Once again, thanks to the heroes at European Auto Group.
The Ferrari California was released back in 2008 and has since been succeeded by the California T and more recently, the Ferrari Portofino. Although the California wasn't one of the ultimate prancing horses from the Italian automaker's illustrious history, it does carry the unique distinction of being the last car the company every sold with a gated manual transmission. When anybody wants to poo-poo Ferrari's 'entry level' supercar, make sure to remind them of this fact.
Up until the 2012 model year, customers could opt to ditch the California's seven-speed dual-clutch option for a gated six-speed box. With the rapidly increasing values of manual supercars right now, you may expect that a number of Ferrari customers opted to have their California fitted with the gated box. Sadly, this wasn't the case.
Ferrari has never released official production numbers but it is estimated that only three cars ever left the factory with a manual. According to our friends over at European Auto Group in San Antonio, Texas, one of these three cars recently met its end. This would be a sad moment for manual lovers but EAG has some happy news to share.
"A few weeks ago, a very loyal follower contacted us directly about purchasing a manual transaxle from Europe. How he came across this information was unknown but we were all ears. According to him, one of the three manual Ferrari Californias was involved in a wreck, the car ended up at the scrapyard, the car was dismantled, and the components were offered for sale," says EAG owner Art Bartosik. "The components included the Graziano six-speed manual transaxle, linkages, brackets, shift tower, etc. EAG reached out directly to the dismantling company, made a deal on the components, and shipped them to the US."
Now the transaxle will be going back where it belongs... into a Ferrari California. EAG is the perfect company to perform the transplant as the company already offers manual swaps for the Ferrari 360, 430, and 599. The Texas-based tuner has also built the world's only manual-converted Ferrari 430 Scuderia as well as the first manual-swapped fifth-generation Toyota Supra.
"We are unsure how many of these Graziano transmissions are on the shelf but it may be possible for us to do a few limited-run cars using the factory parts from the wreckage and converting a newer 13-14 MY Californias with the HS Handling package," says Bartosik. "During this process, we could remaster the parts for a few more potential builds. We may do a limited run of converted Californias that will be resold to consumers but it all depends on the demand."
The manual swap business is booming over at EAG. In fact, the company is opening new dealership locations in Naples, Florida and Kuwait to satisfy the demand for manual conversions. Bartosik told CarBuzz that by the end of 2020, EAG wants to offer manual swaps for the Ferrari 360, 430, 575, 612, and 599 as well as the Supra, C8 Corvette, Lamborghini Huracan, and Ford Mustang GT500. That's a lot of manual swaps but it seems like Bartosik and his team are the right people for the job. EAG will post videos of the California build on its YouTube channel and the process will also be documented by YouTube Channel Normal Guy Supercar.