Click-click. So much satisfaction in a simple sound. Put it this way: the reason behind the premium that modern manual Ferraris carry is all for this. It’s because of that utterly satisfying noise that’s so pleasurable to hear and operate. In many ways the open-gated grille is not only one of the most distinctive features of any Ferrari but it’s the universal symbol of great cars and a clear indicator of good things to come.
Don’t deny the fact that every time you see a modern, pre-458 V8 Ferrari you always peak into the cockpit at a distance, trying to see if it has paddle – shifters or not. If it has, it’s “normal” but if it doesn’t, that is a satisfying discovery. Funny to think how times change: 15 years ago, these cars were indeed dinosaurs and no one wanted them. Paddle shifters were the way and specialized press highlighted this as a must have, as manuals were soon to be ditched and forgotten. But then, surprise! Everyone missed that satisfaction which comes after a little effort and when you get things right, especially in a manual car, it’s one of the greatest joys ever behind the wheel.
Why that click-click is so satisfying? Because it’s the sound of purpose, the sound that tells you that your skills are needed in order to be able to do something: that metallic sound tells you that you’re in the middle of action and you’re part of it. It’s another of the reasons why we love cars, as it’s you, the driver, who is the ECU and decide what to do and how to do it. The F430 is the last mid-engined V8 Ferrari equipped with a manual gearbox. It’s such a fresh take that driving one feels like driving a unicorn. Driving it gets you connected with the car like never before, and makes you feel that the whole point of present Ferrari ownership is kinda dull and boring.
The F430 is the kind of car we should expect from Ferrari: it’s an utopian dream for sure, but for us hardcore petrolheads it’s how things should be. We’re more of canyon carvers than we are racing drivers, so let’s leave lap times to professionals and instagrammers and let’s not forget about the joys of driving. Besides, the F430 manual ‘box gives you the sensations of meeting again that old friend that you always thought you knew well: it’s a new perspective and definitely a one worth savoring once in your life. Starting our roadtrip from Palo Alto, in the heart of the Silicon Valley, we drove to the little town of Woodside and then on the amazing Route 84 which takes you to the Pacific Coast across a beautiful sequoias forest. In the twisty road of the Pescadero Creek Park, the Ferrari driving dynamics are perfect, they’re the dream of every driver. Prancing Horse feel alive, fresh and exciting. They represent a sort of standard on the kind of feedback a proper driver’s car should give and there’s nothing like a manual gearbox that enhances everything to amplify what you feel. When paddle shifters came around, everyone hated these dinosaurs. However, with times changing, I guess dinosaurs are striking back, and hard.