The Japanese & Their Ferraris
I Am The Parking Lot Hunter

Speedhunters have a particular love of walking through parking lots at events. This is especially true in Japan, where people often turn up with machinery that is on-par – if not even better than what’s actually on display at the event itself. And seeing that Ferrari Japan set aside a ‘Ferrari Only’ parking area at its recent Ferrari Racing Days event, we just had to take a stroll through the rows upon rows of Maranello-bred machines that spectators brought along.


I’ll start off with this pair – two cars that helped cement what the mid-engine V8 Ferrari should be all about. The 308, first produced in the mid-’70s, with the faster 328 carrying the flame until the end of the ’80s. Timeless in their design, these attractive looking cars helped shape the segment for decades to come.


Red might be the colour everyone associates Ferraris with, but I’m partial to white examples.


The 348 came next, and while there were quite a few unmolested examples on unofficial display at Ferrari Racing Days, this GT Competizione version was the one that really impressed me. I can’t even remember if I’ve ever actually seen one of these before, and if I have it was certainly not one running the headlight conversion normally reserved for 348 racecars.


This car boasts a more potent 3.4L V8, plus a 190kg weight saving thanks to the use of carbon fibre and Kevlar in its bodywork, and a gutted interior. The five-spoke O.Z. Racing wheels on this car were a great choice I thought, as was its serious brake upgrade.


The F355 followed in the mid-engine V8 lineage and it is – to this day – my all-time favorite Ferrari. This isn’t the rarity I dream of having in my collection, but the Ferrari I’d turn into a fun weekend track day car – which is what a lot of owners do in Japan. The F355 looks great, sounds amazing, and is one of the last Ferraris to offer a true analogue experience!


By now – and thanks in-part to the odd Tastumi PA story I’ve shared in the past – we know that the Japanese aren’t too shy when it comes to customising supercars. And there was much of that to be seen at Fuji.


Some prefer to let Ferrari do the tweaking and tuning by going for cars like the 458 Speciale.


But others prefer to go for the custom touch. I actually get why this is so popular in Japan, because you only have to spend a day in central Tokyo or Osaka to see just how many 458s are on the streets. If you want to stand out, you have to take things into your own hands.


That’s where outfits like Mansory come to the rescue. While the end result might not be to everyone’s taste, there’s definitely no faulting the fit and finish of their aftermarket parts. In fact, I don’t think I’ve seen such beautifully laid out carbon fiber since we spent a few days in Italy with Pagani last year.


Even the bigger V12-powered cars like this 599 are often treated to a drop in ride height and an aftermarket set of wheels.

The Crazy ’80s

Nothing, however, could have prepared me for what I stumbled upon next. It’s not often that this happens, but when I see a Koenig Competizione Testarossa my mind is instantly taken back to a very hot summer’s day in 1993 when I took my first walk through Shibuya. A fresh arrival to Japan, I still hadn’t figured out the place, but it quickly became obvious that the bubble era had left behind some pretty wild custom cars. That was the day I first saw a Koenig Testarossa, and you can probably imagine the sort of reaction I had – not unlike Elizabeth had when seeing a rare twin turbo Koenig 512BB in a garage in Brooklyn.


Up until that day it had been a mystical car – something I had only seen in magazines. But there it was, its engine burbling at a ridiculously high idle and throwing out an insane amount of heat as it slowly drove by.


I was so happy that one had shown up at the Ferrari Racing Days. This is a great example of how deep and unconventional the Japanese love for Ferrari is.


Just take a look at that rear end! If you think it looks wide in pictures, let me assure you that with its spoiler stretching all the way across to the extremities of the fattened rear, it looks even wider in person.


The way the quad tail pipes stick out of the bodywork is something that you can’t really do these days, but it sure adds a nice touch to what is one already wild-looking beast.


A quick glance under the clear engine cover revealed that this particular car wasn’t running the 1000hp Koenig twin turbo engine, but – judging from the two cone filters that replace the stock side-fed air boxes – a mildly-tuned 512TR motor.


