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F355:what to know befor buying?

Discussion in '348/355' started by Classiguy3, Dec 21, 2003.

  1. Classiguy3

    Classiguy3 Karting
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    Nov 29, 2003
    114
    Manalapan, NJ
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    Leonardo
    Im in the market for a F355 Berlinetta. what should I know befor buying. are there any mechanical issues with these cars? Many people are trying to convince me to buy a Porsche becasue of "everyday " exotic driveablity. DO I have to get valves adjusted regularly?

    thanks
    Leo
    NYC
     
  2. lawwdog

    lawwdog Formula 3

    Dec 4, 2002
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    Mario
    Leo,

    You should probably do a search through the archives since your question has been asked by many of us. Ferrari and Porsche should never be used in the same sentence. I'll speak for myself and say that if you are worried about paying for higher costs of ownership, you are not going to want to drive a Ferrari. I knew what I was getting into before buying mine and I accept it because for now, I wouldn't want to drive anything else.

    I think Porsche cars are no brainer cars when it comes to cost of ownership and daily driver status. But, thats just it about Porsche's, they are daily drivers and everywhere you look you see them.

    Ask yourslef a couple of questions:
     
  3. lawwdog

    lawwdog Formula 3

    Dec 4, 2002
    1,178
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    Mario
    Leo,

    You should probably do a search through the archives since your question has been asked by many of us. Ferrari and Porsche should never be used in the same sentence. I'll speak for myself and say that if you are worried about paying for higher costs of ownership, you are not going to want to drive a Ferrari. I knew what I was getting into before buying mine and I accept it because for now, I wouldn't want to drive anything else.

    I think Porsche cars are no brainer cars when it comes to cost of ownership and daily driver status. But, thats just it about Porsche's, they are daily drivers and everywhere you look you see them.

    Back to your main question:
    Research
    Drive one
    Pick One
    Pre-purchase before you buy
    Don't get pissed when and if it needs maintenance
    Enjoy in good health...there is nothing else like it.

    Mario
     
  4. ernie

    ernie Two Time F1 World Champ
    Owner Lifetime Rossa

    Nov 19, 2001
    21,838
    The Brickyard
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    The Bad Guy
    You need the owner to have all the documentation for services on the car. Other wise there is no way of knowing what was done. The engine out service should have been completed. As for the valves you don't need to worry about getting them adjusted all the time, because they are hydrolic valves. If you get a 1995 model makes sure that the old valve guides have been changed to the updated ones. The exhaust headers have a tendancy to go bad no matter what year the car is. The power windows also will start to slow down, normally because of bad connections, but those are any easy fix. Have the clutch inspected to make sure it is in proper working order. That is about all I can think of right now.
     
  5. ze_shark

    ze_shark Formula 3

    Jul 13, 2003
    1,270
    Switzerland (NW)
    - exhaust manifolds replaced, no hint of an exhausts link
    - scrutinize the base of the C-pillars for traces of paint imperfection which would hide cracks underneath
    - valve guides (not too sure how to diagnose, greasy exhaust pipes ?)
    - and of course clear maintenance history with yearly services
    - watch the rear axle hoses
     
  6. speeder37

    speeder37 Karting

    Nov 18, 2003
    91
    Chicago
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    Matt
    These cars are prone to a variety of shortcomings.

    Valve guides
    Clutch slave cylinders
    Clutch pak will disintegrate without notice
    Water pumps
    Exhaust pipes crack, can take a bank of cylinders with them.
    Leather dashes prone to shrink
    Center console warps
    Convertible top motor failures normal
    C pillers tend to crack
    Leather on seats will delaminate
    Resale value is falling fast as a result. The 355 has slid more than 25% in the last year. They are not done sliding. Buyer beware!
    These cars are the most expensive Ferraris to own. FNA would just as soon forget them. The dealers cringe when one comes in. If your plan is to drive it very little, buy one with a recent service and no oil leaks and you will be ok. Do not leave it parked in the sun! If your plan is to drive the car, there are better Ferrari choices.
    Speaking from expierience----Twice!
     
  7. Classiguy3

    Classiguy3 Karting
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    Nov 29, 2003
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    Leonardo
    You say "better options to drive" what do you mean by that? what other ferrari is a better chioce? and why is it soo much money to own? All ferraris decrease in price what makes the f355 so particular?
     
  8. sjmst

    sjmst F1 Veteran
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    Jul 31, 2003
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    I don't own one, but I have heard time and time again that 328's are the best buy when it comes to overall reliabliity and value. Check them out.
     
