New F430 – modifying for tall driver

Discussion in '360/430' started by drmc, Jun 23, 2020.

  1. drmc

    drmc Rookie
    Silver Subscribed

    Dec 12, 2013
    Full Name:
    After 3-years of searching, a few months ago I finally purchased my dream car - a red / black F430 spider 6-speed. I believe only ~6 manual spiders were delivered to Australia hence the long, long wait.

    I’m planning to do a few modifications to the car so I thought I’d post my experiences here.

    I’m 6’5 / 90kg and have struggled (failed!) to get comfortable in sports cars in the past. But when the opportunity came up to finally purchase a 430 stick, I jumped at it without really considering if I would actually fit.

    After a few weeks of driving I was pretty over it. My back and neck would ache, I couldn’t really see out of the car and the seat wasn’t holding me in place around corners. I also felt like I was sitting really high in the car, like you do in a SUV.

    After a bunch of research I decided to purchase a fixed back bucket seat and bolt it directly to the floor. You can see from the pic that this is as low as you can possibly mount a seat in an F430 – the bottom of the seat is literally on the floor. I went with the Sparco Rev 2 ($800) which is narrow in the waist but broad across the shoulders. My mechanic, Paul from Maranello Motorsport, fitted the seat and created a seat belt clip extender ($500). Finally, Blake from Arrows Performance Engineering, certified the mod as roadworthy to keep my insurance company happy ($350).

    For comfort I purchased some 1” thick foam padding, cut it to size and jammed it in the back of the seat. I also got a 15cm in diameter cylinder of foam, cut it down the middle and also put in the seat back for lumbar support.

    Then I removed my rear vision mirror (simply pull it up the windscreen), purchased a smaller mirror from my local auto store ($12) and velcrowed it to the top of my car.

    All up I’m now sitting exactly 4.5cm lower in the car and I can now see perfectly out the front windscreen. The Sparco, with my added padding, is as comfy as the seat in my Mustang and 911 plus I’ve also saved about 20kg (the Sparco seat is 10kg and the old power Dayton is about 30kg).

    Now that I'm comfortable in the car it has totally changed the experience from a pretty average one to an outrageously fun one – I can’t get the smile off my face every time I drive her now. Plus I reckon the sparco seats look badass in the F430 - really purposful.

    If you've got a sports car and aren't built like a jockey then I highly recommend changing out the seat and mirror.

    I’ve got a few things left to do on my F430 list:

    (1) Fit the same seat to the passenger side for symmetry and to save an extra 20kgs

    (2) Fit the S-line exhaust which should arrive soon. Really excited to get this, I’ll chuck a review up when it's fitted.

    (3) Look into updating the v2 headers to capristo 4-2-1 for extra low down torque (if anyone has some used ones for sale I might be interested).

    (4) Change the tach colour to yellow, and;

    (5) Change the tyres from new Michelin Pilot Sport 4S back to something less grippy to make the car more fun on the street at low speeds.

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  3. w0rtw0rt

    w0rtw0rt Karting

    Jun 21, 2020
    Jefferson, GA
    Full Name:
    Matthew Lawson
    Absolutely useful and ingenious. As a 6'2" man, I noticed my head brushes the roof of the 430 spider so I can only imagine what 6'5" felt like. Beautiful car and love the pics!
  4. Eric C

    Eric C F1 Veteran

    Mar 20, 2009
    St. Louis, MO
    Full Name:
    The Scud Seats sit much lower. I was suprised when I bought mine. I'm 6'2'.

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