Ferrari F430: PH Buying Guide


When Ferrari pulled the covers off the F430 at the 2004 Paris Motor Show, they didn't just unveil their new compact V8 sports car, it heralded a new era for the company. Where the previous 360 still demanded compromise from its owners, the F430 was capable of being used daily.


Although the frame was a development of the 360's, the F430's 4,308cc 90-degree V8 was completely new and used four valves per cylinder instead of five in the older car. It was still naturally aspirated but 490hp made it the most powerful road-going V8 Ferrari had offered up to that point.

Transmission options remained either a six-speed manual or the robotised F1 'box with paddle shifters. The latter accounted for 90 percent of production and was a much-improved version from that used in the 360.

Other developments for the F430 included the introduction of an E-diff that used clutches to divide power between the rear wheels. However, rather than reducing power to one wheel, it would send more torque to the other and Ferrari claimed this helped to reduce lap times significantly at its Fiorano test track over the 360's results.

Also new was the Manettino dial on the steering wheel that let the driver choose from different settings for the traction control, shock absorbers, E-diff and gear shifts.


Soon after the coupe was launched, the Spider joined the range with a fully retractable, electrically operated fabric hood. A pair of steel roll hoops helped to preserve structural integrity and protect its occupants.

Two motorsport versions based on the coupe were announced in 2006 with the GTC and Challenge models, while 2007 saw the arrival of the Scuderia. This harder core coupe was refined with help from Michael Schumacher, so the Manettino allowed the driver to select suspension settings separately from the other functions. As a result, it was an even better road car despite being 100kg lighter, more focused and the engine delivering 510hp.

Ferrari celebrated its 16th Formula One World Constructors' Championship with a special edition F430 in the shape of the Scuderia Spider 16M. It used the same engine as the coupe Scuderia and was 80kg lighter than the standard open-top version. Only 499 were made, making it the rarest road-going model.

If you must have this model, expect to pay from £280,000 due to its collectability. At the other end of the F430 scale is the standard coupe that costs from £75,000, while a Spider adds around £10,000 to that price.


PHer's view:
"High drama, extreme performance, looks everywhere you went, but flaky build quality and reliability. Every time I drove it I wasn't sure if something was going to fall off or stop working. But I forgave it every time because it was like no other car I have owned before or since."
David Bevan


Buying Guide contents:
Introduction
Powertrain
Rolling chassis
Body

Interior

At a glance

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Comments (25) Join the discussion on the forum

  • verssus 09 Jul 2017

    Buying guide? More like Wiki page on F430

  • mwstewart 09 Jul 2017

    A few bits to update:

    Introduction
    - Scuderia's were released late 2008
    - The Scuderia suspension setting is a 'bumpy road' button which turns on soft suspension mode when in Race, CT off, or CST off

    Powertrain
    - The cars should be serviced annually regardless of mileage
    - The standard exhaust is built very well - I think the quality is actually good. Weight is not but that's a side issue. The real issue is the solid mounts at the back of the cats - with these removed the standard exhaust is reliable. The Scuderia never had those brackets so Ferrari learnt the lesson.
    - '05 and early '06 cars had the 360 F1 pump which struggled to run the F1 and E-Diff systems. Later cars had an upgraded pump which can and does still fail, but not with the same regularity. The early cars can be upgraded to the later pump. There are aftermarket HD pumps available now but I don't have any experience of them,
    - There was a significant upgrade to the F1 system in MY2008. It uses road inclination and clutch pressure as additional data points and has significantly more complex software (with a more powerful TCU). The clutch control and shift quality are much reduced, and clutch life is increased.
    - I would dispute that 12k miles is normal clutch life. Many people get 25k even on the earlier system.

    Rolling Chassis
    - "Some owners have tried aftermarket outer spherical bearings as a cost-saving measure, but most have reported they don't last as long as original spec items." - this may be true for some copies, but the Hill Engineering stainless bearings last longer than the original plated steel NMB bearings.
    - Brakes: CCMs were standard fit from MY08 and an optional fit from 2006. The F430 has 380mm front whereas the Scuderia uses 398mm front with different calipers and pads.
    - In my experience the iron brakes are marginal for road use. Not suitable for the F430.
    - The calipers are a motorsport internal dust seal type so require regular maintenance. I use a smear of red dubber grease on the seal lands during reassembly.

    Body
    - Check for marks on the Spider hood behind the A pillar area which typically indicate an alignment issue, or weakening of the elastic straps within the roof.
    - "If something doesn't work, it could be the battery has been allowed to drain" - when this happens it tends to be more significant affecting the ECU based systems, like all of the instrument cluster warning lights illuminating, the engine firing on one bank, or the F1 system not behaving correctly i.e. it won't be that the fog light switch doesn't work.

  • Aes87 09 Jul 2017

    Beautiful cars not to be left on the streets of Hamburg.

  • RamboLambo 09 Jul 2017

    Buyer beware at todays over inflated prices. Was a good car in its time but the Supercar market has made significant strides forward since 2005.
    Better than the 360 but not as good as a 458 as you would expect

  • The Moose 09 Jul 2017

    Sorry, where does this tell me what to look out for?? confused

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