Liberty Walk & The 458 Challenge
An Unusual Base

Yeah yeah, we’ve heard it all before. What’s the big deal, right? A bunch of FRP bits bolted onto the body of a car and the internet melts.

But trust me, when you stand next to one of these creations, you begin to get it. You can see why they are both loved… and loathed at the same time.


I’ve touched on the main reason why Kato-san at Liberty Walk builds these limited edition runs of ‘Works’ kits. It’s all for fun – to get a kick out of it and generate a reaction from people, and not only those into cars but everyone that lays eyes on these wide-bodied supercars. Surely there is nothing wrong with that, right?


It was around a year ago, during one of my many visits to Liberty Walk, that I decided to take a few pictures of a Ferrari that Kato had stashed away in the back of one of his garages. This was months before SEMA 2013, so the world had still not seen the 458 that literally stole the show.


What got me all excited was the fact that this was no regular 458, but rather the race-ready Challenge version. This is the model that is sold to gentleman racers to participate in the Challenge Cup around the world, and it’s the rawest interpretation of Ferrari’s mid-engined beast.


It rocks thinner aluminium body panels to shed weight, has polycarbonate windows and carbon doors, awesome looking center-lock wheels, a full roll cage and stripped out interior, a race version of the dual clutch transmission with shorter gearing, and non-servo assisted brakes.


It’s a long list that takes an already brilliant car and makes it cooler than it can possibly be. At the time, Kato told me that his plan was to get the Challenge road registered as he wanted to enjoy that race-car feel on the street. Of course, he planned to make a few modifications too…


Well surprise, surprise! Those ‘few mods’ turned out to be a full LB☆WORKS kit. Kato is really pushing it now I thought. I mean, how could he even think about doing this to such a rare version of the 458?! Surely this is beyond sacrilegious? And then I saw it…


Much staring and confusion followed. I was looking at a car that I should be questioning – at least that’s what my mind was telling me. But my heart fell for it in a big way. I knew I shouldn’t have been feeling the way I did about something so functionally-built being turned into what is essentially a caricature of itself. But then I started to think about it all from another angle. He’s gone so far as to register a race car on the street, so what’s the problem with taking that extreme approach and making it even more special? Think about it. If you had the means, wouldn’t you give the same concept thought?


Unlike the US-built car we first featured last year, Kato’s Challenge gets the new carbon fiber front splitter. This features that signature Miura lifted chin in its center section, but is a much stronger item that’s able to take the abuse of sustained high speed. That’ll be handy when Kato eventually takes this car to circuits like Suzuka.


Then of course there’s those two-piece front overfenders. Yes, cutting was needed, but it’s okay – stay with me on this! The not-so-subtle refashioning was required to allow the wheels to drop nicely into the new dimensions of the fenders and give that slammed look common to all cars that come out of the Nagoya-based shop. Oh yeah, and Kato-san decided to keep the aero additions black. An extra statement? Possibly…

Stancing Out A Race Car

Replacing the original Challenge wheels are 19-inch HRE S103 three-piece rims – a special order to fit the single-lug hub. Suspension-wise the Challenge has been left with its stock adjustable coilovers which have been set to their lowest ride height, with Roberuta air cups to take care of the rest. The cups allow 5cm of lift when the car needs to be driven on the street or when more challenging inclines need to be tackled. This is one touch I really like as the car’s handling hasn’t been compromised. In fact, with the addition of regular 458 steering arms the Challenge now has the same steering capabilities as the road version, meaning it’s easier to park, and handle around tight Japanese streets.


Continuing our closer look towards the back we see carbon fiber side skirts, which also add to the contrasting theme.


Then there’s the rear end treatment: big overfenders that stretch rearwards all the way onto the bumper, introducing tangible girth to the 458’s already not-so-narrow rump.


Unlike the 19×9-inch fronts, the HREs are fitted in a much wider 19×12-inch size with a rather aggressive -25 offset at the back. With the Roberuta cups lifting the body to ‘normal’ driving height, the wheels square-up with almost no noticeable negative camber, giving a flush fit with the fenders.


Then, when dropped back down, it all tucks in beautifully for that show-stopping approach to stance.


Let’s take a step back and take it all in. The LB☆WORKS aero, like all of Miura’s designs, does a good job of emphasizing features of a car’s exterior. In my mind it works so well on the more functional-looking Challenge.


