detract from the original vision of the car.


@turbo BEAMS ae86 It's a satin paint from the factory, not a wrap.


This Vossen wheels looks good, but not on this Ferrari...


First of all, 458 is not a beautiful car. It has a pointy nose, it's to sharp and to fatty on the back, all wheels looks bad on this car, the tail lights are ugly and too small and inside is to flashy and cheap.
Want a beautiful car? Take a 250 GTO and put in it the engine, the gearbox and suspension of a 458 Italia.
That would be perfect.


Yep, you can. The SP12EC, Eric Clapton's 512BB homage on 458 underpinnings.


If I could afford a 458 I wouldn't modify it. I've got about what my BRZ costs spent on modifications for it, but that's a car that needs improvement in stock form. The 458 Italia doesn't exactly "need" anything. Novitec Rosso parts would probably be the only thing I would add!


@Corey K - Thank you for expressing your point of view.  We appreciate and encourage different opinions and a vigorous discussion  - it adds so much to the conversation!


i would give it a widebody a-la LB WORKS and wrap it in a nyan cat graphic just like purrari, that would be majestic


amazing car... the details just are the mind of the owner working to get more personal statement..


greenroadster This one looked pretty good to me, so sexy but still a bit menacing. love this car from all angles!


Qu1N7 Compromises were always made. Yes way less room for constructive work / way more room for ruining the whole thing.


iisaac RodChong I think the rolling diameter is right for those arches and classy drop. If there was more tyre / smaller rims the hip curve could be followed better. This has bony girl hips, fill them out :)


Mike_Vossen Slappy Pistons Beige carports! I wish that was a clever and deliberate bit of hilarity :)


:cough: Liberty Walk :cough:


Note comment about only three rfo 458’s globally