Love It Or Hate It: The Liberty Walk F40

Wataru Kato’s latest build has divided opinion more than any other overfendered car built by Liberty Walk – or anyone else for that matter.

As an Italian with a special love for the Ferrari F40, you may assume that I’d be the first person to criticise Kato-san’s decision to do what he has done with this car. Before I dive into that though, let’s let spend a few minutes to just take it all in…


As has become a tradition now, once Tokyo Auto Salon ends on Sunday night, I meet up the Liberty Walk crew to shoot a few of their cars before they’re transported back down to the LB HQ in the outskirts of Nagoya. This year we chose a really cool location.

Italia Street is a small, hidden away spot five minutes’ walk from central Shinbashi. It was built around 15 years ago and themed to resemble your average Italian square, so there’s a piazza, Tuscan-style architecture and cobblestone roads. Basically, there’s no better place in Tokyo to shoot an Italian automotive icon at.


This is actually one of Tokyo’s prime shooting locations for car owners – especially those with Italian makes – and automotive media. No surprise, as visually it looks like nothing else in the city and there is plenty of room to move around in.


On any other Sunday night it would be full of people shooting their cars, but on the last day of TAS 2023 it was empty. The rain was bucketing down.

So, apart from getting wet, we had it all – a prime (empty) location, mist, water reflections and droplets, and one of the most iconic cars ever created.


The craziest thing is, this not the first Liberty Walk Ferrari F40 I’ve shot. Eleven years ago, I travelled down to Nagoya in order to feature Kato-san’s original F40 – a car partially responsible for putting Liberty Walk on the map.


That car was also white – but painted, not wrapped like this one – and basically modified to emulate the LM (Le Mans) version of the F40, with an adjustable rear wing blade and fixed headlights. If that F40 riled some people up – which it did – what can we say about an F40 that takes things to another level altogether?!

Note: If you scroll down to the very last picture in the feature of the first F40, you’ll see the car we’re featuring today when it was red.


For this new build, Kato and his crew went for a LM++ take on it, adding to the factory LM race car feel with some added width. The four-piece rear overfenders add a good 5-inches to each side of the car, allowing for some extra-wide LBW wheels to fit rather nicely.

But have the stock wheel arches been cut? They would have had to, or else the wider wheel/tire package wouldn’t be able to tuck inside the newfound width, right? I haven’t seen any footage of Kato-san going wild with his angle grinder on the carbon/Kevlar rear cowl, but that sort of footage may have been censored.


The LM style continues on the lower portion of the rear bumper with the two carbon extractors.


Looking into the engine bay, the F40’s original 2.9L twin-turbo V8 is presented in stock form, with the exhaust/wastegate heat-shielding still in place. I like how they highlighted the cross bar in red as a hint to the car’s underlying color.

Like Kato-san’s first F40, this one uses Roberuta suspension with air cups at each corner to allow the car to lift and actually be driven around. In its lowest static setting, the tires tuck in behind the new wheel arch radiuses.


If the front looks familiar, it’s because it’s based on the redesigned cowl that Kato originally made for his first F40 build. Except for this project it’s been slightly widened and re-contoured around the arches.


You can clearly see the extra width around the recesses for the side latches, just below the Cavallino Rampante (Prancing Horse) side badges which have been left in their original positions. That redefined and widened profile line is carried rearward with pumped side skirts.

When you look at the original F40 design, you realize that regular overfenders would just not work. There’s basically no space to accommodate them as the top of the wheel arches come all the way up to meet the sloping top line of the nose.


So the solution makes total sense; you get the widening necessary to nail the look and the ability to fit wider wheels and tires.

The Liberty Walk front cowl on top of the fixed headlights features a small NACA-style duct and a large opening to extract air away from the radiator, just like on the LM. Four elongated openings above the wheels add some extra drama.


Thanks to some reshaping on the sides of essentially the front bumper section of the cowl, Kato-san has incorporated a pair of long canards as well as two supports for the carbon fiber under tray.


Never has a car looked so good under Tokyo’s night lights.


I was having such a good time shooting this wild, opinion-splitting car, that of course a local patrol unit had to turn up and try to ruin the party.


The Liberty Walk guys bowed and slowly moved the F40 closer to the loader, at least making it seem like we were going to leave the area.


