My Car Quest

April 14, 2024

The Movie Inspired Ferrari

by Wallace Wyss –

So this guy sees this Fellini movie, oh, decades ago, one nobody saw in America unless you were a habitué of what they called “art houses”, and in that movie they are driving this gold Ferrari open car oh-so-briefly.

Flash forward a few decades. An American who is feeling prosperous calls Ferrari and says oh, by the way, I want a car that looks sorta, kinda like that car in the movie.

Ferrari P540 Superfast Aperta

The original movie car.

I think the one in the movie was an 330 LMB though Ferrari themselves called in a 330LM in their press release. The car they made for the customer was called the Ferrari P540 Superfast Aperta based on the 599 GTB Fiorano. The customer was the son of the creator of something called “cable TV”—you mighta heard of it.

Ferrari P540 Superfast Aperta

Ferrari P540 Superfast Aperta

Ferrari P540 Superfast Aperta

The car had an open top, hence the reason for the Aperta label (Italian for “window”).

The car was the second in a new Special Projects program created by Ferrari so they could respond to requests from their most discerning clients and collectors to create truly unique models.

The original cut down car was bodied by Carrozzeria Fantuzzi- for the 1968 Fellini film, Toby Dammit, a story supposedly inspired by one of the tales of Edgar Allan Poe.

Ferrari went right ahead and identified the customer as Edward Walson, son of John Walson, the inventor of cable TV. He came to Ferrari in 2008 with his idea. “I had always dreamed of designing sports cars,” Walson explained in a Ferrari press release, “and when I saw this film the decision came of its own accord: one day I would have ‘my’ Ferrari.”

Ferrari P540 Superfast Aperta

Like ordering a bespoke suit in Saville Row, the client was directly involved in each stage of the Ferrari P540 Superfast Aperta development. Because the 599 GTB Fiorano donor car was a coupé, they had to strengthen the chassis by using finite element analysis in development and the car did weigh a little more, only 20 kg more than the coupe.

“Toby Dammit”, if you are a real film buff, was the third of the three episodes, directed by Federico Fellini, with Terence Stamp Salvo Randone and Milena Vukotic, based on the story “Never Bet The Devil Your Head”.

Ferrari P540 Superfast Aperta

The movie car somewhere in Europe.

The other two episodes, “Metzengerstein” and “William Wilson”, were directed by Roger Vadim and Louis Malle.

Will it be worth more than a regular 599? I hope to predict “yes” because folks oughta recognize it’s one-off car, but the re-sale market can be cruel….

Let us know what you think in the Comments.

Wallace Wyss

Wallace Wyss

THE AUTHOR: Wallace Wyss, a fine artist, specializes in portraits of Ferraris. A list of available prints from his paintings can be obtained by writing




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The Movie Inspired Ferrari
Like ordering a bespoke suit in Saville Row, the client was directly involved in each stage of the Ferrari P540 Superfast Aperta development.


  1. I think Aperta means open (which of course you could do with a window or finestra).

  2. Makes an interesting read! Thanks for sharing.

  3. Mike Clarke says

    I believe the movie car in the picture is in front of the Monaco casino.

  4. The older car was built on the chassis of a LeMans winner, S/N 0808 if I recall correctly. It was offered with a spare (berlinetta) body, which it wore when sold to Mr. Okada of New York. I chased it when it was in Rome, but somehow it slipped through my fingers. The chassis was eventually rebodied to LM configuration for Pierre Bardinon, and the “golden” body was installed on another chassis.

  5. In the fifties, Fantuzzi designed and built the Maserati 200S an d 300S. Fantuzzi’s design for the Toby Dammit Ferrari was distinct from Scaglietti and Pininfarina designs and places them squarely in the cluster of the greatest designers of the classic modern period that also includes Zagato, Bertone and Scaglione.

  6. Marcel David Pacheco says

    I saw this movie at a dive in theater back in 1969; I’ve been looking for the movie ever since. Thanks

  7. Raven Savage says

    I just bought the Blue-Ray (Spirits Of The Dead – Historias Extraordinarias) It is brilliant – although Fellini’s Toby Dammit was a bit better when I was about 10 on an old black and white TV downstairs late at night (old-school late Saturday night among the hammer horrors). The devil (little girl) is the creepiest you ever saw, and the Ferrari is stunning.

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