Exotic cars and armored cars are often found in the same garage, but they’re positioned on opposite ends of the automotive spectrum. AddArmor leveraged the latest developments in armoring technology to build a Ferrari 458 Speciale that can survive .44 Magnum impacts while posting a sub-three-second sprint from zero to 60 mph.
Founded by military and law enforcement veterans, the California-based firm explained it wanted to build an armored Speciale without sacrificing the model’s performance or handling. It’s much more difficult than it sounds, because the simplest and most straight-forward way to make a car bullet-proof is to add heavy metal plates to it. For example, Brabus unveiled an armored G63 earlier in 2020 that weighs a hefty 8,400 pounds.
“Heavy vehicles tend to be slow, and a slow target is an easy target. In situations where clients need to be protected, speed is always an advantage,” reasoned company president Jeff Engen.
AddArmor upgraded the 458 Speciale with a type of light armor that’s 10 times stronger and 60% lighter than ballistic steel. It achieved a B4 level of armor, meaning the mid-engined supercar can withstand bullets fired by a handgun. It’s offers relatively basic protection; an AK-47 or a high-powered rifle can pierce right through it. It adds 156 pounds to the Speciale’s weight, so AddArmor offset it by ticking every carbon fiber option offered by Ferrari, including exterior and interior parts plus bits in the engine bay. It also fitted a custom exhaust system provided by Capristo that further reduces weight while adding 40 horsepower and 65 pound-feet of torque.
All told, the armored 458 weighs 67 pounds more than stock. It still posts a 2.8-second sprint from zero to 60 mph, and it’s still capable of reaching 202 mph. We’re told it handles like a non-armored model, too. If you lose the heat, all of the armored extras can be removed to end up with a lighter 458 with a 40-horsepower bump.
AddArmor stressed its 458 Speciale is a one-off prototype built to showcase how far armoring technology has come, and what’s possible in the exotic car segment. If it were to sell it, it would charge about $625,000 for it.