Ferrari Life Forum banner

1 - 20 of 38 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
14 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
I'm going to open a can of worms but here goes. I want to purchase a Ferrari but the maintenance cost scare the hell out of me. If I was a wealthy man like a lot of you out here I wouldn't have any reservations but I'm not. My question is this, I would like to know if anyone knows of a shop here in the USA that does first quality chevy engine conversions for Ferrari's! I would like to purchase a 355 spyder with 6 speed and have a aluminum 350 small block installed. I have seen ferrari's for sale in the past with small block chevy's so I know someone does this, also the Testarosa that was used in the tv show miami vice had a small block installed to keep the cars budget down. I would deeply appreciate any help without insulting anyone. Thank You.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
509 Posts
I think I can safely say, on behalf of most of the members here, that if you were to replace the 355s engine with a small block chevy you would no longer have a Ferrari ... thus it would defeat the purpose.

The 355 is touted as a drivers car ... I think you really would be missing the point.

Have you considered a 3x8? Something to think about.

Magnum will have to post ... his sig. is relevant.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
1,990 Posts
Jwstevens,

No offence but if you can’t afford the maintenance on a 355 then you can’t afford to own one. Im not trying to be an ass, hell I can’t afford one either but you need to ask yourself a few questions first.

Are you saying your worried about the price of maintenance because you want a crap load of HP in a Ferrari shell? Be honest here because there are really good options for you depending on what you’re looking for.

If you want a Ferrari (whole, engine and all) then I recommend a 328…it’s a sweet reliable model and cost is quite low to maintain and half the price of a 355. Add another $10-15K and you can have a 348 (the one I can afford and looking for). Also if your somewhat mechanically inclined, you can do everything yourself on a 328 for cheap and can have the whole package.

Now if it’s because you want power with a Chevy engine, then I suggest you buy a 355 or any model for that fact that has been through water damage and is for sale because it has been declared a total loss. You will have to change everything on it anyways, wiring harness, fuse box, relays, engine etc…so everything that is considered damaged is not going to be used because you will use a Chevy engine and parts to make it run. You will also need a Porsche transmission because it’s one of the few that can be attached to a Chevy engine without blowing up after 1000 miles but, they are quite expensive. The entire modification if done by a shop, you’re looking at about 30-40K parts and all if you’re lucky.

Now if you can afford a 355, about $95K – 120K then you can afford the maintenance. The maintenance cost every 15k miles is about $2k (Minor) and every 30k miles $6K (major). If you only put 3-5K miles per year, then the cost is just regular maintenance you would do on any car.


~
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
366 Posts
OK, how about taking a 400ia, which you can get cheap. It came with a very complicated V-12 engine, and a GM automatic transmission (turbo-hydro 400). A 427 Chevy engine drops in and bolts right up to the automatic! Cheap, reliable conversion :) -Steve
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
14 Posts
Discussion Starter #5
Chevy conversion

Hello guy's,
No offence is taken, I thank you for the reply's.

Magnum, you are right about the power from a small block. One thing that the americans have is our small block engines, lots of hp and torque in a very reliable package. There is a 355 spyder here in the small town where I live in south Arkansas just sitting in a garage with 28k miles and a blown engine I can have for $50k and my wife (the boss!!!) has given me the OK to purchase a midlife crisis toy so I have a budget of $100k. Yes, I could purchase a running car but the closest dealer or repair shop is 100 miles away and I still have the nightmare of high maint. cost. I plan on driving the car not look at it sitting in the garage so the miles will pile up real fast and so will the maint. bills with the Ferrari engine. It bothers me that a car as high of caliber as a ferrari can't handle the power from a 450hp small block.

I'm looking for the best of both worlds, the style of the italian cars with the reliability of the small block chevy.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
14 Posts
Discussion Starter #6
Chevy conversion

Steve,
Thank you for the reply. I have spoken with a man that has done a conversion on a 412. He did the work himself but instaid of using the turbo 400 he installed an r700 with a zz4 crate engine, super nice car. I just love the 355 spyder and I have a car close by that would be great for the conversion if I can find a well qualified shop to do the work without being a hack job. I might not be able to have the job done for the budget I have!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
218 Posts
here is my experience with conversions.
I have seen driven and owned several of them, and its a disaster.
you will have an unreliable monster.
You will lose everything, and no longer have the car you bought.
100s of parameters and little things are changed and the car is never going to behave like the car was originally intended to.
The biggest problem, except for reliability is the vibration.
the car will vibrate like a tractor.
after 1 year of the conversation, you will want to sell it to the first buyer for 1$, because by then you will have lost all you health and desire to the 100s of little and big problems you are going to encounter with the frankenstein.

now, you have a lot of money. we are talking about 100k here.
You can go out and buy lots of ferraris models in perfect condition, or even a new different kind of brand car.

