If you're like us, you probably still nudge somebody every time you see a Ferrari 458 Italia, or any of the Prancing Horses, for that matter. But we have to recognize that, for some people, merely owning one isn't sufficient satisfaction. They want to leave their mark on the Maranello brand, personalizing their car to differentiate it from any others they might stumble across.
To be fair, if you live in the larger population centers around the world, your chances of an encounter with a similar Ferrari are significantly increased. So Los Angeles-based businessman, Rob Marley, owner of the Crooks & Castles (crooksncastles.com) clothing brand, wanted to ensure he always had the upper hand in any impromptu meeting.
As a certified car guy, Rob's garage includes an E30 M3, E-Class wagon, RWB 911 and Ferrari 599, so when he bought this 2012 458 Italia, it had to compete for attention with his other exotic machinery.
Initially, he was slated to receive the first Liberty Walk widebody kit, but eventually decided he couldn't bring himself to cut into the 458's sinuous flanks. So while Wataru Kato from Liberty Walk would eventually buy his own car and have it appear center stage at 2013 SEMA show in the Nitto Tire booth, Rob still had a problem to resolve.
To his good fortune, another Japanese styling specialist called Super Veloce Racing also had a 458 body kit and was also looking to debut it at SEMA. As assoociates of Liberty Walk, Kato recommended Long Tran at LTMotorwerks (LTMW) to Nobuyuki Tani, owner of SVR in Kyoto, Japan.
LTMW had been entrusted with building several Liberty Walk (LW) cars for the show, including its Nissan GTR, 458 Italia, BMW 335i and various M3s. In fact, the El Monte, CA-based BMW specialist would build thirteen different cars for various tuners and owners, with each making its mark at the Las Vegas spectacular.
With Tani needing a car for his SEMA debut, Long suggested the less radical conversion might suit Rob, so a deal was struck. Fortunately, it involved a heavy discount for the $30k carbon fiber body kit in order to secure the car's presence at the show.
Estimating 3-4 days to paint and fit the kit, Long and his cohorts were able to squeeze in work on Rob's Ferrari between the other projects, even finishing it ahead of schedule.
Fitted to his black 458 and partially painted to obscure the carbon fiber construction underneath, the SVR 458-R body kit is certainly more discreet than the Liberty Walk widebody, yet still striking in its own right.
It included a replacement front bumper panel, which is an enormous one-piece molding with a deeper front spoiler and larger ducting. It has a separate carbon fiber splitter, which remains unpainted in its raw carbon state, as does the center section in the bumper.
All the parts simply bolt to the original Ferrari mounting points, including the carbon blades fitted to the side of the car. Again unpainted, these were bolted under the car using longer bolts into the bottom of the factory side skirt mounts. At the rear, SVR designed another deep bumper that included vents behind the rear wheels and deleted the stock diffuser. However, it includes a separate carbon undertray that has smaller fins to channel the airflow.
Its center section highlights the carbon weave and the distinctive three tailpipes that form part of a custom titanium exhaust that was fabricated for LTMW. It's part of an incredibly expensive system that snakes into the engine bay and includes a remote-controlled valve to allow Rob to select either a discreet exhaust note or one that makes your ears bleed.
The SVR 458-R kit would typically be completed with a huge carbon fiber rear wing - so large it has to be mounted to the subframe through slots in the rear bumper. These slots can be covered when the wing isn't in use. In fact, Rob doesn't like using it since the wing generates so much downforce it actually makes the car slower on anything but the racetrack.
He additionally has the Liberty Walk widebody rear spoiler, but also chose not to use it since both items significantly reduce his limited rear visibility.
With the body styling fitted, the car would need the correct stance to carry off the conversion, so a set of Novitec Rosso coil springs were ordered from the US distributor for the German Ferrari tuning brand. These mount over the factory coilovers to allow the ride height to be altered.
The car would be lowered onto the staggered 20" HRE Vintage Series 501 wheels. Carefully measured, the offsets would be +38 front, +50 rear, with 1" and 2.5" outer lips, respectively. The wheels were finished with matte black centers, gloss black rims and titanium ARP fasteners. Tires are suitably huge Nitto Invos with lettered sidewalls that also spell out "CRKS" to acknowledge Crooks & Castles.
With the paint drying in the Las Vegas sun, Rob's 458 Italia went on display at SEMA. Unfortunately for Tani-san, it was parked outdoors for the week-long event. However, he managed to overcome the heat and sell an undisclosed number of body kits, making all the effort worthwhile.
In addition to the 458-R kit, SVR also offers a less costly lip kit for the same car, as well as styling for the 430 and 360, so check out their website at auto-veloce.com for details. If you wish to order a kit and have it fitted, contact Long Tran at ltmotorwerks.com
2012 Ferrari 458 Italia
Los Angeles, CA
Owner, Crooks & Castles
4.5-liter V8 32v with GMG Racing software, custom titanium exhaust system
Novitec Rosso lowering springs
Wheels & Tires
20x9" ET38 1" lips f, 20x12" ET50 2.5" lips r, HRE Vintage Series 501 wheels, matte black centers, gloss black rims, titanium ARP fasteners, 245/35 R20 f, 295/35 R20 r Nitto Invo tires
SVR 458-R carbon fiber front bumper, splitter, side blades, rear bumper and undertray