355 - Rent before I buy? (along with another question)

Discussion in 'California (Southern)' started by brettcp, Feb 1, 2006.

  1. brettcp

    brettcp Rookie

    Sep 15, 2005
    I've been lurking around fchat for a few months now doing my homework on buying my first ferrari (a 98-99 355 spider) and am almost ready to make my move.. This has been my dream car for 10 years and its now within reach, however, I would like to take one out for a weekend just to get a "feel" for it and hopefully catch the ferrari bug before I drop almost $100k on a car.

    What are some decent rental agencies in the So Cal area (specifically San Diego) ? ...the catch is that I'm 24 (please, no flames.. no, its not "mommy and daddy's money" - i've been running a business since 16 and work my a** off) and it seems as though most rental agencies I've scoured out require a minimum age of 25 .. I know I could take a weekend trip to Vegas and rent one without a problem.. which may not be such a bad idea =)

    As far as sports cars go, I've owned a Porsche and three M3's over the past several years.. I currently own an 03 M3.. What can I expect as far as an OVERALL performance comparison is concerned between an 03 M3 and a 355? Are we talking apples vs. oranges? I've heard conflicting stories, and an acquaintance of mine who owns both hasn't provided a clear answer to this question.

    Any input would be greatly appreciated! Thanks in advance.

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  3. jordan747_400

    jordan747_400 F1 Veteran
    Lifetime Rossa

    Dec 9, 2002
    Houston, TX
    Full Name:
    Jordan Witherspoon
    Id say dont rent one...For a weekend of renting thats dropping some serious cash that could be used for car payments or maintenance. I know the rental place in Vegas wants 700 dollars a day for their 355 spider and you DO have to be 25 to rent unfortunately. If you have been dreaming about this car for 10 years and its within reach Id say jump at it. If all else fails and you are miserable with ownership you can always sell it. Dont toss away a couple thousand dollars on renting.
  4. 505T

    505T Formula Junior

    Jan 26, 2004
    Dallas, TX
    Full Name:
    Don't rent! Buy with your heart and not your mind. Your life will become more interesting tenfold!
  5. Kds

    Kds F1 World Champ

    I have to differ with the others here.......$100K is a lot of spend 2% of the cost of the car (3 days rental) with no risk to find out if you really can live with it is a very wise move IMHO.
  6. brettcp

    brettcp Rookie

    Sep 15, 2005
    this was my reasoning as well..

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    XLNLIFE Formula Junior

    Oct 5, 2005
    Full Name:

    To this day, I still own a 98 M3 convertible and like you I knew one day I would buy a 355 Spider I was patienet and waited to find the right car for me. I never rented, I test drove a 6 speed and the F1 at 2 different dealers. Take the rental money and use it for a complete PPI inspection and never look back !!

    my $ 0.05 for the day

  9. Moving Chicane

    Moving Chicane Formula 3

    Dec 15, 2003
    Full Name:
    And by the looks of it, the spyder you did end up with is a beauty!

    - Dan

  10. Steve R

    Steve R F1 Rookie

    Sep 15, 2004
    MeSoNeedy, CA
    Full Name:
    TorQ Master
    Poetic, but I have to agree!

    I have never met a 355 owner who regretted his decision. If you are that concerned, then just go to a dealer and test-drive one. And don't think of it as $100k out-the-door & gone. When you go on a vacation & spend $20k....that money is gone and all you have are memories.

    With the 355, just figure the money isn't sitting in the bank earning a few percent interest. Maybe you'll have some depreciation & maintainance expsnse, but the value is still there.

    Congrats on making such financial headway at such a young age!
  11. ELIM

    ELIM Formula 3

    Apr 29, 2005
    OC, CA
    Full Name:
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  13. hdpt00

    hdpt00 F1 Rookie

    Jul 15, 2005
    Full Name:
    Drive up to CC one day, I'm sure a member will let you drive for a few minutes. The first time I was in a 355 (6 months ago) the guy was very nice, showing me how everything works, etc. Pulls over to the side of the road and tells me to hop in. To this day I still regret not knowing how to drive a stick. I have since purchased a 5-speed civic and am ready for my next opportunity, maybe it will be my own 430.

    Just ask politely, tell them you're thinking of buying one, there are plenty of people who will let you take it for a quick spin, I'm sure.
  14. Sportscarnut

    Sportscarnut Formula Junior

    Sep 12, 2005
    Very interesting thread with two different points of view, both good advice.

    For myself, my passion for Ferrari's was so intense I bought the car with just a test drive (game over in less than one minute). After the test drive I had to contain myself in front of the salesman in order to shave several thousand off the purchase price.

    I considered renting first, but decided to keep the money (more like 2000.00 for the 360).

    So, in my particular case it definitely would have been a waste of money. FYI - my wife got a very nice piece of jewelry for that 2k :)
  15. Modenafan

    Modenafan F1 World Champ
    Lifetime Rossa Owner

    Dec 19, 2004
    Full Name:
    Did the same, but without the jewelry.
  16. 1badboy

    1badboy Formula Junior

    Dec 11, 2004
    Hermosa Beach, CA
    Full Name:
    Eric Rayl
    If your acquaintance is local, why not ask for a ride in his 355? Or as others suggested, go to CC on a Saturday and I'm sure you can find someone to give you a ride.

    Driving a rental is not a real good test- I know of a nearby shop that does all the maintenance/body work fo Exotic Car Rentals here in LA and they do not do all the necessary work - just enough to keep them on the road. Probably no tubis/capristos either on a rental.

    When I buy a car, I personally like having the owner drive it a little "enthusiastically" as I can tell a lot from the passenger seat. It takes a while to feel comfortable in 355 and push it, so a 1 day rental will not do much for you.

