Home » Behold, Someone Has Manual-Swapped A Ferrari 458 Speciale

Behold, Someone Has Manual-Swapped A Ferrari 458 Speciale

458 Speciale Gated

The Ferrari 458 Speciale is a high water mark for the storied supercar marque. Every single mid-engined entry-level Ferrari from the 308 to the regular 458 Italia led up to it, and Ferrari took every learning and churned out an all-time great. Well, almost every learning. The 458 has a seven-speed dual-clutch gearbox that, by all accounts, is excellent. Fast, smooth, totally user-friendly, it’s worlds away from the single-clutch automated manuals that plagued F430s and 360 Modenas. However, unlike the 360s and F430s, 458s were only available with two pedals. No gated manual here.

Still, that didn’t stop one shop from building what could be the perfect 458 Speciale. Florida shop Modificata has figured out how to put a gated H-pattern shifter and a hand-on-heart six-speed manual gearbox in a 458 Speciale, and the result is nothing short of remarkable.


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While a full build diary hasn’t been released, photos show that this conversion was a rather involved process. The entire center console is new and wildly different from the Speciale’s standard carpeted tunnel, with a cold chrome gear knob perched atop a surprisingly long selector. The pedal box is all bottom-hinged AP Racing stuff, to say nothing of the engine management required to make a manual gearbox play nice with such a modern car never designed for one.

It’s easy to brush aside this manual conversion as cool but impractical. The standard ‘box is perfectly suited to a variety of driving and much quicker through the gears than the average manual driver. However, there’s still something so special about the involvement of rowing your own gears. The weight of a clutch, the bourgeoisie clink of sliding a shifter like this from gate to gate, the immense sense of satisfaction derived from a perfect heel-toe downshift. Supercars are about the love of machines, and love benefits from engagement.

The benefits of this conversion become apparent as soon as this very special 458 is captured on video. The dance between pedals, shifter, and wheel. The way it slithers about controllably, writhing and straightening with deft inputs. The way it makes the hairs on your arms stand and salute as it howls its way to the upper echelons of the rev range. There’s an emotion to it that’s muted in the newer turbocharged cars, which is reflected in high resale values compared to newer 488 GTBs. For now, this gated 458 Speciale from Modificata looks to be a one-off. I’d say it’s a shame if it never ends up sold as a kit, but it’s remarkable that such a feat lives.

(Photo credits: Modificata/Puppyknuckles)

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18 Responses

  1. Thanks to my dear wife, I had the opportunity to drive a 458 Italia back in 2021. It was at an exotic car / dream drive experience she bought me for my 50th birthday. It was a great experience and the car was phenomenal, even though it had obviously been used and abused many times over. My one (very minor) gripe about it was that the car was never available with a manual. Admittedly, the automatic helped cover the shortcomings of someone not used to driving a car of that caliber, but I’d love to take a shot at driving one again, but while rowing my own.

  2. This does possibly point to where things are going in the not-to-distant-future – manuals available again if in a boutique fashion.

    Right now in the U.S., we’ve all but jettisoned them in the name of convenience (the set of most people) and now performance (smaller set). But take both to their logical conclusion – AIs are eventually going to be delivering each.

    Obviously on the convenience side (as self-driving cars slowly reach functionality), but perhaps less so on the mainstream racing side, where getting rid of the human driver will be the final way to increase race-winning performance.

    But the third, enthusiast set that prizes engagement above all will want neither and will seek out what’s not available in either of those formats – maximum driver control.

    Right now, the enthusiast set is still largely a subset of the performance set, but that will change, and may come to be its own unique set. One that might be big enough for the market to cater to, with any luck…

  3. This is the type of thing that makes me proud to be a Floridian. Someone in this glorious and terrifying state put down the bath salts just long enough to whip up a thing of true beauty.

  4. Okay how high do you have to be to do this with a half a million dollars car? Does it ruin the value or increase it? Guarantee the warrantee is void. But how rich must you be to risk a half million dollars?
    That is like painting tits on the Mona Lisa.

    1. I guess if you’re spending that much on a car, it makes sense to care about resale value, but I hope there’s someone out there with deep pockets, who doesn’t care about selling it, but only “does this make the car more fun?”.

      (PS, Speaking of tits on the Mona Lisa, there is a nude version of the Mona Lisa which *may* have been painted by Da Vinci, or possibly one of his students: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mona_Lisa_replicas_and_reinterpretations#Mona_Vanna)

    2. The original convertible version of Ferrari 365 GTB/4 and GTS/4 convertible commanded much higher price than the coupé version. Some owners beheaded their coupés and installed the convertible system, hoping they would sell them for higher price. Yet, the buyers weren’t impressed and fooled…

      Only 30 599 GTB Fiorano with manual gearbox were manufactured by Ferrari, and they command twice more than ones with automated gearboxes. So, a few brave owners had their 599 redone as part of “get rich scheme”.

  5. Oh. My. Lord.

    The ‘snik-snik’ of the gated shifter is music to my ears. Of course, they’re probably going to be ban-hammered by Ferrari for this modification…

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