Cult Cars Road Tests

Cult Cars 2: Ferrari F430 Spider

Time 12:32 pm, April 24, 2008


WHEN I was 10 my best mate Joe Jacobs collected model cars. And I was jealous. Not because he collected them – I had loads myself – it was because he had a niche: he’d only have Lamborghinis. Unless it had a raging bull on the front of it, Joe wasn’t interested. 


And he knew everything about them. He could reel off their specifications like he was remembering what he had for breakfast, he knew when they were built and even how many people it took to screw them together. 


Some would say it was a rather unhealthy obsession, but being Joe’s best mate I wanted in. So my search for another Italian supercar company to covet began. Thankfully, for a boy with the attention span of a goldfish, it didn’t take me long. One minute with my Supercar Year Book and I had the focus of my attention for many years to come – Ferrari.


And when it comes to cult cars; cars we so desperately long to own for the rest of our years, there’s no stronger bond than that formed in the dewy eyes of a 10-year-old. The car of my affections was the Testarossa. It was the mid-engined Ferrari of its day – just like the F430 is today. And just as the Testarossa did back in the late 80s, the F430 is stirring the emotions of Ferrari-fans-to-be across the world right now. 


It’s not hard to see why. Just look at those lines, the soft curves, the powerful haunches – it’s as good as top shelf exotica to an impressionable youngster. And then there’s the stats. In a game of playground Top Trumps you’ve got to be pretty unlucky to be beaten with an F430 in hand. With a top speed of 194mph, a 0-60mph of 3.9s and 490bhp tucked behind the seats, it’s more or less unbeatable.


And in Spider guise we’d argue even more gorgeous. Not only can everyone see who’s driving it, but you’re treated to the most amazing soundtrack. The deep bellow from the V8 rises to a crashing scream as you thrash up through the paddle shift gearbox – but it’s never nasty; more a paired down F1 car for the road. It’s all thanks to a clever valve system in the exhaust that opens to pump up the soundtrack to 11 every time you mash the go pedal to the floor. The system is mated to the car’s clever driver dynamic system that adjusts all manner of the car’s electrics, opening the valve depending on how sporty the setting you chose. 


Just to get some idea of this car’s cult status, think back for a moment about some of the mid-engined Ferraris that proceeded it. At the forefront of my mind are the 360 Modena, the glorious 355 and then back to my boyhood dream car, the Testarossa. Now tell me which of those you wouldn’t want parked on your drive right now. Exactly. Cult equals desirability and there’s nothing more desirable than a Ferrari F430 right now. Especially one without a roof…


By James Baggott


Ferrari F430 Spider


Price: £142,502

Engine: 4.3-litre, V8 

Power: 490bhp, 465Nm

0-60mph: 3.9s

Max: 194mph

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