Anyone know this 355?
I'm close to moving forward on this car and would love to hear from anyone on the forum that knows of the car and it's history.
Since this is my first Ferrari, I'm a sponge for information so any and all input is welcome. Past experience has taught me that the internet can be a powerful thing for helping to get information/background on a specific car. This one appears to be a very nice car but would like to find a shop or inspection service in the Naples, FL area that anyone would recommend since I won't be able to see the car in person.
the car looks amazing!!
but I wouldn´t buy a Ferrari without seeing it in person and driving it first
I've since found out that the car was purchased at Ferrari of Beverly Hills then to another owner in Waterliet, Michigan (2002) and then to Naples Florida last October. I wish the maintenance records were more complete but I can't find where the car has been maintained and the seller doesn't have the info.
A few suggestions:
- get the Chassis number and then contact Gerald Roush at Ferrari Market Letter. With the chassis number, he might be able to give you more history on the car.
- you can email Ferrari directly at [email protected]. With the chassis number they will be able to tell you the original color and the car and where it was first sold.
- take a look at the Buyers Guide in the Members section here
Goodness, I can't stand that type of in-your-face advertising. I expect respect when I purchase something, regardless of what it is. I am skeptical of a dealer who feels the need to throw things at you instead of using a simple lay-out with outlined information that one actually needs. I am also skeptical of purchasing from Ebay without actually seeing the car in person. Records are must- keep searching if you need to. There are plenty of 355s. I have seen other cars by this same dealer that were over-priced, although this particular one I do not know the price for. My gut feeling is that it is not a deal at all, though it is just my opinion. Before resorting to something like an on-line auction, I suggest consulting various Ferrari resources such as the buyer's guides on this forum as well as Ferrari dealerships and Ferrari mechanics to find out all you can about the 355. The 355 is similar to the car I am interested in buying in the near future, so I also find the 355 to be quite appealing. None the less, there are thousands out there, with lots of them being put on the market for sale. I know of one dealer who was selling a 348 for nearly the price of a new one, at 110,000 as opposed to 120,000-ish for a non-Ferrari dealership one new. The car going for 110,000 had over 50,000 miles on it and it was just a regular not-to-well maintained coupe, not even a mint spider. Anyway, I suggest also checking out the Dupont Registry. I was surprised to see what decent prices they had to offer on some of their cars. Anyway, good luck.
some background 355 info-
The Ferrari F355 has two different engine packages (OBDIO-I=95 and OBDIO-II=96-99), and three different brake packages (95, 96-97, and 98-99). In street braking, there is not much difference in the braking setup and response; and for track use all brake packages should have a set of pads that are more tollerent of heat.
When F1 became available in ?96 or 97? it arrived with an uprated slave cylinder in the clutch throwout system. Like the F348s the clutch (and associated parts) is easy to change even if the parts are expensive. If you have to change anything in the clutch, do the whole thing and use the uprated slave cylinder. Its smoother, lighter, and ever so slightly faster.
The 95 engine has a little more HP and TQ (5 HP and 2-3 lb-ft) from a slightly richer mixture allowed by the OBDIO-I emissions specification. All engines will have header issues if tracked regularly, and the 95 modle year is more affected than later. There is a uprated materials specification if/when header replacement is required. Even with the uprated materials, challenge cars replace the headers yearly. With indifferent street use headers have gone as far as 103,000 miles without failure. The hydraulic pump of the F1 cars saps some power from the engine but performance improves through the faster gear changes available through computer controlled timing of the events. The 360 F1 system is miles ahead in smoothness especially after 2001.
Engines up through the 98 model year can be affected by a valve guide issue detected in 95 based on the 94 348 Challenge cars where the factory changed the vavle guide specification from <some> bronze to sintered steel. In general, if the engine has not run into the valve guide issue by the time it has 20,000 miles it will likely not run into the issue.
