If it looks like a Challenge Stradale, goes like a Challenge Stradale and sounds like a Challenge Stradale, it probably is one? Not in this case. This Ferrari 360 has been turned into something you could never order from Maranello, a 6-Speed Manual equipped Challenge Stradale.
The Challenge Stradale was sold as the highest performance road-legal Ferrari 360, it came with a slight increase in power over the standard 360 Modena of around 20bhp.
The 360 Challenge Stradale was supplied with beefy carbon-ceramic brakes which saved a whopping 16KGs over the standard car’s set-up. You could option plastic windows, radio delete and Alcantara trim over the leather to save those few extra grams. After all, lightness is speed, right?
Lighter bumpers were produced for the Challenge Stradale thanks to a special resin transfer moulding tech developed for the 360 Modena Race series, as well as the use of the iconic Challenge Stradale rear grille. Other upgrades included standard-fit carbon fibre bucket seats and lightweight Challenge Stradale specific alloy wheels.
That’s all great, but the car we’re talking about isn’t a fully-fledged Challenge Stradale. So, why would you want it? Well, it’s that stick in the middle and that extra pedal on the left. For all the Challenge Stradale’s greatness, it came with Ferrari’s F1 gearbox. Leaving many purists to argue that a manual transmission would have made it more of a driver’s car.
Ferrari’s ‘F1’ Automated Manual gearbox was first available in the F355 and like a lot of other manufacturers at the time, they chose to equip the most hardcore road going 360 with their most modern piece of gearbox tech. There is a problem here though; it’s not that the F1 gearbox fitted in a standard 360 is a bad thing, but a little like BMW’s SMG gearbox, and Aston Martin’s single-clutch in the Vanquish, it was just a bit before its time.
Single clutch ‘flappy paddle’ gearboxes just weren’t quite there yet at the time, and although the gear changes were relatively quick, sometimes reaction time and smoothness was a real problem. Some have been known to describe the gear changes as savage and neck-snapping. Amongst other things, the expertise needed to service and repair these systems is not only expensive but limited.
A gated manual six-speed Ferrari is a very special thing, and a Challenge Stradale is also a very special thing. So by simple logic, a manual Challenge Stradale is a very, very special thing. And who doesn’t like to be special?
The 2000 Ferrari 360 Challenge Stradale ‘Evocation’ listed for sale has covered just 41,000 miles and is listed for £69,995. Around half of what a ‘real’ Challenge Stradale would cost you. Bargain. This is a pure, focused, no limitations imposed supercar. And one you can take to shows and meets safe in the knowledge that you won’t see another one. Ask anyone for an iconic Ferrari element and they’ll say the H-pattern shifter – which unlike every other Challenge Stradale, is present here. Just wonderful.