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355 How to get familiar with a 355 before buying?

Discussion in '348/355' started by zhani355, Feb 19, 2019.

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  1. zhani355

    zhani355 Rookie

    Dec 31, 2018
    21
    Bellevue WA
    Full Name:
    Kevin J
    I'm beginning to look for my next weekend car and the F355 is currently top of my list for a number of reasons (most of them obvious to anyone on this forum). My current car is a 1998 NSX-T which has been steadily gaining value over the past five years and not a car that is easy to give up (every past owner I've talked with regrets selling theirs). But I feel like a change and the 355 is currently the one. The only problem is that very few appear to come up for sale in the Seattle, WA area so its difficult to see one in the flesh, let alone sit in one and take it for a drive. I consider myself more of a driver rather than a car lover, so its important for me that a car engages me in a certain way and doesn't have any negative features. The NSX is falls very much into the "engagement" category and has very little in the way annoyances (none to be honest, but that's just my opinion!) Ideally I'd like to take a serious look at GTS and a Spyder (sorry but Berlinetta's don't do it for me) before buying so that I know what to expect when I finally find the perfect one to buy. So how did everyone here go from thinking about buying one to actually making the leap and getting one? I'm fairly pragmatic and willing to take my time on this but any feedback on this would be appreciated. The only plan I have at the moment is to visit the two local Ferrari car shows that I know happen in the summer and hopefully be able to talk to F355 owners in person and look over their cars. But Seattle Ferrari owners can be funny sometimes and not give the average Joe the time of day. Any other ideas on how to go about this?
     
  2. greyboxer

    greyboxer F1 World Champ

    Dec 8, 2004
    10,721
    South East
    Full Name:
    Jimmie
  3. jjtjr

    jjtjr Formula Junior

    Aug 29, 2016
    373
    Vermont
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    john truskowski
    For starters, it would be wise to determine whether you will be able to maintain the car yourself, or pay a dealer or indie to do it for you. The reason I lead with this is because many of the "bad 355 experiences" seems to stem from a person who buys one and becomes horrified by the costs of maintenance and upkeep. Especially a car with a questionable past and bringing it to a dealer for service.
    Another tip would be to get a PPI before purchase, and go into the purchase eyes wide open. After that, a well maintained 355 can be very rewarding! Good luck.
     
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  4. rob

    rob F1 Rookie

    May 22, 2002
    3,568
    Vt
    It’s a big investment so it’s worth the time and money to travel to see and drive a few make sure it is something you really want. Don’t limit your search to your local area if you find one you are interested in that’s across the country make an appointment with the dealer or individual selling the car and get on a plane and go see it and drive it. It is that kind of investment. Best of luck.
     
    Robb likes this.
  5. Skiday

    Skiday Karting

    Feb 22, 2016
    111
    Isle of Wight, UK
    Full Name:
    Andrew Day
    I agree with ttjtr above. It is hard to imagine anyone being disappointed with how the car drives (especially the stiffer Berlinetta:p)[I admit I have never driven a GTS or Spyder:(], but it is very easy to understand being disappointed with the maintenance costs.
     
  6. zhani355

    zhani355 Rookie

    Dec 31, 2018
    21
    Bellevue WA
    Full Name:
    Kevin J
    Thanks for all the responses and links. To answer the cost question, I'm aware of the continuing investment (ie maintenance) costs relating to the F355 and am prepared to do what's necessary (within reason) to maintain the car. I generally keep my cars in tip top shape, with all scheduled maintenance performed and body work and other issues fixed as they occur. I'm also prepared to travel to buy the car - I flew down to CA to get my NSX and purchased it within two hours of seeing it, before driving it back up to Seattle. But that was after testing driving an older NSX locally and spending a fair amount of time researching them and looking them over each time I saw one in a parking lot somewhere around town. Unfortunately nobody parks their F355 at a Home Depot here :). I'm curious if there's anyone here that came from an NSX to a F355 and has any advice on the transition.
     
  7. flat_plane_eddie

    flat_plane_eddie F1 Rookie
    Silver Subscribed Owner

    Mar 30, 2013
    2,659
    Los Angeles
    Full Name:
    Eddie
    The F355 in stock form is quite muted and bland. When I drove one the first time it was a bit of a letdown but I knew that with headers, high flow cats and an exhaust they become one of the best sounding cars ever made. I mention that because exhaust sound is important to me. You can PM me and I can send you some videos.

    The car is low and you sit low in it, it's definitely an experience and they're probably one of the most exciting cars you can buy. You will like it, the only question is if you'll like the maintenance which is pricier than your average sports car. Last but not least, besides the usual things to check for on any car, I always look to see if the headers, cats and valve guides have been fixed. After a certain production date the factory updated the valve guides but if the headers and cats haven't been replaced, figure you'll have to do that.
     
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  8. Rifledriver

    Rifledriver Two Time F1 World Champ

    Apr 29, 2004
    26,949
    Austin TX
    Full Name:
    Brian Crall

    If Seattle Ferrari owners are indeed like that they are very different from any other geographic region in the entire United States. Join the Ferrari Club and attend events, get to know some owners and talk to them about 355's. You will learn far more doing that once or twice than a year spent on the internet.
     
