Newcomer...looking at a Ferrari 355 and need help! - Ferrari Life
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post #1 of 22 Old 07-30-2011, 10:12 PM Thread Starter
 
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Newcomer...looking at a Ferrari 355 and need help!

Gentlemen,

I have had a life-long love affair with Ferraries and now am prepared to make my move, purchasing one. Precisely, I am considering a 1999 Ferrari F355 Spider . I have admired this car's looks since new; however, beyond its beauty, I know little about the car. Would you all mind painting for me a vivid picture of:

1. Those things the Ferrari 355 brings to the table as a car generally and a Ferrari especially;
2. The car's quirks;
3. The ups and downs of ownership;
4. The car's trouble spots;
5. Its cost of ownership;
6. and (perhaps the most audacious inquiry) why I should not purchase a Ferrari 355?

I know I am asking alot; however, I would appreciate as much help as this forum can afford.

Last edited by ferman; 07-30-2011 at 10:13 PM. Reason: misspelling
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post #2 of 22 Old 07-30-2011, 10:37 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ferman View Post
Gentlemen,

I have had a life-long love affair with Ferraries and now am prepared to make my move, purchasing one. Precisely, I am considering a 1999 Ferrari F355 Spider . I have admired this car's looks since new; however, beyond its beauty, I know little about the car. Would you all mind painting for me a vivid picture of:

1. Those things the Ferrari 355 brings to the table as a car generally and a Ferrari especially;
2. The car's quirks;
3. The ups and downs of ownership;
4. The car's trouble spots;
5. Its cost of ownership;
6. and (perhaps the most audacious inquiry) why I should not purchase a Ferrari 355?

I know I am asking alot; however, I would appreciate as much help as this forum can afford.
Welcome to FL, ferman. Get ready for various opinions. Have you gone over the older threads on 355s and have you looked at the Buyers' Guide which should answer many of your questions ? w/ smiles Jimmy
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post #3 of 22 Old 07-31-2011, 08:22 AM
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correction: you have had a lifelong infatuation, your affair will begin shortly. Good luck and welcome to the best ferrari forum. Although i am not a 355 owner, there are many here that i'm sure will chime in.

i can say this though, look for one with at least 30k in receipts.



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post #4 of 22 Old 07-31-2011, 09:48 AM
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I have met several fellow Ferrari owners with F355. I have a 360. They tell me that there are more maintenance costs with the F355 (engine out belt service) and other quirks. Still, they would not trade their F355 for any 360. The raw sound of these cars is incredible. I had the pleasure of following two of them on a drive a couple of weeks ago. AND....I would definitely NOT get an F1 in a F355. Slow shifting and no revmatching on downshifts. My 360 is an F1. Hope this is helpful.
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post #5 of 22 Old 08-02-2011, 05:09 AM
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I have a 1997 F355 Berlinetta. The car brings me a good feeling to any table!
Quirks? It only has two seats, useless as my GF always wants to be out in the car so my pal's never get a chance
There are absolutely no ups and downs.
No trouble spots.
I don't care about the cost too much, it's a Ferrari which means it has potential to be expensive!

The last and most important one. Purchase for you. There is only ever one reason to purchase such a car, you don't purchase it for your friends or neighbours but because it makes you feel good

Hope that helps as part of the fun is finding one.
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post #6 of 22 Old 08-02-2011, 07:52 AM
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welcome .
I am no expert on the f 355
it was exactly the first car I wanted
yeyet I was talked out of it by a very reputable ferrari salesman at ferrari of san francisco
there were several issues with that model 1 the transmission if you're not familiar can be very problematic
there was a fuel problem but that was most likely fixed or not an issue with the F1
exhaust headers were known failure point
the suspension will give out after a while and you will need to have that is it especially on these older models
the engine out is a must and that's the way to repair water pump belt bearings and you do you tune up
360 and 355 were 5 valve engines
just saying that requires a little more expertise
those are the most major issues that I can recall on the 355 I would of for a 6 speed stick I know it's tempting for the formula 1 but it is better
but I won't stop on your dream I just thought it was something you should know

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Last edited by Granucci; 08-02-2011 at 08:01 AM.
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post #7 of 22 Old 08-02-2011, 12:50 PM
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Ferman,

I chose a 360 over a 355, but here's my take:

1. Those things the Ferrari brings to the table:
Happiness and joy that words cannot describe.

2. The car's quirks:
They're like women, troublesome but irresistible

3. The ups and downs of ownership:
Like the old saying "You get what you pay for" - GET a Ferrari, you will PAY

4. The car's trouble spots;
Anything that breaks or wears out, the Buyers Guide will list those

5. Its cost of ownership;
Figure $1500-2500 per year, depending on model/condition

6. and (perhaps the most audacious inquiry) why I should not purchase a Ferrari 355?
If you can imagine life without one, don't get one. The reverse is also true.
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post #8 of 22 Old 08-02-2011, 02:07 PM
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Love the 355

hello sir,,,i absulutely love the 355..and i as well have considred buying one,,,i love the way it keeps with Ferraris chisled shape,,,and its exhaust note is second to none, i have asked my mechanic .at length,,about what the service would be like ., for that car,,,its defnetly an engine out belt service,,and the added cost for me,,would be 1500.00 more than my 328..now there is the issue of the valve guides failing,due to them ..,i believe..being made out of brass,,as well as issues with the exhaust manifold,,,so my guy said,,if the car is older than a 19 97.5 ,,you should make sure those issues have been addressed,,,i think they replaced the guides with titanium versions,,,anyways,,he said that the late 97 ., 1998 and 1999 models were corrected at the factory,,,one more item,,,seems i have seen and heard of some of the 355 s interior parts becoming unglued,,the one i drove.,.,up by my house,,had an interior that was somewhat coming apart...good luck...i hope you find a nice example of the car you want,,Brett ps..as the other fellow said,,the 6 speed would be the way to go,,the 355 i believe,was Ferraris first venture in putting F1 transmissions in their cars..and from what i have heard,,were very problematic.
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post #9 of 22 Old 08-03-2011, 03:36 AM
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Killer58 I like your number 6, this holds true for me. My F355 is only the second Ferrari I have owned and I really cannot imagine going into the garage and looking at something else, it would just not work.
I have loved late 60's Mustangs for years, considered one too but only next to the Ferrari.

It is mad because they can be expensive and I am not wealthy in fact more like comfortable so if the car has a major issue I will suffer, but it will never outweigh the fun owning the car.

As for F355 valve guides issue I had all this checked with mine, it is a 97 car but can still suffer with it, but the specialist whom did the inspection told me he had only ever had one car that had this fault except one and guess what? It was not an F355 but another car from the Ferrari stable.

There like many cars are lots of 'might have' problems and you will not ever guarantee a car not to suffer one. If you are concerned about expensive repair bills than do not buy one! On that other hand you only live once
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post #10 of 22 Old 08-05-2011, 07:41 PM Thread Starter
 
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Thanks for all of the imput: however, I was hoping for some antidotal accounts and things of that nature. Could you all provide any antidotal accounts of owning a 355 or contribute some of that most magical sort of knowledge or wisdom that is not attainable through reading?
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post #11 of 22 Old 08-05-2011, 08:51 PM
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maybe

i followed one going over laurel canyon road,,,a long time ago...in my RX7..it was an F1 model,,,and the sound was absolutely insane,,,i was beside myself,,,Brett
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post #12 of 22 Old 08-08-2011, 02:53 PM
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So this is my first post but I think it is suiting as I have just purchased my first Ferrari. I bought a 1996 F355 Berlinetta. I have to admit I wrestled with the same questions you are dealing with now. I did lots of research and drove a lot of cars and not just Ferrari's but other cars along the same lines (Aston, NSX, 911 Turbo, Viper, etc.). However each time I thought about buying another car I knew that no matter what the upside of what I bought it still wouldn't be a Ferrari and a Ferrari was what I wanted. So three weeks later and around 1500 miles I have to tell you it has been one of the best experiences of my life. The looks you get and the pure thrill of getting behind the wheel and don't even get me started on the sound! Plus other Ferrari owners are so welcoming and friendly its like I just joined a big family. I saved and studied for over a year before I bought mine and It was a great experience all around. Buy the car you cant take the money with you! If you dont like the service costs sell the car at this point you arent going to loose much money if any at all. The few pieces of advice I have 1.Don't buy an F1 unless it's just something you really want 2.Don't buy a spider unless it's just something you really want 3.Join FCA 4.Buy the car words can't explain the pure joy that comes with picking up your first Ferrari! I hope this helps and good luck.
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post #13 of 22 Old 08-08-2011, 03:14 PM
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Originally Posted by carrejb View Post
So this is my first post but I think it is suiting as I have just purchased my first Ferrari. I bought a 1996 F355 Berlinetta. I have to admit I wrestled with the same questions you are dealing with now. I did lots of research and drove a lot of cars and not just Ferrari's but other cars along the same lines (Aston, NSX, 911 Turbo, Viper, etc.). However each time I thought about buying another car I knew that no matter what the upside of what I bought it still wouldn't be a Ferrari and a Ferrari was what I wanted. So three weeks later and around 1500 miles I have to tell you it has been one of the best experiences of my life. The looks you get and the pure thrill of getting behind the wheel and don't even get me started on the sound! Plus other Ferrari owners are so welcoming and friendly its like I just joined a big family. I saved and studied for over a year before I bought mine and It was a great experience all around. Buy the car you cant take the money with you! If you dont like the service costs sell the car at this point you arent going to loose much money if any at all. The few pieces of advice I have 1.Don't buy an F1 unless it's just something you really want 2.Don't buy a spider unless it's just something you really want 3.Join FCA 4.Buy the car words can't explain the pure joy that comes with picking up your first Ferrari! I hope this helps and good luck.
Congrats and welcome to FL, carrejb. I used to own a '97 355 for couple of years, manual shift. Understand how you feel. You can make us more happy with pics and stories. Enjoy in safety. w/ smiles Jimmy
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post #14 of 22 Old 08-09-2011, 10:52 AM
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here are some pics of the new girl to help you think lol

