If you look carefully enough, the used market can be a source of some amazing high-end car bargains. For example, it’s possible to find a Porsche Cayman for less than the price of a new Honda Civic. And, of course, there’s the temptation of a used supercar, like the Audi R8. Even a brand like Ferrari has some used gems that, whether because of badging or appearance, collectors overlook. And there’s one model, in particular, that’s been consistently (relatively) affordable: the Ferrari 360.
Ferrari 360 specs and features
As Motor Trend and Evo explain, the Ferrari 360 (aka ‘360 Modena’) was arguably the first truly modern Ferrari. When it debuted in 1999, it was the first Ferrari to have an aluminum chassis. It also had multi-mode traction control, as well as a fully-independent electronically-adjustable suspension.
But, in some ways, the 360 was also the swan-song for certain Ferrari trademarks. For one, it was the last Ferrari to use the Dino-derived V8, which by this point displaced 3.6 liters and put out 400 hp, Jalopnik reports. Oh, and it redlined at 8700 RPM while letting the car hit 0-60 in 4.4 seconds, Hagerty reports.
The 360 was also the last Ferrari to come with a 6-speed gated manual shifter as standard, Autotrader reports. While the 360 did offer an F1-style automated-manual paddle-shifted transmission, it wasn’t standard until the subsequent F430.
The manual transmission, though, is the one you want. Firstly, because it avoids the F1’s jerkiness and general unreliability, Autocar reports. Also, with how the Ferrari 360 drives, a manual simply fits better.
The 360 was produced from 1999-2005. In 2000, Ferrari introduced the convertible, aka the 360 Spyder. Then, in 2003, the 360 Challenge Stradale debuted.
MT reports this was a genuine “Ferrari race car for the road.” It had 20 more hp, carbon-ceramic brakes, and weighed about 250 lbs less than the standard model, Petrolicious reports. Unfortunately, it was F1-only, though Petrolicious reports there are manual-conversion kits with OEM parts available. Plus, the CS models are noticeably more expensive than the base Ferrari 360, Bring a Trailer reports. And finally, the weight-savings robs most of the 360’s creature comforts.
What’s the Ferrari 360 like to drive and own?
In terms of driving experience, Evo describes the Ferrari 360 “as feeling like a big Lotus Elise.” While it can be slightly floaty at times, Exotic Car Hacks reports it was one of the first Ferraris that you could truly just “jump into and drive easily.” The standard limited-slip differential also helps with that.
Apart from the CS, the 360 is actually a fairly-good daily-driver. It has A/C, power windows, a proper radio, and a leather interior. Although Evo reports there’s not a lot of storage space, it is rather spacious for people. And apart from the rear, visibility is good. But there’s one more thing that the 360 brought to Ferrari: reliability.
The 360 debuted just a few years after the first-gen Acura NSX. The NSX showed the world that a mid-engine supercar could, in fact, start every day and not leak oil. Ferrari 360 owner forum users report that, with regular maintenance, the supercar is no more unreliable than any other older vehicle as long as it’s driven regularly.
But, before you go out and buy one, there are some things to keep in mind.
A good-condition Ferrari 360, Hagerty reports, costs roughly $80,000-$90,000. However, it’s possible to find examples on BaT and Autotrader closer to $60,000-$70,000. Although that’s not an insignificant amount of money, considering it retailed for about $171,000 in 1999, it’s a significant discount. That’s also less than a new Porsche 911. However, the 360 does have some trouble areas.
The biggest is the F1 transmission. It’s known to be rough on clutches and often leaks over time. Although a manual 360 will still eventually need its clutch replaced, it’s a far more infrequent maintenance item. The Spyder’s folding roof mechanism can also leak, though Autocar reports there is a fix for it.
Early 360s also had some issues that were, thankfully, mostly rectified in later models. 1999 and 2000 models had a flawed cam variator, which could cause engine damage if it failed. 2001 and later cars, though, received an upgraded version, which can be installed in earlier models. However, not every 1999-2000 360 received the updated part.
The 1999 model was also prone to cracking its motor mounts and frame brackets. Again, this was later fixed with an upgraded part. Ultimately, it’s best to purchase a 2001 or later Ferrari 360, as not to deal with these potential headaches.
However, there are some maintenance items to keep in mind. Firstly, as a high-end car, a 360 is going to be more expensive to service than, say, a Camaro. That being said, one of the biggest benefits to the 360, as opposed to the earlier 355, is that engine service doesn’t require removing the actual engine. Also, there’s another reason to skip the Challenge Stradale: cheaper brake rotors and pads.
The timing belts need to be replaced every 3-5 years, which costs about $3000-$5000. If not changed regularly, it risks damage to the various tensioner bearings, which Ferrari forum users report can lead to further engine damage. Luckily, there’s a company called Hill Engineering which makes parts that are reportedly even better than OEM.
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