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The Unseen Jewels

The latest offer from Ferrari’s Special Sales programme is quite unique: prototypes, the development vehicles that enable the testing of new technologies for the Ferrari cars of the future
Words: Gordon Sorlini
Photography: Massimo Siragusa

You get behind the wheel, push the start button and brush the accelerator. The fluid rumble of the Ferrari V12 surrounds you. Then you shut off the engine and get out, for what you are sitting in is a prototype Ferrari car. Indeed, you are one of a handful of fortunate collectors – growing in number – to partake in one of the most exclusive of Maranello’s Special Sales programmes.

Created in 2002, Special Sales seeks to broaden and strengthen the relationship between Ferrari and those clients who are interested in collecting Prancing Horse cars or who are already collectors and are looking for exciting new ways to enhance their Ferrari-badged garages. 


A crucial, yet not widely known, part of Ferrari, the programme presents clients with extra opportunities to enter deeper into the Ferrari world, to get ever-closer to the 

marque’s DNA. 

Step inside the exclusive world of the Ferrari Special Sales programme and its latest exclusive offering for collectors: Prancing Horse prototypes 

At its founding, Special Sales enabled key collectors to acquire retired Formula One racing cars. Soon afterwards came XX Programme cars, then One-Offs, and around seven years 

ago Ferrari noticed there was great interest among collectors for Maranello prototypes, an appetite born out of their desire to get a more intimate understanding of the Ferrari development process.


But what exactly does Ferrari mean by ‘prototype’?  These are, essentially, development vehicles that enable the testing of new technologies, like engines, suspension, aerodynamics and – significantly for the future development of Ferrari – new electrification systems.  Prototypes are the result of a multi-phase development process that starts with what Ferrari calls a Muletto  (“little  mule”). ‘Piggybacking’ on existing models whose architectures match as closely as possible that of the car being developed, the muletto serves to test a new car’s single components, such as the powertrain, brakes, suspensions, or hybrid systems.

The LaFerrari MP7's doors opening up; an outflow grid above the LaFerrari MP7's front wheel; the front ends of the SF90 Stradale Tech-Lab (background) and the LaFerrari MP7

The next phase is the Mulotipo, basically the completed new car with all the new components but ‘wearing’ a body that is not the final one, but rather an adaptation of that of the ‘piggyback’ model.  This allows the car to be tested on open roads, whilst protecting its final shape.  Finally, we reach the actual Prototipo (prototype), the car in its final form, both in terms of mechanical components as well as interior and exterior. 


For Maranello collectors who want to have a more exclusive connection to the Prancing Horse, prototypes offer an excellent avenue. But they will never be seen on the open road as their test-bed nature means they cannot be homologated. 


Each of them is a unique piece in terms of contents, pedigree and history, playing a crucial role in the story of Ferrari. The programme is mutually beneficial: for Ferrari it’s another channel through which to strengthen its relationship with clients since prototype sales are handled directly by the factory; for collectors, it offers a rare opportunity to enjoy direct access to the inner sanctum of the splendid factory founded 75 years ago by Enzo.

Matt black is the colour of all Ferrari prototype cars. Pictured here in front of the Museo Enzo Ferrari in Modena, from left, the LaFerrari M2 muletto, the SF90 Stradale Tech-Lab muletto, and the LaFerrari Mp7 mulotipo

Since its launch, the Special Sales prototypes programme has placed with collectors a small number of units of the progenitors of the limited-edition LaFerrari, the Special Series F12tdf and the Icona Monza SP1 and SP2. For collector Lorenzo Innocenti, the opportunity to enter the world of prototype collecting represented a chance to get ‘under the hood’ of Ferrari in a way that very few people ever get to do. 

“We are used to seeing the finished cars and we don’t realise how much work goes into their development,” Innocenti told The Official Ferrari Magazine. The proud owner of three prototypes – progenitors of the LaFerrari and the SF90 Stradale (pictured in this article) and the Enzo (not pictured) – he is fascinated by “the invisible 50% of the Ferrari world that clients never see, made of the people, studies and tests” that lead to the final, road-going cars. 


But it’s about more than that:  Innocenti explains how the programme is also an experience that enables engaging directly with key Ferrari talent, which adds incredibly to the collector experience. “For an enthusiastic collector like me, the possibility to discuss how a car is developed – from prototype to finished model, including challenges and technical hurdles –is truly the icing on the cake.”