Back in the early 1960s, Ferrari refused to sell a privateer one of its then-new 250 GTO models to take racing. So, the man and his team took a Ferrari 250 GT short-wheelbase (SWB) and attempted to upgrade it into competitiveness, mostly by messing with the aerodynamics with some help from Bizzarrini. The result? The so-called “Breadvan,” a 250 GT with its roofline extended into a sort of shooting brake, wagon-like profile. It wasn’t exactly pretty, but the one-off racing Ferrari sure caught peoples’ attention. While mechanical issues held back its racing success, flashes of greatness at the 1961 Le Mans endurance race—and others—proved the modified body’s aerodynamic worth. Only one was ever built, and now, 80 years later, there is another one-off: the Ferrari-based “Breadvan” in the offing.
We’re not saying the new one is less cool because it serves no intrinsic racing purpose the way the original did, but we are saying it’s, well, different. The modern-day model was put together by Niels van Roij Design, a coachbuilding outfit, which apparently chopped up a Ferrari 550 Maranello into the stubby red thing you see here. It’s called, predictably, the Breadvan Hommage, as it is, ahem, an homage to the original Ferrari 250 GT Breadvan racing car.
Niels van Roij Design certainly nailed the homage part. This Ferrari creation is every bit as odd-looking and vaguely ungainly from behind as the 1960s iteration. It’s a disfigured mishmash of glass, exhaust outlets, and tail lights. The various creases, surface changes, and styling elements at the back do form a pleasing shoulder line over each rear fender, and what counts—as in the original Breadvan—is that the tail is pretty much a squat, flat, upright terminus for the bodywork. This Kamm-style tail, the thinking went, allowed for cleaner separation for the air running over the body as it tumbled off the back. Well, tumbled less. By reducing the turbulence of the airflow leaving the car’s tail, drag is reduced, which means speed can go up—a key advantage in racing.
Given how the Niels van Roij Design Breadvan Hommage doesn’t seem to be moments away from sanctioned competition (but rather destined for a life of delivering unique style for its owner), the aero specifics of its butt aren’t really that important. From every angle other than dead-on to the rear, the Hommage looks striking (if less than elegant). For eyes familiar with the regular Ferrari 550 Maranello coupe, the chopped tail—combined with the model’s largely similar-looking schnoz—appears slightly jarring, as if the photo was Photoshopped. The hood and headlights are slightly massaged, and there is a clear little bubble dome that offers a peek at the V-12 engine underhood. In fact, that may be the most surprising aspect of the Hommage—that, at least at skin level, only the windshield carries over unchanged from the underlying 550. The bodywork is hand-formed from aluminum.
The coachbuilder also appears to have let a cow vomit its skin all over the interior before letting a rabid quilter loose on the result. Quilted hides cover the rear cargo area, transmission tunnel, doors, and roof. The seats are modern, heavily bolstered units slathered in blue suede material, and there is some raw-looking hand-formed aluminum accent work on the doors and center console. Otherwise, key standard Ferrari 550 elements remain, including the steering wheel and dashboard, along with the old-school gated manual shifter. Underneath, custom Koni shocks support each end of the car. Whoever is getting this one-of-a-kind Ferrari surely is lucky, though we think it’d be kind of badass to take it racing. Regardless, the Hommage surely will live a pampered life dropping jaws wherever it goes.
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