    As someone else suggested, save rental money for a PPI or two and also study up on the potential issues of 355s as they are nothing like buying a used M3. And don't forget that one maintenance issue can easily set you back $5-8K w/o a blink.

    Just my $.02- best of luck at becoming an f-car owner- there's nothing like it.

  17. tubeguy

    tubeguy Formula 3

    May 21, 2003
    Upland California
    Full Name:
    Kevin Deal
    The M3 in many ways is a funner car. So shoot me.

    With cars like the Carrera and M3 available there is no real reason to own a Ferrari except that you can and wanna do it.

    You buy the 355 because you want it. I drive the sh*t out of my M3 that I would not do in my fcars. Everything from going up driveways to getting a parking place that won't stress you will be an issue.

    To do it, you should be able to easily afford it as a pure toy that you dig. If you decide it isn't for you your out $20k between sales loss and sales tax loss. Renting ain't a bad idea.

    Having said that last nite I was out with top down and driving my fcar hard and had a blast. But the M3 is sooooooo good too.
  18. Racer98

    Racer98 F1 Rookie

    Aug 7, 2005
    Full Name:
    its a good idea try b4 you buy HOWEVER the only problem with super expensive rental cars is the insurance issue with such a high dollar car. you need to see their rental agreement and see what insurnace they have too offer and DO NOT USE YOUR PERSONAL insurance on this at all, buy a full policy and cover it and make sure if you have a problme if you blow up the transmission or have an incidnet in it you will be completly coverd on it w/o problmes.
  19. Skyler360Spider

    Skyler360Spider Formula Junior

    Oct 15, 2005
    The OC, USA
    I've been passionate about F cars since my childhood...I had many opportunities to test drive one over the years...but I flat out refused to...I said to the sales people, friends/family..."I'll test drive a Ferrari the day I can afford one". That day came soon after my 38th birthday. I bought the first Ferrari I ever drove or ever sat in period. And I couldnt be happier. My suggestion go with your passion and gut instinct.....its something thats never led me astray.

    Best Regards,


    "Fortune and Glory Kid...Fortune and Glory."
  20. Steve R

    Steve R F1 Rookie

    Sep 15, 2004
    MeSoNeedy, CA
    Full Name:
    TorQ Master

    It's nothing science can explain, but I agree!
  21. JERRYZ

    JERRYZ Formula Junior

    Sep 1, 2004
    Orange County, CA
    I rented a 355 about a year before I bought one and it was a great experience but a waste of money. It reaffirmed that I wanted to own one so I didn't gain any useful knowledge from the experience. If anything it did light a fire under my arse to hurry up and buy the car though.

    The big danger with renting a Ferrari (I rented from Beverly Hills Rentals - their Newport location) is if you scratch the underbody or side skirts. As you can imagine, you have to be very careful because it's easy to bottom-out. They take you around the car with a mirror (kind of like when they are checking for bombs under a car) to show you there is no damage. If you bottom out on a curb and scratch the car they not only bill you to respray it but they bill you for the RENTAL TIME WHILE THE CAR IS IN REPAIR!!!!!! I was mortified and very careful. I accidentally bottomed out just crossing the street because there was a dip in the road but it wasn't bad enough to scratch it up.
  22. trozenhorse

    trozenhorse Rookie

    Feb 12, 2006
    cant you find a dealer that has one and test drive it? if you dont feel it after 5 minutes maybe it is for you...but from what i hear it will just confirm you have to have it...and from what i hear as well...keep the rental money for some maintenance which it will need or new exhaust headers etc....i am also looking for a 98-99 355 syder as well.....
  23. mark328

    mark328 Guest

    Jul 30, 2005
    Full Name:
    If you decide to rent a car it will just need to be for 1 day because that's all it will take. Once you drive a Ferrari you will not want to put it away or be without one. I recently sold my 328 and I am going through withdraws I really miss it. Ferrari's are so awesome to drive you will not need to waste your money on the other 2 days of rent.
  24. anunakki

    anunakki Five Time F1 World Champ
    Rossa Subscribed Owner

    Oct 8, 2005
    Las Vegas Nevada
    Full Name:
    I had an 03 M3 and have a 98 355 Spider so I can make a bit of a comparo but truthfully they dont compare.

    The M3 is a daily driver and is so well put together it makes the 355 feel like a kit car.

    its really comparing apples and oranges but here ya go...The 355 does not feel as fast ( and I dont think it is) low end grunt is non-existant when compared to an M3. You will probably think there is something wrong with the car until you drive several of them and realize , well...they just aint that fast low end ( but then I am used to a Viper ).

    It also doesnt handle any better than the M3 BUT it FEELS better ( as long as you dont hit traffic ) ....your center of gravity is so low and the steering is so light it makes the M3 feel ponderous.

    Truthfully there are only two situations when I drive the 355 over the Viper... first, if Im going out to the canyon and going to run some twisties and second, if I need to stroke my vanity by having people stare and give thumbs up. But generally I prefer the driving experience of the Viper.

    Maintenance...its through the roof buddy. Hopefully you arent stretching financially to get into the 355...if you are 'DO NOT DO IT'...its going to eat you alive. Especially on a 355 which is probably one of the most problem intensive F Cars you can get.

    If this is your daily driver then IMO you are making a mistake..dont buy a 355 as that...if its not yer daily then keep the M3.

    If your heart is set on an F Car because you love the brand then buy it..but if you are expecting something that will thrill you performance-wise more than the M3 I think you might be disappointed once the 'Ferrari mystique' wears off after a couple months and you realize the M3 was much more fun to drive 9 out of 10 times.

    So thats my $.02

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