First Ferrari: F355 spider or 360 Modena?

Discussion in '348/355' started by Hercules Rockefeller, Apr 29, 2012.

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  1. Hercules Rockefeller

    Jan 14, 2012
    I'm having a hell of time deciding which car to get, the F355 spider, or the 360 Modena. Either way the car has to be manual, red/tan. I really wanted an open top Ferrari, it just seems to make more sense, the open air, the gated 6-speed, the sound of the engine, and the classic lines of the F355 are where it's at. But the 360 has grown on me a lot over the years, but I don't like the spider in that model, don't know why exactly, but it just isn't "open" enough for me and the lines just don't flow as well.

    So here's where I am. All things being equal, I'd rather get the F355 spider, and I'm ready to pull the trigger on a nice one not too far from me. But the practical reality of owning and actually driving the car has me a bit worried and as a result I'm still considering the 360. Either car will be a driver's car; I'll be putting 5-7k miles on it per year. And the problem is I've heard so many mixed stories about the F355 I just don't know what to do. I know about the valve train, the convertible top, sticky buttons and header issues, but other than those problems just what is it that makes everyone say that the F355 is so unreliable? I know that the engine out/belt change can be expensive and I don't have a problem with a $10k repair every now and then, but the idea of a $30-$40k repair just isn't acceptable. Plus I've heard that some parts aren't even available for the F355 anymore, so who knows, if something breaks could I just be up the creek?

    If you were to buy a '95 F355 (OBD1) that already had a new top end on the motor, what are the other big issues that could possibly ruin your experience? After fixing the top end of the motor, is the 360 still *that* much more reliable of a car?
  2. yelcab

    yelcab F1 Veteran

    Nov 29, 2001
    San Carlos, CA
    Full Name:
    Mitchell Le
    If there is ever a Ferrari that I would avoid, it is a Spider. The F355 spider top is the most over-designed, under-performing, full of problems, piece of sheet of a top that any car company has ever had the balls to put on the market. And I own one.
  3. Hercules Rockefeller

    Jan 14, 2012
    yes, but I'm not that worried about the top because:

    1) I don't plan on ever putting it up
    2) If the auto lowering mechanism breaks (and I'm sure it will), can't the top be converted to manual only operation?
  4. wazie7262

    wazie7262 Formula 3

    Feb 13, 2008
    Temecula, CA
    Full Name:
  5. Hercules Rockefeller

    Jan 14, 2012
    That's the one I'm looking at. I just want to make sure that I'm actually going to be able to drive it on a semi-regular basis.
  6. ClydeM

    ClydeM F1 Veteran
    Rossa Subscribed Owner

    Nov 4, 2003
    Wayne, NJ
    Full Name:
    Clyde E. McMurdy
    This topic has been covered a lot.
    I own a 308GTB. I've never owned a convertible. I thought a spyder would be wonderful, and a 355 looks very good as a spyder. I'm not a fan of the GTS body style and I'm not a fan of the 360/430. And the 458 is just starting to break the mold in looks. But they are reasonably new and reliable.
    Well I've gotten several sunburns from driving the spyder. At 6'3", I can't wear a hat in the car. It would blow off. Here in the NE, air on with the top down does nothing and with lots of traffic, there's lots of time spent waiting in traffic. I have yet to see the temp guage climb like it does in the 308. But we'll see how this summer goes.
    It is a bit loud with the top down. Good for short drives, not so good for anything > 1 hour.
    Watch any woman in a convertible - hands hold the hair for as long as she can stand it.
    And my wife tolerates the noise. At least for the shorter drives.

    As to the reliability - it's an aging Ferrari. 'nuff said.

    It sounds like you did your homework on the engine. As everyone recommends, always keep a reserve because any older Ferrari will eat right through it.

    I vote red/tan 355 manual spyder.
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  8. Mitch Alsup

    Mitch Alsup F1 Veteran

    Nov 4, 2003
    It is quite costly to buy all those 348 parts and remove all the F355 parts.
  9. Yassa

    Yassa Formula Junior
    Silver Subscribed

    May 23, 2011
    Full Name:
    Dr Yassa Hughes
    #8 Yassa, Apr 29, 2012
    Last edited: Apr 29, 2012

    +1 get a GTB if anything. Notice how many Spiders are for sale vs GTBs. Seems like owners who have the GTBs are are holding on to them. As far more HP in the 95, well its not much, like 10 HP at best. All else being equal, what I have noticed, is that both OEM and Aftermarket products are A LOT easier to find for a 5.2 vs a 2.7. From headers to air intakes...
  10. treedee3d

    treedee3d F1 Rookie
    Silver Subscribed Owner

    Apr 1, 2011
    Full Name:
    Sometimes Fchat is a lot like checking your health symptoms online, everything is blown up and makes you think you're dying of cancer or some other horrible disease....

