Ferrari is a notoriously uncompromising company. I’m not talking about its cars, mind you; I’m more referring to the way it conducts business. Do something it doesn’t like with one of its products — like when musician Deadmau5 clad his 458 in a meme-inspired livery with the appropriate custom badging — and the Scuderia may come down on you hard, with the legal force of a thousand prancing horses.
It may be for this reason that nobody has ever taken it upon themselves to create the convertible Enzo Ferrari that the company refused to, save for one custom-built targa that evidently perished in an accident. You may be surprised to learn this behavior applies to video games as well; manufacturers are notoriously stingy about how their brands are presented in interactive media. That’s why you’ll rarely, if ever, find a racing game that allows you to customize Ferraris besides basic color and livery editing.
But if you’re fortunate enough to fall within Ferrari’s good graces, it will offer its full support and maybe even go the extra mile. That’s exactly what Maranello did for OutRun 2006: Coast 2 Coast, an arcade racing game developed by Sega AM2 and Sumo Digital 15 years ago. The original 1986 Out Run was famous for its unlicensed inclusion of the Testarossa, which you’d think would’ve put Ferrari off ever working with Sega until the end of time. But when Sega wanted to make a modern, 3D sequel to its iconic arcade racer, it pitched the experience as a celebration of the Ferrari brand — and the Italian automaker was all too happy to oblige.
For OutRun 2006, Sega, Sumo and Ferrari worked together to create a stable of customized Ferraris — the kind you’d probably never see in any other game. Among those was a convertible Enzo. In a Rock Paper Shotgun interview from 2013, Sumo Digital’s Darren Mills and Steve Lycett explained how it came to be:
Mills: Those [cars] were works of art, they were really nice. Ferrari were very strict: those rear lights had to be absolutely perfect. But we were allowed to create our own bespoke Ferraris on Coast 2 Coast. We’re the only company, still, that’s been allowed to do an Enzo Roadster. There isn’t an Enzo Roadster.
Lycett: We were all expecting a straight-out ‘No, we’re not going to do this, that’s ridiculous.’ But instead what they did is spend quite a lot of time with us designing paintwork and body kits to fit the cars as if they’d done it themselves, so you wound up with something really quite authentic.
What you normally get if you work with car manufacturers is that they’re keen you don’t show the car being damaged. You won’t damage a Ferrari unless you work for Gizmondo. But Ferrari’s thought is that the spirit of the game is to go on the most beautiful journey in the most perfect weather, and the car is part of that journey. There’s this preconception that car manufacturers tend to be quite prima-donna-ish about it, but as long as you can explain to them the spirit and the ethos of what you’re doing, generally you’ll find they’re quite supportive.
It’s little wonder Ferrari was supportive — OutRun 2006 is essentially an ad for the carmaker that people willingly paid for, albeit an absolutely blissful, gorgeous one. I also have to give a shout out to Lycett’s dunk on Stefan Eriksson, the Swedish organized crime leader who developed the ill-fated Gizmondo gaming handheld, but is likely better remembered around these parts for absolutely decimating an Enzo on the Pacific Coast Highway in 2005. If you want to know more about Gizmondo — I promise it’s a far more entertaining tale than you could ever imagine — I highly recommend Lazy Game Reviews’s video on the gadget and its sordid history.
Anyway, back on topic. Mills’s point there that the convertible Enzo in OutRun is the only official example — digital or real — is a salient one. And although Ferrari may have forgone the allure of open-air motoring for its early-millennium hypercar, the fact it designed one specifically for Sega’s racer is really cool. It clues us into what such a car would have looked like, had Ferrari ever built an Enzo in the targa tradition of the F50 and LaFerrari Aperta. You can see all of OutRun 2006's special Ferraris in the video below:
It’s all very fitting for OutRun, a game that’s less about racing and more about blazing through the world’s most exotic locales with your partner by your side and the perfect soundtrack going. Almost every car in the game is roofless, so you can see the animated reactions, outstretched arms and fist-pumping of your passenger when you drive well, or watch them berate you when you crash. Because of this, driving the Enzo convertible makes more a markedly more entertaining experience than driving the normal car — trust me.