Watching Dr. Daniel Hurd drive his 2001 Ferrari 360 Modena is to experience the sublime. In every sense, the machine gives the impression of being a mechanical marvel. Its engine, even at low RPMs, emits a persistent, attention-catching scream. Its shape sweeps backwards from a low nose, following a subtle beltline, to wide and graceful rear fenders. Rear air intakes – for cooling the engine, set behind the seat – fit naturally into the body, designed by Italian company Pininfarina.
Then, the car is gone, and you’re left to wonder where the vehicle has taken Dr. Hurd. If someone suggested it, you’d almost believe it had taken him to another world.
In reality, he’s just around the corner, piloting the car with its F1 transmission, a design which incorporates engineering used by Ferrari in its Formula One race cars. The driver uses paddles mounted to the steering wheel to control the transmission. An electronically-controlled clutch minimizes shift time to less than one-tenth of a second
The naturally aspirated engine – a 3.6L V8 with five valves per cylinder – redlines at over 8,500 RPMs and achieves 400hp, rarified territory in the year 2001. The car’s body and suspension are built with aluminum, allowing a lower curb weight and additional potential zip. Yet the car handles as readily as you’d hope an exotic sports car would. “It’s so sure of itself,” Dr. Hurd says. “It was built for going at faster speeds.”
Dr. Hurd, who has practiced dermatology in Blacksburg since 2001 in his business, New River Dermatology, and directs the dermatology residency program at LewisGale, has appreciated powerful cars since childhood. He was raised partly in rural New York, where his father and uncles raced on dirt tracks, including against Geoff Bodine
“I guess I got the bug from my dad, [DeWayne]”. Over the years, Hurd has driven and collected a number of impressive automotive specimens, included a patina restored 1955 Chevy truck and a 1936 Ford. He and his father even restored – with modern parts and technology (a “restomod”) – a 1965 Mustang, an American classic.
But DeWayne can’t help but appreciate the special feeling that comes from driving the Ferrari. “When Dad drives it, he gets a smile on his face.” The car has a few modifications, including Tubi exhaust, red brake calipers, OEM black wheels and Scuderia badges, which show Ferrari’s trademark rampant horse. The car also has upgraded seats, with yellow contrast stitching to match the car’s exterior.
When the car needs to be serviced, Hurd takes it to a shop in North Carolina, often bringing along for the journey his wife Angie, who is a P.A. in the dermatology practice. The car is noticeable for not having a front grill; instead, there are two air intakes on each side of the nose. Less than 15 feet long, about the length of a modern-day compact car, the Ferrari packs an incredible amount detail into that space ~ a blend of beauty, class, power, and thoughtful design.
“I’ve always had my eye on this body style,” says Hurd, who also collects petroliana and auto memorabilia – signs, lights, display cabinets and the like. “I just love the lines of it.” Though he may not max out the engine technology of his Ferrari the way Michael Schumacher did when driving for Ferrari and winning five consecutive Formula One championships beginning in the year 2000, Hurd isn’t afraid to take his car out for a ride. He particularly enjoys local scenic roads, including the Blue Ridge Parkway.
“Who doesn’t want one?” he muses. “Would you turn it down? No one else would, either.” Especially in Ferrari’s bold Fly Yellow, a stunning, sun-kissed color that commands notice on every outing.
Text by Karl Kazaks
Photos by Nathan Cooke