July 28, 2020 By Francis G. Pallarco Photos: Jerel Fajardo

Tuner: Game Changer

Not just any ordinary Ferrari….

Emotionally evocative, yet brutally fast. Everything a red-blooded Italian supercar should be. Plus ten times even more in this particular supercar as Raymond Ronquillo of R33 Cars did what no one else dared to do to a Ferrari. Why? Because with all the custom body mods, this will never be a factory bodied Ferrari 458 Italia again. The motive behind all this custom madness? Simply because he wanted a wide and slammed exotic car. Oh, and because that’s his style and because he can.

Regarded as the best mid-engined supercar, the 458 may be Ferrari’s smallest car, but it’s also one of the best to roll out of Maranello’s fabled red gates. First unveiled during the 2009 Frankfurt Motor Show, the 458 incorporates a wealth of technical advances from Ferrari’s Formula One racing experience. Not even the interior was spared as it was designed with input from F1 driver Michael Schumacher. With a screaming 4.5-liter V8, the 458 Italia spits out 570 bhp and 398 ft-lbs of torque, leading to extreme speed: 0–62mph in 3.4 seconds and topping out over 200mph. Without question, the 458 can positively heat up any road or track. But what’s great about the 458 is that it’s driver friendly together with the automatic function on the seven-speed DSG paddle shift for cruising around. But for the best part, since it is after all a Ferrari, is the distinctively, awe-inspiring, Pininfarina styled exterior whose features were designed for aerodynamic efficiency. Clever use of intakes doesn’t do much to alter the whole design of the car, making it one of the most striking Ferraris since the iconic F40 if I may say so. But having all these fantastic supercar qualities also mean there’s little room left for improving. Or does it?

Presenting the first-ever Liberty Walk 458 in Manila that’s solid proof that even the best can still be transformed into something way better. Headed by Wataru Kato, Liberty Walk in Japan has been churning out custom body kits since 1993. Through his aggressively styled custom creations shown at SEMA and Tokyo Auto Salon, Liberty Walk gradually became a game changer in the whole tuning and customizing scene. As such, Liberty Walk now has LB Performance, which focuses on body kits and other parts for mainstream cars. Then there’s LB Works, which is their high-end brand that caters to modern supercars such as Lamborghini and Ferrari’s. First displayed during the 2013 SEMA Show, the LB Works 458 became an instant hit as images of it flooded the internet. From there, the company kept developing body kits ranging from the Prius, Lamborghini, Dodge Challenger and more.

Even before Emperor Motorsports imported the LB Works body kit, everyone was fully aware that it was not meant for the Ferrari purist or the faint hearted. This is why Alex Restoration was tasked to perform the difficult body mods and refinish every panel. Total commitment is a must when it comes time to install the multi-piece, wide over fenders. This is because the wheel arches and wings entail a generous amount of panel cutting and a bit of pulling. Once the over fenders are aligned perfectly, these are then directly screwed onto the immaculately designed body. The wide fenders don’t exaggerate, as it is a requirement in order to fit the massive, custom made 20-inch front and 21-inch rear, DPE Wheels. In addition to the wide over fenders, the race inspired “ducktail” rear spoiler adds more character to the car with its matching exposed rivets. There are also numerous carbon fiber pieces included in the kit such as the diffuser up front, sides and the rear that were left in its original carbon fiber finish. In its entirety, everything seems to flow smoothly without disrupting the original lines of the 458. Its as if it’s merely exaggerating what it has.

Ain’t nothing like a low ride and this LB 458 can literally hug the pavement with a press of a button. Thanks to its AirRex adjustable air suspension kit that’s remotely controlled inside the car. Just like most conventional coil overs, the AirRex air suspension strut offers a 12-way compression + rebound adjustment and each damper is matched to the air spring. To insure a bolt-on application each kit comes with its own vehicle specific upper and lower mounting points that was installed by Car Porn Racing. As for the custom 20-inch, DPE Wheels, these are the EVO5 model that’s been custom finished with a polished lip and gold finished centers. Upon closer inspection the custom center caps feature Raymond’s very own R33 logo. If a stock Ferrari sounds good, then this one sounds even glorious. Thanks to an Armytrix valve catalytic downpipe and cat delete with an Acrapovk exhaust that lurks out from the rear diffuser with a trio of carbon fiber pipes. Overall, this might seem like a melding of JDM meets Italian flavor, but this over the top LB 458 build represents what’s currently hot in the tuning scene in japan and in the States. More importantly, this shows also our craftsmanship in creating custom car builds. Because as I’ve already said, this is something that’s hard to improve upon, but was tastefully done that it took the second place in the Best Sports Car category during the last year’s Manila Auto Salon. What can I say? Wider is definitely better and lower is way ultra cool.

SPECIFICATIONS

Liberty Walk Ferrari 458 Italia

Mr. Raymond Ronquillo

R33 Cars

Engine Ferrari 4.5-Liter, V8

Engine Mods ARMYTRIX Center Pipe, Akrapovik Carbon Fiber Tail Pipes

Suspension AirRex Air Suspension,

Rollers DPE EVO5 Wheels, Front: 20×10, Rear: 21×12 Brushed gold face with polished lip and custom R33 center caps Pirelli P-Zero Tires Front: 245/35ZR20 Rear: 295/30ZR21

Exterior LB Works wide body kit: front bumper, front lip spoiler, front and rear over fenders, Carbon Fiber front & rear diffuser, side diffusers, FRP Ducktail rear wing,

Body & Paint Alex Car Restoration

Kudos R33 Cars, DPE Wheels, Alex Car Restoration, Car Porn Racing, Emperor Motorsports, Stage 21 Body Kits, Xpel Protection

LIBERTY WALK It’s quite interesting to note that after joining the SEMA show for a number of years showcasing their custom work, Liberty Walk wasn’t recognized until LB Works Boss Wataru Kato unveiled his custom wide body 458 Italia Ferrari, Lamborghini’s, a slew of BMW’s, and of course the radical Nissan GTR during the a SEMA show a couple of years ago that his creations instantly gained world wide notoriety.

While the idea of cutting up a perfectly good car might sound strange, for Liberty Walk it’s all about the relationship between cars and happiness that matters. After all, isn’t this supposed to be what drives our hobby? This probably explains why Liberty Walk boss Wataru Kato just wants to have fun. This is fairly evident in the kinds of cars that he has worked on like the old Skylines and Kenmeri’s that embody his race inspired touches like the wide flares and spoilers. There’s even a scale model made by Aoshima of those modified cars from his actual builds. Despite the level of exotic cars that he has currently worked on, the spirit of fun is still deeply rooted in him making his builds really stand out, or shall we say, stand wide and sit oh so low.

Liberty Walk Co., Ltd 1-178, Setogawacho, Owariasahi-shi, Aichi, 488-0023, Japan Phone +81-561-51-0001 www.lb-performance.com

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