The suspension system is excellent, with minor issues relating to the computer controlled shoch absorbers (connector corrosion). The oversteer/understeer relationship is easily manipulated with rear ride height (Google on: Ride couple distribution). The factory specs are just fine for street and even agressive track driving on street tires. I get 9 K miles on a set of max performance street tires where 1,500 of those miles occur on a race track with factory specs. Both front tires and both rear tires turn from treaded tires to slicks within 100 miles of each other. Adding camber speeds up the chassis but beware of making the car faster than the driver. Adding toe calms the car under steady state straight line operation and under braking. Running toe-out is only for track use. The suspension is easily dialed into the driver preference as long as the driver known which direction he want the cars response to move towards. If you lower the car be aware of a high speed heavy braking issue at the front suspension. Staying at the <already> factory ride heights (4.2" of ground clearance) is a good bet and prevents this high speed braking issue.
If you want to use r-compound tires or racing slicks, find the challenge specifications for alignment, but don't lower the car unless you also add the challenge spring and shock package. For noon-agressive track use, r-compounds and slicks work pretty well with the factory alignments.
The alignment system (shims) works so well that if you like agressive track driving and calm street driving, get the car sorted on the track first, and them get it aligned back to factory specs on an alignment gig. The difference between the shim thickness can be measured, and when you get to the trank, loosen a bolt, insert the required shims (8 times) and go to town. At the end of the day remove the shims, and presto you are back at street alignment. You will also get most of the toe change desired (out at track and in on the street) with this change as a side bonus.
I dislike the power assist for the steering and prefer the 348 feel of the steering wheel, but I rate this as a very minor issue.
Cars that are used hard over irregular surfaces will see minor paint spider webbing on the rear flying butress (C-piller) as evidence of hard use.
The plastic parts in the interior need to be kept away from Armoural and similar plastic protectants--it turns the plastic parts into a gooy mess.
The leather <especially> needs to be protected from drying out. Feeding the leather once every couple of months or every time you drive for any distance with the windows down; and avoiding letting the car sit in sunlight help a lot. The leather is higher in quality than <say> a C5 Vette, but less tollerant of lack of care.
Overall, the engine internals, the transmission, suspensions and brakes are basically unbreakable. There are no long term issues with the paint and exterior materials.
With the age of these cars approaching 10 years (95) and only the 98s and 99s still under the 8-year emissions warentee, the potential buyer is ever more dependent upon a high quality PPI than before. These are wonderful high performance machines that can take a lot of abuse (or designed for use) without fail. The engine has a big broad torque curve that is readily accessible and the sound at RedLine is simply out of this world. When the tail drifts out in a 100 MPH sweeper, you dial in a touch of steering and add throttle, and grin all the way to the next braking zone. However, like an Italian mistress, they are demanding upon your time and wallet. Choose wisely.
0) Get a HPi check and make sure there is a history that makes sense. There are independent service places that are better than main Ferrari so a factory history isn't everything. My car hadn't been serviced for 4 years (but hadn't done any miles either) and I just got it back from belt/change major service and its fine.
1) Run your finger along all panel gaps to see if they are relatively equal and panels are mounted at the same level. There is usually some rust on the foot plates under the doors, its a pain to clean up as they are bonded and removing usually bends them. Can be replaced with carbon fibre panels (see eBay). There is usually cracks/ripples in the paint where the C pillar meets the rear wing. This is normal and is something that needs attention every now and again.
2) White powder in the tail pipes = new catalytic convertors. These are £400 each (x2) or can be replaced with pipes (£200 total) but they are loud and due to emissions require a friendly MOT chap. The standard cats do fail (ceramic). Fuchs in Germany will take your old Cat bodies and replace inner with metal matrix which lasts forever (£1000 I think - but one off payment). Note that if the Cats need replacing, either with other cats or pipes then each has 3 sensors (2 Oxygen and 1 temperature) and they sometimes cannot be removed so you need new ones (£160/£60/£100 each).
3) Interior black rubber dash covering cracks in centre console and breaks up. Starts on the ashtray - again carbon panels can be bought on eBay.
4) There should be NO oil leaks, no blobs under it at all. So dont accept the "Ferrari's always leak a little" argument.
5) When/if you check the engine oil level DO WITH THE ENGINE VERY HOT! ie not cold, if you check when cold (like I did) you could end up draining 14L out of the sump (holds 9.5) been there etc...
