1996 Ferrari 355 Berlinetta - Ferrari Life
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post #1 of 29 Old 11-11-2011, 10:54 PM Thread Starter
 
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1996 Ferrari 355 Berlinetta

Good evening. I am looking to purchase my very first Ferrari. I have always wanted to own a 355, preferably a coupé (red or silver) with only an exclusion to the Spyder - My intentions are to drive and enjoy the car over being seen (so let's get that out of the way, ha!). I would appreciate real, first hand information from a solid knowledge base... that is why we are all here, yes? If you are curious as to why the 355, it is because the 355 was the first Ferrari I drove. I was 15 at the time and it has stuck with me ever since... first impressions last a life time (bought my M3 for the same reason). I would like to know about the maintenance on the car to include yearly operating cost and how much of it I can do myself. I am a solid and patient mechanic with 16 years of experience. My experience varies from lawn mowers to $40 million dollar aircraft(s). I have extensive education and training as well as having multiple certifications. Most importantly is that my confidence does not double as arrogance which reduces the chance of making unnecessary mistakes or undertaking tasks that are better left to individuals who should rightfully be preforming such maintenance. I also would like information on specific maintenance requirements and intervals, specialized tooling and part availability. I understand that there will be a certain amount of time and money dedicated to proper upkeep, and I am prepared for that, but I would like to keep it on the road more than on the rack. I have read extensively on this specific car and of course Ferrari, but I would like to get some information from actual owners, mechanics and historians. There are so many opinions out there and information that can support both sides, but too many times I find myself reading from authors that seem to either be repeating what they have heard (passing off as their own experiences) or having little interaction with anything Ferrari. Here are some specifics on the car: Listed as "excellent condition", 25,704 Miles, Tubi exhaust, garage-kept, non-smoker, current owner purchased it in 2001 - three total, registered member of The Ferrari Club, engine out service completed at 23,000 miles (timing belt and new clutch installed in 2005), original red paint, no scratches or dents, good interior condition - however does have some "sticky" parts and minor shrinkage around dashboard edges, 8 cylinder and has an auto check score of 84.

Everything is in order with regards to the title. I have not seen it in person, but the pictures provided show an excellent looking vehicle, but of course pictures can only do so much... and typically do that. Also, should I steer clear of any sites or dealers? What price range is reasonable for this specific models condition? I would really like to stick with the 355, but I am also not thick headed and if this is a car I should "get over" and pursue other models, please point me in the right direction. I own, or have owned, Porsche and BMW M class autos and would love to stick with my beloved Germans, but I feel that I would have major regrets later in life if I did not experience owning a Ferrari. Thank you for your time and information. I apologize for such a long post. I will update all of you on my decision and post as much information as possible.
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post #2 of 29 Old 11-12-2011, 03:20 AM
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Best place to start is with the F355 Buyers Guide. You can download a copy:

Ferrari Buyer's Guides - Ferrari Life

and always get a through PPI done on any car you are serious about purchasing.
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post #3 of 29 Old 11-12-2011, 08:59 AM
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Rocky welcome to the community.

I have owned my car for some 10 years now and can report the following.
For a person who is mechanically inclined there is little you cannot do yourself as the car is very straight forward to work on.
In the period I have owned the car I have had shock absorbers overhauled exhaust silencers ceramic coated big brake kit installed shock actuators replaced (1) and engine out belt service.

All that the 355 requires is a sympathetic owner who "listens" to the car and attends to it accordingly.

What is a pre requisite is that you pay attention to temperatures and once a year change all fluids which I do religiously.

The radiator fans can blow fuses as the car gets older and the resistance increases.
Shock actuators can sometimes destroy themselves and I know of cars that ingest their exhaust manifolds which over time may become brittle and crack although it has not happened to me.
I equally have read of owners suffering from "valve issues" but am firm of the conviction that if you do your fluid changes on an annual basis and have a feel for the car you can manage to prolong engine life.

It goes without saying that a solid service record with invoices is a pre requisite for a car which is now some 10 to 15 years old.

Mine is a stick shift so I have no first hand experience of the F1 cars.
I have tracked my car at least once a year every year since I acquired it and other than tyres and brake pads I have had no "breakages".

Would I buy another 355 based on my personal experience......and unqualified yes.

