Find an open stretch of road. Press the Ferrari’s 360 go-pedal to the floor. Let the flat plane crank V8 spool-up up to its 8700 rpm redline. As you approach the top of the rev range, the engine suddenly finds new urgency – and a fresh set of lungs. The 360’s distinctive growl gathers volume, making short work of the small glass window separating the 3.6-liter power plant from the passenger compartment. The pitch ascends skywards – from a shout to a snarl to a howl to a scream. A scream that haunts your dreams.
There are faster Ferraris. Faster cars. These days, an electric Hummer – an SUV roughly the size of Montana – can smoke the 360. And? Thanks to naturally aspirated Italian engineering, the 400 hp petrol-powered 360 is hardly a slouch; zero to sixty in 4.6 seconds, topping out at 184 mph. But that misses the point. Driving a 360 is positively operatic. You’re only a foot press away from fully appreciating Enzo Ferrari’s famous quote “I sell customers an engine and throw the car in for free.”
Hey Enzo! There ain’t nothing wrong with this car. It’s a nimble little witch whose balanced and predictable handling make it far less frightening at the limit than its “whoops here comes the back end” predecessor. No surprise there. The 360’s Alcoa-sourced aluminum body and chassis was 27 percent lighter than the F355’s (despite being 10 percent larger) and 40 percent stiffer. Stiffness, it must be said, you can feel. Combined with road-handling you can see.
Enzo Ferrari was hardly what you’d call an innovator. On road or track, the Commandatore valued engine power over everything. Born a decade after Enzo’s last lap, Sergio Pininfarina’s 1999 baby was a sea change from the House of Ferrari’s trademark strakes, creases and angularity. No doubt about it: Sergio was down with the downforce; the super-clean clean-sheet design values aerodynamics soprattutto. The result is a road-hugging minimalist masterpiece that’s both timeless and of its time.
The 360 also embodies Ferrari President Luca di Montezemolo’s determination to sell “everyday Ferraris.” The parcel shelf on the floor behind the 360’s seats? Created to accommodate golf clubs (deeply offending contemporary Ferraristi). Ferrari’s trademark prancing horse-adorned center radiator grill? Sacrificed to ensure a sizable “frunk.” Reliability was also baked-in. No more engine-out belt replacements. With proper service, a properly serviced 360 won’t leave you stranded or melt your credit card. That said…
The 360’s F1 transmission wasn’t Ferrari’s first attempt at a paddle shift, but it sure feels like it. Hard-charging, it’s the business. Keep your foot down and the computer-controlled manual transmission will bang through the higher gears with speed and almost modern precision. Around town, it’s a slow, clunky, clumsy affair. And it breaks. When it does, a transmission rebuild runs $50k or more. Parts aren’t scarcer than hen’s teeth, it’s going to take a minute and finding a mechanic who’s up to the job is… problematic.
The six-speed manual 360 is by far the better choice. From 1999 to 2004 Ferrari sold 16,365 360 Modenas and 360 Spiders. Of those, just 1139 left Maranello’s factory gates equipped with a gated six-speed manual transmission. Finding and buying a well-loved, reasonable mileage factory manual 360 requires plenty of patience and a significant price premium. Hence the trend to convert F1 360’s to six-speed manuals.
European Auto Group (EAG) performed the surgery on the car you see here. Further fettled by Moorespeed (using genuine Ferrari parts), the 360 Modena shifts as crisply and cleanly as the factory unit. Banging through the gears using three pedals is more fun that the paddling the F1 with two, and the box-fresh manual doesn’t hold the budget-busting Sword of Damocles over the owner’s head. It won’t give its owner the blues. Speaking of which…
This Euro-spec car was painted in “Blu Pozzi” – a deep non-metallic dark blue, about a shade lighter than midnight blue and one shade darker than Royal Blue. A color that looks black in low light, named to honor French Ferrari importer Charles Pozzi. Although Ferrari doesn’t release sales numbers by color, non-red cars are more rare. And more desirable; executives worry that underlings/shareholders see a red Ferrari as a mid-life crisis extravagance.
All of which places a well-sorted, well-documented Ferrari 360 manual – whether factory or EAG – in a vintage Ferrari sweet spot. The 360’s engine sound and tidy handling offer more than enough excitement for a lot less money than an F430. More than that, the 360 is the original Pininfarina design. In blue, with a stick shift, it’s a car whose appeal is guaranteed to appreciate. In fact, the recent market dip make it something of a bargain.
For sale now exclusively at Rockstar Car Auction call 407-538-0224