“There are 929 of these, but this one is the only one built this way!”
That sums up why Ferrari collector Steve Cantera decided he had to have this “one off” 1981 Boxer Berlinetta Lemans Rated Christmas-Red beauty in his own North Carolina garage.
While some Ferrari owners are “allowed” to buy a specialty model directly from the famous Italian car maker, Steve shares a passion for this one of the half-dozen that he has acquired over the years with its previous owner, who first had it restored and upgraded to today’s stand-alone prominence.
I asked Steve where he ranked this one among the other five in his collection and he quickly said, “It depends on what you want. If you want a thrill – this is a thrill ride. The sounds it makes when you put your foot into the induction roar of 12-barrel carburetors, it’s out of this world.”
With that, my next question wondered just how fast it would go. “The top speed is probably about 185 MPH.” The obvious follow up had to be if he had driven it at that speed, “No, the car is faster than I can drive it. It’s scary fast.”
Not really surprising as the Ferrari legacy, as Wikipedia describes it, is all about “The Prancing Horse” being the oldest surviving and most successful Formula One team in the history of the sport, having competed in every world championship since the 1950 season.
We’ll take a closer look at the upgraded power plant in a minute, but let’s examine what was done with both the exterior and interior that makes this Ferrari such a standout.
Renowned specialist in Ferraris with over 50 years of race car building experience is the Costa Mesa, California, Carobu Engineering company where the transformation was accomplished.
Rocker panels were made black, while the rest of the body received a custom shade of Rosso Corsa, (no other Ferrari is this exact shade of red) a new windshield and new rear glass, and new light lenses were fitted during the reassembly process.
The entire cockpit was redone in black leather, the seats and door panels received red inserts and, to modernize the interior’s appearance, the original large-diameter steering wheel was swapped for a Momo Competition wheel wrapped in perforated leather.
Complete details of the work were the subject of a five-page feature in a 2010 issue of Forza Magazine, and that’s where we find the story of how the previous owner and Steve shared a common passion – both describe how their dream of owning this car was realized.
“I really wasn’t looking for another Boxer, but when I read about what had been done to this car – not only had it been restored inside and out but the big 12-cylinder engine had been rebuilt, adding another 100-horsepower bringing it from 364 hp to what became rated at roughly 480 hp. It was a BIG jump in horsepower!”
That’s what makes this Ferrari a one-of-a-kind.
You may wonder how we discovered this special Ferrari all the way across the country in the Appalachian Mountains of North Carolina.
My movie-making son Brian, while working on a project, was introduced to Steve and his fiancé Sherri Williams along the way and was invited to their home built on the side of a mountain right next to a waterfall.
My wife and I got to go along and meet the couple along with the Ferraris. The garage where the cars are parked is located nearby, but it was not possible to position this car with the waterfall in the background – which I would have liked to do.
However, the opportunity to feature the first-ever Ferrari in my 100+ car stories since Arlington Today was launched was a chance not to be missed.
Especially a red one for the Christmas season.