Are 355 reliable cars to start with ?

Discussion in '348/355' started by DOHC, Aug 4, 2004.

  1. DOHC

    DOHC Rookie

    Jul 24, 2004
    Full Name:
    Hey guys !

    Anybody can give me advice about buying a 355 (cost of maintenance, points to check etc...). Are they reliable and expensive to maintain ?

    Thanx a lot !

    DOHC (the newbie) :)
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  3. richard_wallace

    richard_wallace Formula 3
    Rossa Subscribed

    Feb 6, 2004
    Cincinnati, Ohio
    Full Name:
    Richard Wallace

    Welcome aboard... I think you will find much useful information on f-chat.

    I would start by saying do a quick search on the topic - there is a multitude of great information on the 355 (handleing, modifications, reliabilty, service costs, tires, etc. etc.) The search is at the top left of your screen - just type in 355 maintenance or whatever key word you want to get more detail on.

    As far as some basics - Properly maintained 355's are very reliable (I don't know if I would use mine as a daily driver - but I suppose it could even be that if you wanted it to).

    I would say if you get one that has had a good 30K service (regardless of actual miles - you should get the full engine out every 3 -5 years) - the "book" says 3 years - others will debate that you can go longer...

    A full engine out - with the normal "while the engine is out" stuff that you might as well do - will cost around (7K) on average (depending on the area you live and if you are using a dealer (which costs more than independents) it could be more... If nothing is wrong and they just do the belts and fluids - more like 4K - it goes to 10K pretty quick if you have to do the clutch, brakes, a shock or two, etc.

    I would say that I (over the years) - have spent about 3K per year on my 355 spider (that is a blended cost - including break/fix and the mandatory maintenance - like the 30K service).

    That does not include things that are more personal upgrades or cosmetics (like adding a tubi, hyperflow cats, maybe getting a bolster redyed where it is worn, any nicks on the front from rocks resprayed, upgrade radio, etc.) Every year I end up buying something for the car at another 1K on average... Of course a Tubi is 3K - so that took care of 3 years worth of upgrades :) I would put this (due to some of these things are pretty high cost) at 2K per year. (of course this will be bigger up front - once you have everything that you want - you can get this one down significantly...)

    If you are looking at one - make sure you get a good mechanic/shop to do a PPI - and make sure you have all records of service... and I would call the place that did the 30K service (all 355's should have this done at this point regardless of miles). If it has been 2 years or more - know that you are going to be due very soon - and this will be a big expense. Most people will say that you should have 10% of the purchase price - ready to spend on a service the first year (if you are due for a service).

    On the common areas to look at - the search will cover many areas to check out - so take a look at those posts.

    Hope that helps a little,
  4. vincent355

    vincent355 F1 Veteran
    Rossa Subscribed

    Apr 8, 2003
    Wine Country
    Full Name:

    Great answer, thanks for taking the time it'll show up in the archives.


    Here's the comparison thread. I haven't read it in a while so I don't remember how it covers maintenance but it is an interesting read and the attached write up is excellent.

    355's are reliable. Some of the main issues for 95 and 96 and some 97's apparently were the valve guides. You'd like to find one witht he Sintered steel valve guids as the bronze (or some other alloy) wore quickly. About an 8 to 10k fix. the other big issue are the headers, some say that if the car has not burned through them yet it is a matter of time, 3 to 5k. Should replace with aftermarket, Tubi headers are preffered though Ferrari did come out with a slightly different design. I chose my car based on these upgrades, as I didn't want to have to do the valve guides out of my own pocket.

    If you drive them regularly they do well, a couple of the guys on here have had them as dailys. But like most modern F-cars if something goes wrong it's usually at least 1k.
  5. FL 355

    FL 355 Formula 3

    Nov 3, 2002
    Ft Laud
    Full Name:
    Frank Lipinski
    Richard is right on the money!

    As for reliability, I've driven it cross country and back. 6 week trip and all I did was oil changes. Ferrari also did a promo where they drive a 355 around the world.

    There is discussion that garage queens will have more problems and it's better to drive the car frequently.

    For me, it depends. I'll go a few months as a daily driver, then she will sit in the garage for a month or two with a cover on and no miles. Never had an issue either way.

