One-off Ferrari is a little-known oddity.
Peruse Ferrari's rich and varied history and you'll struggle to find anything that could be termed ugly. Challenging, yes - the 612 Scaglietti and 400i spring to mind here - but ugly? Not really. That being said, numerous Ferrari's have undergone conversions ranging from cool (think the Sultan of Brunei's 456 GT Venice) to the downright peculiar.
One of the world's stranger one-offs from the Prancing Horse is now up for sale. Renowned auction house RM Sotheby's is set to auction off the distinctive Meera S on February 2, in Paris. Penned by celebrated designer Giovanni Michelotti - responsible for achingly gorgeous vehicles like the BMW 2002 and many more - the Meera S was commissioned by a Saudi Arabian royal. While the 400i doesn't have a direct modern-day equivalent, the Ferrari Roma comes close.
Based on the often criticized 400i, you'd be hard-pressed to spot any tell-tale signs from the donor car. The original looks were switched out in favor of a boxier, very '80s design. No longer recognizable as a Ferrari, there are hints of Japanese sports cars littered all over the vehicle. The front and side windows, along with the roofline, aren't unlike the FB-generation Mazda RX-7. The front end also shares design cues (albeit subtle) with the Opel Manta 400, while there are also clear hints of the Mitsubishi Starion.
Around back, the rear of the car rises up, away from the rest of the body. The minimalist approach sees no attempt at a useful rear bumper, the quad exhaust pipes extending out under the body. Powered by the same engine found in the 400i, the Meera S gains motivation from a 4.8-liter V12 with 311 horsepower.
Being the more civilized grand tourer of the Ferrari family, the four-seater was offered with a General Motors-sourced three-speed automatic transmission. The Meera S retains its original torque converter gearbox.
The interior is far more appealing, trimmed in a classy red and cream combo. The cabin is typically Italian, the dashboard festooned with myriad dainty chrome switches. Gorgeous wood trim adds a touch of class, while red detailing and seatbelts reinforce that although this is a grand tourer, it's still a Ferrari.
RM Sotheby's notes the Meera S received a €252,100 (±$287,000) restoration by Ferrari Classiche in November 2010. Among other things, the engine was rebuilt, the exhaust system replaced and the entire electrical system reconstructed. While near-perfect, a few nicks, and scratches reveal the special Ferrari's age.
The auction house also notes the impressive technology found within the Meera, with unheard-of features (for the '80s, at least) such as dual-zone air-conditioning and a camera that replaced the rear-view mirror - though this appears to have been replaced by a conventional rearview mirror.
Up for sale at the beginning of next month, the Meera is expected to sell for between $105,000 - $125,000. That's a lot of money, but when you consider what it's buying you - a one-off piece of Ferrari history - it starts to look like a veritable bargain.