My Car Quest

September 20, 2021

Are Retro Tribute Cars A Good Thing?

by Wallace Wyss –

A case in point is this car SP275 RW Competizione, built out of an F12 Berlinetta but fitted with the more powerful V12 engine and gearbox from the F12TDF.

The buyer, whose initials are RW, always had a hankerin’ for the original 275 Comp car built in the ‘60s (06885), like the one owned by a Florida pawn shop owner, who next to the 250GTO had one of the most desirable Ferraris ever made.


That particular fly yellow Ferrari is so famous because, under Garage Francochamps, it raced at LeMans, won the GT category and finished third overall behind a 250LM. Thus proving that being front engined in a race car world that had gone mid-engined wasn’t an insurmountable handicap.


The new car uses some of the ‘60s design cues from that old race car like the side vents and roof vents and even curves the rear wheel arches over the tires in a bold voluptuous way like the ‘60s car did.

Turns out Ferrari has made a few speciales, as they call them, including one for Eric Clapton, the musician, that is a later car than a Boxer but kind of adopts the Boxer styling and paint scheme.

My question, be it ever so humble, is “are retro cars legit when they steal from more famous models that earned their stripes so to speak?” In other words, if Clapton wanted a Boxer-like car, why doesn’t he just buy a Boxer? Or if RW wanted a 275 Comp car why doesn’t he just buy one? The answer might be that the buyer wants modern up to date technology but always liked the “cut of the jib” (general shape) of the earlier car, and wanted some of that in his custom-designed car.

Ferrari SP12 EC-Eric Clapton

Now a shocker, I myself daydream about doing a retro car on a chassis with modern features mechanically. Can’t decide if the body style should be Bizzarrini-ish or even Silver Cloud DHC…but then I have to ask myself the same questions…maybe one answer, justification as it were, is that the originals of what I have coveted for eons are now too expensive, but Ferrari (and Pininfarina who worked on most of the Speciales) ain’t cheap either and no doubt when these modern “tribute” cars were delivered, the price tag was close to a restored original of the car that inspired the re-do….what say you?

Let us know what you think in the Comments.

Wallace Wyss

THE AUTHOR: The author, a fine artist, is working on concepts of transferring his painted portraits of classic cars to clothing. Interested retailers can reach him at



Are Retro Tribute Cars A Good Thing?
Article Name
Are Retro Tribute Cars A Good Thing?
The buyer wants modern up to date technology but always liked the “cut of the jib” (general shape) of the earlier car, and wanted some of that in his custom-designed car.


  1. Having a modern car with character cues is actually quite a nice homage to the original designs recognizing that there was brilliance in them and since these are modern iterations and not replicas in any sense they tend to be quite spectacular… I personally applaud the owners for their willingness to embrace both the past and current technology… clearly a lot of passion not to mention the financial commitment go into these very special cars… Years from now they will become quite collectible in their own rights as one off creations…

    • Raymond Zinn says

      Is this the Simson of Simson Design?
      If so your visions truly reflect what this is all about, letting one enjoy the elegant designs along with the convenience of the modern engineering as underpinnings.
      If you are not him, others might take a look at his affordable creations.

      This is not an ad I am an admirer and (unfortunately) neither an investor or owner or even a friend, but would like to be, LOL.

      • Yup that would be me but it is actually Jim Simpson and the company is Simpson Design, and you have the link to the web site correct… thanks for the compliment, we try to in general make cars that capture the feel and flavor of what I think is a more interesting time in sports car production… and feel free to friend me on Facebook Jim Simpson and if your in the Seattle area and would like to see some of our cars you would be quite welcome.

        • Raymond Zinn says

          Ah, if only I lived closer ( west of Chicago here) I would love to see them.
          Alas and alack, at my age (73) looking at your site page will be as close as I will get to see or own.
          Do have a ’94NA (mySummer drive) with 120k miles awaiting though, too bad.

        • Too bad your not closer, can guarantee you would have a good time here…
          Warmest regards

  2. Re the ” are retro cars legit when they steal etc’ comment, I object to the use of the word “steal” and feel the word “use” much better suited to the conversation at hand. I think it a disservice to the designers of these cars unless the design is so obvious and devoid of originality as to be bad design work.

  3. Raymond Zinn says

    I feel that the word is emulate.
    I for one really love many of the ’50s and ’60s, and as such would like to see some of the iconic models of the past made using the latest running gear and engine/transmission combinations.
    Look at the number of ’30s icons were successful in spite of their cost and in some, lack of manufacturing qualities.
    I’m sure that there are many that would like to have a ’65 Mustang fastback done in such a way.
    Across the pond, the ‘”E” Jags are making a comeback along with the AH3000. Heck, a great example is the original MORGAN 4 wheeler and a number of the 3 wheelers.
    None are produced in large numbers but do show that those years are well thought of, and by no means detract from the originals. Heck I even like my copy of the ’57 Schwinn 26″ baloon tired bycicle and love riding it, well to each his own.

  4. Raymond,

    Yes, the Jim Simpson of Simpson Design.

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