    Great car and my favorite.
  6. Robertb

    Robertb Formula 3

    Nov 19, 2003
    South Oxfordshire, U
    Full Name:

    I'd echo all the above remarks.

    If you look at a few, you'll get a feel for what goes on with them. Common faults- Cosmetic stuff includes drivers seat bolster wear, black trim bubbling up and deteriorating, and bubbling corrosion where rear buttresses of GTB/S meet rear wings. Mechanical stuff includes manifold, cats, shocks, valve guides (on early cars). That's pretty much it in summary, suggest look at archives for detail.

    As always, good service history is essential. I've seen cars with lots of miles that look and drive well, and low-milers which are awful, so buy on condition and history, don't get too hung up on mileage. Try and get one with belts just done as you'll have three years of lower costs 'til the next belt service!

    My car has so far been very reliable. Don't expect honda build quality; 355s have a hand-made feel which is great. Sadly maintenance can cost a fortune- parts prices are ridiculous.

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  8. TigerAce

    TigerAce Formula 3

    May 29, 2003
    Dallas, TX
    Full Name:
    Yoshi Ace
    yes, Richard's poting is a good reference for me, too, the current owner of 355F1 Coupe. Spider didn't work out for me, but I was fortunate to make a switch w/out much damage in 2 months.

    355 has the great sound. My old F salesmen (3 of them) told me 355 has the best sound as even as a factory. If you like F1 like sound, then 355 is pretty much it, especially 98, 99 sounds great as factory IMO.

    Some of people I know used to use 355 as their daily (they now switched to Gallardo or 360), and told me it was very reliable.

    Maintenance cost for 355 is bit expensive compared to 360, as whole engine must be taken out. When I saw my car serviced, I just dropped my jaw. All tires were taken out, the car was lifted, and my engine was on worktable w/ heist. Looking at empty engine bay (not totally!) made me realized it is a BIG work...
  9. DOHC

    DOHC Rookie

    Jul 24, 2004
    Full Name:
    You guys are great !

    Thanks a lot for the helpful info, looks like i've made a good choice registering on this board ! I really appreciate your comments and you guys are looking more mature than most kids of cars related board :)

    Thank you

  10. scycle2020

    scycle2020 F1 Rookie

    Jan 26, 2004
    i quess you can say for a ferrari it is reliable..compared to a toyata, no way!!! engine out service is stupid expensive for a dumb engine design..but the engine sounds great and is fun to drive..the leather is not bad for sitting on and is very flimsy..the dash and dash plastic can shrink and melt in the heat and sun...the paint can chip easily..valve guides in 95, exhaust manifolds in 95-97, f1 issues in 99, and so on...the power top was horrible on the spider...everyone i know who had it would have some kind of problem with it..i would get the targa or the coupe because of this....but we put up with it because of the look and the sound of the car...the 360 eliminated many of these issues
  11. ze_shark

    ze_shark Formula 3

    Jul 13, 2003
    Switzerland (NW)
    I think that the answer depends on semantics.

    If reliability is defined as the risk of ending stranded on the side of the road by an abrupt failure, my experience and belief is that 355s are reliable. All the top ranking reliability issues I know of are degenerative, not sudden/terminal. I heard of far more 360 owners stuck (because of battery problems for instance). Stick to maintenance intervals, treat your car well, I don't think that a 355 will fail on you.

    If reliability is defined as a problem-free ownership experience, where you can enjoy and drive your car through seasons, without a long littany of minor or major problems (but always costly and frustrating), then think twice.

    Neither design nor manufacturing quality match contemporary automotive standards (I am talking Audi or Lexus). Visit the factory and it shows. Step into and drive a well maintained 25Kmi/4yo car and it shows.
    I don't think it's a model-specific attribute though, although one should expect that there have been constant improvements since the beginning of the di Montezemolo era.

    Some posture that as part of the Ferrari experience (I call that automotive darwinism), it spoils the pleasure of owning these cars as far as I am concerned.

    There have been numerous posts on 355 specifics, you may want to do searches on the following topics:
    - manifolds/headers cracks
    - valve guides
    - C-pillar cracks
    - shrinking dash leather
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