Thanks to the geniuses at European Auto Group.
When the Ferrari 458 was first revealed back in 2009, it was met with nearly universal acclaim. It was better looking than the F430 it replaced and with a naturally aspirated 4.5-liter V8 producing 562 horsepower, it was much faster too. There was just one issue: it lacked a gated manual transmission option. The 458's dual-clutch unit was faster than any human could shift but for manual purists, it couldn't provide a suitable alternative for the pleasure of rowing through the gears on a gated box.
Ferrari never offered a manual 458 but a small shop called European Auto Group (EAG) in San Antonio, Texas wants to be the first to build one. You may remember EAG as the shop that built the first and only manual 430 Scuderia in the world, so clearly, they know what they are doing here.
We spoke to EAG's owner, Art Bartosik, who told CarBuzz "People are screaming for a manual 458 and 488. If the demand wasn’t there we wouldn’t do it.” EAG is already inundated with F430 owners who want to swap their cars to manual but Bartosik wants to tackle an even bigger challenge. Unlike the F430, which did have a manual option from the factory, the "transmission in the 458 needs to be swapped out for a six-speed because it came with a dual-clutch.” So while the 430 can be converted to manual without performing a swap, the 458 will need a new transmission. Bartosik didn't specify which transmission EAG will be using but did mention supply is limited and the shop will "only be able to build around 10 or 11 of them.”
"We've already got a list but people should start lining up out the door," said Bartosik. "It’s going to be exclusive.” Development of the car is still a few months from being completed but EAG does have a prototype (shown in the video above). Bartosik says the car's completion is "a few months out but deposits are being taken now." EAG should be able to start building customer cars by January 2020.
After EAG finishes the 458, the shop already has plans for more manual swaps. "The Lamborghini Huracan is definitely on the list," Bartosik said. "We’ve had a good amount of inquiries. People want to see an all-wheel-drive, six-speed manual Lamborghini. If they want it, we’ll give it to them. The Huracan should be easier than Ferrari because there's hidden stuff in there that gives us more flexibility."
We can't wait to see the completed product and get it out on the road for a test drive. To all of you 458 owners out there wanting to make your car more unique, get ready to open up your checkbooks.