Many average folks can’t believe that Ferrari has not offered a manual transmission since 2010. The death of three pedal driving is attributed to our phone addiction along with advancements in automatic transmission performance. A dedicated few of us still find manual fun in an automatic world, and we refuse to compromise when driving.
European Auto Group is located in San Antonio, and like all Italian specialists, they are proficient in the first generation of automated manual transmissions. Known as F1 by Ferrari, the technology was pioneered on Formula 1 cars and eventually found its way onto the assembly line. Showing up in a Ferrari that could shift by itself would cause a commotion.
Not only could the F1 transmission shift faster than any human, each gear change was silky smooth. Introduced on the 360 series, the F1 transmission was almost a $10,000 option. Buyers spending that much would be upset to have a normal automatic, so Ferrari chose to automate their six-speed manual. It has a traditional clutch and release bearing, along with a ton of complicated hydraulics.
As the 360 and the F430 series has aged, time has not been kind to these race-inspired parts. A new F1 hydraulic pump along with the high-pressure lines and the gear actuators will cost a small fortune to rebuild, and while you have the gearbox out, its time for new synchros, clutch, pressure plate, etc.
After many late nights of reverse-engineering, Art and his team at EAG realized that the F1 could be transformed into a manual. After carefully studying the schematics of the rare F430 manual transmission, Ferrari confirmed all the necessary parts were still available.
Their first conversion was on a red F430 with a tan interior. It was completed in early 2018 and took the internet by storm. It would be silly to waste such time and effort on a single car, so why not shoot for the moon? Art’s personal F430 was not just any Ferrari. The F430 Scuderia was named in honor of Enzo’s Race Team. It arrived 220 lbs lighter, weighing in at only 3,150 lbs.
Instead of traditional knock sensors, the engine uses a plasma of charged ions to measure detonation. This allowed Ferrari to bump the compression up to 11.88 and still run on premium fuel. The transmission was also upgraded from “Superfast” to “Superfast2”. Revised hydraulics and better synchros allowed for shift times of 60 milliseconds. Nevertheless, EAG decided to see if it was possible. In the old days, the notion of modifying such a rare & expensive Ferrari would be seen as madness, but this couldn’t be further from the truth.
They stopped by to show us it was possible, and they asked if I wanted to drive it. Back in 2012 I got a chance to drive a six-speed 599 GTB at the Amelia Island Concours, so I had a few preconceived notions about clutch and shifter feel. They all melted away after a few seconds. The best manual transmission I had experienced before was in the 2005 Ford GT, but the only manual transmission F430 Scuderia puts them all to shame. Clutch takeup is easy and consistent, and the gated manual can be shifted with one finger.
European Auto Group used all Ferrari parts to make this the best manual transmission experience one can have. All it took was a year of re-pinning and reprogramming several computers, fabricating a pedestal for the shifter, matching the leather, modifying the firewall to mount new clutch and brake pedals, and routing a shift linkage where none had gone before.
Their attention to detail made it much smoother than the 599 GTB manual, but those innovations are closely guarded. The final noteworthy point is that the curb weight of 3,150 was a factory-spec F1 transmission. Without the myriad of hydraulics and the electronics to operate it, this car is easily under 3,000 lbs. I checked this one off my bucket list, and you can too. European Auto Group is offering this masterpiece for sale, so click the link below for all the details.