328 vs. 355 Decision??

Discussion in '308/328' started by BrandSB, May 6, 2009.

  1. BrandSB

    BrandSB Karting

    Jun 11, 2008
    Canton, Michigan
    Full Name:
    I'm in the PPI process with an F355 but am still wondering if this is the vehicle go with compared to a 328. I've looked at a lot of 355 service records in my search and agree with the reputation it's got regarding very expensive repair and service costs. However, I'm leaning towards it for it's performance attributes. Having said that, I'm also drawn to the 328 platform with classic styling, more robust powertrain and lower service costs. I'm certain this has been discussed numerous times on this Forum but haven't found the threads so I'll ask you 328 owners who've looked at 355's to share your thoughts regarding ownership, performance, maintenance, etc.

    I know it's an apples and oranges question and understand that it's difficult to make a direct comparison. BTW, I'm coming out of BMW's and was planning on an M5 until I redirected to a Ferrari as my next vehicle so the performance question is key. I'm Michigan based so don't have a lot of service options compared to the coasts. Any/all thoughts are appreciated.
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  3. FasterIsBetter

    FasterIsBetter F1 Veteran

    Jul 22, 2004
    NoNJ/Jupiter FL
    Full Name:
    Steve W.
    Wow, you said a mouth full. Your analogy is wrong, though. Not apples and oranges. More like apples and sausages.

    First thing you have to ask yourself is "how much am I going to be driving the car?" If you are buying it as a daily driver, don't buy either one. Go back to the M5. If this is a second car, just for fun, then ask yourself "what do I want to use the car for?" If you just want a car for sunny weekend drives, club events, touring, just general driving enjoyment, personally I love the 328. You get great performance (not supercar class, but fun, spirited driving), a great sounding car, a body style that is absolutely classic, and one that can be extremely reliable if you just give it a little TLC. The 355 is a different beast. As between the two, for this kind of use, I prefer the 328.

    Now, if you want to track the car or autocross it, and be competitive, get the 355. It's a great performing, great handling car, with plenty of power. It's not up to 360 or 430 performance levels, but you will have a lot of fun with it. Personally, I'm not crazy about the looks, but to each his own on that.

    Last, if you like to work on the car yourself, like I do, the 328 is really the last of the true owner-serviceable cars. I know a lot of guys work on the 348s and 355s themselves, but its a lot harder. 328 is old school technology, and is relatively easy to work on and maintain.

    Just a few random thoughts and personal observations. Your mileage may vary.
  4. rob lay

    rob lay Administrator
    Staff Member Admin Social Subscribed Miami 2018 Owner

    Dec 1, 2000
    Southlake, TX
    Full Name:
    Rob Lay
    I can't compare them perfectly as my 355 is of the Challenge variety, but I will try to help. It isn't an easy answer, depends how you want to use.

    Depreciation - Equal, neither will appreciate much, but both have bottomed out.
    Maintenance - 328 wins, 355 often gets $5k + service bills and easy to get into 5 digits.
    Performance - 355 wins easily, I forgot I wasn't in the GranSport the other day in 328 when a SUV tried to gun ahead of me, well, it was about equal. :(
    Looks - 328 wins classic look, 355 wins if you want something modern. They are both great looking cars, but 328 is classic and respected much as such.
    Driving - 328 wins not considering more power and better handling of 355. The 355 really isn't that quick compared to new sports cars and the 328 is a pleasure to drive feeling much faster than it is. The 328 is more "fun".

    If you can just have one Ferrari I would strongly consider the 355. If you want the best of all get a 328 for the shows and fun driving. Down the road get a fully depreciated 360 or 430 for the track/performance and looking good at the valet.
  5. vito11

    vito11 Karting

    Oct 8, 2006
    for me the 328 is best, because it's the last of the "old" Ferrari, when the Drake was here.
    355 is the second car of the "new" Ferrari. built with another philosophy.
    Sure if the money is important for you, there' s much difference: for me the maintenance is very important, and 355 is much expensive,too much for a car that isn't the exclusive of ferrari.
  6. Ferraripilot

    Ferraripilot F1 World Champ
    Project Master Owner

    May 10, 2006
    Full Name:
    It's man
    328 = quite possibly the most reliable and economically friendly Ferrari road car ever made.