The carbon ducktail is the icing on the cake, Sure, it’s probably the most blasphemous addition to the beautiful and organic-like flowing design of the 458, yet it’s one that just boosts it so well. I can’t believe I’m saying this, but I wouldn’t change a thing.


The lack of rear diffuser on the Challenge is a nice touch – it allows you to see all those oily bits that are usually hidden away, like the very end of the twin-clutch gearbox, the crossmember, and – if you get down on your knees – the suspension arms and exhausts.

The Kato Approach

If you have ever met Kato-san, you will know that if he had to build a 458, nothing less than a road-legal Challenge would ever do. He takes everything to the max, cuts no corners, and really couldn’t care less what the next guy thinks. On top of having a car that is as unique as they come, he gets to pilot a race car on the street and at the same time generate the sort of interest, publicity and exposure to his company that a traditional advertising campaign could never achieve.


No matter what you look at on this 458, it just oozes perfection – something that extends to how the doors sound when you open and close them. To those that don’t value these sort of things, the doors must feel flimsy and lacking quality. But that lovely empty sound when you shut them with a decisive thump so the latch catches properly, only emphasizes how everything with the Challenge was designed to save precious weight.


The interior, especially, is a no-frills environment. The underlying aluminium chassis is exposed due to lack of carpeting and sound deadening, and then of course there’s the serious Challenge-spec rollcage that needs to be tackled before you can drop down into the highly-bolstered carbon bucket seat.


From there you have access to the suede-wrapped racing steering wheel – all the controls you need neatly arranged around the spokes on little switch panels.


Like on the street car, you pull the right paddle to shift up a cog and the left to downshift. Except here, every actuation of the twin-clutch gearbox is made with little mechanical sympathy.


As I grabbed these driving shots I was literally grinning like an idiot; Ryo-san from Liberty Walk gunning through the gears as we tried to gather up speed. Downshifts are the best though and could be compared to a mix of thunder and explosions, and are usually followed by a series of pops and crackles from the exhaust. This is by far the most aggressive and in-your-face sounding machine I have ever shot car-to-car with!


Which kind of begs the question, why did Kato fit a sound system and speakers? Because he can, that’s why. And that’s all you need to know!


Getting back to the performance side of things, there isn’t that much to say about the engine. It develops the same 570hp that the street car does and sounds absolutely glorious doing so.


More weight saving measures stretch to the intake plenum, which is made from carbon fiber rather than cast aluminium to shave precious grams.


Upskirt shot? Of course – it’s an awesome angle to check out what the lack of the rear diffuser allows you to see. What is different here is the exhaust – a two-pipe set up rather than the triple unit the street version uses, and lacking pretty much any sort of silencing – which is just how you would want it, right?


So, have I upset a lot of you by showing you this 458? Good – Kato-san must be happy because that’s the whole point of cars like these. They exist to make a statement and give you something to talk about. After seeing the base car in its unspoiled, untouched glory last year, I admit I was initially shocked when I came face-to-face with the finished product. But how could I possibly not like it?


It’s cars like these that push boundaries and move the tuning scene along. I mean, it’s been almost a year since the 2013 SEMA Show and the LB☆WORKS 458 continues to captivate our minds. I just can’t wait to see what Kato will have for us at SEMA this year!

Dino Dalle Carbonare
Instagram: speedhunters_dino



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Please explain how a car can "literally" steal a show.


Still fly. Still flashy. I am totally liking this. The new front splitter is definitely a vast improvement in combination with the stock front bumper. I do not think it oozes perfection, but Dino always likes to create hype. Exposed bolts on a supercar do not strike me as the optimal option. Nevertheless, the car looks like a proper spaceship, therefore, I am impressed. However, please let Linhbergh do the photoshoots for the LB Works demo cars at the forthcoming SEMA show in order to have some proper wallpapers.


Can't decide if the black pieces scream sexy or unfinished. Maybe its both.


i remember jeremy clarkson struggling with the car's steering wheel and display on top gear. im glad the guys at liberty walk fixed that problem! this car looks mean as hell. i like what they did to the exterior of the car. btw here's the link of jeremy fiddling with the 458 if anyone is interested:

JMax Paint Garage LLC

@ActualJourno You stroll by it, then your eyes lock into it. You start staring, inspecting... next thing you know, it has been half hour - and you haven't even seen the interior yet.

