Bear with me, but I think this highly modified Ferrari is one for the purists.
When it comes to cars, the owner, Mitch Button, describes himself as an “avid historian.” These aren’t words I’d normally associate with a stanced-out Ferrari, but allow me to point out a few of the modifications right off the bat. The mirrors are from a 458 GT3 car, the fog lamps off a 288 GTO. The color, a stunning Ferrari shade called Grigio Medio, looks significantly different depending how the light hits it.
And, somehow, it all just looks so right.
The one-off carbon-Kevlar wide-body works so well with the original lines of the car, culminating in an integrated ducktail that flows off the edges. Rather than jumping out at you, the car smoothly pushes the boundaries of what a 328 should look like.
Sitting on air ride suspension it’ll no doubt lose a good number of admirers straight away, but if those who cry foul when they see this Ferrari were to really look closely at the details, they might agree that this 328 is indeed “true to the spirit of Maranello,” as Mitch says.
The wild, raspy megaphone exhaust setup was loosely based off the 308 GTB rally cars of the 1980s, cars which inspired many from that generation, each in their own way.
It was this unique exhaust note from the 3.2L eight that caught my attention in the first place as it rolled into the Toyo Tires Treadpass at SEMA setup on Monday night. Plastic still on the floor, I knew this was a car I’d have to come back for to get some proper shots. Have a listen.
Talking to Mitch about the car, he says he wanted to maintain a certain consistency throughout the build. It’s an awesome mash-up of parts you might not think would mix, but the finished product, built by Exoticar Inc. in Los Angeles, flows very, very well.
Take those mirrors I mentioned, for example – they’re off a Ferrari three decades newer and, yet, they look right at home with the curvature of the 328. Mitch says this speaks volumes about Ferrari design over time, and I have to say I wholeheartedly agree.
Next up on the list of things which shouldn’t work but do are the choice of wheels: Rotiform DNO. Mitch says he teamed up with Rotiform to design the wheels using the original Dino Cromodora wheels as inspiration. I couldn’t remember what these Cromodoras looked like, but a quick Google search reminded me why I erased them from my memory. Same as with the mirrors, these complement the 328 much more nicely.
The ‘Matte Death Bronze’ DNOs, paired with satin black hardware, are nice and meaty; the fronts measure 17×9.5-inch while the rears are a chunky 18×12.5-inch. There’s even a matching, narrow three-piece spare tucked into the bonnet. Nice.
To get this low-down stance, the car makes use of JRZ struts with an AccuAir e-Level air ride setup. They’ve needed to go with custom-built control arms to make it all work, but the end result certainly has amazing presence.
I love how the boxy front end, accentuated by the 288 GTO fog lamps, is further exaggerated by the fact the car is an inch off the ground. From here back the wide-body takes over as the car goes from square to round; just looking at the thing is an exercise in design.
These good looks are backed up by a bit of reworking around the engine bay. A KMS MD35 ECU is paired with an individual throttle body kit, all good for 400hp at a screaming 9,200rpm. This is helped by custom stainless headers which, as mentioned, are straight-piped out the back end. With the engine not quite buttoned up aesthetically, I wasn’t able to lift the engine cover and poke around, but Mitch has promised me a good look if I can make it out to properly feature the car in the future. As a fan of anything with ITBs, this sounds like a deal to me.
Moving to the interior, most of the Ferrari styling is so far left untouched, but what has been changed again blends nicely. You’ll notice the seats are reminiscent of the styling found in the 288 GTO, less the headrests. The gated shifter remains, and the Momo flat-bottom steering wheel looks right at home.
Overall, it’s certainly not for everyone, but I imagine even avid lovers of classic Ferraris can appreciate the family and period-correct attention to detail you find here. If only they could see past the wide-body and the air suspension, that is. Regardless, I love the look of the bodywork and definitely think it’s a job well done. With the air ride setup Mitch is able to go from show car to driver, and he says this what the car was meant for. Driving.
I have to agree that this is sort of the whole point of owning any car, and I’m sure this Ferrari, like all others, brings massive pleasure on each start-up and canyon blast.
Additional Photography by Dino Dalle Carbonare & Sara Ryan