I think we’ve pretty much come to accept the fact that overfenders are far from a passing fad. We might as well call it an established design direction these days, and Liberty Walk leads the way when it comes to the more high-end side of things.
As I’m in Japan – the home of and Pandem, RWB and Liberty Walk – this is a subject I find myself right in the middle of. I’m not here to judge or give my personal take on it all, but rather share and try to interpret the thinking behind some of the things I see.
You might assume that that guys like Kato-san at LBW do what they do purely to disrupt. On a daily basis we are bombarded with images and videos of wildly modified cars, and then every once in a while BOOM! – a new overfender kit enters the realm and the cycle starts again. This usually happens before a major tuning show or gathering.
But social media is not how I came to discover that Liberty Walk had taken an angle grinder to a Ferrari 512 TR and slapped some raw black overfenders on it. This one was purely by chance.
During a recent weekend in Kyoto, I dropped by Liberty Walk’s main shop to feature one of their wide-body Supras. When one of the shutters to LBW’s many workshops went up, I was confronted with the sight of a seriously slammed and extra wide Testarossa. The A90 could wait.
What came out of my mouth was nothing but a whole lot of questions: What the hell is this? When did you guys build this? Is this Kato’s car? And most importantly of all – can I shoot it? As it turned out, I had dropped by the shop on the right day at the right time, because the Ferrari was about to be shipped off to Japan’s northernmost island.Looks To Kill
I quickly discovered that this wasn’t one of those show cars that Kato likes to build for the Tokyo Auto Salon or SEMA, but rather a one-off request from a Ferrari owner based in Hokkaido.
LBW weren’t building it on the sly either; they just didn’t post much about it because it’s unlikely that many Testarossa/512 TR owners will be keen on the conversion.
But whether or not this is something anyone should do with their prized semi-vintage Ferrari is besides the point. What I can tell you however, is that this car looked like a proper thug out on the streets. No matter what angle I shot it from, it looked amazingly cool.
So what exactly was the approach?
Well, it was pretty straightforward – this was an exercise in optimal yet adjustable stance. Optimal for when the car sits static, looking its best laid out on the tarmac; adjustable so that it doesn’t fall to pieces when you drive over a manhole cover. Air suspension is hard to look past when usability is a concern, and while I do respect anyone that lives life on the edge with an extreme static drop, we’re talking about a valuable Italian exotic here. If you crack a bumper it will hurt your wallet more than your pride.
The newfound girth calls for wider wheels, which in this case are Liberty Walk’s own LD97 Forged rims – 18×9.5-inch at the front and 18×11.5-inch at the rear. Yokohama’s Advan Sport is the tire of choice, and stretched 215 fronts and 275 rears help the ‘tuck’ when the suspension is aired out.
This unique LBW conversion consists of a color-matched front chin spoiler with a single and asymmetric integrated air intake that helps emphasize the slammed look even further.
Then there are the yet-to-be-painted, one-piece, bolt-on fender flares that cover stock (but now cut) wheel arches beneath.
At the rear we have a reversed lip spoiler that kind of looks like it was taken from an old Toyota Cresta.
Seriously though, it tidies up and completes the section beneath the exhaust outlets nicely, while tying in the raked duckbill spoiler on the deck lid.
We’re essentially looking at a bosozoku Testarossa. That is both a beautiful thing as much as it is something that will likely make many Ferraris purists see red. Rosso Corsa red, of course.
That is one enhanced rear end.
Perhaps that was the end goal of this project; a way for the owner to enhance the look of his 512 TR, but at the same time challenge popular opinion on what one should or shouldn’t do with a car like this.Enhanced Sound
Sitting rear-mid and providing about 420hp to the back wheels is the original 4.9L flat-12 engine that made this generation of Ferrari model (Testarossa/512 R/F512 M) so special.
To enhance the sound of the 48-valve 12-cylinder a Granchio M exhaust system is fitted, and boy does it let the engine sing.
As with all Liberty Work demo and client cars that require custom work, the Ferrari was pieced together in their subsidiary shop, AK-Produce, located close to LBW’s HQ just outside Nagoya.
AK-Produce’s talented staff cut the front and rear fenders, sealed everything up to protect the exposed steel, and then drilled and fitted the custom kit.
From every angle the car is so photogenic. And I think that perfectly sums up these overfender conversions: they are simple but oh-so effective.
I swung open the immensely heavy door for a quick look in the cabin and was greeted with an unmistakable scent of the old days. No changes or modifications have been done in here; it’s all stock and untouched.
As I sat on the hot asphalt, searching for the best angles, I started to think some more. If you own a car like this, it’s obviously something you’re passionate about. So why cut it up?
Could it be that you’ve owned it for so long that you’re now looking for new ways of enjoying it? That’s certainly a possibility.
I’m not the one that should be giving that answer though, because whether it’s a Liberty Walk kit, a Pandem kit, or taking your 911 to Nakai-san, the reason will likely be different for every person.
As I chased the 512 TR back to the Liberty Walk HQ it looked like nothing else on the road. People old and young were pointing at it as it drove by, and I stopped counting the number of thumbs-up given.
Maybe that’s it right there; doing something like this enhances emotion and brings a wave of excitement, the very thing most new cars have lost. As always though, I’m keen to hear what you think, so let’s chat in the comments section below.
Dino Dalle Carbonare