Desirability becomes a distilled essence at the top end of the supercar market, one that gives a disproportionate importance to relatively small changes and attaches values to match. Hence we live in a world where, as we reported in January, a low mileage
Ferrari 360 Challenge Stradale
can be advertised for £335,000, but where it's also possible to buy a fundamentally very similar 360 Modena for £53,000 without even negotiating.
Which is the car that brings us here, one that looks like a relative bargain by the increasingly surreal standards of used Ferrari prices. From a value point of view this Modena certainly isn't helped by its seller's admission that it's covered 63,000 miles and carries a corresponding dose of patina - in Ferrari terms that makes it the equivalent of a half million mile minicab. But for people who still live in the real world it's also proof the car has been both driven and enjoyed as its maker intended, with reassurance delivered by a comprehensive service history that includes a recent timing belt change.
But more interesting is the fact this Modena also has a manual gearbox, with the 360's open-gated change being one of the car's dynamic highlights, vastly more fun than the lurch-prone and clutch-eating F1 automated shift of the same period. As such, as its vendor suggests, it's likely to become more desirable as time goes on and nostalgia for stick-operated Ferraris grows.
Not that we're suggesting potential buyers should view the 360 as an investment beyond being a (relatively) affordable Ferrari, one that can probably be driven for many more thousands of miles without any appreciable loss in value as prices continue to climb. The 360 is far more everyday usable than most of its predecessors and, although time has deflated the shock-and-awe power and performance numbers, the 3.6-litre V8 is still one of the world's finest-sounding powerplants when pushed to its redline. This car has been fitted with an MS Racing exhaust, but the original system can be included if desired.
The 360's soap smooth lines didn't just help its aerodynamics of course, they also seemed to deflect much emotional connection to what was, at the time it was new, the most technically advanced road car Ferrari had ever built. While the Challenge Stradale is now acknowledged as one of Maranello's greats, the standard car is still commands no real price premium over the earlier 355 - while F430 values continue to head back upwards. But if you're looking for a Ferrari to drive rather than treat as an appreciating asset, this is an excellent candidate.
FERRARI 360 MODENA
Engine: 3,586cc, V8
Transmission: six-speed manual, rear-wheel drive
Power (hp): 400@8,500rpm
Torque (lb ft): 275@4,750rpm
First registered: 2000
Recorded mileage: 63,000 miles
Price new: £101,243 (2000)
Price now: £53,000
See the original advert here