    355 = quite possibly the most maintenance intensive Ferrari ever made due to headers, guides, cats, valves, engine-out services etc, but man what an amzing ride not to mention quite possibly the best sounding Ferrari V8 ever made (5 valves per cylinder love).
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  8. cscott

    cscott Formula Junior

    Dec 31, 2002
    New Orleans
    Full Name:
    Chris Scott
    It depends so much on how you will use it. You said performance is a big key and if that is the case, you should get the 355. It will still run with all things modern (to say it will not is a real game of inches outside of the track) and the 328 will not. I personally do not drive that fast and like being able to push a car without risking going to jail so my older 308 is better for me. The 328 would be my choice for an "occasional car". Having taken the 355 on a few 1000+ mile trips though, they are very easy to drive long distances. Just so much easier to use all around as they should be considering when they came out. The repair bills are huge though and seem to come often. My father has spent over 30K in the last 5 years on his 355. A 328 is about as solid and cheap to repair as a Ferrari can be. On the other hand, if I add up what i have spent on bare metal respray, interior, suspension ie...all the replacement work on cars that turn 25 or 30 years old, it's about the same. To me, they are two of the best all around (and best looking) Ferrari road cars every made.

    Even though the years are not that far apart, the cars are worlds away different.
  9. MBFerrari

    MBFerrari F1 Veteran

    Jul 2, 2008
    Full Name:
    Matt B
    Clearly apples and oranges if not bananas as someone else mentioned. I seriously believe you are leaving out the best of both worlds which is the 348. It will split the difference in almost all of these categories, including performance, maint. bills, and driving fun, and do it for about the same price as a 328, but with the added benefit of more power and the same body as the 355.

    If you are dead set on one of the two mentioned, then it is clearly a performance question. If you are buying the car to go fast, it is the 355. If you are buying the car to have fun driving, it is the 328 (less expensive and still lots of fun to drive).

    Have you driven or ridden in either?

  10. ZiFF

    ZiFF Formula Junior

    Mar 30, 2009
    They are hugely different, the 328 is the last of the "old era" mechanical cars, the 355 is firmly in the new electronic age.

    The 328 is just a very basic tube framed V8 using the very old tech and common Bosch CIS injection, which has been in use in literally millions of cars starting in the early 70s. Yep, 35 years ago. IMO it is a very basic car, in many ways kind of an "antique."

    To me the 355 is a thoroughly modern car, with the goods and bads that go with that.

    Only you can answer which is right for you. (I'd take a nice 328 over a 355 any day, though!)
  11. BrandSB

    BrandSB Karting

    Jun 11, 2008
    Canton, Michigan
    Full Name:
    Thanks for the feedback so far, please keep it coming! To address a few comments and questions you've raised:

    -Great point regarding the ease for 'at home' work on the 328's. Very important to me.
    -This would be a second vehicle for me, not a daily driver. Hence either vehicle would work.
    -I'm most conflicted with the performance differences between the two vehicles. Rob mentioning that the 328 feels faster than it is and is more "fun" is extremely helpful. As a motorcyclist, I can completely relate to the fun factor versus raw speed. Are there any/many mods for the 328 that will improve it's performance? Just curious as I enjoy intake, exhaust, etc. improvements.
    -The 348 may be an option and I'll re-look but the engine-out service issue is similar to the 355's I think.
    -No, I have not driven either vehicle. Unfortunately, I don't have access to any here in the Detroit area so must take my cues from all of you at the moment.

    Thanks again for the responses and guidance....the decision is still split at the moment.
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  13. Ricambi America

    Ricambi America F1 World Champ
    Sponsor Owner

    #10 Ricambi America, May 6, 2009
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 7, 2017
    Split between the 328 and 355 ? Then there can be only one sensible decision!

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  14. DMaury

    DMaury Formula 3

    Mar 27, 2007
    Ponchatoula, LA
    If you are seriously considering a 355, I'd spring for just a hair more dollars and get a 99-00 360. WAY less $$ for maintenance and to me at least, is a prettier car. I know I'm in the minority here, but I like the looks of the 360 better than the 328. I know, wrong section to post this in. ;) Don't flame me guys, you know I own both and if I had to part with one, it would be the 360 as my 328 has too much of own elbow grease and sweat into it. :)

    Of course saying I think the 360 is prettier than the 328 is like picking one supermodel over another. I think they are both gorgeous cars (In fact, I love the looks of all the V6 and V8 Ferraris from the Dino up to the spy-shots of the F450-500)
  15. hardtop

    hardtop F1 World Champ

    Jan 31, 2002
    Full Name:
    I would strongly advise you drive both before making a decision, but here's a little more info. I have a 89 328 GTB and a 2005 F430. By any objective measure, the 430 is light years ahead performance wise and I drive it about 2.5X the 328. Yet, drive them back to back, and you can tell they are both from the same place, same thinking designwise. 328's are the last really small Ferraris. The tube frame and chasis layout dates to the late 60's. They have a decidedly old school feel which I thoroughly enjoy and find satisfying. If I coud only keep one Ferrari, it would be the 328. The 430's performance can be found in other cars albeit not with the same flair. The 328's character cannot be duplicated by any other car past, present or future. I have driven but not owned a 355 and it certainly is a great driving car. Some people like it better than the 360. It is the last small Ferrari. Personally, I would not have one unless someone has already bought a complete Tubi exhaust, replaced the valve guides, etc. But you would still be stuck with high cost routine maintenance. I have about 10 years of experience and 30K miles with 3 328's and all 3 were (are) great, reliable cars. Most years, I just change the oil.