As soon as the patrol car left, however, we just continued shooting over at another little spot around the square.


By this time I was soaked right down to my underwear, but I hardly even noticed the discomfort. Because, it’s not every day you get to spend time with such a rare car in an iconic Tokyo spot with pretty much no one around.


Aside from the pair of modern Sparco bucket seats and a matching steering wheel, the cabin was left alone. Not that there is much you can do with an F40 interior in the first place.

With the car having been brought directly from the Makuhari Messe, the Tokyo Auto Salon 2023 ‘Best Import Car’ award was left on the passenger seat. It’s another reminder that when Liberty Walk sets out to steal the show, they nail it every time.


But that doesn’t make this car an attention-grabber, it’s just part of the result. Kato-san’s approach to cars is simple: he builds what he likes, using models that have special meaning to him.


He became an F40 owner 15-plus years ago, then he made his own LM interpretation five years after that. And now there’s this.


Kato loves it and his fans can’t get enough, but me? Well, I’m not one to get offended by what people do to their cars; I enjoy seeing limits being pushed, and that’s definitely the case here.

Now, what do you think?

Dino Dalle Carbonare
Instagram: dino_dalle_carbonare



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Kato-san's original car was way better than this one. I do not hate this one, but I feel like the wide body rear quarters don't flow with the lines of the car. It looks like there is a clash of styles, it looks too out of place. I wish to keep seeing how this car progresses! Great article Dino!

Dino Dalle Carbonare

Thank you, glad you enjoyed it!


I feel like the wide body rear quarters don't flow with the lines of the car. It looks like there is a clash of styles, it looks too out of place.

Isn't that what Kato-san always do? Mixing up styles that does not conform to any conventions.


I'll never understand people's issue with the first LB F40. It's basically an F40 LM.

Honestly, I think the car that made people rage more would be the Miura from a few years ago. Because not many realized it was a Ford GT40 replica that has been rebodied into a Miura. Lmao!

Dino Dalle Carbonare

Yeah and I explained it clearly in the story, so there shouldn't have been any misunderstanding lol


Masterfully done. Steering wheel is the only real fail.
Of the four,
1 Stock
2 LM
3 his previous white care
4 this one

This was is the best looking by far. Frankly the F40 never really made it on looks. It was introduced the same time as the 288 GTO which was a far better looking car.
If he can make a business case for cutting this up, it can always be restored later *if* the boomer-derived fascination with originality continues and captures this at some point. For now, it's a massive improvement.

Dino Dalle Carbonare

The F40 (1987-1992) was based on the 288GTO (1984-1987), so not introduced at the same time.
There is an amazing interview done with Materazzi (the F40's father) by a well known Italian YouTuber, I suggest everyone watch it as it's the most accurate and detailed story of the F40 you will every see:


It doesn't seem right to not have modified the dash and dials as it is unlikely someone else will modify a F40 (to this extent) its a shame the interior wasn't done with to the same artistic vision as the outside. I'm not saying that I love it, nor hate it but it may be the only one the world may ever see.


But did they cut it? Asking for a friend.

Lunar TheSpaceCat


Lunar TheSpaceCat

F50 enzo etc when?

Dino Dalle Carbonare

Soon I bet lol

Lunar TheSpaceCat



I love it, modify everything. If you own it, put your mark on it.

Eduardo García Bellón

There is something that I will always say before a modification of a Ferrari. "It is a sacrilege to wear flea market clothes when you already have a tailor-made suit".
But I have to say that "this flea market clothes" suits the F40 very well; Maybe I would remove several stickers and make it lighter. But the concept of inserting the Aileron and the front splitter of the LM makes these stickers go unnoticed on this mount.

Dino Dalle Carbonare

It's not on air suspension, there are air cups on top of the coilovers to allow for lift. They set it up so that it sits extra low on "show mode"


Are "love or hate" the only options here really? To me it's just meh. Minor changes and ultimately it just looks like a slower, bagged F40 with some stickers - there was more performative art and drama when cutting it up than warranted by the actual outcome. But I guess that was the point: to scream "look at us we're cutting up an F40 in front of an audience, we're so edgy, loooook aaaat uuuus". Low effort internet clout excercise more than anything else. I'm far from a purist; quite the contrary. If you're gonna cut an F40, maybe get actually creative with it, make it really different, make it a rocketship... Idk. Meh.


