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Buying a 355 Berlinetta

Discussion in 'Technical Q&A' started by trasus, Feb 9, 2004.

  1. trasus

    trasus Rookie

    Feb 9, 2004
    22
    Phoenix, Az.
    Hi everyone. I've been lurking in the threads now for a few months but finally decided to register since I have a question to ask.
    I am in the market for a F355 and am particularly looking for a 1995 or 1996 Berlinetta. After looking for nearly 3 months, I've found one that seems to be in great shape, offered by the original owner for sale in Arizona. It was his daily driver though, and has fairly high miles. Still, the price is right and all service records are intact.
    Without wasting too much of anyone's time, what are some things I should be on the look out for on the 1995 model? I've heard that they have more issues than the later model years, but very few specifics.
    Any help would be appreciated. Thanks!
     
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  3. Tom Larkins

    Tom Larkins Formula Junior

    If there was a forums Nazi here, you wouldn't be offered any soup (Seinfeld). Use the search, just recently have some excellent threads been brought up in regards to certain misconceptions about the 355. Specifically; valve guides and other past threads about, dash cracking, headers and F1 Trannies. Happy hunting
     
  4. vincent355

    vincent355 F1 Veteran
    Rossa Subscribed

    Apr 8, 2003
    5,701
    Wine Country
    Full Name:
    Vincent
    How many miles?

    Often daily drivers are well sorted cars. The more you drive the better they get.

    Vincent.
     
  5. trasus

    trasus Rookie

    Feb 9, 2004
    22
    Phoenix, Az.
    This '95 has a few over 70,000. I know the big service is coming up (within 6 months if I get my hands on it) but other than that, I'm extremely impressed with the quality of the car. Apparently it has been on several road trips, accounting for an estimated 15,000 of the miles. The rest is just basic commuting. 70,000 miles just seems like a lot to me when so many other Ferraris have less than 30,000 after a similar length of time.
    Thanks for the reply!
     
  6. cinquevalvole

    cinquevalvole Formula 3

    Feb 6, 2004
    1,149
    Germany, Bayern
    Hi trasus,

    at 70,000 miles - it depends on the price / your budget.
    Some day the 355 needs a engine rebuild;
    This could be at 100.000 miles or at 150.000 - or later ...
    For this you need some cash again :-|
    Such a high milage exemplar has to be 15.000 $ cheaper than an car with
    only 25.000 miles. Both you can take. Ask your mechanic about prices for
    such work. (Yes, you need a good Ferrari service point first ... )

    forza

    cinquevalvole
     
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  8. sherpa23

    sherpa23 F1 Veteran
    Silver Subscribed Owner

    May 28, 2003
    9,501
    Colorado
    Full Name:
    Bastuna
    Well, the auction is over so I don't know if you got the car or not. I think that it would be a good car to own. Daily drivers are the best in terms of reliability. Post if you won the auction and then I will go into detail about some of the issues on the 95's and 355s in general.
     
  9. trasus

    trasus Rookie

    Feb 9, 2004
    22
    Phoenix, Az.
    Not sure which auction you are talking about. I see one on ebay which is the same car in red, also in Az. I don't think that is the one you're talking about though, because it still has almost a day left. In any case, I looked into that car and asked around a bit about it's past and was generally pleased with what I heard. And you can't argue with that price (about $10K less than what I'm contemplating). That's not the one I'm looking at though. I'm just a bit hesitant to buy into a 95 and I had no idea an engine rebuild was in the works so soon. I'm told that I can manage things like oil changes, etc myself, probably even the 15,000 mile servicings that can't be skipped. I have no intention of selling this car so I'm not worried about ruining it's service record by performing the work on my own. Still, that complete engine rebuild sounds daunting, at best. Thanks for the great info everyone. Maybe I'll take a closer look at that ebay auction. For those who are wondering what I'm talking about, click through: http://cgi.ebay.com/ebaymotors/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&category=6212&item=2458982496
     
  10. Tomf-1

    Tomf-1 F1 Rookie
    Silver Subscribed

    Jan 17, 2004
    4,475
    Leawood KS/ South FL
    Full Name:
    Thomas
    Trasus--- I started a thread on this very same car in the general discussion. There are some very good insights on this vehicle. I was interested at one point but no longer. The thread is called "what is this F355 worth Ebay". Good luck.
     
  11. beezerhound69

    beezerhound69 Karting

    Feb 3, 2004
    136
    Suwanee
    Full Name:
    Tom
    Trasus,
    I think you can do better, mainly on miles. There's a good balance between miles/price. I checked out the link for this car, doesn't even look like at $56k the reserve was even met and the car is pushing 75k miles. I just bought a '97 355 GTB 2 weeks ago , off of ebay coincidentally, with very low miles. Just an opinion, but I think I saved anywhere from $5 to $10k by waiting around a little bit longer . The key for me, other than price was knowing the major service (belts, tensioners, etc. etc.) was taken care of so I'll have some time to get to know the car. I looked in several different places, ebay, dupontregistry.com, and our local Ferrari dealer among others. I know it's not much, but just my two cents.
     
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  13. f355spider

    f355spider F1 World Champ
    Rossa Subscribed Owner

    May 29, 2001
    17,090
    USA
    Full Name:
    Hugh G. Rection
    I have been looking at 355's on and off for a while now. I would really like to get one in the future, so I am NOT trying to bag on the 355. The things to look for IMO are the following (all years):

    1) Exhaust header cracks
    2) leather dash shrinkage, esp. around the passenger air bag
    3) Good compression/leakdown numbers (watching for the potential valve guide issue)
    4) Check the shocks function carefully, they do fail on occiasion, and with relatively few miles (15k to 20K)
    5) Check for cracks at the c-pillars (not sure what causes this, but have seen it on several B's and GTS's. Not an issue with spiders.)
    6) (specific to 95 model year) check the throttle function for smooth progressive throttle application with no glitches or jerkiness.
    7) console plastic getting sticky, soft or warped
    8) Check AC function
    9) Check the underside carefully for damage, the cars are LOW and can suffer a lot of scrapes and cracked peices. The front bumper/spoiler are often repaired and repainted, not a huge deal, and very common.

    A number of the cars I have examined have had one or more of these issues.

    All this stuff should be part of a thorough PPI anyway.
     
  14. delaney

    delaney Formula Junior
    Silver Subscribed

    Nov 8, 2003
    660
    St Petersburg, FL
    Full Name:
    PETER DELANEY
    a) Am I paranoid or are the valve and header problems a given for the early (and later/all ?) 355's? i.e. should one ALWAYS ensure these problems have been addressed prior to buying. I see some low mileage 355's out there ... 4 - 10k, and my tendency is to keep away from them ... rather a 15-20k model that's had the problems fixed.

    b) Two Spyder choices .... '95 with 7500 miles, or '96 with 23.5k & valves/header fixed. Which one, and what's a fair price... both in excellent cosmetic shape.
     
  15. cinquevalvole

    cinquevalvole Formula 3

    Feb 6, 2004
    1,149
    Germany, Bayern
    @davehanda,

    all this matches to my experience.
    Is there a easy solution for point 6) ?
    "(specific to 95 model year) check the throttle function for smooth
    progressive throttle application with no glitches or jerkiness."

    forza

    cinquevalvole
     

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