I wish you well in your search and in realising your boyhood dream.
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post #4 of 29 Old 11-12-2011, 09:47 AM
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Time since last major

If I understand the ad correctly, the dealership says the last major was done in 2005 and the car has only been driven 2700 miles since then. This means the car is due for another major based on elapsed time, not mileage. Factor that in when negotiating the purchase price.

I don't know where you are located versus where the car is located, but you should fly out to see the vehicle and ask the dealer to do the PPI while you watch. As an experienced mechanic, you will be able to determine right away whether the compression and leakdown numbers make sense to you. Bad compression or leakdown in 1 or more cylinders is a signal that expensive repairs may be around the corner. If they are willing to get the car up on a lift and remove the lower aero trays under the engine, you can check for any leaks or evidence of past leaks. You could also ask them to remove the inspection cover beneath the transaxle to take a peak at the clutch.

Check for evidence of a blown out header tube beneath the heat shields. This is often spotted by the presence of white heat insulation fibers stuck to the side of the block, a hot spot (bright and shiny) on a section of the header heat shields, and even by using a smoke test on the exhaust.

Good luck on the hunt!

1997 F355 Berlinetta, Rosso Barchetta
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post #5 of 29 Old 11-12-2011, 01:39 PM
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The 355 has it's known issues. they are talked about extensively on this site and others. If it was me, i would look for a car that has been sorted. One with 20k in fresh receipts would be good. If the header/valve issue has been addressed adequately, i would be more attracted to it than one that hasn't. Doesn't mean that one that hasn't isn't worthy, but there is a chance of an expensive shock later. A PPI by a very good mechanic will confirm/deny all of this. That is your best insurance. If you can afford this car i see no reason to look for another model. Get what You want. Like any car, the ownership experience is going to run the gamut from never had a problem to nightmare. Buy it like you would any other car. negotiate the best price, then have it checked out.

I prefer to buy a car that needs a major. then you can take the money saved on the purchase and have the car gone through and freshened up under your supervision. A stack of receipts is only a little better than no stack in my opinion. Good luck and have fun on the search. I am sure you will not regret it.



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post #6 of 29 Old 11-12-2011, 04:31 PM
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The F355 is one of the best cars Ferrari ever made. It does everything well. Sure there are the known issues however as long as you take care of the needs of the car it will reward you with an amazing driving experience.

There are lots of people who are willing to help, myself included

I have had my F355 GTS for three years. Have had a few minor issues (fixed them myself) and other than that the car is rock solid. I did my own major and thoroughly enjoyed the experience.

The best pieces of advice are to take your time, find the right car, buy the best example you can find and drive the car. The smile never goes away when driving such a car.
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post #7 of 29 Old 11-12-2011, 05:05 PM
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Welcome to FLife

Two first posts by two new members in the same thread.

Hope you two enjoy the place and post up some pictures real soon
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post #8 of 29 Old 11-13-2011, 01:53 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Not Red View Post
The F355 is one of the best cars Ferrari ever made. It does everything well. Sure there are the known issues however as long as you take care of the needs of the car it will reward you with an amazing driving experience.

There are lots of people who are willing to help, myself included

I have had my F355 GTS for three years. Have had a few minor issues (fixed them myself) and other than that the car is rock solid. I did my own major and thoroughly enjoyed the experience.

The best pieces of advice are to take your time, find the right car, buy the best example you can find and drive the car. The smile never goes away when driving such a car.
Hi Mike, Welcome to FLife.

If you have a minute, please introduce yourself:

Member Introductions - Ferrari Life

F355 GTS was my first Ferrari. Still have very fond memories of it.
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post #9 of 29 Old 11-16-2011, 04:16 AM Thread Starter
 
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Thank you so much to everyone who responded to my post. Excellent information and insight that is far more valuable than I could have found anywhere else. I feel much more confident about perusing the 355 now and even more with my own ability to care for the vehicle as necessary. I will update everyone as I move forward with my purchase to include pictures and any information that may prove valuable to current and future owners. It's wonderful to read about owners who truly appreciate their Ferrari's and are knowledgeable enough to "listen" and understand the needs of them (a1exander). Again, many thanks to all of you!
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post #10 of 29 Old 11-16-2011, 10:37 AM
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Rocky- Welcome and good luck on the F355. The fact it needs an engine-out service is quite a bargaining point as is needing to send the interior parts to Sticky-No-More and Robbie.