That's how.

PS: Of all the SEMA shows I have attended only very few cars have made me do a double-take after a glance, stop thinking about everything I was doing and proceed to walk to the boot to further inspect. The LB 458 is one of the few. Pictures do not do justice.


If it works like it should have been before, it'll be wonderful. If there's nothing that looks wrong about it, then it's beautiful. Tick these two and then i reckon you'll have a masterpiece...


Then it literally stole your attention... but figuratively stole the show JMax Paint Garage LLC
Getting annoyed by how people misuse literally is an internet thing at the moment, don't worry about it too much.


Hey Dino I was looking at the coming soon and there is a blue golf do you know when this is coming out?


Man this is awesome. What I like the most about this is the fact it looks like a Photoshop but its real.


"I was looking at a car that I should be questioning – at least that’s what my mind was telling me. But my heart fell for it in a big way. I knew I shouldn’t have been feeling the way I did about something so functionally-built being turned into what is essentially a caricature of itself."... "After seeing the base car in its unspoiled, untouched glory last year, I admit I was initially shocked when I came face-to-face with the finished product. But how could I possibly not like it?"... 
this is how i feel about, not just this 458, but liberty walk's work in general. i guess you could call it a love/hate type of feeling. something i love to stare, appreciate, and admire, yet something i doubt i would do in reality.
i only have 1 complaint about this article... dino, where is the video??? i want hear & see it roar!! dont tell me you didnt take any clips while you were shooting it on the road.


Like the interior a lot, don't really care for the front bolt on fenders. To me they always look cheap on high end cars. Hand formed body work is much cleaner on a high end car and displays much more craftsmanship. "Stancing out a race car" is a new one as a good laugh out of that line. 

All in all nice car though, very Japanese take on a modern sports car.


iisaac This.  The car doesn't ooz "perfection" instead it reinforces that "these hips don't lie".  Would I ever make a car like this? NEVER.  Am I glad someone else did for me to enjoy? YOU BETCHA.


@TROLLS ROYCE Thanks for your feedback. You don't like the photos? We think that Dino has done a great job!


MrSOLOMON85 Keep your eyes peeled next week. It's coming up very soon...


Any of you guys knows which kind of quick release push-button latches the ferrari has to intall the front policarbonate window???? I can not get any info about and I think are really amazing... Of course really nice job from Liberty Walk!!


You seem like your a hater, a Dino hater lol


Hi ! Do you know what kind of treatment could give this multicolor glare on the windscreen ?


@Thomas Polycarbonate windows + circular polarizing filter on the camera lens will produce this look...


iisaac This is the only video I grabbed on my iphone.
<iframe width="560" height="315" src="//" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>


No hating intended, but IMO that's how you ruin a masterpiece, just as if seomeone sprayed a graffiti over the Mona Lisa... I can't see anything more than a provocation here, as the lines of the stock car have been ruined with the aero additions, and all in all the car itself is less functional than before. Removing the rear splitter for the sake of looks? WTF?

However, it's just my point of view, anyone is free to do as he pleases with his belongings...


Great job with the photos, especially that penultimate pic.


If it was painted a different colour I think I would like it more, maybe a deep red or dark blue. As it stands it looks like its fresh out of the factory racer and missing sponsorship. 
Also with the works look it kind of has to be functional to be taken seriously DTM cars or example.
But overall I like it


@duffman502  I like your name.


Ugly and he made it completely unusable. 5mm ground clearance, bravo.


AdamBezzegh Seems to work just fine in the video I posted below


Idk it's not doing much for me looks wise


I like it, in fact I love it. Gives the 458 a more wild, racecar look.


Bryn Alban This is just an opinion. Exposed bolts on a supercar are like the NFS ports for PC. Sloppy. Do not get offended, now.


@Speedhunters ok thanks


I think it's interesting... But how can you justify taking off functional aero bits (diffuser, which is one of if not the most functional means of downforce on the 458), and completely ruining the suspension geometry by extremely widening the track width, lowering it so there is no jounce or rebound travel along with making it have worse static geometry?
Let's let it be proved on the track in a functional way and THEN commend Liberty Walk. Until then, it's a race car that had great functional beauty that a "designer" decided to make look like a cheap 70s Japanese corolla racer.