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  9. PhilB

    PhilB Formula 3
    Rossa Subscribed Owner

    Feb 17, 2004
    1,563
    NYC, USA
    Full Name:
    Phil
    Don't be so sure. I use my 355 for most mundane errands, weather permitting is my only criteria. I've taken it to HD dozens of times. Not for lumber obviously, but for small things why not. It's a 30 minute drive each way, and I park it way out in a spot at the far end of the lot, and it changes the errand from something you have to do, to an event of epic proportions and big smiles.

    Why not enjoy the car as often as possible?
     
  10. A348W

    A348W Formula 3

    Jun 28, 2017
    1,145
    North Wiltshire, UK
    1) if you’re thinking is “investment”. Then prepared to, potentially, be disappointed. Buy it to enjoy. If you don’t loose any money happy days, if you loose some, so what?
    2) as said above join the club, attend the events. From the outside looking in it does seem “stuffy”, but I’ve found everybody friendly and helpful.
    3) go rent one. They are available to rent; over here anyway.
    4) buy one and put lots of miles on it; your a long time dead, as they say.
     
    Rifledriver likes this.
  11. zhani355

    zhani355 Rookie

    Dec 31, 2018
    21
    Bellevue WA
    Full Name:
    Kevin J
    Ditto for my NSX and yes, I have hauled lumber in it (isn't that what the T-top is for?). Maybe there's a higher ratio of NSX's here that you are likely to see one on the road or parked somewhere every few weeks. Not the same for 355's, although the long wet winters might be a factor in all of this.
     
  12. mclaudio

    mclaudio Formula 3

    Dec 13, 2003
    1,129
    Seattle area
    Full Name:
    Claudio
    Where have you been looking? I know of two pristine F355 Seattle cars that sold recently - one is a GTS and other is a Berlinetta - from Authentic Motorcars and Cats Exotics, respectively. Both dealerships are very approachable and operated by genuine enthusiasts. One of the cars belonged to an active FCA NW region member and is very friendly; he and others in the club may be good ownership experience resources. I know another 355 spider owner/FCA NW member who bought his 355 spider after selling his 512BBi last year; he’s very down to earth like most true car enthusiasts. Thing is I don’t think they frequent Fchat if they are even members; for sure, they don’t post much. Heck, I’ve been in Fchat since early 00s and don’t post much.

    I’m a current 355 owner and FCA member in your area; but mine, being a Challenge car version with race patina, may not be a good sample for you. I like the first gen NSXs and considered them (including a targa version) years back; I respect Honda’s first gen NSX for what it did to sportscars but they just didn’t pull my heartstrings enough. If you think NSXs are engaging (and we have VTECs in the family - TSX sportwagon, 00 Type R, B18 Lotus Elise), then you may find 355s more engaging. At least, I do. Engagement and annoyances are subjective enough such that driving the cars are really the key. I may even say that, perhaps, what may be engaging to one may be annoying to another. It’s a good start that you are reaching out...
     
  13. zhani355

    zhani355 Rookie

    Dec 31, 2018
    21
    Bellevue WA
    Full Name:
    Kevin J
    Autotrader and BringATrailer primarily. I've been to Cats Exotics about a year or two back to look at a couple of 360's they had in stock at the time. I wasn't aware of Authentic Motorcars in Redmond, even though I've driven in that area quite a few times, so I will keep an eye on them going forward. I had assumed that all dealers in the area would advertise on Autotrader if they had an exotic in stock. I've yet to visit Ferrari in Seattle but assume it would be rare for them to get a 355 in stock.

    It sounds like joining FCA in the next logical step and meet up with 355 owners at the next few events. If you have time at weekends then I'd certainly be interested in looking at your Challenge to learn more about the 355 in general. I'm located on the Eastside - PM me if this is of interest to you.
     
  14. mclaudio

    mclaudio Formula 3

    Dec 13, 2003
    1,129
    Seattle area
    Full Name:
    Claudio
    Sent you a conversation/message a couple of days ago. Just to add, I was told that Griot’s in Tacoma is Ferrari Day this Saturday. A few of FCA folks will likely be there including me, though likely not with 355 as it’s in midst of service/winter projects. Feel free to join us there.
     
  15. SoCal1

    SoCal1 F1 Veteran
    Silver Subscribed Owner

    Jun 14, 2011
    8,075
    SoCal LA/OC
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    Tim Dee
    How to get familiar with a 355 before buying?

    I like a formal invitation followed by a chaperoned first date :)
     
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  16. yelcab

    yelcab F1 Veteran
    Consultant

    Nov 29, 2001
    9,836
    San Carlos, CA
    Full Name:
    Mitchell Le
    Nothing is safe with you, even with a chaperone
     
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  17. SoCal1

    SoCal1 F1 Veteran
    Silver Subscribed Owner

    Jun 14, 2011
    8,075
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    Full Name:
    Tim Dee
  18. zhani355

    zhani355 Rookie

    Dec 31, 2018
    21
    Bellevue WA
    Full Name:
    Kevin J
    Great thank you. I'll check with the other half and see if I can make this work.
     

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