Take my adivce, think of it as priceless.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
366 Posts
I don't disagree with Vectra17. Conversions rarely work because it is difficult to find someone to do the work right. I realize there are no Ferrari dealers nearby, but who is going to fix a Ferrari/Chevy? If the conversion shop is gone, you are screwed. And resale would be zip.

I think I could also argue that a blown F355 is not worth $50K. They are extortionately expensive engines to fix, not to mention major labor time to R&R. I'll bet you can get the car for less.

Don't forget that a 355 with Tubi exhaust is the greatest sound of all time. No Chevy conversion will ever sound that good.

Let's keep bouncing this one around. Maybe there is a good solution.....

Steve
 

·
Administrator
Joined
·
6,320 Posts
JW,

I think there is some very serious misguidance and buying a F355 to then put in a Chevy engine will be about the worst thing you could do. There is no way in hell it is going to save you money. Ferrari engine's do not break and since when were GMs considered reliable? Am I missing something here?

The cost of maintaining a F355 are in the following:

1. Parts are more for EVERYTHING because there are fewer. So you have a Chevy engine, but you still have Ferrari brakes, suspension, hoses, belts, windows, interior parts, exhaust etc etc

2. Working on a F355 means that you have to remove the underbody as it is solid metal. Therefore labor is expensive and going to a Chevy mechanic will be a disaster as they won't know what the hell sheets of metal under the car are for. I can just see the mechanic looking up and scratching his head. You would be better off sending me $60k for a lifetime membership to Ferrari Life because any mechanic that doesn't know this car is going to ruin it.

3. A 308 or 328 will out last anything GM has made in the last 20 years. The cars are simple and work and both are drop dead good looking.

HEED OUR ADVICE.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
14 Posts
Discussion Starter #10
Hello guy's,

First off, thank you for all of the reply's I deeply appreciate all of them!

My thoughts for this coversion is install a chevy engine because I could do all of the maintenance my self not have a mechanic work on the car. I have had hobby cars most of my life to play with except for the last 5 or 6 years just because I have been just too busy. I have an aluminum Donovan small block chevy sitting in my work shop that I have had for about 12 years, that is where this ideal is comming from.

I just love the f355 spyder and from what I have read this is an engine that is not for the hobbiest to play with as for anything else on the car I dont have any reservations working on it myself. I was looking for a competent shop to do the swap and after that I would be the chief cook and bottle washer.

One major concern of mine is keeping the electrical system intact all of my hobby expirience is with cars that didn't have computer this and that and I know one wrong wire can cause havoc in the system.

I love the 308 body but I drove a 1978 gtb in my younger days and wasn't impressed with the power and I mentaly do not like the way the engine sits in the engine bay.

Please except my apology about the reliability comment I realy ment to say cheaper to keep running as I am not familier with the Ferrari engine.

I am enjoying reading everything you guy's have to say and I hope that I haven't insulted anyone with this ideal.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
1,990 Posts
My thoughts for this conversion is install a Chevy engine because I could do all of the maintenance my self not have a mechanic work on the car. I have had hobby cars most of my life to play with except for the last 5 or 6 years just because I have been just too busy.
Let me ask you this, can you take your Chevy engine completely apart, troubleshoot a problem, change pistons, heads, valves, crank shaft etc..and put it back together again?

One major concern of mine is keeping the electrical system intact all of my hobby experience is with cars that didn't have computer this and that and I know one wrong wire can cause havoc in the system.
The Ferrari wiring and computer will not work for a Chevy small block…Connecting the dash to the Chevy harness should not be hard, but speedo might me a little tricky…


~
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
14 Posts
Discussion Starter #12
Magnum,

Yes, I have had camaro's, corvettes, I have put a 350 into a 914 body with the conversion kit from rengade, I had a t-bucket and on and on. I have a 2500 square foot workshop/garage in my back yard that realy doesn't get used anymore. The last project I had was a Lola t-70 mkIII coupe from a company called Marauder cars that was a kit car I built and sold to a friend of mine about 6 years ago. The only play toy I have left is a 1967 camaro rs/ss and that car will be with me for ever as it was the car my father gave me on my 16th birthday.

I know the ECM from the Ferrrari will not work with the Chevy and that is my major concern, the fabrication to install a small block would not too much of a problem but matching the electricle system to the chevy and make everything work properly is for someone that has thorough knowlage of the wiring system in a f355.

