Twenty years ago, a Beijing-based customer made history by placing an order for a 348 TS; the first-ever Ferrari headed for China. This set into motion a chain of events that lead us to the Ferrari PrancingDragonHorse you see before you.
Except it's not called PrancingDragonHorse. It's a limited run of 458s headed exclusively for China, liveried in a brand new colour called ‘Marco Polo Red', and featuring a huge black and gold stripe running down the middle and a huge dragon on the bonnet. Just 20 will be built, and the inspiration apparently came from the ‘longma' theme, translated as "the vigour and spirit of the legendary dragon-horse'.
Along with this dragon-based stripe, Ferrari has decked the wheels and aeroelastic winglets in a gold finish, and has embroidered the seat head rests in gold too. The start button is inscribed with Chinese characters for ‘start', while a special plaque demonstrating its exclusivity ("20th anniversary special edition") adorns the dashboard.
Sadly though, there is no dragon-horse hybrid sitting beneath that stripe, so the Chinese will have to make do with the 458's, ahem, ‘standard' 570bhp 4.5-litre V8 and a 0-62mph time of 3.4 seconds. We suspect they'll cope.
So what do you think, readers of TopGear.com? Is 2012 the Chinese Year Of The Tasteful Special Edition or the Chinese Year Of The Ill-Advised Aftermarket Decal And Wheel combination?