Which will it be for you – the crazy and wild Koenig, or the bone stock car it was originally based on, as seen here in a very Miami-oriented color choice.


It took a while to fill up a good proportion of the Fuji Speedway paddock, but by lunchtime there was an impressive mix of cars.


Every time I see a F12 I just have to get up close. To me – and perhaps most purists – this type of GT car is exactly what a Ferrari should be about: a thumping big V12 motor up front driving the rear wheels and packing a ton of power to have fun with, or cross continents in pure luxury.


If you open your wallet far enough, Ferrari will paint your F12 any color you please. This example featured a pearl chameleon type paint, with white-to-pink-to-purple flips.


It touches upon that old recipe that Enzo Ferrari always believed in – a GT with 12 cylinders up front powering the rear wheels – and one car from history that did it so well was the Daytona.

The Works Ferrari

Come one, did you seriously think that a Ferrari event in Japan wouldn’t at least have one Liberty Walk creation stop by? This is the same car that we saw back in January on the LB Works booth at the Tokyo Auto Salon.


Like all Liberty Walk Ferraris, it looked a million times better out in the light of day, and it was getting some serious attention from the fans. Funny that…


Yes, it really is that low!


And in case you are wondering, no, that’s not a replica Mid Night club sticker. I’ll let you figure out the rest yourselves…


My stroll under the strong late-summer sun continued as I looked over rows upon rows of modern day cars. They’re interesting of course – but never as much as a rarity from the past.


Six tail pipes? It can only be the 365 GT4 BB, running a glorious-sounding flat-12 engine.


Unlike the 512 BB that followed, very few examples of this model were actually produced – less than 400 in fact – making it a mighty rare car. I don’t know if it’s just me but that front grille reminds me of the one used on the current FF.


Of course, there had to be a 512 as well – this one being the later generation BB512i where the ‘i’ stands for fuel injection. I recently saw this car at Daikoku PA.


If there is one Ferrari with the ability to turn an enthusiast’s knees to jelly it’s the F40. To be honest, I began to lose count of how many actually turned up on Sunday! Most owners in Japan don’t even bother with a front number plate, but this guy went to the trouble of printing and laminating one. I’m sure the authorities appreciate his efforts.


The Mondial wasn’t the prettiest car in Ferrari’s line up during the ’80s but it was a real success, its 2+2 seating arrangement making it almost acceptable as a daily driver.


After officially entering the Japanese market a few years back, Ferrari has been doing better than ever – not only in sales but providing great customer service, which at the end of the day is what keeps people coming back for more.


As we enter a new era at Ferrari without Luca Di Montezemolo, is there any doubt that the Prancing Horse will continue to captivate the minds of car guys the world over? No, and I am very excited to see where turbo technology – not to mention hybrid systems – will take the Cavallino. There are definitely exciting times ahead for the legendary Italian carmaker…

Dino Dalle Carbonare
Instagram: speedhunters_dino



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It looked as though that Daytona was the oldest Ferrari there. That's why it stood out as most others just blended in with one another.


Mansory Vs. Liberty Walk: desecrated 458 showdown.


That Koenig was cool, I never knew about those before.


Midnight Club still exist!?


JeremieSunico oh the shivers !!!


JeremieSunico You can take the Mid Night Club out of the streets but you can't take the streets out of the Mid Night Club?


buying a 100 000$+ car and putting cheap Toyo T1R tires ? really ?


The ultimate f40 definitely has to be the Gas Monkey incarnation


@ITB  atleast the Libert Walk kit looks good.


Where's the Enzo?


That 348 is gorgeous. Perfect mixture of racing function and Ferrari form


benjaminN Well, you say that but it's a pretty decent compound for road driving and especially in those sizes, probably very grippy indeed up to 8/10ths.


Slappy Pistons benjaminN yeah they are good for soft 80hp daily driver, but for a supercar :/ even if I doubt this one will see a lot of proper supercar driving ^^


@Dino, definitely knew that midnight club sticker wasn't fake. lol Anyhow, I gotta say that the LW 458 has grown on me.


