Buy a Ferrari 360 without pain. Values have dipped again, so it’s time to jump into Ferrari ownership with eyes open. Words Richard Dredge. Photography John Colley.
Buying Guide The Ferrari 360 is a great-value supercar right now, so how do you buy one without getting burnt? Arm yourself with our guide.
Eight steps to buying a Ferrari 360
The Ferrari 360 Modena/Spider is now the entry point to a two-seater midship-V8 Ferrari. It’s far more reliable and cheaper to run than its F355 forebear, and prices are relatively low – as little as £44k – because of a dip in values over the past few years after the Ferrari market overheated. They’re very useable, running costs are more manageable than you may think and there are lots of independent and official specialists to keep your 360 on song. This guide has been compiled with the advice of James Caborn of The Ferrari Centre (theferraricentre. com), Mike Stirling of Staffordshire-based MDS Ferrari (01889 883332) and Tony Worswick of Northern Supercars (northernsupercars.co.uk).
‘The entry point to a two-seater midship-V8 Ferrari; they’re very useable and running costs are more manageable than you may think’
Which one to choose?
1999: The 360 Modena (coupé) replaced the F355 with all-aluminium construction of chassis, body, engine and suspension, and a 400bhp 3586cc mid-mounted V8 with a flat-plane crank. There were manual or F1 automated manual transmissions, both with six gears.
2000: The 360 Spider was launched; mechanically identical to the coupé but has an electro-hydraulic folding roof; 58kg heavier thanks to the extra bracing. Around 2000 were made. The 360 Modena Challenge was also introduced for a one-make racing series. 2002: Track-only 360GT arrived, for privateer racers.
2003: The 360 Challenge Stradale followed with titanium springs, carbon ceramic brakes, Plexiglass windows, carbon seats and a stripped-out interior, plus some carbon-fibre panels such as the bonnet; 110kg lighter than standard and the V8 pumps out 425bhp.
2005: The F430 replaced the 360.
The service interval is 12,500 miles or 12 months; most cars do just 1000-2000 miles each year, but an annual oil change is essential. A properly equipped specialist will have the necessary SD2 or SD3 Ferrari diagnostics which monitor and record every aspect of the car’s running, including the rev range duration which will tell you if the car has been on a track. As well as an ECU (Engine Control Unit) there’s a Transmission Control Unit (TCU) which logs clutch and gearbox data; before buying, obtain a print-out of the ECU and TCU data. The timing belt should be replaced every three years. It’s done with the V8 in situ; budget £500, with a routine service pegged at £500-£700. Don’t overlook official dealers for maintenance; they can be no more costly than a good independent.
‘A failed valve timing variator can scrap an engine but such occurrences are very rare’
Bodywork and structure
The low-slung spoiler gets damaged by speed bumps and kerbs and a resprayed nose is common because of stone chips; many 360s have anti-chip film applied by the factory in the lower air scoops and the rear of the wheelarches but it goes yellow so is often removed; it shouldn’t have been painted over. Replacing all six strips costs up to £500.
Aluminium panels can corrode; look for bubbling or hairline cracks in the paint. Significant damage suggests the car has been kept outside although this can be repaired to as good as new. Costs vary from £200-£2000 depending on the severity and whether or not you want entire panels resprayed. Put it off and the job will quickly grow in complexity and cost.
The Spider’s roof mechanism works brilliantly and the fit should be superb; a replacement can easily cost £10,000. If the roof doesn’t have a smooth action, one of the various sensors is probably playing up; a diagnostic computer will say what the problem is. Check the castings that make up the front section of the hood frame because these can snap and the frame has to be stripped and dismantled to weld it up.
Make sure the outer door handles work because the drive cable can pop out of position or its retaining clip can break because the cable seizes up. It’s easy to fix, but once it lets go you can’t open the door.
Even a poorly engine can pull well and sound OK to the untrained ear. Rattles when starting from cold are probably caused by lack of lubrication to the valve guides if the car has been left unused for ages; the oil drains off the complex valve gear. Oil leaks from the cam covers and crank oil seal are common; the lubricant gets caught by the undertrays though, so it doesn’t leave any puddles on the floor.
