Ferrari Tailor Made: when you can afford to be unique

There are many ways to devalue a $600,000 Ferrari by almost that same amount . Equally, there are a number of interesting ways to transform a $600,000 Ferrari into one worth close to a million.

One way is to keep a popular model in pristine condition for many years and watch its value grow – .  

Another process is for buyers with open minds, a stirring imagination and an uncapped budget to tick a host of almost .  

In the case of a Ferrari FF driven by 51698009, the extras turbocharged the price from $624,646 (before on-road charges) to $920,385.

An $11,500 golf bag to match your trim

Whilst this FF Golf model - so named because it comes with an $11,500 golf bag that matches your car's trim - carries almost $300,000 of tailored extras and trim, it is by no means an exceptional example.  Irrational?  Perhaps.  Yet some personalisation practices run into stratospheric numbers.

All new Ferraris attract some level of personalisation. None are sold in absolutely standard form. None.

The average spend on options/personalisation across the road-car range is "more than $80,000".

Because we are dealing in degrees of excess here, Ferrari isn't satisfied to offer just one avenue of customisation.

The introduction in 2011 of the luminescent Tailor Made program ramped up the Italian sports car maker's already impressive customisation options to a whole new level. It was developed specifically for clients wishing to create a truly bespoke car that Ferrari Australia's boss Herb Appleroth says "will be a clear expression of their own unique personalities and tastes".  

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"It's not just a choice of colour or trim, but about the customer creating his own piece of art," asserts Appleroth.

"It's where the fashion world meets art using materials not normally used in an automotive space."

Still, not everyone has a vision splendid. Personal taste can be a minefield, and being loaded doesn't automatically mitigate an individual from bad choices.  Are you reading this, Redfoo?  Geoffrey Edelsten?

The Italian job

Tailor Made gives clients the chance to make personalisation choices not at their local dealership but in a dedicated studio at the Ferrari factory in Maranello, Italy. They are flanked by a personal designer who will assist them in creating their bespoke Ferrari right to the tiniest detail, while guaranteeing that the result will be exclusive and consistent with the Ferrari brand and its traditions.  

Owners may nominate everything from the exterior colour to the cabin trim, via a choice of finishes, accessories, materials, treatments and shades. The presence of this in-house taste whisperer helps prevent a new Ferrari being blighted by zebra-skin trim and other atrocities.

Tailor Made customisation is offered in three collections - Scuderia (inspired by Ferrari's colourful sporting history with an obvious homage to the track), Classica (which takes styling cues from classic Ferrari GTs) and Inedita (for the stylistically brave and a path to controlled experimentation and innovation).

Lest you be drawn to thinking that ideas are formulaic, Ferrari assures us that clients are given almost unfettered freedom in their decision making, being able to select everything from traditional and luxury surfaces, but also unusual materials like cashmere to trendy ones like denim, plus high-tech innovative carbon-fibre and matte metals.

Several years of research have gone into more than 200 materials for the interiors of a Tailor Made Ferrari. Many are not traditionally seen in automotive application, but all must be homologated for safety.  Eco-friendly, sustainable and natural materials are prioritised. Cabin materials have to be flameproof and, depending on their use, also need to meet criteria for load, grip and wear. Occasionally, the designer has to work hard to talk a customer out of a material deemed unsuitable.

A Speciale experience

Local businessman Peter Rodwell has owned a succession of Ferraris and is now awaiting a new Tailor Made 458 Speciale in metallic black and with a matte carbon-fibre and Alcantara cabin and other specifics that has hiked the cost from $550,000  to around $800,000 on the road.

"Yes, it's a lot of money, but I know it's one of a kind and a truly amazing bespoke experience that makes me feel closer to the Ferrari factory.  The people there have helped me tailor my car to the ultimate level.

"I wouldn't buy another Ferrari without going through the Tailor Made process at the factory. It's special."

Ferrari's Appleroth believes the level of exclusivity achieved is absolutely unprecedented in the automotive sector.  

Somewhat like the man from Remington, Appleroth was a Ferrari nut as a young man and bought his first of a succession of Prancing Horse machines long before joining the Australian subsidiary as CEO.

Nautical theme

He recalls many brilliant Tailor Made successes. One memorable interior on an FF model was inspired by the European customer's old sailing boat, and featured an array of beautifully finished timbers.  "It had a teak floor instead of carpet with seats covered with pin-stripe cashmere suit cloth used by Zegna," Appleroth says.

The exterior was done in grigio Ingrid – the same colour as the custom-built Ferrari commissioned by film director Roberto Rossellini for his star wife Ingrid Bergman.  The FF's roof lining was trimmed in cashmere from Loro Piana, acclaimed as the world's finest cashmere supplier.

Appleroth took a personal interest in a 458 Spider that was worked with an unusual Japanese theme, inspired by the Bushido Samurai sword and dominated by a specific Japanese traditional blue tome. The samurai sword motif was used inside and out, and the Spider's elegant presentation was stunning with exclusive Japanese textiles, a silver-striped livery and gleaming white tech-fabric on the seats.