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How I Spent (Imaginary) $398,000 Designing a Custom Ferrari

I recently enjoyed the opportunity of “spending” $398,000 in about an hour’s worth of time. How? By custom designing a Ferrari F8 Tributo thanks to the Ferrari Tailor-Made program. The good news is that it was all just for fun and to learn about the process of custom designing a Ferrari. The bad news is that I’m not getting my custom F8, which will remain nothing more than a digital rendering that lives in my heart.

New York’s new Ferrari Tailor Made space is one of only three places in the world where you can enjoy this almost laughably luxurious experience. The other Tailor Made locations are at the Ferrari factory in Italy and in Shanghai. Thus customers who won’t settle for an as-is Ferrari from the lot are beginning to flock to the corner of Park Avenue and 55th Street. Okay, maybe flock is a strong word, but when one does want to build his or her own custom supercar, Ferrari of New York is where one will head.

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When you enter the showroom, you are met with several gorgeous Ferraris (I noted an F8 Tributo and GTC4Lusso) arranged about a spacious but elegantly simple room. The cars are the statements here. For clients only interested in a moderate level of customization — say, choosing from a dozen different types of leather for the seats — a 20-by-20-foot room on the right-hand side of the main showroom awaits. There, you can pick and choose from among a number of steering wheel options, upholstery details, exterior colors, and so on.

But for the true hands-on custom-designed Tailor-Made experience, you step into the room in the back. There, you can take inspiration from three different stations with a number of carefully curated customizable elements laid out. Inspiration is there at the ready for you whether you prefer a classically informed car, a sportier, racing-inspired vehicle, or a modern and sleek Ferrari.

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But don’t worry if inspiration doesn’t strike or if you didn’t come in knowing just what you wanted, you will have a personal designer to walk you through every step of the way. From dozens of different exterior color options arranged in panels on the wall to multiple choices for seat type to the color and accents on the dashboard to the stitching on your seats, you and your designer will work through every step of the process to create exactly the Ferrari you want.

But hey, what if you don’t see a paint color you like? Or if none of the upholstery quite suits you? No problem. Ferrari can create new original colors and can use a fabric you bring in to create the seating. Within reason, that is. There will never be a pink Ferrari produced nor one with, say, fleece seats. This is a custom process, but the carmaker has certain standards that won’t flex.

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The F8 I designed wasn’t particularly lavish and I kept the colors and details rather demure, yet the customizations added nearly a hundred grand to the price of the vehicle. And they would have added at least six months’ lead time, as well. Some customers must wait a year for their custom car, but when you’re spending enough money to buy a house on a nice plot of land, you may be willing to be patient.

Or in my case, you have to settle for a PDF of the vehicle you designed but will only drive in your mind. At least I can do that any time…

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