The Ferrari F430

Graham Russell
By Graham Russell

The F430 is so quick it has become one of those rare cars in which you need to pick your moment very carefully before opening the throttle fully; a car that can eat straights so rapidly you have to be extremely mature about where and when you deploy full acceleration. This car is fantastic. Not, perhaps, as good on the track as it is on the road, but remember, despite the way it goes, sounds and looks, this is not a racing car. It’s a road car.

It is just pure logic that this baby Ferrari is, in fact, a monster; a road-rocket of a supercar if ever there was one. Just how fast is it? How does three seconds quicker than a 360 Modena around Ferrari’s own short track at Fiorano grab you? Or three seconds faster from 0-125mph-0. Or, if you want the figures in their purest form: 0-60mph in 3.9sec, 0-100mph in under nine seconds, zero to one kilometre in 21.6sec and at least 196mph flat out.

Not that any such numbers can prepare you for what the F430 feels like when you let rip in it for the very first time. This is a car that will leave you breathless and giddy should you find the right piece of road on which to open the throttle wide and hold it there for more than 10 seconds; a car that’s so vivid in character you can’t help but be knocked sideways by it to begin with. 

Let us savour some of the car’s technical details. Like its V8 engine. The F430 is a distant descendent of the 308 GT4 of the ’70s, but it would not be until the 1989 348tb that the engine was arranged in a north-south configuration, with the gearbox mounted end-on towards the centre of the car. This time there’s a new block of 4308cc (hence the name F430) and, as intimated, more power and torque than a 308 owner could ever have imagined possible.

It has a screamer of an engine whichever way you cut it. There might only be four valves per cylinder this time instead of five (as there were in the 360) but it will still rev to 8600rpm (fractionally lower than the 360) while time producing way more torque – 343lb ft compared with 275lb ft of old.

The F430’s ultra-trick variable-valve-timing system was lifted straight from the Enzo’s V12, and as ever there is dry-sump lubrication, a very high compression ratio (11.3:1) and an enormous electronic brain running the show in the form of not one but two Bosch Motronic ME7 ECUs. It also has a variable airflow plenum chamber. No wonder it has a whopping 21 per cent more power than the 360.

Once ensconced you quickly begin to drink in the details: the obviously F1-derived steering wheel; the charismatic round eyeball vents enveloped by swathes of carbon fibre - which lend the cockpit a deliciously focused atmosphere; the enormous yellow rev counter smack in the centre of the dash; and the sheer support on offer from the winged seats. This car, you start to think, feels like a racing car inside. It’s an impression which the red starter button – marked ‘engine’ and situated on the bottom-left of the steering wheel – can only serve to bolster. 

Race configuration? This is where it gets properly interesting in the world of the F430. On the bottom-right of the steering wheel is a rotating button with five settings – snow, slippy, sport, race and disengage – all of which tune straight into the heart of what is probably this car’s most trick feature: its E-diff. As with the F1 gearbox, this is another area in which the competition department has had a major influence on road-car design. Essentially the E-diff is an electronic differential which you can alter the settings of according to the driving conditions.

The car you see here is a low mileage, privately owned, sought after manual example. The car is finished in Rosso Corsa with full leather Crema hide interior and Bordeaux red carpets. Specification includes carbon dashboard, red brake calipers, inset Ferrari Scuderia Shields and more.

The car has been part of my private collection for the last 5 years during which time it has covered negligible mileage.

The full service history has been maintained during the ownership. The last service was at 15,032 miles and carried out by Lee Ball, Ferrari Master Technician at Lancaster Garage, Colchester.

As with all my cars I am open to offers but realistically the vehicle will remain in my ownership for some time to come