Ferrari has unveiled the limited-edition J50 roadster at a special event at the National Art Center in Tokyo, Japan. The two-passenger, mid-rear-engined Ferrari J50 commemorates the 50th anniversary of the supercar maker in Japan and marks a return to the targa body style evocative of several sought after Ferrari road cars of the 1970s and 1980s.
Created by Ferrari’s Special Projects department and designed at Ferrari’s design center in Maranello, the Ferrari J50’s bespoke bodywork is said to herald a radically futuristic design language, with a distinctive personality that suits the tastes of the company’s discerning clientele. Only 10 examples of the J50 will be built and, in the spirit of Ferrari’s fuori serie tradition, each one will be tailored specifically to the customer’s requirements.
The design approach was led by the desire to create a very low-slung roadster, encapsulating intrinsic Ferrari values of nimbleness and agility. To achieve this, a strong dynamic was imprinted on the flank of the car by the converging interplay between two main guiding lines: the slanted top edge of the side window, continuous with the windscreen, and the raked black swage line which dramatically rises from the low-set nose until it vanishes in the air intake aft of the doors.
The Ferrari J50’s blacked-out A-pillars lend the design a ‘helmet visor’ effect when the top is in place. It is reminiscent of Ferrari’s open competition barchettas going as far back as the 1950s. The black dividing line, meanwhile, is a novel interpretation of a recurring Ferrari design cue seen on iconic models such as the GTO, F40 and F50.
Circling around the front of the car below knee height, the visual gap it is a key element that serves to alter the perception of the beltline, setting it at a much lower height than usual and transforming the J50 into a barchetta.
The hood section is lower at the center, with raised wheelarch crests emphasizing the muscular aesthetic typical of Ferrari mid-engined sports cars. Two carbon-fiber air channels in the hood create an even more diminutive and sharper looking frontal mass, underlined by the full LED headlights that feature a specific and very dynamic profile.
Ferrari has employed significant aerodynamic revisions on the J50: the radiators have been positioned closer together and the front bumper has been completely redesigned. The windscreen header rail has also been lowered to allow more air to flow over the aerofoil and through the rear spoiler.
The Ferrari J50’s tail section is dominated by the artful interplay of graphic design themes and three-dimensional elements. The engine is framed by a transparent polycarbonate cover, which is intricately shaped to provide a visual extension of the two separate roll hoops protecting the heads of driver and passenger. A transverse aerofoil projects as a bridge between the hoops, effectively revisiting one of the most distinctive features of Ferrari sports prototypes of the 1960s.
The rear is decidedly aggressive in nature, with the quad taillight design widening the car visually under a high-downforce wing profile. The rear diffuser features an extractor shape inspired by jet engine afterburners, giving the car a powerful stance. The unique 20-inch forged alloy wheels were crafted specifically for this limited-edition model.
Inside the cabin, specific trim adorns the sports seats, echoing the design of the hood contour at the base of the windscreen, which provides an unmistakable signature feature. The carbon-fiber hard targa top is divided into two pieces that stow conveniently behind the seats.
The J50 presented at the launch in Tokyo is finished in a special shade of three-layer red with a red-over-black interior trimmed in leather and Alcantara.