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Sunny 360 Modena Test Drive

Jim Weed

Volume 48 Issue 13

Jul 8, 2023

Jim drives a 360 Modena with a manual transmission. It also has the sunroof option. How many came with this option? Read on...

    1999 was an exciting time for Ferrari. The production car lineup consisted of the 550 Maranello and the 456M. The first one, a grand touring car in the same family as the Daytona. The second one, a true 2+2 made for a growing family.

    Ferrari did not have a supercar to offer at this time as F50 production wrapped up in 1997 and the Enzo would not arrive until 2001.

    The Ferrari flag was being carried by the V-8 model F355. The F355 had run its course since production began in 1994. While the F355 was revolutionary in many ways, it was a refinement of the 348 series and had heavy Fiat influence.

    Ferrari President Luca di Montezemolo wanted a new model designed from a clean sheet of paper.

    It needed to be more powerful, have a larger cabin with better access, be lighter and faster. Better aerodynamics would be necessary. Everything needed to change. Ferrari has always been good with evolution but rarely willingly broke new ground with revolutionary ideas.

    Montezemolo was demanding. This new Ferrari would break the mold and send Ferrari into the future.

    To make the new car larger it would need to have extensive aluminum. The chassis was developed with Alcoa to maximize space and weight. The result saved over 200 pounds compared to the F355.

    Time spent in the wind tunnel yielded a shape that not only was slick and sleek but added the downforce needed without an external wing. This made the design smooth and flowing without tacking on extra fins and ducts to distract from the overall design. Beauty is in the simplicity of the design.

    Ferrari has always been about the engine and the new 360 Modena would be no exception. Completely redesigned, the new engine would have many upgrades to increase power and reliability.

    The 90-degree V-8 would have 3,586 cc with a compression ratio of 11:1. Three intake valves and two exhaust valves would have hydraulic tappets running against the four camshafts. Timing belts would still be used to drive those camshafts.

    Upgraded Motronic fuel injection and variable intake manifold management matched with variable exhaust cam timing would deliver 400 horsepower at 8,500 RPM.

    Dry-sump lubrication and variable exhaust back-pressure system round out the modifications.

    The transmission could come two ways just like the F355. An F1 type gearbox with electro-hydraulic actuator could change modes with a button on the dash. Sport mode gear changes could be made in as little as 150 milliseconds. That seems like a lifetime today but in 1999 that was lighting fast.

    There was also an automatic mode for fully computer-controlled shifts and a low grip mode for inclement weather conditions when full power to the rear wheels would not be desired.

    A six-speed manual gearbox was available for those who like to row their own gears.

    The F1 transmission on the 360 was an improvement over the F355 and worked much smoother. The Formula One program had moved to automatic transmissions and customers wanted to emulate the technology of race cars.

    As such, a majority of the 360 series cars, which came in both coupe form as the 360 Modena, and as an open top convertible called the 360 Spider, came with the F1 transmission. The 6-speed manual option was not as popular but is also not necessarily rare.

    The same could not be said of the next model, the F430, in which a vast majority came with the F1 option, and few had the manual three-pedal option.

    In 2020 I had the opportunity to drive an F430 berlinetta with a manual transmission. It was my first experience driving the F430, so it was a real treat to drive such a rare version of this model.

    I wrote about it in Volume 45 Number 13, dated June 20, 2020.

    To bookend that experience I recently had the chance to drive a 6-speed 360 Modena.


    Last year at Italian Car Day the Ferrari parked next to my 400 GT was a 360 Modena owned by Phillip Lindsay. I mentioned that I had never driven one and he immediately offered to let me drive his!

    Lindsay’s 360 Modena is also notable for being one of the rare sunroof cars.

    First up, the test drive.

    We meet at Ferrari of Atlanta on a Saturday when traffic will not be too bad. Lindsay is excited because he had his Modena Classiche certified and the Red Book had just arrived at the dealer.

    The book outlines his 360 Modena is original and correct. It is still in its original Argento Nürburgring with black leather interior. Built in November 2000 as a 2000 model year.

    I’m interested to see how different this experience is to the F430 from three years ago. As we go to the car Lindsay hands me a key. A key!? Yes, it has a key, which when placed into the slot and turned begins the sound that makes all Ferraristi’s hearts jump.

    The engine quickly settles into a throaty idle.

    The seat hugs in all the right places. Firm on the sides with just the right support to make it feel like you have become one with the car. I’m six-two with long legs and there are few cars I can get into that I don’t wish the seat would go back another inch, or two. The Modena needs that extra space. While a little tight it is not cramped.