This guy is ME if I had an incredible amount of money I would be doing the EXACT same thing.  I love his no fucks given attitude towards others opinions.  This thing is so gangster... I absolutely love it!

I get a lot of crap for some of the decisions I've made with my car but you know what, it is MY car.  I'll do what I want with it!  Everyone has an opinion and when you do something crazy you're going to get flack about it.  Ya just gotta roll with the punches.



Looked way better before.


This is the second time I've seen you on a speedhunterss article calling a car ugly. This is sort of car is a large part of what speedhunters posts. Why are you here if you continuously disagree with these sort of cars?


A classic battle of form vs function. It sure looks mean and aggressive, and LOOKS like a race car, but the proof is in the pudding. Does the 'aero' kit provide better aerodynamics and faster lap times when all the same? Is the suspension geometry give better mechanical grip, or just allows the chassis to be low and the wheels tucked? 

I won't take away from the brilliant look LBW gave this. However, a guy with a sawzall and some carbon fibre probably has a little less experience in building a race car than Ferrari. Definitely pushing the boundaries of body-kit tuning high dollar cars with little 'loo pretty' bits, and that definitely is polarizing. To me, its the same as putting a hood scoop on a stock Honda Civic.


I love it!


AdamBezzegh What's ugly is the stock form of the car and with this kit it finally is a car that I would buy if I had the $$$


Popcorn22 Because show car. Theres a reason why the diffuser is there, or there wouldn't be a diffuser on the car. Agree with you, it would be very interesting to me to run this car on the track compared to the stock car. I'd put a good amount of cash down to bet the stock car beats this on a race track. 

Fan boys and people who don't know any better gawk at this sort of thing because JDM. I don't entirely dislike the look of it, but I agree with you that it looks cheap and kills the whole purpose of the car. Amazing how someone can hack up and ruin a car and be praised for it these days. Welcome to Stance Nation.


I could care less that the guy hacked up its metal and changed the way it looked because imo it looks great, and looks like a race car. What I don't like is that he seems too concerned about stance that he probably ruined the great handling of the original car.


Gangsta punches I assume?


LB☆WORKS are the people which actually make me like supercars!




Agreed. Literally couldn't give a toss...


indeed, i think if i had to had a ferrari or other nonsense of the likes, it MUST be from liberty walk


I have seen many of the Ferrari 458 preparations, such as NOVITEC, Mansory or DMC. But what makes this company is on another level; I still keep in my thoughts, the great preparation that made on the Ferrari F40 and would say, that makes the Liberty Walk Rosso Corsa be relegated to the sidelines, because its white color, is amazing


The design choices on this car are gorgeous. The color matching of the fenders to the wheels then the carbon at bottom of the car make to hard to tell when the car ends and the grounds starts.
Great shots of this car!


Bolted cage, not classy.


@Joseph  and how would you fix a steel roll cage to an aluminium chassis?


Heavier and less aerodynamic. And the suspension has been (over) engineered to fix a problem that didn't exist before they started.
As a piece of art I get it, but the engineering and execution is, errm, agricultural.


Really not my cuppa at all, functional aerodynamic components that more than likely took 1000's of man hours to develop in CFD, wind tunnel and test track thrown in the bin for under developed FRP "aero".  Suspension so low that the roll centre is now some where in the centre of the Earth. 
I have nothing against modifications to give an aesthetic, but don't try to claim that any of the changes here give a performance benefit.

I much prefer this:


Bryn Alban Tell that to Howard Hughes who's H1 racer had machined flush rivets and then went on to break the world airspeed record AND the transcontinental speed record. 

Numbers don't lie.


Very nice! Saw this a while ago at Import Car Show, so it was refreshing to get the whole story.  Hope to see more bonkers awesomeness from LB Walk in the future!


Really love the look of this 458, the colors, the fenders and choice of wheels. The only change I'd make would be that camber, but that's just me. 
Awesome post though.


kphillips9936 Thx!


@Adam Jensen Yes and it's all sorts of great, but what's it got to do with a tuned Ferrari race car?


TokyoCarGuy Very near future....


@Ed indeed....


