The idea is brave and simple.

Do what Ferrari SpA founder Enzo Ferrari was doing in his 1960s prime: Transfer Formula 1 racing technology to endurance-racing “sports” cars and then on to powerful, sleek Grand Touring road cars for rich and famous customers.

Translated in today’s terms, it would be like taking a street-legal version of the ’90s-vintage Ferrari 333 SP (a prototype sports car built by Ferrari but never raced) by leveraging current Ferrari F1 racing experience – already accomplished for the seminal Ferrari Enzo – and building a romantic, yet contemporary, new-era Ferrari road car.

That car, the Ferrari P4/5 by Pininfarina SpA, will be one of the highlights of this month’s Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance, the annual upper-crust confab celebrating automotive design of past eras.

As was Enzo at the height of his power, there is a driven man behind this project: James Glickenhaus, a former film producer and current financial analyst.

Glickenhaus went to long-time Ferrari stylist Pininfarina and spoke with Andrea Pininfarina, chairman and CEO of the Pininfarina Group, about his desire to design, develop and build a Ferrari 330 P4 – one of the most storied Ferrari racing cars of all time – with modern technology.

The original Ferrari 330 P3/4 battled Ford Motor Co.’s famous GT40s in endurance racing in 1966-1967, but 1967 probably was the racing series’ most memorable year: the GT40 is canonized for finally beating Ferrari at Le Mans, but Ferrari won the Daytona race and the series title with the 330 P4.

Upon hearing of Glickenhaus’ aspiration to create a road car paying homage to the P4, the door at Pininfarina was wide open. One-off coachbuilding led to the establishment of the company back in 1930.

While the Pininfarina Group has grown dramatically and expanded its services over the decades since, Andrea Pininfarina stresses the company “never stopped building bespoke cars, one-offs and dream cars.”

Pininfarina presented Glickenhaus a reasonable and profitable proposal to build the new Ferrari P4/5. His dream would come true.

Glickenhaus has kept the interested public up to speed regarding the development of the new Ferrari P4/5 on the Ferrarichat.com forum focusing on his project.

He says on the website, “I don't think the average person realizes just how much engineering goes into a fully functioning car. Jesse (his 24-year-old son) and I were scanned into a supercomputer so the designers could place us inside to see if we'd be comfortable and could reach the controls and see out.”

The ’06 Ferrari P4/5 is absolutely unique, and not just because there is only one in the world. Incredible amounts of time and expertise have gone into four major conceptual and developmental areas: heritage, technical sophistication, performance and design.

Heritage

The new Ferrari P4/5 combines Ferrari’s heritage in sport and prototype with Pininfarina’s heritage for some of the most spectacular dream-cars of the 1960s, when Giugiaro SpA designed the De Tomaso Mangusta and Maserati Ghibli; Bertone SpA created the Lamborghini Miura and the Lancia Stratos; and Pininfarina responded with a series of fantastic Dino concept cars: the Ferrari 365 GTB Daytona, Sigma Grand Prix and eventually the Ferrari Modulo.

However, Pininfarina says the approach for the Glickenhaus project has been most similar to the one that led the coachbuilder to create the ’68 Ferrari 250 P5 Berlinetta Speciale.

Technical Sophistication

It is hard to argue the now-out-of-production Ferrari Enzo isn’t one of the ultimate expressions of a street-legal GT car. To surpass its stratospheric performance limits, Ferrari itself had to offer something different by including the driver into the vehicle-development process in order to turn him into a sort of “factory test-driver.” That led to the unique FXX, a supercar meant to be driven only on closed courses.

Glickenhaus chose a different direction: to retain the technical sophistication of the Enzo but also add the romantic touch of the Ferrari sport/prototype cars of the 1960s. In short, a Ferrari GT car for the new millennium.

Performance

For the new P4/5, the standard Enzo is undressed and appropriately re-engineered as required for the new Glickenhaus design. It employs an unmodified Enzo 6L V-12 that develops 650 hp and 485 lb.-ft. (657 Nm) of torque. However, the Glickenhaus car is about 121 lbs. (55 kg) lighter than the 2,767-lb. (1,255-kg) Enzo.

The car also is 0.8 ins. (2.1 cm) lower and 0.3 ins. (0.7 cm) wider at the rear. Equally relevant are aerodynamic improvements that include a slightly lower coefficient of drag, at 0.338 (despite colossal tires) and needle-like frontal surface area reduced to just 20.5 sq.-ft. (1.9 sq.-m).

Theoretically, these values should endow the P4/5 with a top speed of 225 mph (362 km/h). The Enzo’s top speed is listed at 217 mph (350 km/h). The lower weight also should cut roughly a tenth of a second off the 0-62 mph (100 km/h) run, projected at 3.6 seconds.

Design

Photographs do not do justice to the stance, boldness and physical presence of this ultimate expression of Ferrari power and Pininfarina style.

The P4/5 looks completely different from the Enzo. To underscore this design goal, Pininfarina engineers replaced the Enzo’s two radiators at the front corners with a single unit, as was the practice in the 1960s. This allowed the designers to cut the long nose of the Enzo, enabling a dramatically shortened front overhang.

The major chassis change – entirely engineered for structure and safety – is the new “ring” section working as the frame of the greenhouse behind driver and passenger. This is linked to the specially made windshield, with a longitudinal frame integrating the two gullwing doors.

Meanwhile, the positioning of the exhaust outlets is simply spectacular. So as not to spoil the rear view (and aerodynamics), they jut from the rear deck as if they were borrowed from a jet fighter. Just as they were on the original P4, they are treated with a white ceramic finish.

As far as the design goes, the real question is whether Glickenhaus’ Ferrari P4/5 is another debatable manifestation of “retro design – such as the recent Ford GT40 and the desperate Lamborghini Miura 40 – or the first neo-classic design exercise applied to racing cars.

Perhaps the best perspective comes from Ken Okuyama, Pininfarina’s design director and the man behind the latest Ferraris, from the 550 Maranello to the 599 GTB and 612 Scaglietti Kalikov – either as the designer who penned the original ideas or the director of the design team.

“In this case, the commission came from an individual with a very clear idea,” Pininfarina’s Okuyama says. “He wanted a ’67 P4 built on the Ferrari Enzo (chassis and running gear).

“The job requires quite a bit of adjustment, and we saw that as an opportunity to add a new design value to the car so that it would still be a design statement 30 to 40 years from now.

“Doing replicas is not our line of business,” he adds. “And we were sure that Jim would understand that, eventually giving us some creativity freedom. Indeed, the more we moved apart from the original P3/P4 design, the more he would encourage us to innovate.

“The Glickenhaus P4/5 “has radically different proportions. The surface treatment, the aerodynamics and so many details are quite different.”

Glickenhaus weighs in, saying, “I see it as a tribute to Ferrari and Pininfarina history. I think there is a big difference between the P4/5 and the recent Ford GT40 or Miura 40.

“It can stand on its own next to a (Ferrari) P4/512S/312PB/333SP or Dino Competizione and 250 LM and a Series One 250 GTO. It will need no badges to tell you what it is.”

Andrea Pininfarina also is satisfied. He sees the benefits for his company from this type of project.

“This is simply a win-win association that benefits our entire company,” he says. “Not just in terms of profitability but also for the enrichment of our advanced research, know-how and better understanding of the people that buy these sorts of cars.”