Many enthusiasts will go to great lengths to drive manual supercars and I’m totally on board with that. If you have your doubts, though, allow me to remind you that Koenigsegg recently unveiled the world’s first (gated) manual and automatic transmission in the CC850 throwback model. That’s cutting-edge technology limited to double-digit production numbers and 7-figure pricing, but there are considerably broader manifestations of the phenomenon, such as Ferrari drivers giving their Prancing Horses manual gearbox swaps. And a new Ferrari manual swap kit has now come out, with this giving one the option of a relatively simple DIY installation.
Replacing the dual-clutch transmissions in current- or ex-generation supercars is not unheard of, but it’s extremely rare. That’s because such jobs mean fitting components the factory never engineered for a specific model, among others.
Gated manual swaps for the Ferrari 360 and F430
The Ferrari manual swap phenomenon we’re discussing here targets some of the pre-DCT models that got automated manuals using Ferrari’s F1 label instead. That would be the 360 (1999-2004) and its successor, the F430 (2005-2009). It’s worth noting that while you could get these supercars with either a six-speed gated manual or an F1 automated version of the gearbox, the 360 Challenge Stradale and 430 Scuderia (lower-volume) specials only came with the latter.
Twenty years ago, these F1-style flappy paddle transmissions were all the rage, but they can feel rather clunky by contemporary standards and that has nothing to do with the wear and tear. In fact, it’s one of the reasons why the quicker, more efficient, and arguably more reliable dual-clutch units have taken over (starting with the 458 for Maranello machines).
While this wasn’t intended by the factory, automated manuals do have a massive advantage over DCTs for swap aficionados: the transmission itself is the same, albeit with a computer controlling the gearbox via hydraulic actuators instead of the driver rowing through the gears while using the clutch.
And, if we look at the F1 automated manual Ferrari 360s and F430s, we’ll notice that the bits and pieces that support the stick shift conversion (e.g., the mounting point for the clutch pedal, the connections for the wiring, etc.) are already in place.
The fresh kit mentioned above comes from a Florida-based label called Dr S, with YouTuber Samrac having recently installed this in his 360 Spider. Sam, to use the enthusiast’s real name, has risen to YT fame via videos that mostly cover salvage vehicles and cars on a budget, so this new adventure fits the profile.
What’s new about this release?
From what we were able to find online, the conversions done so far included either individual transformations done by various shops with parts purchased from Ferrari, which is a more expensive option, or a kit made by Texas-based EAG USA.
EAG’s kits target a wider range of Prancing Horses, while the Dr S strictly offers gated manual conversions for the “standard” 360 and F430. However, its kits appear to be the only ones that can be bought without installation—this is stated on the new product’s website, while normalguysupercar writes that EAG has moved on to only selling the kit to approved installation partners.
In a nutshell, it appears that EAG offers a fully integrated solution, while Dr S provides one that seems more suitable to those willing to keep the budget in check while dealing with some of the steps themselves.
The financial side
At the time of press, viewing the prices on the EAG’s website required registration. However, a Carscoops article from back in April this year lists the (no longer available) DIY installation for $25,000, of $35,000 with the specialist covering the job.
Now, such conversions are part mechanical (clutch pedal plus master cylinder, manual actuator, shift tower) and part electronic, with both sides being just as important. As such, the engine ECU and instrument cluster need to be reprogrammed when handling the swap.
As mentioned on its website, Dr S will sell you the kit for $12,500 (360) or $13,000 (F430), but this doesn’t include the installation or ECU programming, even though (at the time of press) the company did provide free ECU coverage for the 360, albeit only if the computer is shipped to its Florida location. However, the specialist does offer a guide for covering this part of the job.
Compared to the 360, the F430 requires an additional step, as this introduced a computer-handled active rear differential (E-Diff). And while E-Diff functionality, which has a noticeable effect on handling, can be maintained using the Dr S kit, this requires adapting a part of the original F1 system.
In terms of the installation time, Jalopnik wrote that the EAG kit takes around 40 hours to fit. Now, Dr S offers two versions of the kit. The first is an “easy” one that you can install in your garage, without removing the transmission (the specialist also quotes 40 hours of work), which is precisely what Samrac is doing.
As for the “difficult” kit, this does involve pulling out the tranny. The package is aimed at drivers willing to install a new clutch—each transmission option comes with its own hardware and the manual gearbox clutch is less complex and therefore less expensive to maintain.
How does a manual swap affect the value of a Ferrari 360 and F430?
Now, you might be wondering what manual swapping your Ferrari 360 or F430 will do to the value of the supercar, especially with these N/A V8 Prancing Horses continuing to appreciate nowadays.
You should know that, as proven by multiple auction sales, converted vehicles have generally sold for considerably more than those retaining the factory F1 hardware, which would cover the price of the conversion with plenty of room to spare.
However, if you own a Ferrari 360 or F430 in F1 trim and are considering a manual swap, the best way to go about it is to talk to the specialists that provide this directly, while doing further research will also help—for one, since the Dr S kit is a new development with some parts still in progress at the time of press, we visited the Ferrari Chat forum thread covering the topic, with the general vibe appearing positive at the time when this article was published.
Meanwhile, Samrac’s video below sees the YouTuber installing the clutch pedal (this requires cutting a part of the brake pedal to make room) and master cylinder, as well as offering us a preview of the manual actuator and shift tower installation. So it’s a win for team #savethemanuals.