Buy one now, before they skyrocket in price.
Although this isn't the first time we've brought up this fact, we believe the time will soon pass when the Ferrari F430 with a six-speed gated manual transmission is relatively affordable. Ferrari cars with manual transmissions have skyrocketed in value and can be worth hundreds of thousands more than one with a semi-automatic F1 transmission. The F430 was not the final Ferrari model to be sold with a gated manual box (that honor goes to the California) but it was the final mid-engined V8 car to feature this option. As such, manual F430 models are worth far more than their automatic counterparts, though we believe they have much further to climb as a future collector's item.
The F430 was Ferrari's mid-engined V8 sports car from 2005 to 2009. It replaced the 360 and was eventually replaced by the 458 in the Ferrari lineup. As Ferrari cars go, the F430 was never considered the prettiest, nor the best to drive. That said, the gated manual transmission creates a completely unique driving experience. This car garnered its highest praises for an entirely different reason - it was the first "daily drivable" Ferrari.
The F430 arrived at a time when mid-engined supercars were rarely driven frequently, let alone every day. With its modern electronics, easier maintenance routines, and improved reliability, the F430 was frequently used in exotic rental fleets. If you want a Ferrari with a manual transmission, there are plenty of older examples such as the 360 and the 355. These cars may be cheaper to buy than the F430 but they will not be as easy to maintain.
We mentioned that manual Ferrari models can be worth far more than their automatic counterparts and the F430 is no exception. The cheapest automatic F430 examples we could find started $75,000 - granted, these are high-mileage examples with nearly 80,000 miles on the odometer. When shopping for a manual F430, most of the listings wrongly show an automatic car, so be sure to double check before visiting a dealership.
If you call on the phone and the salesperson makes any mention of an automated manual, keep searching. The F1 transmission cars are fine but will almost certainly continue to depreciate whereas the manual cars will be highly sought after. After sorting out the mislabeled cars, the cheapest manual cars we found were a Spider for $144,000 and a Coupe for $169,995. We think both cars look great but the Coupe should be better as an investment.
As the name F430 suggests, under the hood sits a 4.3-liter V8 engine sending 483 horsepower and 343 lb-ft of torque to the rear wheels. These figures aren't especially crazy by today's standards considering how many sport sedans offer as much or more power - even a Mustang GT can replicate these performance metrics for a fraction of the price.
The F430 isn't a slow car however and can hit 60 mph in around 3.6 seconds (likely slower than this with the manual) and reach a top speed of 196 mph. Even if there are faster cars out there, it's hard to beat the sound of a naturally aspirated Ferrari V8 revving to 8,500 rpm. If you only care about 0-60 times and performance figures, you are much better off buying a newer sports car like a Nissan GT-R.
The F430's cabin pales in comparison to a modern Ferrari like the 458 or 488. This car was built before the Prancing Horse finally got its act together with modern infotainment and luxurious interiors. If you are ok with only having a basic radio and manual climate controls, the F430 isn't too bad. Just don't expect navigation, Apple CarPlay, or a ton of safety equipment. As you'd expect, the cabin still features plenty of expensive leather though cheap plastic pieces have also been used.
The biggest draw of this particular Ferrari is the gated manual transmission. Most F430s came with paddle shifters on the wheel, though a select few featured a six-speed manual box with a metal lever and an exposed gear pattern. Shifting gears on a gated box is unlike any other manual transmission - the driver feels the metallic click with each gear change, a feeling which is difficult to replicate. Since Ferrari and Lamborghini no longer offer any cars with a manual transmission, a used car like the F430 is now the only way to experience it.
Based on how expensive cars like the 599 GTB have become when equipped with a manual transmission, we believe the F430 has much higher to climb in terms of value. In 2019, it is still possible to buy one for less than $200,000, which is a much higher dollar amount than we typically recommend in these Smart Buy pieces.
If you want the most modern and reliable Ferrari with a gated manual but can't afford those ridiculous 599 and California prices, the F430 is a relative bargain at the moment. For anyone in the market for their first supercar who doesn't want to take the enormous depreciation hit of a new one, we highly suggest investing your money in a manual Ferrari F430.