    You may not like the old school feel. You could become a "serial collector" buy a 328, then a 355, then a XXX. I did that and backtracked to the 328. One of my local 328 buddies did have a 355, but he sold it and after I let him try my GTB, he bought one. I don't think he'll ever sell it. They used to be considered starter Ferraris but more and more, the owners I know keep them even though they could afford much more expensive models.

    Have fun with your search,
  16. yelcab

    yelcab F1 World Champ

    Nov 29, 2001
    San Carlos, CA
    Full Name:
    Mitchell Le
    can't go wrong either way.
  17. jonesdds

    jonesdds Formula 3

    Aug 31, 2006
    SB,CA & Park City UT
    Full Name:
    That's very funny!

    All I can say is that the previous owner of my 328(original owner 1989 model year) also owned a 355 for a number of years. After $10000+ in bills to repair the known problems on the car he sold it and kept the 328 until a few years ago when I bought it. They are getting affordable and I've been tempted for the increased performance but the potential repair bills do scare me. Maybe a 360 instead, from what I read less problematic? I don't have first hand knowledge, just going on what I hear and read.

  18. Tokyo Drftr

    Tokyo Drftr Formula 3

    Jan 18, 2009
    Full Name:
    Make sure you enlist the opinions of the 348/355 group too. Always good to hear both sides. I have a 308gtbi and F40. I love my 308 and am planning to buy another exactly like it, 2v and all. Bottom line buy what you like and test them out. I personally like raw and simple.
  19. 348SStb

    348SStb F1 Rookie

    Having owned various Ferraris simultaneously, I would say that if a person could only have ONE Ferrari, the one to have would be the 355.

    Of course, most folks only dream of having one, while the the very fortunate among us have been able to acquire more than one. But the 355 is in my view the all-around Ferrari: it has classic looks, modern features (ample power, electronics, etc.), old school un-refinement, comfort, the best engine sound ever, etc.

    The 328 is a fabulous machine. I would say that, since you've asked the question, you really ought to drive both because you really cannot decide on account of simply learning about these two vehicles.
  20. Bullfighter

    Bullfighter Two Time F1 World Champ
    Lifetime Rossa Owner

    Jan 26, 2005
    Fullerton, California
    Full Name:
    #17 Bullfighter, May 7, 2009
    Last edited: May 7, 2009
    As posted above, if you're looking for a daily driver, get the BMW. A low-slung, mid-engined exotic is a toy.

    I also own a 328, and considered the 308-355 range when I was looking a few years back. All of them will get trounced in performance by a new M5 (and by many new performance cars). You really have to ante up for an F430 if the horsepower race matters to you.

    My decision wasn't based on horsepower. The 328 won based on looks (it is the definitive, iconic Ferrari, IMO), driving feel, dependability and the availability of the targa top. For four years only, you get the best bits of the 308 without the flaky electronics, heavy battering ram bumpers, etc. It seems to take Ferrari a decade to debug a car, and the 328 was that car. It's not a Lexus, but in terms or reliability it's relatively drama-free by exotic car standards.

    After the 328 bowed out, quality took a dive, and complexity and parts prices went up -- a lot -- and every model seemed to have major issues. You can surf the boards here for most of them, but I have seen an $18,000 service/repair bill on a 355 out of Florida (and not one with a blown engine). Not typical, but not unique.

    Despite liking all Ferraris to some degree, if it were my wallet on the line I don't think I'd buy anything between the 328 and F430. I'm not smitten by the F430's looks, but after 10 years of learning on the 360 and early F430 I think Ferrari are once again making a decent car (albeit using the same crap plastic interior trim that has been turning to goo since 348 days... :rolleyes:)

    I wouldn't call even the 328 a bargain in the maintenance department. I paid ~$5500 last August for the 30K major, plus water pump rebuild and an oil pressure switch replacement. That's not cheap. But, apart from that, and a minor timing belt service back in 2005, and a fuel accumulator that failed and made warm starts hard, I haven't had any issues with the car.

    As far as driving and performance, it's an ideal Ferrari for public roads unless you need to drag race. The brakes are mediocre by modern standards, but the clutch is light and the manual gearbox is easy once it's warm. If you live in Michigan, be patient while the gear oil warms up on cold mornings. There is no power steering in the 328 (355 has it), but the 328 steering rack is from the 288 GTO and it's perfect for anything except parking lots. The airbag-free steering wheel is the best I've ever owned, and looks great in addition. The 308/328 were considered some of the best handling cars of their day, and they're still very good with modern tires: you know what's going on at each corner. It's a five speed, so highway cruising can be a bit loud. Ground clearance is a challenge on any Ferrari, but the 328 has much more of it than the cars that followed, which will save you some bodyshop expense.

