In 2004, Ferrari was on a roll. On track the Scuderia had won five Formula 1 World Championships in a row, and for the road Ferrari was building excellent road cars like the 575M GTC and 360 Challenge Stradale. Even so, the basic 360 Modena was getting a bit long in the tooth and was due for an overhaul.
The result was the Ferrari F430 Berlinetta launched in the fall of 2004 as a 2005 model. It significantly raised the bar for V-8 supercars. A convertible F430 Spider model followed a year later at the 2005 Geneva Motor Show.
The Ferrari F430 boasted much technology adapted from Formula 1 and numerous styling cues from the Enzo. In place of the 360’s gentle curves the F430 had sharp, angular air intakes, exposed taillights and significant aerodynamic improvements. Former Mini Cooper chief designer Frank Stephenson had joined the Ferrari-Maserati Group in 2002 and this was his first design, while Pininfarina was credited with the body. About 70 percent of the F430’s parts were new.
The F430 carried over the 360’s aluminum spaceframe, suspension and interior but was considered an evolution of the Modena. The chassis was 10 percent heavier, but came with 20 percent more torsional stiffness while the power to weight ratio improved from 7.1 pounds per horsepower to 6.2 pounds per horsepower, due to the larger engine. Also under the skin was a new underbody winglet and air baffles on the pan. At the rear was a finned undertray and a tail spoiler.
Thanks to wind tunnel testing the car hugged the road at speed. At 186 miles per hour the downforce totals 617 pounds, which is 187 pounds more than the 360 Modena. The drag coefficient remained the same at 0.33.
The 4.3-liter DOHC V-8 engine uses a flat-plane crank and the Enzo’s variable valve timing system. The immediate advantage is 23 percent more power and 25 percent higher torque than the 360 Modena. The sprint from 0-60 mph takes 3.5 seconds and the quarter-mile 11.7. Top speed is 196 mph.
The mid-engine DOHC V-8 engine looked spectacular under its glass cover with twin intake tunnels with red crackle finish. These replaced the single intake in the 360 Modena and drew air from shoulder scoops in the rear fenders with tuned resonators. Under hard acceleration the decibels rise to a shriek when bypass valves open and the Enzo’s variable valve timing kicks in. Another bonus was a change to chain-driven camshafts, which eliminated the expense of changing timing belts at regular intervals and only required inspection at 43,000 miles.
Ferrari expected about 80 percent of buyers to opt for the paddle-shifted F1 transmission, though a 6-speed manual gearbox was offered. Ice and Low Grip settings relax the shocks while Sport and Race settings speed up the F1 shifting and stiffen the suspension. The CST setting switches off all the electronics except ABS and the E-Diff. The latter compress a stack of friction plates in the differential and transfer torque from one side to the other. The computer calculates the torque split to maintain traction. Carbon ceramic brakes discs, meanwhile, can bring the F430 to a repeated stop from 70 mph in 150 feet.
The 2005 Ferrari F430’s base price (MSRP) was $163,845, up from $151,245 for the 2004 Modena, which seemed like a lot of bang for the extra bucks. The F1 transmission option pushed the price up to $174,585. The 2005 Spider started at $188,100 and the F1 transmission made it $198,667.
In 2007 Ferrari introduced the 503-bhp F430 Scuderia Berlinetta to celebrate the company’s 16th Manufacturers’ Championship. It was 220 pounds lighter and capable of 202 mph, thanks to revised aerodynamics. It was only available with an even faster F1 transmission. The F430 Scuderia’s price was $277,456. A limited edition 16M Spider followed in 2008, ad by the end of F430 production in 2009, a Scuderia could pace an Enzo around the Fiorano test track.