While I'm not the biggest fan of the over fender craze and all its call this build low effort is discrediting an insane amount of work and skill. On the other hand, your rocketship comment was full of useful insight, hopefully they will see the error in their ways and make a course correction for the good of the planet. god speed.


Haha, I guess my "rocket ship" bit was shorthand for something that is really fast and crazy-looking. Instead, this is likely slower than stock (at least in corners) and looks close to another LM replica; you could almost miss the overfenders. I stand by my comment that considering LB's past work and capability as well as the choice of base car, this seems rather low effort. Like they wanted to cut an F40 for the internet clicks and comments but din't really spend time thinking what to do with it afterwards. Their previous one wasn't crazy either, but was consistent with a theme which made it cool. This one looks like they started holding their punches a quarter of the way through the build.


I'd love to see the last photo edited to have a stock F40 as the reflection in the puddle.


I’m a big fan of this build, it really makes me want to see LBWK do a Shilouette kit of the F40, like a Group 5 type of F40.

Dino Dalle Carbonare

Well that could be done by a front & rear cowl redesign, that would be cool!


I would give him my car just to see what he’d do with it.


You're an Italian working for Speedhunters, therefore getting paid to advertise such cars and companies like Liberty Walk. So your opinion is far from being objective. Please stop with the "he built it for himself" bullsh@t. He built it to provoke interest with the same "love it or hate it" attidude you are promoting.


As if Dino is some political pundit who took part in some jdm blood oath to stay neutral in regards to his opinions on cars? Your sodium levels are far too high, I suggest seeing a doctor.


Just came back from the doctor. Thanks for the advice. Everything seems to be fine. So better luck next time. Do you have anything to say on the topic though?

Dino Dalle Carbonare

He built it to wow people at a car show, I think that's what car builders do with show cars.

Christopher McElligott

It's a beautiful car, it's just that after the hundredth "Look how Somebody-san modded this 1-of-1,000, $430,000 Tira Misu RT-590 he somehow just had" article, you start wondering how these guys get these cars in the first place.

I'm not asking to see the guy's books, but a bit of background on Somebody-san's operation'd make his possession of said Tira Misu seem less fantastical.


So Dino, you agree that he didn't build it for himself. I


So, did it wow? I mean the car on its own, not the little performative dance they did at TAS before reveal, not the "ermahgerd we cut up an F40, give us attention, we're so controversial" instagram posts. Just the end result. Are you genuinely wowed by the car any more than you would be by any other F40 with a few cosmetic bolt ons and stickers? Like, I get it; the F40 always kinda wows by default but that's not specific to this example in any way. Both by F40 standards and by Liberty Walk (past) standards it's just... there. Consider me whelmed.


LB is now building the automotive equivalent of an Instagram model. Hits a checklist of current trends, gets attention, gets clout, gets likes and 15 seconds of fame. Ultimately not very memorable with hopes this trend will recycle in another 15 years or so when this is considered "classic" or "period correct" to keep the ball rolling.


Spot on. The insta model comparison hits the nail on the head.


Absolutely outstanding write up of an incredible car.

And the photography.... Dino - you've excelled yourself (even by your usual high standards).

Will these be available for sale as downloads (screensavers etc.)?

Dino Dalle Carbonare

Thank you!! It was a great opportunity to shoot such a controversial car. You can download the images in hi res by clicking on them and selecting the download icon on the lower right corner.


"controversial" lol


Meh. What's it for? Ugly over fenders that don't look right, but a stock engine negating any actual requirement for the wider wheels that would necessitate the over fenders in the first place. That tells you everything you need to know.

I'm all for building your own car, and I'm all for making great cars even greater, but this isn't it. This is pure, unadulterated attention seeking. This is no different to buying cheap eBay trailer arches and riveting them onto a 1200cc Fiesta or something. It's unnecessary and stupid. I don't hate this car, I just think it's retarded. How am I supposed to respect all builds when this is what constitutes a build in 2023?


I don't love it, but I don't hate it either. I think there's enough F40's in the world for it to be ok to cut up. LBWK cars usually seem like they're being crazy for the sake of being crazy rather than for any artistic reason, and I think that's the case here too. There are cars that are beautiful and perfect for widebody kits (like the 930's with RWB), but the F40 is not one of them. I liked the OEM+ nature of his first build and I wish he left it at that, but his second build isn't offensively bad either.