    On the downside: the a/c is just OK (dash vents are too small), and the seating accommodations are best for thin people.

    Just buy a good one -- stay away from eBay, and pay a fair price from a reputable dealer or seller for a 328 with a service history and good compression numbers.
  21. Bullfighter

    Bullfighter Two Time F1 World Champ
    Lifetime Rossa Owner

    Jan 26, 2005
    Fullerton, California
    Full Name:
    #18 Bullfighter, May 7, 2009
    Last edited: May 7, 2009
    360s had a major recall on the varietors and can toast their engines early. A friend had his engine fail just over 10K miles (now has a Gallardo). Apart from that, I know of only minor issues with the 360.
  22. Bullfighter

    Bullfighter Two Time F1 World Champ
    Lifetime Rossa Owner

    Jan 26, 2005
    Fullerton, California
    Full Name:
    Buy a 348 and a Ferrari parts business.
  23. sammyb

    sammyb Formula 3

    Jun 23, 2006
    Where wife tells me
    Full Name:
    It all comes down to cost and if you desire a modern car vs. a more classic one.

    A 328 is not particularly fast, but a 355 is indeed quite fast.

    The 355 sounds much better (a revving 355 is actually my cell phone ring tone)

    The 355 is far more comfortable

    The 355 is more expensive in every way shape and form

    I disagree with the statement that the 355 values have bottomed-out. Generally, most sports cars tend to bottom out at 20 years, so still quite a ways to go by time, but by value, maybe 10K at the most. The 328 is poised for some value appreciation, especially given the short-term fall with the economy.

    Personally, I love the looks of the 328 more than the 355, but if I were to close my eyes, the driving dynamics of the 355 are simply miles ahead. The 328 feels very 1980s (stiff controls, lots of creaks and rattles and cowl shake), the 355 is fast, tight, taught and will make you want to drive double the indicated limit.
  24. gothspeed

    gothspeed F1 World Champ

    May 26, 2006
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  25. ferraripete

    ferraripete F1 World Champ

    bought from a great dealer and i doubt is was the least expensive car on the market...but i must say i have not seen a nicer one!! EVER!!!

    the 328 is simply the best of the 246 and boxer. the 328 may be the prettiest modern vintage ferrari produced!!!!!

  26. mike996

    mike996 F1 Veteran

    Jun 14, 2008
    Full Name:
    Mike 996
    #23 mike996, May 7, 2009
    Last edited: May 7, 2009
    This was almost exactly the same "dilemma" I was in last year. I had decided on "either" a 328, 348, or 355. After doing a lot of "book" and web research, I fairly quickly eliminated the 348 as being the worst of both worlds - neither the looks/reliability of the 328 nor the power/handling of the 355. So it became a 328/355 "contest." The 355, at the time, was at the very top end of what I could afford so that was a point NOT in its favor as well as the well-known and documented reliability issues. It finally ended up being the fact that IMHO, the 328 is flat out gorgeous, reliable, and easy to work on. The 355, though attractive and fast, is just not anywhere close to being in that appearance/reliability league. I bought my 328 in Las Vegas last August after seeing it the first time. I had a PPI done the same day and, two days later, drove it 3000 mile to MD. Totally uneventful though, as has been noted, the air conditioning is marginal at best. But the car was fine engine-temp wise in the 108 degree LV weather and in downtown traffic for the two days I drove it in LV.

    I do wish the 328 had around 80 more HP (actually, I wish it had several hundred more but...) and I was very interested in the 928 motorsports supercharger kit for it which has been discussed here at length. But they now only offer it occasionally on Ebay if at all and no longer seem to market it on their website.

    I am planning to install a N2O kit sometime in the next several weeks to give me that ability to out accelerate some SUVs though it won't be enough to handle Subarus and other 4 cylinder cars! :)

    Good Luck with your decision!
  27. Isobel

    Isobel F1 Veteran
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    Jun 30, 2007
    On a Wave's Chicane
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    Is, Izzy for Australians
    #24 Isobel, May 7, 2009
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 7, 2017
    The Brotherhood might be paying you a visit to check on your health ;)
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  28. davehelms

    davehelms F1 Rookie

    Jan 3, 2004
    Full Name:
    Dave Helms
    After going through all of the trouble to find the correct replacement engine (a couple of chassis numbers away from the original) for my White 77 GTB..... it gets mothballed.

    I cant get past the looks of the 308/328, I have always enjoyed the look and the feel and just have to keep it but the perfiormance of the 355.... cant live without it!

    Obvious solution? Yup, the transplant is under way.

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