I just don't have the time to build things anymore I have business responsibility's that take most of my time and I realy don't think that I would tackle this project even if I had the time that is why I am looking for a fabrication shop to do it.
 

·
Administrator
Joined
·
6,320 Posts
Hello guy's,

First off, thank you for all of the reply's I deeply appreciate all of them!

My thoughts for this coversion is install a chevy engine because I could do all of the maintenance my self not have a mechanic work on the car. I have had hobby cars most of my life to play with except for the last 5 or 6 years just because I have been just too busy. I have an aluminum Donovan small block chevy sitting in my work shop that I have had for about 12 years, that is where this ideal is comming from.

I just love the f355 spyder and from what I have read this is an engine that is not for the hobbiest to play with as for anything else on the car I dont have any reservations working on it myself. I was looking for a competent shop to do the swap and after that I would be the chief cook and bottle washer.

One major concern of mine is keeping the electrical system intact all of my hobby expirience is with cars that didn't have computer this and that and I know one wrong wire can cause havoc in the system.

I love the 308 body but I drove a 1978 gtb in my younger days and wasn't impressed with the power and I mentaly do not like the way the engine sits in the engine bay.

Please except my apology about the reliability comment I realy ment to say cheaper to keep running as I am not familier with the Ferrari engine.

I am enjoying reading everything you guy's have to say and I hope that I haven't insulted anyone with this ideal.
Alls I can say at this point is good luck and have fun F*ing up a great car. I can bet you will regret it. As soon as the OBD II system has a problem with something you are hosed assuming you can find anyone willing to try this project.

I still can't believe you would even consider putting a Chevy engine into a Ferrari.

I don't know what kind of garage you have but you are dreaming if you think you can work on a F355 while it is parked on the ground. I hope you have a lift and some pretty sophisticated tools.

Do you see any way to access this?

http://www.ferrarilife.com/photos/viewphoto.php?p_id=3220&mode=model&modelselect=118

You think a 308 is underpowered what the hell do you think a F355 will be with a Chevy engine? I really doubt it will put out 400 bhp and handle 100 hp per liter.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
1,990 Posts
I know the ECM from the Ferrari will not work with the Chevy and that is my major concern, the fabrication to install a small block would not too much of a problem but matching the electrical system to the Chevy and make everything work properly is for someone that has thorough knowledge of the wiring system in an F355.

I just don't have the time to build things anymore I have business responsibility's that take most of my time and I really don't think that I would tackle this project even if I had the time that is why I am looking for a fabrication shop to do it.
Well I have good news and bad news for you…

The good news is you know the difference between an engine and a hole in the ground. So investing in shop manuals, some Ferrari tools, a lift and scanning equipment and you could have a seriously sweet setup with your mechanic knowledge. An engine is an engine, period. The only difference is it’s a little longer to work on than a Chevy, I know I built 100’s of American engines, you do one, and you can do them all. Just remember the first time you took an engine apart and said holy shit I cant believe im doing this and when it fired up you said wow…I did it.

The bad news is fitting an engine is the easy part, it’s the vibrations that keep breaking parts. Then sensor, computer and wiring headaches that can make you crazy and lead you to hate the car and selling a chopped up rear Ferrari will be worth nothing and your going to hate the decision you made. Building a kit car and modding a non American car is two different things. We have a performance shop and have done some pretty freaky shit to cars (350 in a Fiero etc…) and none of it was cheap. If you think your going to save money, your not…it’s going to be a money pit. Unless you have serious coin to drop in it and want to do it, I can only say good luck because it will take a tremendous amount of time.

Now none of us want to see a good Ferrari get chopped up/modified but it’s not the reason we are giving advice, well me anyways, it’s just going to be more than you wanted because you said it yourself, you have a business and don’t have time anymore. The problem with fabrication shops is they will either say no or do it as quick as possible, make you sign a shit load of forms to remove any responsibility just to get your money and get you out. Why you ask….simple, people are afraid of the word Ferrari…they think that if it’s not perfect they are going to get sued by some rich guy who can afford a Ferrari and chop it up no matter what you tell them, yeah that’s right, you’re a millionaire to others now. People will treat you differently, and if you do find a shop that will do a good job, they will keep it for 6-9 months and keep giving you excuses why it’s not finished so you can dump a load of cash….because they think your rich.

If I was you, I would fix it myself, I would learn everything about it, take it apart, fix it, put it back in and have the biggest bragging rights out there like some on this forum.


