Stradale Vintage Cars is a relatively new car-seller based in the south of the Netherlands. Martijn Hopman, the company’s technician, took me out in their Ferrari F430 Spider.
Photography: Max Lammers
Why the F430 is so special to me
The first time I got to be a passenger in a Ferrari was in the autumn of 2014. The owner of an F430 Spider picked me up from home. I remember I couldn’t sleep the night before because of all my excitement. As you can imagine, that day motivated me even more to continue sharing my love for the Ferrari brand.
Through the years I experienced plenty of other Ferraris, but the F430 always remained very special to me. Not just because it was the first Ferrari I got to experience, but also because of its timeless design by Pininfarina. Frank Stephenson and his team drew a beautiful car with little hints to previous models; the 156 Sharknose’s front air intakes and the Enzo’s rear were integrated.
Just a year after the coupé was introduced, they chopped off the roof and revealed the F430 Spider. Normally, the whole driving experience of a convertible will feel lacking compared to its coupé counterpart. Not with Ferrari, though. Top Gear demonstrated this by comparing the F430 and F430 Spider. Clarkson explained that Ferrari managed to keep the driving experience, handling and acceleration of the coupé in the Spider through a very advanced roof structure.
Stradale’s F430 Spider
Stradale’s showroom is basically a man cave for those with a passion for ‘80s, ‘90s and 2000s-era Ferraris. Though everything is for sale, the Ferrari F430 Spider is a privately owned car. The owner ordered the car from Ferrari in 2008 in a very high spec. One of the coolest options is the carbon package, which included a 430 Scuderia-esque rear bumper and interior, both flooded with carbon.
While cruising, the car growls, but when you open it up, and start climbing up to 8000 rpm, it screams as expected from a Maranello V8. This particular F430 is equipped with F1 transmission, the more popular choice back in the day because of Schumacher’s successes in Formula One. Around 1 out of 10 F430s left Maranello with a manual gearbox, making them very desirable in recent years.
Stradale Vintage Cars also services and restores various cars. They even had an F50 in for a technical problem last year. Current projects include a gearbox revision on a 360 Modena and a full restoration of this stunning silver 308 GTBi, which just came back from a partnered garage where they balanced the car. The whole interior and engine also received a full makeover.
Tunnel runs like I’ve never experienced
Compared to modern standards, the F430 is pretty dated. Take the steering wheel for example. You only get the claxons, Manettino dial and the engine start button. In today’s Ferraris you get the turning signals, the windscreen wipers and all sorts of other buttons on the wheel. Ferrari integrated a little pixel screen in the rev counter which shows you in which driving mode you are or if any doors are not closed properly. Another feature that shows how far automotive tech has come is the little screen that tells you in which gear you are in; in the F430, it’s still in the ‘alarm clock’ font.
Martijn and I stepped into the car and it immediately started to rain. He closed the top, we left the dealership and headed for the highway. As a cruiser, the F430 is pretty comfortable and spacious, but when you flip the Manettino dial to RACE you almost feel like the car suffers from schizophrenia. Gear changes become faster, accelerations will put you right back in your seat and you can’t have a normal conversation. Especially in a tunnel. This example has had its catalysts removed, which makes it even louder.
Big thanks to the guys at Stradale for hosting me. Make sure you check out their website, but not before you watch my video of our deafening drive in the F430.
Written by Max Lammers