I think this was the third day I owned it I was out riding around and stopped for dinner. I ended up in a car show all night. The pains of being a Ferrari owner lol. Oh and another point I would like to make on the 355 is it was the first Ferrari after the NSX which changed the game as far as reliability of super cars. If you want proof of the reliability of the 355 do a little research on the 1997 world tour. It drove around the world (150+ days) without a hitch. Also as far as everyday operating costs insurance is very reasonable and really with as little as these cars are being driven an annual service should be about all you have to do on a normal basis and your'e talking <$1k so compare that to your daily driver that you have the oil changed on every 3 months. As an example my car is 15 years old and has full records and I even spoke with the shop that has done all the work since new and they said everything that needed to be done was always done no skimping. I totaled all the bills up and it was $25k so thats a little over $1600 a year. So once again I say compare that to your average daily driver and if you include depreciation (now this is a little bit of a stretch) the Ferrari might be cheaper to operate. To answer another one of your questions about quirks. I'm not 100% sure what your'e referring to but as far as driving quirks it is nothing like you would expect. I don't know if you have had a chance to drive one yet but if you can before you buy I highly recommend driving one and maybe some other cars in the same "class" and just compare. The 355 is very easy to drive and easy to drive fast. It is also very pleasant to deal with when not driving fast. Its fairly comfortable and not extremely hot like some similar cars. The road noise is very minimal (I have sumitomo tires) and most surprising of all it is very docile when you want it to be.

Sadly my awesome camera takes 6MB pictures so I will have to compress them before I can upload them

Last edited by carrejb; 08-09-2011 at 10:56 AM. Reason: pics didnt upload
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post #15 of 22 Old 09-29-2011, 01:16 AM
 
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I'm in the same boat...still collecting and working my way up to maybe one day own a 355 or 348 to begin with

very useful thread..
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post #16 of 22 Old 12-25-2012, 05:57 PM
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This has been a great read. I am also slowly saving to get a 355 Berlinetta or GTS, and learning all I can about what to look for when buying. I'm a little confused about the 2.7 talk, but am learning a lot on what to do before buying. And if these maintenence costs are correct, I should be able to be a Ferrari owner without too much trouble. I am looking to buy in about 2 years. I think I will go for a stick, for reasons of both fun and cost of repair with the F1. If I had the money, I would just find a Blue GTS F1 Fiorano (If there is such a car), A Yellow Spider and a Blue Berlinetta. The hard part would be not crying tears of joy when turning the key for the first time, Fiorano or not.
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post #17 of 22 Old 12-25-2012, 08:51 PM
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348s had two ignition/injection systems, Bosch Motronic 2.5 on early cars, and 2.7 on later cars. Early F355s inherited the 2.7 system, while later Ferraris, including the F355, late 456s and 456Ms, and 550s used Motronic 5.2. A search will point out the differences.

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post #18 of 22 Old 12-31-2012, 07:16 AM
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My advice - if you have considered the F355 - devinately bought it, because obviously if you have considered that yourself, you like it more than the other models. And after all - Ferrari is all about passion and following your heart and yours obviously takes you to the F355.

About the expenses - I think a Ferrari is a Ferrari - they are all expensive to run. The only thing is the engine out service on a F355, but you do that once in 3 years, so I don't think is a big deal. Also - on my opinion - taking the engine out is a far cleaner and better job - when you have a full access to the engine, you can clean it and do all the work it needs by working calmly. You can also inspect it much more completely, I think.

Good luck
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post #19 of 22 Old 12-31-2012, 01:04 PM
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Rumen- Affirmative. Many owners now stretch their engine-out belt changes to 5 years, and that does no seem to cause too many problems. It is already five years for the 575M/612, but with a completely different system running 1000 rpm less at redline.

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post #20 of 22 Old 12-31-2012, 01:57 PM
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This has been such a great read. I can't believe how many first time Ferrari owners are in the same boat, 355 vs 360, including myself.

Last week, I was so set on the 360, but now I'm back to the 355. decision, decisions... I do think the 355 looks nicer IMO

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