  9. rcallahan

    rcallahan F1 Rookie
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    Jul 15, 2002
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    I don't know what speeder37 is talking about. The F355 is one of the most reliable Fcars. If it's a 95, then make sure the valve guides have been changed. On some cars they do have cracked header issues, but they are under warranty for 7 or 8 years. If it's over 30K (miles) or 5 years than make sure it has had an engine out service.

    It's truely a great car.

    Bob
     
  10. Classiguy3

    Classiguy3 Karting
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    Nov 29, 2003
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    Leonardo
    I like the traditional GTB F355 slotted rear engine decklid and flip up lights compared to the Modena. theres something about the round rear lights and those slats...Ahh those slats. I love em'...Truly a classic style. The modena is more of a Modern style, just like the new BMW's. I am not looking for ridiculouse horse power. I have a new M3 and really dont care if the 355 has less or more. I am more concerned about the sound and style. I hear its music to ones ears.
     
  11. sindo308qv

    sindo308qv F1 Rookie

    Nov 1, 2003
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    Exactly, don't know what 355 speeder is talking about?My friend has a 355 as a daily driver, has put 15,000 miles so far and no problems.If they were so bad then why "TWO from experience". The more you drive your cars the better.
     
  12. speeder37

    speeder37 Karting

    Nov 18, 2003
    91
    Chicago
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    Matt
    Correction. The header issue is warranteed for four years only. Check with your dealer. That means that only a few 99's have any chance at warranty. The header problem spans all years. Again, check the archives and your dealer. The valve guide problem was around until a certain point in 1998. Again check the archives. The dealers will no longer touch the valve guide problem. You will be on your own. These two reasons are the main culprits for the falling values. (well documented). I learned much about the 355 the hard and expensive way. I don't mean to offend to anybody that currently owns a 355. They are nice driving, good sounding aesthetically pleasing cars. Too many problems! A dealership network that wishes they would go away. Just the facts.
     
  13. ima2nr

    ima2nr Rookie

    Nov 2, 2003
    22
    atlanta ga
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    kevin prickett
    well Speeder37, if some one buys a well documented example of a 355, most of those concerns will have been addressed.

    BTW, I drive my 355 over 1000 miles weekly!!!! the car is a wonderful daily driver, and I wouldn't trade it for my old Porsche 911 any day of the week. The car is powerful, predictable, sexy, and just plain exciting.

    also, I perform my own oil services, brakes, ect. The car is very easy to work on, I changed my clutch in approx 4 hours without a lift! FOAtlanta is always friendly and heplful if I need servicing advice. I'd say its a perfect daily driver.

    This is also my first Ferrari, I'm glad I chose the 355...
     
  14. speeder37

    speeder37 Karting

    Nov 18, 2003
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    Chicago
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    Matt
    I didn't mean to offend anyone. I am speaking of my personal expieriences with a 95-B and a 98 Spider. The local dealers privately would concur with my assesments. The cars drive great as most F-Cars do. They are prone to problems. You can't argue with plummeting resale values. There is a reason besides a sluggish economy. Last fact--There are 400 plus for sale at any given time. Very few are changing hands.
     
  15. vref

    vref Karting

    Dec 18, 2003
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    Jim
    I agree $20K per year depreciation is alot to swallow. I think it is due to the 30K service costing about $7K, The 360 came out as the latest and greatest so everyone with cash to burn trades their old 355's in on 360's and others. Plus the bottom line is there are not alot of people who are willing/can to pay $100K for a 7 year old car. Getting an older car like that financed is also more difficult than a new one.

    It seems you can't give a yellow one away, I personally like them but the dealers won't touch them, unless they are in the $70's.
     
  16. lawwdog

    lawwdog Formula 3

    Dec 4, 2002
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    Mario
    I don't mean to offend to anybody that currently owns a 355. They are nice driving, good sounding aesthetically pleasing cars. Too many problems! A dealership network that wishes they would go away. Just the facts.[/QUOTE]



    Speeder37, with all due respect to you and your opinion...I believe your experience with 355's is certainly in the minority. I disagree with your comment on why the 355 value has dropped and I also disagree with your comment that dealers run away from them. The 355 is like any car, they are all liabilities not assets. Drive them and own them for what they do for you not what you will get in return when you go to sell it.

    Mario
     
  17. wax

    wax Four Time F1 World Champ
    Advising Moderator

    Jul 20, 2003
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    Dirty Harry
    In LA throughout 2003, I've seen 3-4 used 360's for every 355 in any given showroom worth it's salt - IF there is a 355 present.

    When 360's replacement comes out, it too will be traded in by many doing upgrades to the rumored 420.