~
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
14 Posts
Discussion Starter #15
Magnum,

You are the type of guy that I want to through ideals to, because you can turn a wrench! My shop is pretty well equipt I do have a lift it is a four cornerpost type. The only equipment that I don't have is a milling machine and lathe but everything else is here from mig and tig welders and just about everything else. In my earlier day's I was a very serious hobbiest. My shop is big and well equipt my son uses it more than I do anymore.

I bacame a member a while back because I've always been intrigued with Ferrari's and desided I was going to purchase one and this way I could talk with people that have knowlage of these cars.

Let me ask you this, in my situation, let's say I have an f355 how much time does it take to perform a minor and major sevice providing all of the tools and parts are sitting in my shop?

Also, this f355 that I can purchase here in town is a 97 (6 speed), all I know is that it has 28k miles and the motor is blown, I think the timming belt broke and distroyed the valves, I know that I can get the car for at least $50k prossibly cheaper. The guy is in no hurry to get rid of it and it's sitting coverd in an air condition shop, other than it not running the car is in exelent shape. How much do you think that car is worth taking in consideration the engine has to be rebuilt and do you think it's worth the time and effort to fix it or purchase one that is running!
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
1,990 Posts
Well you have the equipment so why don’t you take the challenge…If I was you I would…the price seems about right but could always be negotiated lower, one could argue the unknown of a blown engine and what needs to be repaired. If I had a 100K to spend…, 40-50K for the car and the rest for the repairs…..hell yes…..she would be parked in my garage. One major cost of repairing a Ferrari is the rate shops charge…this would be in your pocket, and lots of it. Ask some of the guys here, most of them do their own minors and most of the major repairs themselves.

As far as how long, it’s hard to say, every car is different, I would say after removing the engine crate, maybe 2-3 times more than a regular small block (American motors are easy) . It also depends if you want to change additional hoses you feel need changing, extra engine detailing as well as engine bay detailing. You will also have full access to suspension and brakes so I really can’t tell.

Now Carguy did the engine in his TR and it’s much more complicated than a V8 so maybe we can get some light on the subject from him. Here is the post he did when he took it apart…

http://www.ferrarilife.com/forums/showthread.php?t=4870

As well, to see what usually gets done and how it looks like, take a look at Eugenio’s web site. Lots of info on the work he does for his customers as well as lots of pics, prices and you will see what an F355 engine looks like when it’s out of the engine bay.

http://emelbon.tripod.com/eugeniosferrariservice.html

One last thing, keep all receipts, take lots and lots of pictures, buy a blank page book and take lots of notes, they help in the rebuild.


~
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
29 Posts
Re: 355 conversion

Jwstevens,
I don't know if this is of interest to you or not, but if you are only after the ferrari looks with the power of the chev, have you considered a kit car? I saw a 355 spider kit car on Ebay in Australia a few months ago. It sold for approx 60k(Austalian). It looked like the 355, however was fitted with a new 350 chev. This may be a better option to consider if you don't want to rebuild the 355 engine. If not sure what the kit was called, but it was made in the USA. It would certainly be a cheaper option.
Regards
Argento308
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
6,738 Posts
Wow

Jwstevens,
I don't know if this is of interest to you or not, but if you are only after the ferrari looks with the power of the chev, have you considered a kit car? I saw a 355 spider kit car on Ebay in Australia a few months ago. It sold for approx 60k(Austalian). It looked like the 355, however was fitted with a new 350 chev. This may be a better option to consider if you don't want to rebuild the 355 engine. If not sure what the kit was called, but it was made in the USA. It would certainly be a cheaper option.
Regards
Argento308
What a decent and sensible solution for such a convoluted proposition. Right on the mark. Jimmy
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
51 Posts
If you do the kit route, which seems like the more sensible thing to do, please don't try and sell it off as a real Ferrari. Just my 2 cents.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
47 Posts
If you do the kit route, which seems like the more sensible thing to do, please don't try and sell it off as a real Ferrari. Just my 2 cents.
Very good suggestion because the other Ferrari owners who are truly into their cars will know by the sound of the engine that something is not all there. You will also have the stigma and problem of explaining to everyone that the "Ferrari" you are driving has a Chevy engine. I almost bought a Cobra replica but could not imagine having to explain that it was a copy of the real thing. I have nothing against kit cars, but some are as expensive as a real production car. So, why not spend the money on a real production car? I think if you have the money to purchase this car, the shop/tools and the mechanical skills, then rebuild the 355. It is an awesome thing to drive a complete Ferrari. The sound (especially with a Tubi exhaust) is incredible and you will have the extreme bragging rights of fixing it yourself. I would certainly evny you!
 
1 - 20 of 38 Posts
Top