Outwardly, nothing about this Ferrari 458 Speciale is amiss. It is the incredibly desirable, high-performance, and lightweight predecessor to the 488 Pista and whatever insane(r) performance variant Maranello has cooking up for today’s F8 Tributo. However, if you were to, say, try shooting at this specific 458 Speciale with the intent of harming its occupants (and you’re not packing, say, a rocket launcher), you might be surprised when the mid-engine supercar shrugs off the attack. That’s because the red Ferrari pictured here is armored.
Why on earth would anyone armor a lightweight sports car? Doesn’t that kind of defeat the whole point of a lightweight sports car? Aren’t there plenty of Chevy Suburbans and other huge SUVs laying around for people to slap heavy armor and protective glass onto? These are all valid questions. AddArmor, the outfit behind this project, has a simple answer: “Heavy vehicles tend to be slow, and a slow target is an easy target.”
Okay, fair point. But AddArmor also is using this prototype armored Ferrari to show off how its protection packages need not be literal boat anchors for the vehicles they’re fitted to. That isn’t to say the B4-level protection fitted to this Ferrari doesn’t add mass—it does, about 150 pounds worth—but that’s a far cry from the sort of scale-crushing weight numbers armoring used to generate. AddArmor’s point, then, is that modern vehicle armoring can be lightweight, enough so that it can be fitted to something like a Ferrari and not impact the car’s performance much.
With B4-level protection, the 458 Speciale can repel attacks from .44 Magnum rounds and pretty much any handgun. Using laminated armoring materials that are claimed to be many times stronger than ballistic steel but 60 percent lighter, AddArmor is able to keep the Ferrari from turning into a literal lead sled. The company also works to offset the armor’s extra mass by incorporating every carbon-fiber option Ferrari offers, plus a Capristo lightweight exhaust. The efforts cancel about 90 pounds of the protection parts’ mass—meaning the AddArmor Ferrari only weighs 67 pounds more than stock.
Having held the line on weight, nearly, AddArmor claims its modified 458 Speciale is still capable of its factory 202-mph top speed, 2.8-second zero-to-60-mph time, and general Italian supercar handling heroics. While AddArmor doesn’t specify how much a similar upfitting might cost a regular 458 owner, it says the entire prototype seen here runs $625,000. Entry-level versions of this same armoring concept, minus the fancy factory lightweight parts and special exhaust, for a less “speciale” vehicle start at $28,000.