Meet the world’s strangest Ferrari 458

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This will never be a standard Ferrari 458 Italia again.

The wheel arches and wings are cut, bashed and pulled to accommodate the ultra-wide 20-inch wheels. It has a (very) wide arch body kit screwed on. Yep. Screwed on. There’s an aftermarket exhaust. Essentially, it’s been modified the same way da yoof customise 80,000-mile Golfs.

But it’s a Ferrari 458 Italia. An Italian thoroughbred that cost someone £178,526 (assuming they didn’t get jiggy with the options list), gets from 0-62mph in 3.4 seconds, tops out at 202mph, and has a 4.5-litre V8 designed and built with the very cleverest thought.

“I like to build cars that make people happy”, says Wataru Kato, head of tuning company Liberty Walk, which recently showed off its 458 alongside a Lamborghini Murcielago, Nissan GT-R and BMW M3 at the SEMA show. “Do not worry, though – this is a high-mileage example. 28,000 [miles] already”. By UK standards, that’s still a £140,000 car…

Liberty Walk’s been around since 1993, and at its birth represented something of a game-changer. Kato-san wanted to “change the perception of car workshops,” and started selling bodykits for kei-cars, then became an American and supercar importer from his neon-lit premises in Japan, a few years ahead of the Max Power modding scene, to which he owes his fortune.

Subsequently, he sculpted a few bodykits for Lamborghinis, the popularity of which heralded a separate subdivision of the company called LB Performance. Now that name’s become a mainstay in the rarefied Super-wide Hypercar tuning niche. One that’s spearheaded by Kato-san, who owns a custom Ferrari F40, plans to build himself a 458 just like the one in the pictures, and is about to take delivery of an Aventador, which’ll get a similar treatment…

Judging from the TG office reaction, LB Performance designs tend to polarise opinion. Strong, often shouty opinion. What do you make of this 458?

Pictures: Mark Riccioni


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