In teaming with Alcoa, Ferrari developed a new unit-body chassis that was about 28 percent lighter than the frame it replaced, but was 40 percent stiffer. This was all accomplished though the new Ferrari F360 was 10 percent larger overall.
Ferrari commissioned the House of Pinnifarina to restyled the F360 and the style was retro, returning to the rounded and smoothed lined of the 1960s. The new rounded F360 did away with the popup headlights and integrated the headlights into new focused headlights that were brighter white. The vehicle was both longer, lower and rounder, overall.
The engine was also increased in size. Instead of the 3.5-liter V-8, the engine was bored out to 3.6, but since the power-to-weight ratio was much better the 400 horsepower powerplant decreased the 0 to 60 time to 4.4 seconds and the F360 did a quarter-mile in a little over 12 seconds, exiting at 112 mph. Overall, this was an improved vehicle that was sold from 1999 to 2005
Three road versions were produced, the Modena, the Spider and the Challenge Stradale. Each could be equipped with paddle-style transmissions or six-speed standards.
The replicas of the F360 seem to favor the later Toyota MR-2 frame. It does make sense, after all, since the Toyota already mounts a mid-engine and a transaxle that drives the rear wheels. The problems come when you get beyond the frame because the F360 is rounded and lowered and the headlights are part of an integrated front end. The reason one would want to have a replica, rather than the real item is likely price. Recent pricing puts a late 2004 F360 at about $145,000, which is beyond the reach of most average car buyers.
The key to any replica, though, that once you have found the frame – a good MR-2 can set you back at least $20,000 and if you are lucky enough to find a Fiero in good shape – they can be modified, but do take some work and a good condition frame will still cost you about $35,000 – is the house you choose to make your replica.
In general, you will find – as with anything in nature – that though a low-cost house may promise you a quality job, it will likely take a lot of supervision on your part and than multiple visits back to the shop to obtain anything near a reasonable replica. That’s why it pays to invest in a good kit builder in the first place. The way one would find the best kit builder is to:
Check the Internet ads and then the website
Make a list of three or four of the kit-houses that seem to do the best work
Ask for references. If a kit house has good references and is willing to share them they are trustworthy
If, on the other hand, they try to skate you by saying “Oh we have great ratings!” And if they then fail to produce any references, give them a pass
There’s nothing worse than investing thousands in a good subframe, thousands more in a quality kit, only to have a poor-quality or substandard build make a mess of your carefully planned replica.
What should a good replica cost? If you do your homework, you can probably find a good replica and have the work done for half or less than the current cost of the F360.
A poorly done job will cost you a lot more in lost time money and reinvestment.