Luca di Montezemolo's put the New Stratos through its paces last November at Ferrari's private test track, Fiorano (above). After his test drive the Ferrari Chairman showered praise on the capabilities of the dramatic new supercar.

Sports cars come and go, and Ferrari remains untouched at the top of the supercar tree. Rarely does a car pop up that is so breathtaking that it strikes fear at Maranello - but one has done so, the dramatic New Stratos.

The New Stratos project, headed by German car part magnate Michael Stoschek, has painstakingly developed a worthy successor to the rallying legend, and four decades after the original rewrote the history books, the reborn Stratos has threatened to do the same. People who have already driven the new supercar have said that its performance is almost indescribable, and superlatives have flowed.

That it is based on a Ferrari 430 Scuderia but takes the donor components to another level is the start of the problems, as is the thorough reworking of the 4.3-litre V8 engine - another no-no as far as Maranello is concerned. But in reinterpreting a historic icon, there was simply no alternative to fitting a Ferrari engine for Stoschek and his team.

And as it has gained the attention of the media and enthusiasts, so demand to turn this into more than a one-off has grown, with Stoschek saying that a limited run would be built by Pininfarina. "Over 40 prospective buyers from Europe and abroad have notified us of their interest in acquiring the New Stratos," reads a statement on the New Stratos official website. "These additional vehicles could be produced using a Ferrari 360 (Modena) or F430 as a basis, in a similar production process to that used with our one-off vehicle."

However, insurmountable problems have seemingly been exposed, as Pininfarina is now unable to carry the project from one-off to production reality. "Pininfarina... has advised us that they will only carry out construction of a limited run with the express permission of Ferrari," the statement continues. "Despite Ferrari president Luca di Montezemolo’s excellent assessment of the New Stratos after his test drive at Fiorano, Ferrari does not consent to construction of the planned limited run by either Pininfarina or any other Ferrari-dependent suppliers."

The sentence alludes to Montezemolo's drive of the car late last November at Fiorano, when the Ferrari chairman showered praise on the capability of the New Stratos. It may be surmised, however, that the New Stratos is simply too fast, too powerful and handles too well - and is too much of a threat to Maranello - that they have felt the need to intervene, by putting the blocks on Pininfarina building a limited run.

For ailing Pininfarina, too, the news is a blow, as the coachbuilder is in need of any financial lifelines it can get. Unfortunately, commercial realities dictate that its long-standing relationship with Maranello as the designer of its cars, as well as that of sister Fiat Group brand, Maserati, outweigh the revenues that a limited production run would generate. This is despite the immense prestige from building the successor to the Stratos, as well as showcasing the firm's capabilities through its involvement in what is a rulebook-rewriting sports car.

Finding another company in Italy able to rise above the threats that the country's number one low volume sportscar maker can wield could be a very tricky proposition, and maybe the New Stratos team will have to look further afield to turn their dream into a production reality. However, despite the setback, Stoschek is still upbeat, and says on the New Stratos website: "Given this situation, creation of additional vehicles seems possible only via companies that are not dependent on Ferrari. Appropriate contacts are being made at this time." Enthusiasts across the globe will be keeping their fingers firmly crossed.

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