How Will History Remember The Ferrari F430?

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I remember when Ferrari released their hard-lined successor to the 360 Modena. The older car was looking very blobby and very ‘90s by the mid 2000s, and the 430 seemed every bit the modern and incredible push into the 21st century. But a decade on, things seem different.


Let’s start by looking at the construction of the car, that’s still amazingly impressive.

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The car has a 4.3 liter naturally aspirated V8, still in use in modified and direct-injected form in the current 458 Italia. The F430 made 490 horsepower apparently right at the 8500 rpm redline. Weight was a somewhat porky 3,200 pounds, but big tires and some very advanced computer software (including the stuff it took to run a lightning-fast-for-its-day 60ms paddle-shift transmission) meant 0-60 took a mere 3.8 seconds.

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Every review of the car glowed with praise. Handling was supposedly fantastic. This was the first car that started the now-cliche trope that the electronics actually helped the driving experience rather than detracted from it.

I think Top Gear called it the best car in the world, ever, and would ever be, a divine presence, a distillation of all of man’s achievements into a single machine, or something like that.


And you could get one in a manual! Three pedals and a gated shifter between the seats.

But the last decade hasn’t been entirely kind on the F430.

The 430’s angular styling hasn’t aged particularly well. Part of the problem is that while parts of the car are still curved and graceful, others are cutting and sharp.


I figure a lot of that has to do with the relation the car still had to the 360. Take a look at cars again and tell me you don’t see more than a passing resemblance between the two. There’s evidence that the resemblance isn’t skin deep; the suspension from the 430 bolts right on to the 360. Here’s what a great FerrariChat forum poster explains.

Guys, the F430 uses the SAME identical suspension as the 360. Apart from the E-diff vs mechanical diff exactly what ‘improvements’ are you trying to achieve? Ride quality is different to handling!

Bits the same...

1. The hard cast chassis suspension mounting points are identical too (as is the wheelbase).

2. The SKF wheel bearings are identical too

3. Even the all aluminum upper and lower wishbones (+ ball joints in the wishbones)

4. The AF Sach coilover dampers are identical too.Basically the only real differences are;

1. Revised spring rates (new springs, yes they fit, but where revised for different weight setup of the heavier F430)

2. Ride height and geometry settings where improved for less tendancy to snap oversteer [feel free to set it up the same setup], for fast road improvements see my postings on the subject.

3. Wheels, tyres (growing +10 section width and +1” from 18’ to 19’ (yes they fit)

4. Cannot remember now if they even bothered to change the rollbars, think they are same too (worth looking at part numbers to compare) - overall your actually better of using the CS/Scud ones for improved performance [not ride quality!]

5. Bushes for the engine and gearbox mounts where also improved a little.The wheel bearing while being identical have different electronic wheel speed sensors on (magnetic pickup rings) with a different induction signal. This was because Bosch changed the version of ABS ecu between the 360 and F430. The main reason was to add ESP, an addition steering angle sensor was added to the F430 along with new ecu and gyroscopic sensor for g-force measuring. (yes you can retrofit ESP from F430 to 360 but you need to bring over all the sensors and somehow trick the dash into not triggering a CEL).

The biggest improvements you can made to handling are geometry, tires, spring rates and mounts.


The poster continued:

The biggest differences felt are electronics and improved geometry settings which is less prone to snap oversteer, the electronic differential replacing the mechanical lsd, the addition of esp, the slightly wider tires, etc.


So the F430 was perhaps more evolutionary than revolutionary, but does that change how you feel about the car? Does that change the way the engine wails like two Hondas shredding themselves apart? Does it change the way the car pushes you back into your seat, even knowing that its predecessor might be a better buy and its successor is even faster, more refined, and more thrilling to handle?

How do you think the F430 has aged, and how do you think the car will be remembered?

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Photo Credits: Ferrari


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Patrick Frawley

The F430 is to the 360 as the 328 is to the 308: the same car, improved and updated. It’ll be remembered as such in the long term.

Give it some time. The most recent generation of any car line always goes through a kind of out-of-fashion phase before it can be properly assessed.

Also, the 430 Scuderia was an instant classic and is still the easy pick from the entire 360/430 family.