I have to say the only aesthetically modified Ferrari I enjoy is the Koenig, and even then, the back windshield looks horrible with that plastic piece. People never really hit the mark when they modify these cars and I think I know why: 

This is a brand that was designed and bred from racing from the start with no other intent and purpose. When you modify something that was meant for speed in any other way than the serve the function of speed you are going to miss the mark. 

The liberty walk car looks amazing from the rear, but from the side it looks too much like an R8 in the back half.


@dzd Yeah that Mansory Kit looks absolutely hideous.


What's with the HDR?


I've seen a daytona in Jamestown, Rhode Island. My girlfriend didn't understand how rare and ********* expensive it was. I was buggin out haha.


I was wondering the same thing. Hahah i thought it was disbanded already. Hmmm is the owner one of the pioneer members of the club?


Kimchiwarui DIno look into this! Are they starting it back up????!!!


The guy is just an original member of the club; no, they are not starting back up.. then again, did they really ever disband aside from not running Shutokou? :)


Personally I am not a major fan of Liberty Walk works on car such as lambos or Ferraris because they are pretty enough as is... Buuuut I do really like the colour matched kit on the 458 because it complements the cars lines, not obscure and distort them. That Koenig though... Great article!


In ahort: LW makes a Ferrari look like a ricer Toyota.


Liberty Walk Ferrari kinda reminds me of an s15 from the front?


Mid Night Club = Wangan certified


dangina Kimchiwarui Well, I don't think they would be starting back up, since that accident happened. The members moved on too... Maybe that sticker was to just show others the car owner's past or something like that...


@Chris love that koenig testarossa, ever since i saw it in wangan midnight.  i must admit, the white in wangan midnight made it look classy but the red here makes it look ready to bite you and give zero fracks.


That's the first Liberty Walk 458 I've liked.


I would be very happy with that 599 for the next 30 years...


I agree with DIno, F355 is for me the best and the last "classic" Ferrari...


Ah the LB 458, with its 4 photos to please the sponsors. Enough already.


mrwicksy : Noone makes you view or download these free pictures. However, the website does what it needs to do to sustain all the other material. I find this is a superb balance compared to the majority of eye-candy websites out there.


The Koenig. Magnificent machinery captured in magnificent photos. Haven't seen it in a while, and now to have it in crisp wallpaper images is a great way to start the week!


totophi it's got better this past month or so, but a lot of the summer was one long advertorial for their sponsors. I understand the principle for the sponsorship, but I think Speedhunters are wrong in the application. It's hardly judicious -  the most photos in the article dedicated to a car we already know about because its from a sponsor, and has such has had saturation coverage on here. There are better, more tactful ways of doing it.


mrwicksy: You find four excessive? What would you do differently?


PLEASE do a story on the History of the Mid Night club!!!


PLEASE do a story on the history of the Mid Night club!


Man, that Koenig Competizione Testarossa made the whole article for me; awesome photos. Cars like that are so rare to see. 

and +1 on the History of the Midnight Club


@Chris I believe you're incorrect. Enzo Ferrari only built road cars to fund Ferrari's racing programs. Bred from racing? Yes. No other intent and purpose besides speed? That's reserved for the race cars. Besides the special track editions, road-going Ferraris are, and were always meant to be, road cars.


That Koenig CE is SO MUCH sexier a container for a thousand horsepower than a Veyron. 

It's an aspirational design, like the Concorde or one of those 1950s USAF prototypes for a rocket fighter or a nuclear-powered bomber.

It's aspirational and awesome and cool in ways that modern cars aren't.

God, the world really would be a cooler place it it were full of vehicles designed by ten-year-olds.


That Koenig CE is SO MUCH sexier a container for a thousand horsepower than a Veyron. 

It's an aspirational design, like the Concorde or one of those 1950s USAF prototypes for a rocket fighter or a nuclear-powered bomber.

It's aspirational and awesome and cool in ways that modern cars aren't.

God, the world really would be a cooler place it it were full of vehicles designed by ten-year-olds.



John W Cangieter

You'd be surprised. Lots if misinformation on the web. Including here...