Looks like an F40 from Hotwheels on 1:1 scale.

Dino Dalle Carbonare

I wonder if they will actually make a HotWheels of it, I know LBW does stuff with them


Don't think Hot Wheels would, given they already lost the Ferrari license, and making a modified F40 model might just incur the wrath of Maranello's lawyers. Lol!


Jean Blaton did a better job cutting one these up 30 year ago with the LM Barchetta. Does look cool and makes me happy that people are out there doing things like this. Great pics keep up the good work!

Dino Dalle Carbonare

Thanks Joe! Ah the LM Barchetta the Ferrari that Ferrari doesn't recognize (even though Michelotto helped out!)


And what makes this car controversial? Looks nice to me, tastefully done. I swear some people will find anything to gripe about.


It's not controversial and no one is "griping" about it. It's the builders themselves alongside journos like Dino who desperately try to convince everyone it's controversial for clicks and clout.


Lots of comments. I personally think the f40 has always been so nicely proportioned that it hasn’t needed any enhancements. With that being said i applaud the creativity, vision and balls to do something like this. Drift works created a Mercialago lmp tribute. It’s stunning in every way. I think without understanding the inspiration or what the goal was it’s hard to appreciate a build to the full extent.

Dino Dalle Carbonare

I followed the build of the DW Murcielago, so well executed, looks amazing


I cannot wait for the video 10 years from now, where the rip a Liberty Walk for destroying a priceless classic as they restore it to factory stock. How much do you think they'll spend?

Dino Dalle Carbonare

Honestly not much


Great shots and I actually mostly like the end result of the design, wish he would've gone pop up headlights and a more "LM" meets Valkyrie aggression to match the gaping rear.

What i don't get is the hyperbole of how "impactful" this meh is, especially claiming it stirs more than Akira Nakai which is simply, absolutely didn't (yet?). LWB just commodified an already popular stylistic trend after it had already gone internationally, let alone race cars have been doing exactly this for silhouette cars and rally decades before. That someone cut up a F40 isn't even news to Ferrari itself, nor Ferrari racers back in the 70's and 80's looking for an edge. Really, would be gentlemanly to drop the BS and tell it how it really is.


Since the the stock wheel arches have been cut and parts modded, might as well go "LW all out" with the entire car.
I don't think LW company is known for their half measures works, right?


It's different. Not quite sure how I feel about it. At the end of the day, it's his car and he is free to do what he wants with it. Great pics though, Dino!

Dino Dalle Carbonare

Thanks, glad you like the shots!


Everything is on the menu in 2023. Thank you internet!


Trendy Automotive People Who Post for Views





Andrea Pecchenino

A me piace, modificare un icona dell'automobilismo è sempre un rischio, ma il risultato è ottimo, così come per la precedente F40 LM, non tutti i kit liberty walk mi piacciono, ma questo sicuramente si

Il fatto che faccia incazzare i ferraristi è un ulteriore bonus per me


I'm almost on the fence on this topic. I don't mind people modifying vehicles, though when it comes rarer vehicles I do care about how they are modified.

Given that Liberty walk obviously have the capability to make large intricate composite panels, for example the hood/front cowl of this very car. I find it very disapointing if they just cut up the cars bodywork and riveted on overfenders rather than debonding the outer panels and making new ones. With the sheer value of an F40 it just seems wasteful and amaturish.

Christopher McElligott

Isn't it amazing how all these Japanese hot rod shops just happen to have multiple hyper-rare exotic cars sitting around that'd make great development mules and show cars?

One does not WISH to make untoward assumptions, but one IS given to wonder where the money comes from.


If you’re going for extremes with a million+ car than why not build some wider one off rear panels/tailgate/bumper,just like at the front.
Even though these bodykits from Liberty might cost a fortune they look cheap in my point of view.
I just don’t like styling in terms of following the original body contours,for me a big no.
I would’ve appreciated it more if they left the car stock as it’s already a perfectly designed supercar,but made some modern modifications such as new designed race suspension or a sequential gearbox,modern turbo Set-up those kind of things


Don't like the stance, don't like the bodykit, hate the steering wheel. LOVE the pictures.
Dino can make Homer Simpson's car look awesome.