    Ferraris are great cars and if you can afford to buy one, you can afford the maintenance.

    Get the one you like and start driving. When something breaks, have it fixed and keep going.

    If you search, there are plenty of resources for 355 parts online. 355 Spiders are amazing! I wouldn't go with anything else....When Ferrari decided to commemorate the end of the 355, they introduced the Fiorano series and they were all spiders!!!

    By the sound of it, you are leaning towards the 355 so just buy it!

    It's the right time in the life cycle to buy it in terms of price/availability and much cheaper than a 360. If you get the 360, you'll always be thinking of the 355 in the back of your mind.

    In a few years, the 360's life cycle will experience its own price drop like all other mass-produced Fcars and you can buy one then...That's what I plan to do.

    My 2 cents, good luck with your decision.
  11. rllucero

    rllucero Formula Junior

    Jul 11, 2006
    Santa Fe/San Diego
    Full Name:
    Tell me how that goes.

    You'd better be doing lots of homework on these cars......
  12. ClydeM

    ClydeM F1 Veteran
    Rossa Subscribed Owner

    Nov 4, 2003
    Wayne, NJ
    Full Name:
    Clyde E. McMurdy
    I'd suggest it's probably due to more spyders being built & available here in US than GTBs.
    And of course Spring time is prime for spyders.
  13. Yassa

    Yassa Formula Junior
    Silver Subscribed

    May 23, 2011
    Full Name:
    Dr Yassa Hughes
    According to wiki...

    Ferrari produced 4,871 road-going Berlinetta models during the entire production run, of which 3,829 were 6-speed and 1,042 were F1 transmissions.

    The Spider proved to be the second-most popular F355 model, with a total production of 3,717 units,

    A total of 2,577 GTS models were produced, with 2,048 delivered with the 6-speed transmission and another 529 with the F1 transmission.

    4871 GTBs vs 3717 Spiders however I'm not sure which model was more popular here in North America so you may be right. From a quick look at they have 62 F355 across the US, with 7 GTBs, 7 GTS' and 48 Spiders for sale.
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  15. Rob'Z

    Rob'Z Formula 3

    Mar 29, 2008
    Full Name:
    It's pretty simple generally (Spyder vs Berlinetta second-hand availability), enthusiasts find and buy hardtops and people that want a taste of the brand buy a Spyder. Take a sampling of used F355s with similar year and mileage and I bet the Spyders have had more owners.

    Same goes for the F1 cars, enthusiasts go for the 3 pedal cars.

    My opinion.

  16. Hercules Rockefeller

    Jan 14, 2012
    Well, I think there's a good reason I'm really leaning towards the spider. It's not that I'm not an enthusiast, it's just that I've already got a car that's so @#&Y# crazy fast that it easily blows everything I've ever seen away, whether it's on the street or the track... so it really makes no difference how fast my F-car is, because it will always be a pretty tame by my standards. What *does* matter is how it looks, feels with the top down on a canyon road, and perhaps most importantly, how it sounds. And that's where the F355 spider is a winner.

    When I say I don't intend on putting the top up, I really mean it... I'm not going to drive this car *everyday*, just frequently. And the weather out here in Malibu is always between 60-80 F, almost everyday, and it rains probably 20 days each year. The only thing I can imagine ever using the top for is to wash the car.

    Makes sense to me!

    BLAMPEE Man Card Status: Never Issued

    Jun 28, 2008
    I rarely drive my 355 with the top up. It just isn't fun or loud with it up! :)
  18. Eric360

    Eric360 Formula 3
    Silver Subscribed

    Jan 11, 2010
    San Francisco, CA
    Full Name:
  19. mikster

    mikster Formula Junior

    Nov 11, 2003
    Like a Rolling Stone
    Full Name:
    I have a Yellow 99 spyder and as soon as I dropped In the Hyper-flows and Cappy-3 Holy **** This is the finest sounding machine ever made PERIOD!!!

