09 Dec Ferrari 360 – Danny’s Value Play of the Month
Ferrari worked with Alcoa to produce the new, all aluminum space-frame chassis used on the 360 Modena which was first sold in the US in 1999. The result was a chassis that was 40% stiffer than the F355 which had utilized steel. The design was 28% lighter despite a 10% increase in overall dimensions as the 360 spider was longer and wider than a 355. The new Pininfarina body styling was a progressive leap toward a modern, yet purely Italian aesthetic. This revolutionary car made the world remember the tiny sports car company from Maranello, which during the 90s, had suffered from a reputation tarnished with dated designs and lack-luster sales.
The 360 put Ferrari back on the map. These cars sold for well over sticker from when first released until the end of the production run. When the Spider was launched back in 2001, it was considered by many to be the quintessential sports car of the time. A 395 hp wailing V8, electronic soft top and sexy Italian styling drew many of the world’s wealthiest car enthusiasts to acquire one. The original list price ranged from $160,000 for a base model coupe to over $230,000 for a well optioned Spider, yet many were willing to pay far more to not “wait” in line.
Today, a nice 360 coupe can be had for $60,000-75,000 for a 1999-2001 with low miles. Spiders range from $70,000 to over $100,000 for a micro mile collectors example. The crown jewel of the 360 line up, a 2004 or even 2005 Spider with “Scuderia Ferrari” Shields, Power Daytona Seats and Challenge Grills in Rosso Corsa (Racing Red) with a Tan interior will set you back a cool $85,000-95,000 for a sub 20,000 mile example equipped with the F1 Transmission.
Many criticize the 360 for the somewhat dated technology and sometimes awkward shifting of its F1 transmission, and thus, a cult-like following and demand for the manual transmission 360 coupes and spiders has evolved. However, a good deal can be made on the F1 cars. Even though the F1 gearbox in the 360 is a little slower shifting than most modern cars, I think it gives the 360 its truly unique character. Many of the 360 examples on the market today are 15 years old. A lot has changed, especially with regard to quick-shifting gearboxes. These new super-fast transmissions have been a dynamic element of the European sports car world for the past 20 years and only in the last 5 years have they been what I consider to be “really great”.…But does that matter? I say no. I truly feel that the F1 transmission featured in the 360 coupes and spiders produced from 1999-2005 in the US is sufficient. Take it with a grain of salt, expect it to be what it is and you’ll probably end up smiling from ear-to-ear each time you drive one like I do.
Maintenance is something to consider when purchasing a Ferrari 360, so be aware of the car’s remaining clutch life and when it had its last timing belt service. Clutches can go out in under 10,000 miles if not driven properly, though I have seen some well-maintained clutches last for 50,000 miles in a 360. Use common sense when driving a 360. Parking lots and traffic jams are harder on a clutch than highway driving. Put the car in gear, look both ways, hit the gas and go. As long as you try not to feather the gas when you launch the car, you’ll be fine and will probably end up putting 30,000+ miles on your 360 clutch before needing to replace it. An F1 snap, which is a digital reading of the clutch’s thickness can be translated into remaining life on the clutch. Ferrari recommends having a “belt service” performed every 3 years regardless of miles, but if you do annual oil changes and have the belts inspected, it’s not unsafe to go 4 years between belt services. A clutch will cost $2,500-3,500 for replacement and a belt service should set you back $3,200-4,500. Have these two services taken care of at the same time and you can probably combine a discount on the labor.
With the collector car market in a steady upward trend, especially with Ferraris, it’s harder than ever to find value, but I believe one of the best Ferrari values lies with the Ferrari 360. The car has a sexy road presence and a timeless shape. Its Italian V8 makes for amazing sounds and is surely quick enough for a spirited driving, plus, one can be had for a reasonable amount of money. Keep it maintained and it will provide you with years of driving for probably little or no depreciation.