All of us have dreamed about owning a Ferrari at one time or another. I know I have, and yet twenty-plus years later, after getting my license, I'm still nowhere near being able to own one of my own. But I do remember fantasizing in the '90s and '00s of perhaps parking a F355, 360 Modena or F430 in my dream garage. They were the "entry-level" Ferraris and though not entirely obtainable as a kid in my late teens and early twenties, maybe one day I could afford one.
The F430 would've been a top choice as it looked better and was sleeker than the 360; didn't quite scream as loud, but still came with a healthy 483hp 4.3-liter V8 offered in both manual and automatic. Now you might be thinking, that was 15 years ago and they gotta be cheaper, right? You're right! What was once listed brand new between $186K to $217K, can now be found used 'n abused from $80K to $120K. Not bad for a slightly aged exotic that, in many eyes, is still considered timeless and a dream car to own.
Unfortunately, I didn't get rich making magazines, but guys like Terry Nguyen from Seattle worked his butt off year after year to climb his way up the project car ladder and was finally able to pick up the Italian Stallion you see here. And despite it not being as fast or fancy as today's 488, he's personalized it in a way that looks a whole lot sexier than what many of us could've imagined for the F430.
Let's start out with what got you into modifying cars in the first place...
I would have to say my brothers got me into the car scene. I was too young to know anything about cars but being around my brothers and their car buddies really got me into it. Magazines like Super Street and Import Tuner really opened up my eyes to the modifying scene. My biggest inspiration at that time had to be LJ Garcia with his Civic hatchback.
What'd you build prior to the Ferrari?
- 1999 Integra GSR. It was my first car, and the one that really taught me how work on cars. I literally took off every single nut and bolt.
- 2005 BMW M3. Still have this. It's fully CSL, turbo, and on BBS LMs, too.
- 2006 Lexus IS250. Had Vertex kit and slammed.
- 2008 Mercedes S-Class AMG. It was slammed with BBS LM-R wheels.
How did the F430 come about?
It was always a childhood dream to own a Ferrari. I really loved the body style of the F430, and it is truly a timeless design. When I was ready to purchase the F430, it took over a year to find a white-on-red combo.
Did you have a plan of what you wanted to do from the get-go?
I have always had a vision in my head of a white F430 Slammed on BBS LMs. It's rare to see a modified Ferrari!
It's been a minute since I've sat in a Ferrari, in fact, a lifetime... What's it like to drive?
It's truly an amazing experience owning a modified Ferrari. Everything from the cold starts in the morning to the high pitch F1 sounds and the rawness of the car... I love the thrill of driving it!
What's something most people overlook about your car?
I think the air suspension is the most overlooked thing because it drives so well. Everyone is always shocked to know it is on air.
Was it hard putting it on air? Guessing there's not a bolt-on kit for it...
It wasn't easy finding something you can buy off the shelf, so I sent the car out to Sadistic Iron Werks in California to build a custom setup. They really helped me build a suspension that fit my driving needs. I love the drivability.
Did you ever feel it was wrong to have air on a Ferrari?
I knew it would be frowned upon, but I knew what I wanted. To be honest, this is the best mod I've done so far.
What are some other standout parts that make your car unique?
A few things that make the car truly special are the custom fit BBS LMs, custom rear bumper, center-exit exhaust and custom carbon-fiber door panels—all built by Sadistic Iron Werks.
Any last words?
Special thanks to Bobby at Sadisitic Iron Werks for making this all possible. Also, to Cullen Cheung and Sam Du for making this feature happen.