6) Rub your finger around the top of the dampers on the black rubber bushes, if there is any oil / damp then the damper is on its way. £600 each or about £200 as a recon from Bilstein. Also if rear dampers gone then you will see high wear on inside of rear tyres.
7) Gears selection should be heavy when oil cold (miss 2nd out to save the synchros) once hot the shift should be quick and smooth for all gears.
8) The paint should be even all over and a bit orange peally (normal Ferrari) if the paint finish is mega (no orange peel) then its either been professionally rubbed down and polished or its a re-spray. Look everywhere for overspray, lift the window rubbers etc.
9) Make sure wheels are not damaged, magnesium leaks air if it has hairline fractures and an impact can cause this. They are about £850 each to replace.
10) Exhaust manifolds crack and need welding / replacing at some point. Check for blowing in the exhaust system and adjust price as required. Ferrari manifolds are about £1650 each but there are alternatives that are probably better made (eBay again, .com, I love eBay ).
11) When you remove the petrol cap (make sure it dosnt stick when pressing button on dash, show lack of care) there should be a rush of air OUT (tank pressureised).
12) Check all the electrics work OK, and I mean all of them.
13) I have never seen a car with more than 30,000m on it that hasnt got signs of wear / cracking on the leather interior (seat sides etc) so if you see wear and the mileage is low be suspicious.
14) Throttle sticks a little bit on initial pickup (needs more pressure initially when pulling away then jolts as the pedal moves) this is caused by the throttle cable run not be properly adjusted/lubricated. Its a good indicator of how recently and how well its been serviced. After a service there should be no jolt, but it gets gradually worse the closer you get to the next service.
This info is incredibly helpful and thanks so much for providing such good and experienced guidance.
I've decided to let the car go that I originally posted about since it had no real maintenance history since 1998 and the Carfax report showed an accident (in Michigan) that the seller could not provide any detail around. Simply, too many unanswered questions.
I've since found two other cars that look to be very strong candidates. One is a 95 with around 9,500 miles and the other is a 98 with the F1 gearbox but 26,000 miles. Both have well documented histories and appear to be in very good condition. The price is nearly the same for both.
Given these parameters, which car would be the better one to have, the newer one with the F1 or the older one with lower miles?
Regarding the other two:
- if you are going to track it and drive mostly on open roads - the later F1
- if you will have to drive it in traffic often - the earlier manual F355
I just wanted to say that I proudly joined the ranks of Ferrari owners today having pulled the trigger on the 98 mentioned above. Due to everyone's help, I truly felt that I made a much more educated decision and bought the right car.
This board and the buyers guide have been a tremendous help in moving forward.
now take some pictures of the machine and put them here!
Congratulations. Glad we could help. Just promise us you will drive it regularily :green:
If you have to drive in traffic, the manual is the way to go. The F1 is hard is difficult ot control in stop and go situations and you will end up replacing the clutch frequently.
Thanks Boxer. How does the 355's F1 system compare to the 360s? Are both just as hard to use in "normal" driving situations or is the 360 a lot more manageable?
The 360 F1 is much more refined than the F355 with improvements in the software as well. The later (I think post 2001) 360s are even better. You will not have any problems driving the 360 in traffic with the F1. The only thing you have to be aware of is burning the clutch in slow traffic.
I can't speak first hand about the F355 as I have only driven the 6 speed F355.
Thanks Enzo250GTO for the info.
From various sources, it seems that on the F355, the 6-speed manual is the way to go and that the F1 is just a source of trouble and extra expense.
Tony made a great post.
Besides what he said, new aftermarket exhaust manifolds are available at $3,300 that increase HP and have a lifetime warranty.
Catalytic converters tend to go out quite a bit, OEM ones are pricey but again aftermarket ones are available.
The F1 pump is known to go out, it's a $15,000 replacement. We've found a source for 1/3rd the price but still a very very pricey pump
Wish I could say more but Tony covered everything.
I am also contemplating entering the Ferrari world with an F355 Berl as my first car. I have set my heart on a red one simply as I feel your first Ferrari should be red.
My question is this. I have notieced that some F355 have a painted back end(I prefer like this) and others have the black end. Was this just a very simple option preference when you pruchased the car or is there more to it than that.
Thanks for all the great info in the above posts.....
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