Ferrari is celebrating its 20th anniversary in China with 20 commemorative custom 458 Italias. With "Marco Polo Red" paint and a golden dragon on the hood, have they made a proper tribute, or just a stereotype?
There are no mechanical changes to these anniversary-edition cars, but their interiors get gold embroidery, a Mandarin-language ‘start' button, and a gold plaque. The real news is the paint job.
Ferrari describe the hood's dragon decal as traditional.
The inspiration behind the livery came from the longma theme which is an old Chinese idiom which means "the vigor and spirit of the legendary dragon-horse"… The [soaring dragon and the prancing horse] symbols reflect both Chinese culture as well as Ferrari's constant innovation.
This isn't the first time that Ferrari has made custom Ferraris to show off in China. In 2005, they drove two 612 Scagliettis 15,000 miles around the country, and in 2009, they commissioned artist Lu Hao to paint a one-off 599 China that sold for $1.8 million at a charity auction.
The Chinese exotic car market favors gaudy cars, but the dragon on this 458 strikes us as being significantly less tasteful than any of Ferrari's other commemorative treatments.
Wouldn't red paint and gold wheels have been sufficiently gaudy?