Ferrari 360 Modena

Preparation & Pre-flight checks

I suppose that for many, taking an unusual car on a long haul trip may at first appear a little daunting. There are a fair few 'what ifs…' that start creeping in, quite unfairly if the truth be told but there's no escaping the fact that travelling across a continent in a red Ferrari wont be quite the same as heading off for a weekend in Devon in the Mazda.

Firstly, let's dispel the reliability myth. Ferrari's are pretty bulletproof and if properly maintained, will offer many miles of happy motoring. The days of Italian cars with rice paper bodywork are truly behind us and the offending old Fiats, Lancias and Alfa Romeos have long since evaporated.

Like it or not you will attract attention (I can honestly say that any attention we received was 100% positive) so be prepared to deal with that or buy a different car. I also think it's fair to say that all Ferrari's like a bit of a drink, but they tend to be a happy drunk and will put a smile on the face of the both the occupants and random strangers alike. We wouldn't concern ourselves with fuel consumption but as it turned out, we went a little further on each tank than might've been expected of a high-revving V8.

Ferrari MOT at QV London

A once over at QV London

We took a few precautionary measures but really nothing you wouldn't do in any car. It had been suggested to me to throw a couple of spare ignition coils in the boot. Word has it that if they give you trouble, it'll always happen when you're in a different country and along with those we also packed a spare F1 pump relay*. A quick sortie to Halfords armed us with two new cans of tyre weld (no spare wheel in a 360*) and some little GB stickers for our number plates. The latter meant I wouldn't have to Photoshop out a large white oval sticker on the back of the car – the sort we had in the good old days from our holiday snaps. We had peace of mind, the car recently going through its MOT at QV London in Windsor, along with a new set of tyres and a full major service by the guys at Ferrari specialists Migliore Cars in Bromsgrove. All that was left was to replace the designer leather Ferrari toolkit from the boot with a carrier bag (space reasons), containing a random array of spanners, zip ties, pointy objects, bangy things and emergency electrical tape.

*The F1 pump relay is a small cheap electrical relay that involves itself with the hydraulic (flappy paddle) gear change. If it was to fail many miles from home there'd be much swearing involved so I bought a spare. Ferrari spec'd the spare wheel as an option but it takes up most of the boot. It's either a wheel or clothes. Our car doesn't have one so we have cans of tyre weld instead. We may get stranded but at least we wouldn't smell.

We also threw in a load of stuff robbed from the Boxster – spare bulbs, warning triangle, glow in the dark clothing and the breath test kits that are supposedly a legal requirement in France, although I read somewhere they can't be legally enforced. Clever eh?

The art of packing a Ferrari 360

The morning ritual, it's surprising what goes in. An assortment of bags and shoes topped off with an old sheet to avoid scuffing the boot lid. Carry-on luggage and in-flight meals go behind the seats.

Packing wise, we've got a couple of pretty large bags that we travel with. Big enough in fact that they typically hold two weeks worth of clothes, scuba equipment, lots of Pringles and anything else tasty we can find to bring home with us. Imagine my surprise when I tried them in the boot only to find they'd fit! Perfect for the job and very cost effective, especially when compared to the official Ferrari luggage set which some owners would option for several thousand pounds and never use. The real master-stroke was better than this though. It was two of our black pillow cases which we could slip our rucksacks into and stash behind the seats. Not only did we have scuff protection for the leather interior but the black of the fabric made them virtually invisible when in the car. There's a good space behind the seats in the 360 and supposedly large enough to house a set of golf clubs. As we don't have any golf clubs, it would be ample room for our large collection of crisps and cameras, about 20 CDs that we wouldn't listen to and two bags of chewy sports mixture sweets. Oh, and a big bag of peanuts - half of which I'd be dropping into inaccessible places between the seats over the next two weeks or so. The little cargo net on the rear bulkhead makes an ideal prison for stuffed animals too, in our case housing a small cow (no doubt he'll appear in a picture or two).

We had swapped our insurance from a multi-car type thing to a policy a little more appropriate, offering an agreed value along with other perks and European breakdown cover. Adopting a belt & braces approach, I also signed up to the official Ferrari assistance service which offers recovery to a dealership in a worst-case scenario.

Michelin maps

Our selection of Michelin maps

I made a note of our cars PIN code, which would enable us to override the immobiliser in case I lost the key fob or dropped it down the toilet. We printed local area maps of our overnight stops and already had the excellent Co-Pilot app on the iPhone to act as a sat nav should we need it. In terms of purchased maps, we found a Michelin motoring atlas for Germany which also covered several other countries (most importantly Belgium & Switzerland) and it's most excellent. It outlines scenic roads in green and shows terrain so you really get a feel for the lay of the land. We bought a detailed map for the Black Forest that also covers the Alsace/Vosges region of France, to go with a map of northern Italy left over from a previous trip. Both fold-out maps were also Michelin. Together with the sat-nav app to get us through town centres, we were well covered.

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