Afroneck Thanks! :)


EduGB F40 forever!


mbretschneider I wonder what Ferrari thinks about all of this. They get upset at custom car mats and vinyl wraps in the US it seems. Maybe Ferrari Japan is a bit more understanding...?!


Popcorn22 #becausedontcare


@Tom Westmacott Thank you!


Bryn Alban iisaac Cheers Bryn!!


Riskee Oh no, not another one. I'll go and cry


speedhunters_dino Indeed not, just a matter of more brain power and research ($$$ though):


speedhunters_dino #omgsohipsterrightnow.


speedhunters_dino Funny timing that's all.  I saw the video on Liberty Walk's facebook page


Wow, jaw dropped just seeing the front page image. Love the color, is it a Ferrari color? Maybe that explains not painting the over-fenders... :p I would love to see it with the fenders painted to match, leave the carbon wing. If I saw this in person I wouldn't be able to take my eyes off it.


Liberty Works is a love or hate thing. I love most of the stuff posted here, but this one.. Gwah


Oh dear. Not sure about the removing of the diffuser (you know, hours and hours of development for a function), and from the 3/4 shot Dino put up (photo 7?) of the finished car, the rear arch treatment just looks bloody awkward. Not a fan at all. The unmodified Challenge looks how the 458 should have in standard form.


Back when I was younger I would have agreed with your Popcorn22 But the years have taught me that the raw speed of a car is completely irrelevant unless the car is entering a racing series. It's unlikely that the owner would break any lap records with the stock car either.

The 458 Challenge will be just another car when the 10% faster 468 Challenge comes out, most people wouldn't even break step walking past a stock 355 Challenge these days and they definitely won't care if it laps faster or slower than a stock 355 GTB.

So the main justification from a performance point of view is that the acceleration, handling and lap times of this particular car don't matter to anyone.


Hmmm, I'm on the fence on this one as it seems like a case of form over function, but perhaps I'm jumping to conclusions...
If Kato-san had done this to a "regular" 458 I would unquestionably approve: I know the look of the LB Walk cars isn't to everyone's taste, but I love how much more aggressive his cars look and this is no exception. Additionally - and again I know they are an acquired taste - but there are a handful of cars I think ducktail spoilers "work" on (I mean that in a aesthetic sense), the 458 being one of them. 
His choice of base car is what makes me dubious though. Parts have been added to a prepared track car as "aero", yet he has removed tested components in the process. I'm not saying that it isn't possible to improve upon something released from the factory, but the way in which he has gone about it (and the other mods you detail) makes me feel that this car has sacrificed the pure function it had in favour of form.
Perhaps Kato-san should race both this and a standard 458 Challenge round the track to justify his modifications and prove me - and others with doubts - wrong! (And either way, nice article and images!)




That 458 does look good but has nowhere near the wow factor of the Liberty Walk. The Liberty Walk grabs ahold and shakes you while it's sitting still.


I really do like this car its very unique and it looks great the color combo is on point. And for all the people who dislike it as you see LB works don't really care at all because if they did the car wouldn't look this my question is if they don't care why do you? Great post :-)


The Liberty Walk cloning machine is still humming along beautifully, I see.


Imho, unpainted frp looks unpainted. I do like the car a bunch, just to my eye looks unfinished. That being said, it does help accentuate what lb is selling.


I like most of his cars, but this is just a tale of excess.


Look at this mans face, and then picture him enjoying this car:

Enzo is turning in his grave.


@Forza Italia Don't show Enzo the haphazardly Sawzall'd fenders or ruined electrics and sensors caused by water being flung onto them due to the fact that Liberty Walk removed the fender liners. But yeah, no, they're total automotive geniuses. Best shop ever.


Popcorn22 because the car is made to be a statement. there are other stock examples of the car. this car is about image, status, to stand out. and the owner probably doesn't give a f*ck what others think. this dude probably hangs out with guys like these with cars like these:


hmmmm, surpose its a face only a mother could love...well father in this case!?!
Ilike small bits of the car, but not really the car as a whole!

And talking of sacrilegious...what happened to that Yellow R34 that was being modded to run on the bonneville salt flats, i think it was a special one-off production version or was shown a few years ago as a build i think, and i dont think there was an update on it!