    I feel like I’ve become part of the car.

    I spend a minute or two acclimating to the controls. Headlight switch and wipers are exactly where you would expect. Turn signals fall right at the tip of my fingers. The tach needle and temperature gauge are begging for some exercise.


    Mirrors are set and the radio is off. Time to engage the clutch. Pedal travel feels just right and as I let off the car moves without complaint.

    Oil temperature is not up yet so I shift from first to third. Lindsay notices and we have the second gear synchro talk. All Ferraris, at least all the manual Ferraris I have ever driven, do not like going into second gear when cold.

    250, 275, Daytona, Dino, even 308, 328 and Testarossas do not like to go into second when cold. It has been a habit to always do the one-three shift until the oil temperature needle begins to move. Even then I’m always careful going into second gear until the gearbox is happy. There is no reason to rush a cold gearbox when replacement of the synchros is expensive.

    We drive out of the dealership and easily cruise down the road. Since we are in an unfamiliar part of town, I don’t have a good test track laid out so we go exploring.

    In normal driving mode the Modena easily handles traffic without complaint. Early shifts are smooth and seamless. Rowing the shifter up and down through the gears feels natural.

    This is one of the large differences between the 360 and F430. I found shifting the F430 difficult to match speeds between gears where the 360 is much more normal.

    The difference seems to be the amount of flywheel weight. The F430 is so light it allows the engine to rev quicker, but it means the engine will lose RPM quicker making smooth shifts difficult to perform.

    The 360 does rev a bit slower and conversely slows down less quickly when the clutch is put in. This allows enough time to move the lever into the next gear and match speed to let the clutch out.

    The F430 was much more difficult to perform the same operation. The F430 was made to have the F1 transmission where the 360 is still very much a manual transmission car.

    Temperatures have stabilized and its time to expand this Ferrari’s capabilities. When the RPMs come up the car spurts forward with purpose. Life begins at 4,500 RPM and as the revs build so does that special sound that only Ferrari can make.

    We find some twisty roads and the car feels stable and confident as we sweep though the turns. The brakes have a high degree of confidence even though they are not carbon rotors. I’m sure if heavily used the difference between the two materials would show up but as it is the brakes felt extremely adequate.

    The 360 feels quick and nimble although by today’s standards it is not as powerful nor handles as well as current production cars. Then again, the 360 was at the top of its class twenty-three years ago.

    When the speeds come up the gearbox effortlessly shifts through the gears both up and down like butter. There is joy in how well the 360 performs everything asked and how much feedback the car gives back in return.

    There is much to enjoy about the 360. The handling is precise and sure. The brakes return confidence. The engine power is linear and adequate. Overall, it was a pleasure to experience.

    Clearly, Lindsay enjoys driving his 360 Modena. It has about 45,000 miles of smiles on the odometer and while he has not put all of those miles on it, he can attest to more than 10,000 of those smiles.


    I mentioned his car has the rare sunroof option and there was some discussion about how many cars came with this option. I don’t know, but I bet I can find the answer.

    Then again, this is Ferrari and answers are never easy. To verify, to come up with, a definitive number requires multiple sources. Even then, few outside of the factory would really know how many were made.

    How do you count them? How many in total? USA versus European versus RHD? How many in red with tan, or silver or black? When it comes to Ferrari, the answer to how many can be defined in several different ways.

    A quick Google search reveals the accepted number of sunroof 360 Modenas seems to be 25 total made. Some sites indicate that possibly half of those were USA models. Twenty-five cars out of a total of 8,800 plus Modenas produced does truly make the sunroof option rare. But wait.

    Our trusty database has eighty-three Modenas identified as having a sunroof. These numbers come from multiple sources and not all those serial numbers have been independently verified.

    So, how many cars have been verified as having a sunroof? Photos are proof. Descriptions in-period of cars advertised are also acceptable proof.

    If a car has been advertised several times with no mention of having a sunroof and another source claims it is a sunroof car, is it? Well, maybe. But not verified.

    How many cars have the verified sunroof option? The FML database has fifty-three verified sunroof cars. A large majority of those cars are backed up by photographs verifying these fifty-three cars are truly sunroof cars.

    That leaves thirty cars in the possible, but not verified, category.

    Forty-eight of the verified cars are USA models. Since our records for USA cars is better than cars that remain in Europe it would appear that the claim of half the sunroof cars came to America is correct.

    But here the answer is again not that clear. There are only three verified European cars. There are eleven serial numbers identified as European models. Clearly the USA cars comprise much more than half of the sunroof cars made.

