GORGEOUS CAR!!!!!! Love Giallo...and thanks for the input.
I made my purchase. I planned to get a Berlinetta, but I really always wanted one in blue. Because they are so scarce, I went with a 97 F 355 Spider in Swatters blue with Tan interior, blue top, tan bonnet. 14,563 miles. Service history below. Last 6 of VIN: 108076 (Ferrari registry shows two mistakes on the vin# and interior color as blue. Odd.)
I am in LOVE with it despite the lack of it being a coupe. That's fine, I plan to save up again over the next few years and buy a GTS with a painted top, so it has the effect of a coupe with open-air capability. I will then have all 3 models, ostensibly. Green would be nice. They are scarce as well.
So, The service history is as such: Ferrari of Long Island did a belt service in 2002, verified. There was another belt service in 2011, August, unverified. (?! Paperwork!?) Also, new battery, new clutch, pressure plate, throw-out bearing. (Verified, saw the paperwork when the dealership had it serviced at (North Coast Exotics, Ohio) So...What about the paperwork for the 2011 belt service?! Here is what I was told, as per the dealership and carfax:
It was sold new at Beverly Hills Ferrari, then made its way to Florida, where it had another owner for 6 years, approximately. Then it went to Ohio. This car was then bought at a well-known auction (forget the name the fellow mentioned) The person who purchased the car was part of the management at Valley Mitsubishi, Medina Ohio, and the dealership purchased it. He no longer works there, and was unable to be reached...but was the fellow who listed the car for the dealership to sell. It sat and sat and they had a few gawkers, never a test drive. I found her on Autotrader.com I believe. I know roughly every F 355 listed for sale online, having been searching EVERY SINGLE DAY for 15 months. SO, anyway, having a hard time selling it, they dropped the price to $50,000.
I flew to Cleveland 2 days later on a red-eye flight, cabbed it to Medina, Ohio for $75 with tip. Pulled out my flashlight and went over every single visible inch of the car. Everything looked fine. Test drove it. Everything felt great. TONS of power, solid. Smooth. Clean. Consistent. Interior is GREAT, minus the vent-stickies. Dash looks good. Plastic looks good.
The check engine light is on. The slow-down light flickers. There was a new battery put in.....hmmmm. They didn't reset the CEL properly I think. I will do that tomorrow...disconnect the battery, let it idle till the second fan comes on etc etc. THEN I HOPE the check engine light doesn't come on again. If it does I will be trying to diagnose this on the forum by searching the topic. Love this forum.
Also, the E-brake is inop. It just pulls up and down freely. Thus, the first step in opening the convertible top is impossible. I HOPE that when I fix it that the top works. It was down in the listing pictures.
So, I took all of this info and my knowledge of the F 355, and got the car for $45,000, cash. The way I look at it, If I have to replace the headers and valve guides, the car is still worth $55,000 at this time in this market. Prices are going up quickly, although they are being inflated a bit by online listings at $103,000 for a NON Fiorano spider with 2000 or 3000 miles, for example.
I think I got a good deal, all things considered. Perhaps an INCREDIBLE deal depending on the status of the manifolds and valve-guides.
I LOVE the car. Floored by its power and looks. Floored. So, I plan to diagnose the dash lights and keep her very-well maintained. The first thing I am going to do is replace the stock manifold. I am going to attempt to verify the 2011 belt service by tracking down the guy who listed it. That's important.
Any feedback is of course welcomed. Thanks! Scuderia Ferrari!!!!! and let's hope Schumacher gets well soon. Cheers for Kimi Raikkonen as well.