@Jake Laird Your comment threw me for a loop there and then I re read it and said ahhhh I see what he did there. hahaha yeah man the nobel prize will be coming any second now for this piece of work.


Looks sick as fuck


i freakin love it. looks even better in the street version:


Would be cool if the rear spoiler's angle was adjustable


and how about purrari ?


Nice Dino, I can understand certain people and how it's not their cup of tea but damn that's next level. #dopeness

"To those that don’t value these sort of things, the doors must feel flimsy and lacking quality. But that lovely empty sound when you shut them with a decisive thump so the latch catches properly, only emphasizes how everything with the Challenge was designed to save precious weight." - this is my favorite sound next to starting a great engine.

Well done sir.


This is super cool but I like the rear view the best. If you can change that much a Ferrari and still look cool, well, I guess it's talent that you got there my friend. I wonder what if ALL cars suffer the same treatment....Who would a Mercedes S Class look like? Or a Alfa Mito? Or a Mustang? Or a Charger? Or a Fiat 500? :)))))


@Adam Jensen speedhunters_dino This is all sorts of unrelated but I've wanted to see more of this car for awhile so... thanks?


Is he interested in doing a Ferrari FF?


speedhunters_dino mbretschneider Don't you feel that Japan as a whole is more understanding with the car scene? I mean, apart from maybe the US, where could you see a road registered 458 Challange? Certainly ot here in Europe... although I wish we could see racecars on the road.


This car is just great. Kato San makes what other builders don't even dare to think about. @speedhunters_dino, could we maybe see some more pictures taken from a distance in the following articles? Just like the last one here. You know, I'd love to have your shots as a background on my tablet!


"Oh, a brilliantly designed racing car? Let's take away the functionality that the engineers designed into it! That will drum up business from those who don't think about how they're going to be able to resell their hacked up supercars!"


gazserm Haha ok sure


@Steffan You have a car to lend him? :)


Benjamin Meyer Thanks man!


I'm sure this build attracts as much attention as it can, sure he worked hard to accomplish it, it's controversial and it has to be, but in the end it still looks rice. Not like the Tuner rice, but a more modern, expensive, exclusive rice.


Hey look! Another car with some screwed-on bodywork from the "imaginative minds" at Liberty Walk! Yes sir, true skill illustrated here in all its JC Whitney-like-catalog-ordered-looking charm!  Only years of automotive design experience could "sculpt" a classy machine such as this. Beautiful pieces of art such as this can only be appreciated by heady geniuses such as Kanye West, Kim Kardashian, Little John, and Justin Bieber. Thank you Whatever-your-name-is-San for yet another Ferrari forever marked by your "tuner-culture" style so over the heads of those 18 years old and over. (And nothing says "race car" like a bolt-in roll cage.)


I was undecided at first, but yes! Lots of yes!


wish it didn't have air ride. still cool tho -_-


Alex__MG Damnnnn that is ridiculous. I bet Ferrari hate them hahah


DirtyE30 What part of this isn't functional? It's got reasonable camber, the tires aren't stretched and b/c the fenders were cut there's some room for wheel travel, too.


@Harvey funny thing though Ferrari put that roll cage in


The thing is the Challenge is 'just' a cup car rather than something built for open competition so Ferrari left a lot of potential on the table in the interest of fun racing. Like it doesn't even have a rear wing.


I'm not crazy about the ducktail, it looks too oldschool for the rest of the car. I guess in this case a giant GT3 wing would be kind of obvious and boring though.


I read SpeedHunters everyday and enjoy the majority of the articles, but this makes me cringe. Thats my own opinion of course. I dont like StanceHunting to begin with, but to strip the functionality from such a driver focused car just to get some wheel tuck? Lose the camber and give it some suspension travel. I cant deny the body mods look aggressive but, I wish (personally) that hed save the stance for less rare, focused machines. Function over Form


It’s cars like these that push boundaries and move the tuning scene along. I mean, it’s been almost a year since the 2013 SEMA Show and the LB☆WORKS 458 continues to captivate our minds. I just can’t wait to see what Kato will have for us at SEMA this year! so thank's i agree too. liberty walk factory visit so want!!!!!!!!! :- (((( very so thanks

turbo BEAMS ae86

hate unpainted, but good advertising..
and hate that ride height..look funny