The Ferrari 458 Speciale is arguably one of the most significant cars the Italian carmaker has produced over the last ten years.
A look through magazines from 2013 reveals that journalists praised its looks, handling, and, most importantly, its engine. Ferrari’s F136 4.5-liter V8 is a masterpiece, redlining at 9,000 rpm while delivering a level of response seldom seen in today’s latest supercars.
Furthermore, it became the last naturally-aspirated V8-powered Ferrari ever, as the 488 GTB that followed featured a twin-turbocharged 3.9-liter unit. However, as notable and rare as the 458 Speciale is, it had one flaw. Like the 458 Italia upon which it is based, the only way to send power to its rear wheels was via a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission.
Thankfully, a restoration workshop out of Miami, Florida, has set out to right this wrong by manual-swapping one of the 3,000 Speciale coupes produced. They’re called Modificata, and while exact details on this build are scarce, it’s clear that they’ve gone where Ferrari dared not to. And we’re not just talking about a beautiful gallery of images. Check the video link above to see this one-of-a-kind Speciale in action, sliding through what looks like a private compound while hitting its 9,000 rpm redline.
The photos reveal an OEM-plus approach to this unique swap. Gone is the Speciale’s carbon-fiber center console, replaced with a gated H-pattern shifter. From the new center console’s leatherwork and overall execution of the swap, it looks like something Ferrari itself would produce.
While Modificata doesn’t specify exactly where this Speciale’s six-speed manual comes from, It’s most likely out of the F430. While most F430s left the factory equipped with the brand’s F1 automated manual, a small batch featured a manual transmission. And considering that the F430 also featured a variant of the brand’s F136 V8, this is likely the closest fit. Although, it’s a stretch to imagine this swap was an easy one. Modificata itself posted to Instagram stating:
“This undertaking has been a real labor of love for us, and make no mistake, it was a long time coming. For all the challenges we faced along the way, there is no better reward than the Italian symphony of 9,000 RPM and the metallic click-clack of a gated shifter.”
Now there’s a statement that’s tough to disagree with. Still, while the workshop indicates that the manual swap saves a significant amount of weight, it has yet to offer any specifics. Additionally, it’ll take thorough road testing to see how the manual and its gearing will affect 0-60 mph times, top speed, etc.
But in reality, the stats don’t matter. What matters is that a lucky few now get to interact directly with arguably one of the best naturally aspirated V8’s ever. While this swap will likely not translate into a trend given how valuable Speciale’s have become as the prancing horse steers closer toward electrified cars, it’s great to see such a dream project come to life and see real-world use. Now, if we could get the keys for a drive, that’d be even better.
Photo Credit: @puppyknuckles via Modificata on Instagram