If you go to ferraridatabase.com, you can download F355 owners manuals and workshop manuals that will come in handy later. Andrew, the owner of this site, will have those here for members in the near future.

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post #11 of 29 Old 11-16-2011, 11:03 AM Thread Starter
 
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Taz, you have the greatest quote ever! I wasn't expecting that one on here. Thanks for the info too.
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post #12 of 29 Old 11-16-2011, 11:15 AM
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Rocky
I'm a bit late stumbling upon this thread. Nothing of note to add to the good advice above, but welcome to FL none the less. Good luck with your search for the perfect 355. Make sure to keep us informed....

Ferrari's: 360 Modena, 550 Maranello
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post #13 of 29 Old 11-16-2011, 09:25 PM
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You can download both the manual and F1 versions of the F355 Owners Manuals, a driving review from the launch, and the sales brochure all from the Members section.
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post #14 of 29 Old 12-09-2011, 02:14 AM
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Ciao! My name is Luigi Vedovatti I am new in this website, but i have read a few of the notes in here and i will like to find out if some one can help me out with buying my first ferrari.
I am looking at a F355 with 18,000 miles in very clean conditions but i wonder if i should just wait one more year and get a F430. I love the look in the 355 but i drove a 430 and the german stuff i got can place the smile i have when i drove ferrari.
I am getting old. So i dont want to waint no more i want to have one, just need some expert advice on the best way to go about and what to buy.
I am a cheap men, but there are things in life for what i dont care to spend money,
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post #15 of 29 Old 12-09-2011, 05:45 AM
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Welcome to FL

Why not split the baby and buy a 360? Good value for the money these days and may cost you less to maintain than a 355.
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post #16 of 29 Old 12-09-2011, 08:08 AM
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Ciao Luigi, benvenuto a Ferrari Life. Ho un 360 Spider e sono d'accordo con Alfonso.

I faced the same decision as you. I love the classic lines of the 355 and they are fully depreciated now. I also drove the 430 in Maranello, and while I liked it, I preferred the 360 much more.

The deciding factors were: 1) I liked the looks of the 360 better than the 430, and 2) it is cheaper to maintain than the 355.

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post #17 of 29 Old 12-09-2011, 03:11 PM
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Thank you very much killer58 and 360 I am at work offshore at the present time but i have been looking and looking for something to make the decision for me like you say killer58 there is no way to go wrong with a dream. I wonder if i should just wait a year or 2 and get the one i really dream about but to go 180,000 into it is make me feel a bit out of control is am very lucky i am not married bucause is not way my wife will let me get one.
this is why i think i better get one before i get married.lol
I am so crazy about this car that it has cross my mind to sell one of the real state properties i have and just buy it.
That is the reason i dont go into a dealer i know my self very well and if i will walk into a the dealer that has my car i will just go for it.
I promess my self to have a ferrari when i come to america and i have place the dream on hold for 16 years.
but paying 100,000 more than the 355 it make me feel stupid. but a very happy Stupid .lol
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post #18 of 29 Old 12-09-2011, 03:27 PM
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why you like much more the 360 killer?
i read that the cheapes to repair is the 430 and that it breaks the least.
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post #19 of 29 Old 12-09-2011, 08:58 PM
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Luigi- It is the price. It costs a bit more to maintain a 360 because of the belts compared to the F430's chains, and the F430 is faster and newer, but it costs quite a bit more for an equivalent condition F430 than a 360. Just like it costs more for a 360 than an F355.

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post #20 of 29 Old 12-10-2011, 10:44 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 360 Modena View Post
Welcome to FL

Why not split the baby and buy a 360? Good value for the money these days and may cost you less to maintain than a 355.

I just have a F430 look in florida and the mechanic found a few things that are making me worried the car is for sale for 130 is a 06 with 10500 miles and in pictures looks clean but the mechanic told me it will need a cluch very soon plus something with the exaust?
I am broken i really love the car but just to find out about the problems it make me feel i should just wait for something with very few miles and only one owner> will that make the car better?
I really will like the 430 more than the 355 but just the lines and color of the 355 are incredible, is just like when i kiss a girl for the first time i just cant forget about it.
just really concern with what my friends are telling me, i will end expending so much more on fixing it? than the 430.
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