This Gated-Manual Ferrari 458 Is Very Speciale Indeed

Ferrari stopped offering proper manuals over a decade ago, but that doesn’t mean a dedicated tuning house can’t bring them back.

byLewin Day| PUBLISHED Jan 20, 2023 8:41 AM
This Gated-Manual Ferrari 458 Is Very Speciale Indeed
Modificata, Supplied
Share

Ferrari abandoned the much-adored gated manual years ago, but one shop brought back the legendary transmission and dropped it into a Ferrari 458.

Modificata is a restoration house that specializes in bringing back a "visceral driving experience" that it says no longer exists in more modern supercars. To that end, the company elected to give a Ferrari 458 Speciale the manual transmission it never had. In place of the seven-speed dual-clutch transmission is a six-speed manual box, complete with a gated shifter in true Ferrari tradition. The result is a V8 supercar with 597 horsepower that you can send directly to the rear tires with a cheeky clutch drop.

Such a swap is no easy feat. In addition to swapping in the manual gearbox, there's also the need to squeeze a pedal box with a clutch pedal into the driver's footwell. Beyond that, it's necessary to integrate the gearbox with the car's ECU and other systems. We can see this feat was achieved, with the dashboard correctly displaying the selected gear. According to Modificata, the traction control and other driver assists fully work after the swap.

In a video of the swap, we see the manual 458 doing some enthusiastic driving around some backlot service roads. With the traction control off, the Ferrari is more than willing to drop into a lurid slide, with plenty of opposite lock keeping it on the black stuff. We also get to hear the pleasing snickedy-snick of the gated manual shifter. It's reportedly one of the ultimate pleasures of driving a proper Italian sports car.

Ferrari began phasing out the gated manual in the late 2000s. The very last model the company built with a gated manual was a 2012 Ferrari California. As for the company's main line of V8 mid-engined coupes, the Ferrari 458 was the first to eschew the manual entirely. As for the company's larger V12 grand tourers, the 612 Scaglietti featured a manual until the end of its run in 2011. However, the last V12 Ferrari to feature a gated manual was the 599 GTB Fiorano, built up until 2012.

Details on the swap are slim, with Modificata remaining tight-lipped on the finer points at this stage. We'd suspect the project relies on a Ferrari 430 gearbox swap and plenty of custom work to get all the electronics operating happily together.

In reality, there's a great thirst in the world for Ferraris with proper manuals. Now they're no longer in production, you'll pay a great deal of money for a rare surviving example. You might even find that it's cheaper to build your own project than to buy one of the last factory manual cars. Thus, if you need a manual-swapped Ferrari 458 in your life, you'd do well to reach out to Modificata for help.

Got a tip? Let the author know: lewin@thedrive.com