    It should be noted there are two right-hand drive 360 Modena sunroof cars on the list, and both have been verified. Which makes a RHD sunroof car the rarest of them all.

    When it comes to Ferrari there are no absolutes. I have documented cases where even the factory does not have the correct answer. The best we can do is continue to do our best at setting the record straight, at least as we know it today. Things change as new information comes to light.

    Numbers and math are difficult to convey so here is my quick summary along with the known serial numbers of possible and verified 360 Modena sunroof cars.

    83 total 360 Modena serial numbers identified as having a sunroof.

    53 verified 360 Modena serial numbers as having a sunroof.

    48 verified USA 360 Modena with a sunroof.

    3 verified European 360 Modena with a sunroof.

    2 verified RHD 360 Modena with a sunroof.

    30 total unverified 360 Modena with a sunroof.

    22 unverified USA 360 Modena with a sunroof.

    8 unverified European 360 Modena with a sunroof.


S/N                 Year          Verified
          Market          Trans


117375  USA  1999  F1
118070  USA  1999  F1
118400  USA  1999  F1
118732  Euro  1999  6sp  yes
119027  USA  1999  6sp  yes
119477  USA  1999  F1
119617  USA  2000  F1
119695  Euro  2000  F1
119899  Euro  2000  F1  yes
120180  USA  2000  F1  yes
120242  USA  2000  6sp
120302  USA  2000  F1  yes
120303  USA  2000  F1  yes
120471  USA  2000  F1  yes
120482  USA  2000  F1  yes
120524  USA  2000  F1  yes
120895  Euro  2000  F1
120959  USA  2000  F1
121008  USA  2000  F1  yes
121046  USA  2000  F1  yes
121138  Euro  2000  F1
121261  USA  2000  F1  yes
121263  USA  2000  F1
121398  USA  2000  6sp  yes
121482  USA  2000  6sp
121489  USA  2000  F1  yes
121514  USA  2000  F1  yes
121523  USA  2000  F1  yes
121666  USA  2000  F1  yes
121726  USA  2000  6sp  yes
121807  USA  2000  F1  yes
121930  USA  2000  F1  yes
121947  USA  2000  6sp  yes
121953  USA  2000  6sp  yes
121957  RHD  2000  6sp  yes
121990  USA  2000  F1  yes
122102  USA  2000  6sp  yes
122144  USA  2000  F1  yes
122159  USA  2000  F1
122202  USA  2000  6sp  yes
122317  USA  2000  F1
122320  USA  2000  F1  yes
122363  USA  2000  6sp  yes
122433  USA  2000  6sp  yes
122674  USA  2001  F1  yes
122677  USA  2001  F1  yes
122678  USA  2001  F1
122805  USA  2001  F1  yes
123356  USA  2001  F1  yes
123613  USA  2001  F1  yes
123713  USA  2001  F1
124589  Euro  2001  F1
124800  Euro  2001  F1  yes
124899  USA  2001  6sp  yes
125079  RHD  2001  F1  yes
126105  Euro  2001  F1
126130  Euro  2001  F1
126681  Euro  2001  F1
127107  USA  2002  6sp  yes
127478  USA  2002  6sp  yes
127727  USA  2002  6sp
128021  USA  2002  6sp  yes
128128  USA  2002  F1  yes
129099  USA  2002  F1
129376  USA  2002  F1  yes
129602  USA  2002  F1
129613  USA  2002  F1  yes
129910  USA  2002  F1  yes
130259  USA  2002  F1
130439  USA  2003  F1
130553  USA  2003  6sp
130678  USA  2003  F1
130753  USA  2003  F1  yes
132179  USA  2003  6sp  yes
133251  USA  2003  F1  yes
133340  USA  2003  F1  yes
133434  USA  2003  F1  yes
133733  USA  2003  6sp  yes
134064  USA  2003  F1  yes
134071  USA  2003  F1
136114  Euro  2003  F1
136948  USA  2003  F1  yes
137763  USA  2004  6sp

    The sunroof option was not chosen very often as indicated by the number of possible cars.

    When we look for something to make each Ferrari unique, whether it be model, color combination, features and options, the sunroof on the 360 Modena is truly rare.

    Lindsay’s question was how many did they make? I’m not sure we really know the definitive answer. 

    What I can say, based upon the current information, is Lindsay’s car is truly unique.

    There is only one Argento Nürburgring with nero interior that has a manual 6-speed transmission AND a sunroof. One off? One of one? The jury is still out but it looks possible.





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