Many motoring enthusiasts will raise a glass to Pininfarina during the company’s 80th anniversary year, as it has been responsible for a goodly proportion of the most beautiful and desirable four wheelers ever produced, working for almost every major automotive brand in the world including Maserati, Alfa Romeo, Ford, Volvo, Tata Motors and Chery. Pininfarina is best known however, for the Ferrari designs it has penned, such as the F40, F50, Enzo, 599 GTB Fiorano, Ferrari 250 GT SWB, Testarossa, Dino 246 GT and 365 GTB/4 Daytona. Hence Ferrari is to build a limited edition model named the SA APERTA in honor of the birthday. Just 80 very limited, open-top, front-engined 670 bhp V12s will be made, and they were all sold at a price well in excess of EUR400,000, before details were released to the public.

The name Pininfarina has been building mobile object’s d’art for eight decades - its creations have entered prestigious national and international museum collections and it was the first car in the world permanently displayed in a Museum of Modern Art, having its Cisitalia 202 Berlinetta introduced into the New York MOMA in 1947.

To honor such a long-term and highly fruitful relationship, Ferrari is to build the SA APERTA - SA stands for the initials of the Pininfarina father and son team of Sergio and Andrea, while Aperta is Italian for ‘Open’.

The SA APERTA is a special series model – just 80 will be built, and all of them have already been sold thanks to a private viewing at the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance last month. The car’s first public showing will be later this week at the Mondial Automobile (Paris International Motor Show) 2010.

The last V12 powered open top Ferrari was the Ferrari 575M Superamerica, of which 559 were built in 2005-06. It was based on the Ferrari 575 Maranello, the predecessor to the 599 GTB Fiorano, on which the SA APERTA is based. Since production of the F430 Spider finished last year, the only other open top Ferrari in the Ferrari range is the V8-powered Ferrari California.

The APERTA name is particularly relevant, as it has just a light soft top to be used only when caught in dire weather and the low-slung windscreen was designed with aerodynamics in mind rather than passenger comfort – this is a sports car!

The Ferrari’s aesthetics are, as ever, beautifully holistic with the two roll-bars incorporated almost invisibly as they cleverly mimic the outline of the seats.

The chassis has been redesigned to deliver a standard of stiffness comparable to that of a closed berlinetta and there is a negligible weight difference also, thanks to work done on the chassis structure.