Click the images to view the Sport Speciale in hi-res
It's true, that old saying: they don't built them like they used to. They build them better, actually. But they arguably don't style them like they used to. For many enthusiasts, the ideal combination is old-school styling with new-world construction. Count among them The Creative Workshop, the Florida-based carrozzeria which has created this special one-of-a-kind roadster it calls the Sport Speciale.
The retro spider draws inspiration for its design from the likes of the 1959 Ferrari 250 Testa Rossa, 1956 Aston Martin DBR1 and 1957 Maserati 450S. Not a bad place to start, then, but underneath the seductive classic lines lies a BMW-sourced 6-liter V12, driving 450 horsepower through a six-speed transmission. The specially-fabricated engine is cradled in a tubular chassis overlaid with handcrafted aluminum bodywork made in classic Superleggera fashion and appropriately painted in Ferrari Rosso Barchetta. Authentic retro touches abound, from the Borrani wire wheels with knockoff hubs, Marchal and Carello lamps, Veglia gauges, Nardi steering wheel, Magneti Marelli switchgear and Monza quick-fill fuel cap, while a modern limited-slip traction control system ensures smooth handling and grip with Brembo brakes keeping the power in check. By all accounts the Sport Speciale strikes us as a stunning example – unfortunately only one was built, on special commission for Barry and Lynn Smith of Scottsdale, Arizona, who we hear are very generous people and should feel free to contact us to arrange a special Autoblog test-drive. In the meantime, we'll invite our readers to gawk along with us at the images in the gallery and the full details in the press release after the jump.
Creative Workshop Sport Speciale
For a moment, we imagine ourselves back in the late 1950's/early 1960's - the hay day of motorcar racing - before computers - when cars were built by visionaries and artists, focused singularly on making their mark in the history books by building something that is faster, more resilient, more maneuverable than anyone before.
Before huge dollars and huge technology took over for trial and error, cars of this era were built based off of winning marques. Each builder would attempt to capture the essence of the successful cars, and infuse their own skill, ideas and experience into the mix – hoping to create the right combination to accomplish their goals.
From the big displacement powerhouses such as Ferrari, Maserati, Aston Martin and Jaguar, to the unending list of small displacement "Etceterini's" such as Stanguellini, Bandini, OSCA and many, many more...they were all in it to win...and each design idea flowed from one builder to the next.
With history and legend firmly in place our discussion takes us to the scratch-built Sport Speciale commissioned by Barry and Lynn Smith of Scottsdale, AZ. Inspired by the big displacement European racecars of the late '50's and early '60's. The vision behind this car was to take queues from cars such as the Ferrari TR59/60, Aston Martin DBR1, Maserati 450S (and others) and produce a car that would seamlessly fit into the paddock of 1959...with the mentioned marques in the stalls to the right and left...and our car waiting in the middle to show the expecting crowd our teams' endeavors of the past year.
Although bodylines would place us at par with the mentioned field, what lies beneath offers our team an unfair advantage. This car is fitted with a chrome-moly tubular chassis and a Superleggera style, stainless steel wire rimmed, hand formed aluminum body. Power is supplied by an F1 inspired, specially built, performance BMW V12 (with heads provided by the BMW Factory in Germany) through a 6-speed transmission. Road handling is taken care of by Brembo and Wilwood racing disc brakes, tubular, adjustable suspension arms, BRT rack steering, race-bred sway bars and many other technological advancements (how does custom designed, Hilborn-style fuel injection sound, for instance!).
Although the "guts" of the car are hi-tech, the details are all original and authentic. Gauges are original Veglia, the steering wheel original Nardi, the lights are original Marchal and Carello, switches are Magneti Marelli and the wheels were built at the Borrani Factory as were the hubs and the knockoffs - on the original jigs that built the same Wires for the Ferraris of old.
With modern engineering and traditional Carrozzeria build techniques, this hand built, one-of-a-kind masterpiece is a seamless fusion of style and performance. A car that provides soul and character that no modern car and few classics can emulate. This car captures all of what those magnificent cars of that era were, yet provides a level of ergonomics and performance those cars could only dream of.
As we envision ourselves back on the starting grid of 1959 - Phil Hill sneering across at us - and the anticipation of a battle to be fought on the road ahead...so can we see another auto aficionado, years from now, gazing at our car as it occupies its place within its family tree from decades before
- Body constructed with exact "Carrozzeria" build techniques, as the famous Italian builders of the 50's did. Body construction is "Superleggera" style.
- All body and chassis elements of car completely fabricated from raw materials – from special thermo-formable acrylic headlight covers to the shift knob, which was machined from a solid block of Stainless Steel.
- Panel "rub protection" in matching leather beading
- Color: Ferrari Rossa Barchetta, OEM code 320
- Full heat protection on all cockpit panels
- Adjustable seats – seating position from 5'2" to 6'3"
- Interior door pockets, with matching custom storage pouches
- Custom seats trimmed in Italian glove leather
- Side Exhaust pipes custom bent for burn protection and increased ground clearance
- Custom floor mats
- Integrated passenger compartment heating system
- Removable Head Faring
- Original, Marchal racing fog lights
- Clear Mylar chip protection on all forward facing surfaces
- Integrated trickle charge system
- Original "Quick Fill" racing Monza fuel cap
- Power to Weight Ratio: 4.95
- Weight Distribution: 1000lbs/Front (45%), 1230lbs/Rear (55%)
- Fuel Injection: 12 individual injectors and throttle bodies. Completely programmable – both on the acceleration and deceleration curve.
- Traction: Cutting edge limited slip traction control. No noise, no clicking, power-to-positive-grip-wheel.
- Handling: Racing, quick ratio rack steering, NASCAR-inspired fully adjustable front sway bar.
- Completely adjustable coil over shock absorbers, with multi-position rebound control valving.
- Fuel Cell: Fully Baffled, "1000 rivet style" hand built gas tank, Approximately 20 Gallon capacity.
- Mechanical, self-proportioning, 4-wheel race disc brakes
- Completely hand constructed header and exhaust system. Ceramic coated.