PHOTOGRAPHY & WORDS: Tom Horna
It’s a sunny March afternoon in London and we’re yet again visiting Merlin at his amazing ‘Duke Of London‘ showroom. This time instead of talking about cars, we’ve decided to take one for a drive… a special one indeed… The extremely beautiful road-legal race car Ferrari 360 Challenge Stradale.
With only 852 ever built, one can easily say it is rare but that’s not what makes it special. This is not just an upgraded 360 but the highest performance road-legal race version of the 360. Looking at the mere 20bhp increase compared to standard 360 Modena’s 400bhp doesn’t seem a lot, however, the factory focus was to improve the handling, braking and reduce the weight of the car rather than making it much more powerful. To achieve the total weight reduction of around 110kg, Ferrari engineers decided to change the interior to full carbon and Alcantara which naturally is lighter, they instaled lighter F1 automated manual gearbox, as well as ceramic brakes, borrowed straight from the Enzo. In addition to that, pretty much everything was remanufactured to lower weight of the car. Lighter bumpers, exhaust and it’s tailpipes, skimmed down engine materials as well as totally removed sound deadening. In essence, all the surgery allowed the car to achieve the outstanding at the time 0-60mph in 4.0 seconds.
However… all the talk was worth nothing until I actually got into the car. As you’d imagine getting into full-on carbon-fibre race seats with 4 point harness seat belts alone made me feel special. But then… hearing the angry exhaust note on the engine startup made me understand that this is going to be one hell of an experience. It was just that and more. Merlin is not a ‘boy racer’ but he wanted me to know that the car he’s got on offer is a special breed of Ferraris and he did not hesitate to take full advantage of the cars handling and acceleration. It’s easy to say that the ride comfort in a road-legal race car is non-existent but the handling and the grip was beyond any explainable laws of physics whilst the acceleration was scary enough to make me tighten the harness so much that I couldn’t undo the release clamps on our return to Merlin’s showroom.
2004 Ferrari 360 Challenge Stradale
Engine: 3.6L V8 420 BHP
Transmission: F1 automated manual with paddle-shifts
Mileage: 30,500KM – 18,900 miles
Colour: Giallo yellow
Interior: Black/grey Alcantara and polished carbon-fibre
Seller: Duke Of London, London, UK
Supplied new Stripe-Less with Four Point Safety Harness and Nero (black) Leather Carbon Fibre Bucket Seats on 11th May 2004 in Vrigny, France by Ferrari Maserati D.Verbaere Automobiles Concessionaires of Lille, France to Mr Gerard Sigot.
The Ferrari then went to another owner in the Netherlands and then to the most recent owner in Germany from whom Duke of London acquired the car.
The 360 CS comes with all of the original books and will be UK registered with a V5C at the time of the sale. It has a full-service history (both main dealer and independent specialist) and as part of the sale will come with a full cambelt service. At the time of the last service (24,368KMs on 07/05/2015), the clutch wear was 12% and brake wear 11%.
The car is in excellent condition throughout and as part of the sale will undergo a full exterior, interior and engine bay detailing treatment as well as a ceramic coating at Duke of London’s Ceramic Pro UK detailing suite.
In March 2018 at RM Sotheby’s Paris sale, almost identical specification/mileage Giallo car sold at £187,000 indicating a strong, consistently growing value of the 360 Challenge Stradale cars. This also makes our seller’s Ferrari a very good value vehicle at a lower price of £159,900.
The car is ready to be viewed by appointment at Duke of London Showroom. Contact via their email or telephone number