    Ive had Vettes, Porsches, etc. theres no comparison for the Look/sound

    I can send U a sound byte if youd like
  20. Hercules Rockefeller

    Jan 14, 2012
    #18 Hercules Rockefeller, Apr 30, 2012
    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 13, 2012
    Looks nice, but I need a manual, no F1 for me.
  21. DonJuan348

    DonJuan348 F1 Rookie
    Silver Subscribed Owner

    Aug 5, 2008
    Taxing Jersey
    Looks is always in the eye of the beholder. Reliability 360 takes it hands down. it sounds like your mind because you wish to avoid expensive repair bills.

    Plus the 360 has more room inside.
  22. schefdeh5

    schefdeh5 Formula Junior

    Nov 2, 2008
    Tri-State Area
    Full Name:

    Great choice
  23. schefdeh5

    schefdeh5 Formula Junior

    Nov 2, 2008
    Tri-State Area
    Full Name:
    Honestly....I'm in the same dilemma as you. But to tell you the truth, when the F-Chatter said that even if you do get a 360 b/c of its "reliability," you'll always be thinking about the 355 in the back of your mind.

    Do yourself a favor - go with what you want. You've done your hw, you've done the math, and now it's time to do what you gotta do. Get the 355....if something breaks...then it is what it is. But honestly, it sounds like you really love the 355, so go for that. Don't get a 360 half-hearted with your $$.
  24. Yassa

    Yassa Formula Junior
    Silver Subscribed

    May 23, 2011
    Full Name:
    Dr Yassa Hughes
    +1, well said.
  25. FDT

    FDT Formula Junior

    May 18, 2010
    Full Name:
    I will admit the 360 may be a bit newer and a little more reliable and it does look better in person but sorry, it does not have the same wow factor as a 355. I was in a recent drive with several 360s and they were virtually ignored by the masses who were there just to view cars.

    I have had mine for over a year and have paid for nothing but new floor mats and an oil change. Knock on wood.
  26. skierlawyer

    skierlawyer Formula Junior

    Sep 12, 2010
    Golden, CO
    Full Name:
    I have a red/tan 6 spd F355 spider, its my first Ferrari, and I love it. Wouldn't even consider a 360. I drove a F430 on a track and I wouldn't trade. The feeling and experience with the top down in a F355 is as good as it gets in the car world.
  27. Monteman

    Monteman Formula 3
    Rossa Subscribed

    Feb 9, 2006
    Santa Barbara, CA
    Full Name:
    I think you have to choose wisely. The 355 is to the point where the real problems are known such as headers, valves, etc. If you find a car that these things are sorted out, it's been well maintained by a reputable shop and has a decent PPI you'll probably be pretty happy.

    I agree the top isn't the best design in the world but it seems that some cars have a lot of convertible problems and others don't. Mine has never failed but it's painfully slow and less than elegant on the whole procedure but, like you, I probably put it up twice a year and usually one of those times is to exercise it to make sure it still works.

    I think there are trade offs on most Ferrari's. While the 360 doesn't require the engine to be pulled to replace the belts you have nearly as expensive of a job to replace the clutch on a 360 (need to pull the gearbox) whereby the 355 is super simple (relative term).

    I would say to follow your heart but do your homework and get a good car regardless if it's a 355 or 360. If your heart is into a 355 then just make sure you do your homework and get a well sorted car.
  28. fatbillybob

    fatbillybob F1 World Champ
    Consultant Owner

    Aug 10, 2002

    Either Ferrari you buy I'll help you fix it if help me match your blistering laptimes...
  29. Hercules Rockefeller

    Jan 14, 2012
    Ha no problem, I'll fix you up and get you running around WSIR under 1:30 and Buttonwillow under 1:55!

    I think at the end of the day the heart wants what it wants, and in my case that's an F355 spider. So that's what it's going to be. I've read about all the issues and I think I know what to look for. And if the top breaks I'll just convert it to manual, from the discussions I've been having (offline) that's a relatively simple process.

    Don't get me wrong, I love the 360 Modena, but at the end of the day it's still no 355 spider. So hopefully I'll get my hands on one soon and be all set. Thanks for the tips and advice all, and I'll keep you posted when I pick it up!

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