    At some point, the showroom/market saturation will mean that trade-in values will be lower on 360's, retail will slowly drop until the critical mass point where inventory needs to be moved and 360 prices will drop, just as the 355's have in 2003 - though perhaps not to 80K for quite some years to come. Perhaps by 2011. Who knows what long-term issues the 360 will have, particularly in regards to the F-1 tranny or clutch, which, advanced in user-friendliness as it may be now, may be considered antique or a relatively unreliabale service headache by the time 2011 rolls around. Any car which has had it's issues sorted is better than the one that doesn't.

    To the casual observer, it is interesting, and certainly unfortunate to see the dissatisfaction (and the depths of dismay simply can't be conveyed over the 'net) of at least 1 FC member who has had no less than 2 355's - and I certainly hope it has not prematurely added any lines on his face or grey hairs, as can happen. Hat is off to you, sir. You paid your price.

    I tend to think of cars as being like women - pretty on the outside, but you gotta make sure they're low maintenance. "Exotic" or not - Find a car or a woman that's had their issues dealt with - it'll make your life easier and your pocketbook heavier.
     
  18. 355f

    355f Formula Junior

    Nov 1, 2003
    305
    Really have to take issue with this post!!

    Its unfortunate you have had a bad expereince with your cars.

    It is widely accepted however that the 355 is the best ferrari for reliability and the later model years areprobaby better than a 360.

    It terms of issues that remain from cars 97 onwards its really manifolds and c pillars which can be an issue.

    As far as dealers cringing, well NEVER heard that one if they cringe at a 355 god knows what they do with any other ferrari model.

    As for depreciation they have levelled off and they are loosing a LOT less than 360 now
     
  19. Steve275

    Steve275 Formula Junior
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    Jun 20, 2003
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    Steve
    If you are truly a Classsic Car Connoisseur then Why are you even considering a F355 ? - Why not a 328 GTS, 365BB, 512BBi Etc. All are superior cars without the modern technoloigical foibles of the 355 and all the up sides,

    Bullet Proof Engines,
    Fanatastic Gearboxes,
    Proper Exhaust Notes,
    Built when Enzo ran the company,
    Better looking than the "half used bar of soap" looking vehicles being produced today,
    They maybe quicker, they maybe quantum leaps forward in technology, they are not as nice to live with, 2 to 3 time more expensive to own, (I know, I have owned most to the modern ones), but still return to the old favourites time and time again.
    Plus they are mass produced, Only 6068 328 GTS were made, 1344 328 GTB's, and only 272 288 GTO's, Be different, buy older You will not be disappointed.

    Steve
     
  20. Ron328

    Ron328 Formula 3
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  21. richanton

    richanton Karting

    Nov 3, 2003
    50
    I think steve328 makes a very good point. I too am a fan of the older cars.
     
  22. madturk

    madturk Formula 3
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    Nov 2, 2003
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    I have a 1997 F355 and FOA changed the headers about 6 months ago. I had to pay for the labor only. About $600 or so don't remember. They said that Ferrari was paying for the headers.
     
  23. notoboy

    notoboy F1 Rookie

    Jul 8, 2003
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    Leo,
    In answer to your original question, take note of the things in this thread to look for, and most importantly, ask yourself what you want.

    My little brother has a 996 cabrio and I have a 355 spider - more or less, they cost about the same. The 996 is great, but there is NO comparison when driving them about which is more fun and exciting. But on the other hand, there is also NO comparison when it comes to reliability and cost of maintenance: the 355 is about 8-10K/yr and the 996 is less than 2K/yr (all in).

    I bought a Ferrari but knew what I was buying into. Make sure and know the same.

    David
     
  24. sherpa23

    sherpa23 F1 Veteran
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    May 28, 2003
    9,423
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    Bastuna
    Well, I have forgone a 360 to buy a 1997 355b. The 355 was the first production Ferrari that I ever truly loved and even though I really like the 360, it feels a little too BMWish for me when I'm behind the wheel. However, there is no disputing the extra power and weight difference with the 360 so I had a very hard decision. Dave Helms helped me a lot by explaining some of the differences in service and ownership costs and after talking to him, I decided to go with a 355.

    I found a great one. It's a 1997 that recently had the valve guides replaced and the 30k done (less than 350 miles ago), with the challenge grill and tubi, as well as some other options. It looks like I will pick it up some time in early January. I can't wait and I have no regrets choosing this car over a 360.
     
  25. notoboy

    notoboy F1 Rookie

    Jul 8, 2003
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    sherpa23, Best of luck! What I wouldn't give to use my 355 in the mountains around Estes Park or back behind Boulder or Co Springs. Enjoy!

    David
     

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