Seeing it roar towards you is an almost terrifying experience. The low, wide silhouette of the beast could easily be mistaken for a prowling alligator with a presence that mimics its attitude. It demands respect at first glance and will settle for nothing less. Dare to race it? Foolish mistake.
And damn is it sexy.
If you think you’ve seen the best Ferrari 458 out there, you’re wrong and don’t @ me. This is Jason’s, 1-of-4, street-legal Ferrari GT3 458 and its story is as amazing as the end result.
What started life as a regular 458, a phrase that in itself in an oxymoron for no 458 is a regular car, was converted into a nearly bolt-for-bolt GT3 458. A wrecked Ferrari race team Michelotto GT3 race car was purchased from France and used as the donor for all the body parts, mirrors, wing, seats, steering wheel, etc. All the parts are valued at $150,000 alone plus another $30-$40k of labor to make them fit on the car. Keep in mind that these are parts that were never meant to fit on a street-version 458 so just about every body part needed custom mounts to fit flush on the stock chassis. No wonder only four of them exist.
Jason bought the cars almost on a whim. It was in a sorry, unfinished state when he learned about it from a friend. Parts were improperly mounted, the bumper was unpainted, the dash lit up like a Christmas tree in an upscale hotel lobby, and we won’t talk about the wrap it wore. However, as the story unfolded and Jason learned more about what made this car so special, the Huracan he had originally planned on buying started looking less and less appealing. He made an offer. It was accepted. He now owned one of only four street-legal GT3 458s in existence. DannyP has the first one, T.J. Hunt has the second, and Chris Chang owns #3.
The ongoing repair process is now eight months in the making. The first order of business was sweet-talking AAA into towing the car which, while easier said than done if you’ve dealt with towing companies in the past, was a resounding success. Clean Concepts in Fairfield tubed the firewall so the front wheels would clear and the car could actually turn.
Since the car now ran, to some degree, it was time for its maiden voyage to Primetime Customs in Auburn to have the front bumper taken care of. It had no hood, all the panels were held on by zip ties, and the ABS and traction control took the day off. It was still a project car, and it wanted to make sure Jason didn’t forget. Taking turns at any speeds beyond 5 mph were sure to be deadly, which once more proved how useful back roads can be. The cherry on top of the sundae was the steering locking up on the freeway on-ramp at 50 mph. The round trip was sketchy, to put it extremely mildly, but ultimately successful until the air ride immediately took the highway in the sky as soon as he made it back to his garage. Should that have happened on the freeway, both Jason and the car would’ve likely been totaled.
Heat from engine melted one of the air lines in the air ride system. Talk about a hot car. To make sure this wouldn’t happen again, he redid all of the existing air lines and wrapped them in a 2300° resistant hose sleeve.
After figuring out how to temporarily disable the ABS/traction control issue, the GT3 458 made its first public appearance at 916CNC in Granite Bay.
“There was a 50/50 chance that I’d make it. It took me three hours just to get the car just to start up and run the night before. Thankfully it fired right up the next morning but I got some good laughs from people seeing jumper cables on the passenger seat in case I needed them to get home.”
A visit to Vision Exotics sorted out some electrical gremlins, including replacing the GT3 steering wheel and column with a stock set to permanently remove the ABS/traction control codes. The 4.5 L Ferrari F136 F V8 received a much-needed tune, complete with all the necessary pops and bangs, and a new full exhaust from Tubi.
A follow-up cars and coffee shakedown run was largely successful, save for the metal rear diffuser letting go of life just five minutes from home.
“It was the loudest metal dragging sound and I got lots of dirty looks from neighbors wondering why a Ferrari has a huge metal diffuser dragging from rear bumper. Never a dull moment right?”
With the illusion of everything now being repaired and fully under control, it was time for the car to break again. Being an Italian supercar, the electrical system threw yet another tantrum, leading to Matt and Stewart’s Automotive replacing both the emergency brake and the TPMS.
“I’m planning on keeping the car unless I get a really strong offer that I can’t refuse. That said, I don’t know what other car I could build to match the level of this one,” Jason said. “This car has really brought back my passion of working on cars that I once had over 10 years ago. Once completed, I want to use it to market my real estate business and go to all kinds of cars and coffee events and shows. I really want it to be a car everyone can enjoy, see, sit in and inspire/motivate others to live their dreams and be passionate with what they do.”
And from what I’ve seen, people are starstruck by it, as they should be. Keep in mind this is a car with an 88 in wide wheelbase. Pictures really do not do it justice.
“I think I met every family on my street the day I brought it home.”
The only lights left to do are forcing the car to accept its surgically implanted GT3 seats and clearing the electronic dampening control system lights as the car is now on a full-time air ride system. Other than that, she’s as perfect and gorgeous as she looks at first sight.
“The car is now 90% done and so close to being 100%. Without everyone assisting with this build/project, none of this would have been possible to achieve.”
Come on Jason, it’s Italian. It’ll never be truly 100% sorted!
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