A tappety engine isn’t necessarily cause for concern; some 360 V8s run quieter than others. The butterfly valves can be noisy – although this isn’t usually anything to worry about, invest in a health check. The engine features variable valve timing and on earlier cars there was a recall for the variator at the centre of this design, so make sure the work has been done; any official dealer can tell you. From VIN 123399 a redesigned part was fitted; any earlier number should have had the upgraded parts fitted. A failed variator can scrap an engine but such occurrences are very rare; repair costs are £10,000-£20,000 depending on how quickly the engine was switched off in the event of a variator failure. A decent used engine costs £10,000-£15,000 depending on mileage.
The earliest cars can suffer from cracks in the bracket that connects the engine mounts to the chassis, but the bracket can be reinforced for £500. The engine mounts themselves also don’t last long; late in production these were redesigned and these later parts (there are two) should be fitted because they last much longer. It costs around £1000 for this to be done.
Manual and F1 editions only differ in how the cogs are swapped. The F1 semi-auto features an actuator that allows fully automatic shifting, with a sequential manual option using the paddle shifts. How the car is driven makes a big difference to clutch life – it can range from 10,000 to 50,000 miles.
In 2003 the TCU was updated with improved software to improve useability and clutch life; it’s a bonus if this later TCU has been fitted to an earlier car. Replacing the clutch costs around £2000; add £1000 if the flywheel and clutch release bearing need renewing.
The gearbox is strong, but notchy gearchanges when changing down suggests the cable linkage needs lubricating or adjusting, or a worn bush at the base of the gearstick. Budget £350 to fix this. Gearbox mounts don’t last long; a redesigned part was released but these aren’t very particularly robust either. The solution is to fit an F430 mount; budget £750 for a specialist to do everything.
Steering, suspension & brakes
The brakes are superb, but pads usually last no more than 12,000 miles. The ventilated steel discs rot on the inside edges if the car isn’t used very often; storing in a dehumidifed environment helps. Budget around £400 per corner for a decent set of front pads and discs. The most likely suspension problem is condensation getting into the ball joints leading to corrosion; there’s one at the top and another at the bottom. They wear out, leading to knocking as the car is driven; stainless steel items from Hill Engineering is the best solution, at £400 per joint per side.
Trim The coupé and Spider cabins are much the same, but buyers could choose between standard or sports seats with manual or electric adjustment. The standard option is the most comfortable while the sports seats are durable but don’t have as much adjustment, although they offer more support.
Electrics & electronics
A 360 shouldn’t be jumpstarted – this can wreck the electrical system. The correct procedure is to remove the cover from behind the passenger seat; this reveals the chassis live and earth points from where the car can be safely charged. If the engine ECU is spiked a replacement costs around £2000. A dead battery is often the result of a car not having been used for ages; use a battery conditioner.
There should be two black remote key fobs and a red master fob. Documentation should include a small white folder with the alarm and radio codes inside, which will allow you to get new fobs programmed. On the right-hand side of the dash is a switch labelled ASR. Underneath is a small LED for the alarm.
If it stays on as the engine is running, the alarm battery needs replacing, probably because the car’s battery has been left flat. A replacement battery can be DIY fitted if acid hasn’t leaked onto the circuit board, destroying it.
Modern, lightweight and sophisticated, the 360 featured Ferrari’s first aluminium monocoque, so it’s 40% lighter than its predecessor’s steel platform and nearly 30% stiffer, despite being slightly larger.
Wide sills and limited ground clearance guarantee tired bolsters, but revitalising a set of 360 seats is often just a case of getting them reconnolised. Midship-mounted V8 is well behaved if regularly serviced and exercised.
The engine mounts can be relatively short-lived, however. Looks great, sounds brilliant, but take it for an MoT to make sure the catalytic convertor hasn’t been removed – doing so makes the car illegal to drive on the road.
