Ferrari 360

In 1999, Ferrari introduced the F-355's successor. The successor was none other than the 360 Modena. Ferrari was so proud of their new car that they decided to name it after the city of Modena, Italy. This is the city where the founder, Enzo Ferrari, was born. When Ferrari unveiled this car at the 1998 Geneva auto show it started a brand new era of sports cars. The Pininfarina styled car blew the audience away with its stunning new curves and gracious body lines. Above the mid-mounted engine was a glass covering to display the beautifully crafted engine that powered the new beast. The engine was a marked improvement from the F-355 going from a 3.5 liter V8 to a 3.6 liter V8 in the 360. Ferrari offered the 360 with two improved choices for the gearbox. You could order a standard manual six-speed or a Formula 1 racing derived paddle-shift six-speed transmission. These were not new to the Ferrari lineup, but they were both much improved over previous models. The 360's redesigned F1 transmission would shift in an unheard of 180 milliseconds. This was a monumental engineering breakthrough for Ferrari. The magazines and television picked up on this feat and began testing the 360 to see it in action for themselves. Soon, the car caught on and Ferrari started designing special editions.

Not only could you enjoy the freedom of the 360 spider, or the stability of the 360 Modena Coupe, but you could also order the limited-run Ferrari Challenge Stradale. The Challenge Stradale (a.k.a. 360CS or CS) is the most sought after 360 variation. Challenge Stradale is italian for "racing street". In 2004, Ferrari, with design help from Michael Schumacher, took the 360 Challenge race car and the 360 Modena and morphed them into one truly awesome supercar.

The CS was meant to revive the passion of street cars built for track use. The Challenge Stradale was Ferrari's answer to Porsche's 996 GT3RS. When the two cars were tested by BBC's Top Gear they produced the same power-lap time of 1:22.3. However, Jeremy Clarkson preferred the Ferrari over the Porsche. He stated, "The Porsche is very plain, very simple, its like a green salad... (referring to the GT3RS) now the Ferrari on the other hand, its like a flying fish wasabi. Its much more complicated". Then later he says about the CS "Have i mentioned the steering? Its perfect. Its absolutely perfect." And then, "The Porsche is a very good car... But if you want to be astonished, you've got to have one of these".

The CS was available as a coupe with a F1 style transmission only with standard launch control. The F1 shift time was improved to 150 milliseconds. A radio was optional as well as lexan side windows with race style ports instead of standard electric windows (in europe). Ferrari built the Challenge Stradale on the racing car assembly line. The production car assembly line offered consumers the standard Modena. Ferrari managed to squeeze 25 more horsepower out of their 3.6 liter V8 for this new variation by balancing & polishing the internal sections of the Stradale engine & using lightened parts such as valve gear made of titanium. The top track tested speed of the CS is 300km/h (186mph) thanks to the special lower rocker panels, aggressive integrated rear tail spoiler, lower rear diffuser & flat chassis bottom. The great power and amazingly low weight made for a fantastic car. The CS has a dry weight of 1180Kg (2,601lbs). That is 110Kg less than the Modena. The weight loss is mainly as a result of the interior changes & liberal use of carbon fiber. The seats were carbon with alcantara covering standard and there were no carpets available. The console and door panels were made of carbon fiber. The rear deck lid was as well (and has plexiglas windscreen). The floor pan was specially constructed and a roll bar was again optional in europe. Brake rotors were standard carbon ceramic bits & the wheel lugs holding the aluminum 19 inch BBS "CH" wheels in place were titanium. The CS was available in any Ferrari color & the tri-color racing stripe was an additional option. Ferrari built 1,288 examples of the Challenge Stradale from 2003 to 2004 with an original MSRP of $240,000. This was $46,000 more than the MSRP of the wonderfully equipped standard Modena.

There are a few custom Ferrari 360 examples:

- A limo company in England made at least two stretch limousines from the 360 Modena. One red, and possibly two black 360 limos exist. The limos feature the original engines and gullwing-style doors for the passengers.

- There is a custom Challenge Stradale mixed with a 360 spider. The car is called the Stradale-Spider and features all the Challenge Stradale upgrades with the addition of the retractable roof.


- The Novitec Rosso body package is a common kit for any variation of the 360.

Credits: smb127
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