What to pay
1 Worthwhile cars start at £60k; £65k gives more choice; lhd cars are cheaper.
2 Manuals command £5k-£10k premiums.
3 The coupé and spider are worth similar amounts; similar numbers of both were produced (around 2000 rhd).
4 Silver or grey cars fetch less than red or dark blue. Cosmetic options such as Scuderia shields on front wings and red brake calipers are sought after.
5 Challenge Stradale is the Holy Grail – you’ll pay £200k for a good rhd car; more common lhd cars start at £160k.
Owning a Ferrari 360
Mark Wibberley, Stamford, Lincs
Mark bought his 360 Spider six years ago. He says: ‘I could afford a 355 or a 360; test drives showed how much more modern the 360 is compared with its predecessor. I’m 6ft 3in and could fit into the more spacious 360 cabin more easily. The newer car is also easier to drive; to make progress in the 355 you have to use the revs far more, whereas the 360’s engine is much more flexible. My car came up at the right price and I fell in love with it.
‘Seven years after buying the car and with six seasons of the Ferrari Owners’ Club’s Hillclimb Championship under its belt, my 360 hasn’t put a foot wrong. The key is to use the Ferrari regularly – they don’t like being stood for lengthy periods. It’s now done 67,000 miles, 24,000 with me, and the car has been extremely reliable. Insurance costs me £800 per year and annual maintenance is £500, which doubles every three years for a major service including a fresh cam belt. On top of this I budget £1000-£1500 per year for extras because occasionally there will be some mechanical wear and tear; new tyres are needed every 12,000-14,000 miles for example, at £800 a set.’
Tony Worswick, Blackburn, Lancs
You might have seen Tony Worswick in action; he’s got a yellow 308GTB rally car that’s often seen flying through the air. Tony also runs Northern Supercars, with a focus on Ferrari maintenance and restoration. Says Tony, ‘I currently own the 308, a 430, a 512TR and the 360 which is my favourite. None of the other cars sound as good; I’ve fitted a Tubi exhaust and the noise is magnificent.
‘My 360 has the F1 gearbox and if driven correctly the transmission is reliable – you can get 50,000 miles out of the clutch pack. In standard form the gearshifts are too slow, so I’ve upgraded to Challenge Stradale software which transforms the driving experience with much faster changes.
‘My 360’s a Spider, so I try to use it mainly when it’s dry, because getting the roof to seal properly is a thankless task. However, I’ve taken the car to Europe, enjoying a drive through Spain and France, and the 2000-mile trip went without a hitch. These cars are fundamentally very well made; it’s some of the peripheral parts that cause problems such as the suspension bushes and coil packs. But if you buy a good one and do 3000-5000 miles annually, you shouldn’t need to spend much more than £1500 per year on maintenance, which is excellent value. The biggest problem is minimal use; that pretty much guarantees problems when the car does come out.’
Ian Christie, Halifax, Yorkshire
Owned alongside a 550 Maranello and until recently a 348, Ian Christie’s 360 Spider is cherished. He says, ‘It’s our touring car, so it’s not used for short journeys. We do about 6000 miles each year in it, usually clocked up on European road trips to which the 360 is perfectly suited because it’s very refined and feels very modern, but it’s also got ample power and sounds wonderful. “When we go touring we don’t have to pack especially lightly because the boot holds plenty of luggage and there’s space behind the seats. The electric roof works very well and the seats are very comfy. So is the ride, which can be stiffened up at the press of a button if I want to have some fun.
“The reliability has been very good although I had an ECU fail which cost £4000 to fix. Other than that it’s just been routine servicing at around £750 per year, or closer to £1000 if it’s a major service which requires a new cam belt. When you look at the whole package, the Ferrari is fantastic value.’
2002 Ferrari 360 Spider six-speed manual – £89,995
Supplied new to Charles Hurst in 2002, in Giallo Modena with black leather upholstery and gated six-speed manual. Since then has only had three previous keepers and covered just under 18,500 miles. Options include rear Challenge grille and all-important Scuderia shields. Serviced and pampered throughout her life regardless of cost, hence her immaculate condition.