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355 Jeff's '97 355 GTS Journey

Discussion in '348/355' started by sgtpeper, Jun 14, 2020.

  1. sgtpeper

    sgtpeper Formula Junior

    May 4, 2004
    344
    Denver
    Full Name:
    Jeff
    Hi All,

    My new to me '97 355 GTS 6MT made it to Denver today!

    Since this is my first personal Ferrari, I wanted to create a thread to introduce myself more officially, ask questions, and document my Ferrari journey.

    I grew up around pretty much every car imaginable, XKEs, MGs, Alfas, BMW, and a few Ferraris. My dad owned a 250GTE and later a 365 California Spyder - 1 of 14 built and 13 in existence. He bought the car at a time when these were all just old cars. 9801 for only 10k! The car was sold during my parent's divorce and was always the car my dad talked about.

    I've always tried to chase the cars of my youth but definitely know the 365 California Spyder is out of reach. I've bought many Alfas and recently sold my '74 Spider as I just wasn't getting a chance to drive it and it was deteriorating.

    I currently have an '03 Porsche Turbo X50 6MT and daily drive a '19 Jaguar IPace First Edition.

    I've been researching Ferraris for quite some time. Originally, I was convinced I wanted a 550 but after driving it decided it just wasn't exciting enough. I drove a 348 and felt it was fun and almost similar to my Alfa in that nice analog way. Then I drove a couple 360s and was pretty much convinced that was the way I was going to go. I really wanted to drive a 355 but never found one locally. It's always been one of my favorite Ferraris for balancing analog feel and modern drivability (at least compared to the 348 and my Alfa ha). Then I randomly came across an add for, now, my 355 GTS in the perfect spec and with a few miles on it so I wouldn't feel guilty about driving it.

    All of this means that when the car arrived today, it was the first 355 I've ever driven! So far I'm in love! It's a bit slower than the 360s I've driven, and the car needs some of the cosmetics looked at, but it feels and sounds fantastic. It's just a completely different driving experience. My Porsche Turbo is quite a bit faster, but the Ferrari really does have that soul that I always felt was missing in the Porsche - but I am going to keep both for the moment!

    Enough talk. Here are some photos of my first day as a proud 355 GTS owner.

    I will continue to stay up on this thread and will post questions and observations.

    Thank you to everyone for all your help so far!

    Regards,
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  3. bjwhite

    bjwhite F1 Rookie

    Mar 17, 2006
    3,988
    Seattle, WA
    Full Name:
    Brian White
    The targas as the best imho! Congrats.

    And not a single misplaced apostrophe in your entire post! Unlike others here who just can't help typing Ferrari's and Alfa's. (Drives me bonkers.)

    Welcome! :)
     
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  4. sgtpeper

    sgtpeper Formula Junior

    May 4, 2004
    344
    Denver
    Full Name:
    Jeff
    haha thanks! I think the GTS is the best for my needs as well. The rule growing up in Chicago was that if it was above freezing, the top stayed down. As much as I like the idea of the full convertible 355, I worry about the top mechanism and do prefer the lines of the GTS and GTB.

    I was incredibly impressed on my first drive tonight with the targa off at how well the air flowed over the car even with the top off and windows down. I could still talk to my passenger and my ears weren't ringing when we got home.
     
  5. Robb

    Robb Moderator
    Moderator Lifetime Rossa Owner

    Feb 28, 2004
    12,623
    Mesa, Arizona
    Full Name:
    Robb Williamson
    Congrats on your new F355.

    Welcome to the party. We look forward to watching your fun with the car.

    Robb
     
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  6. Robb

    Robb Moderator
    Moderator Lifetime Rossa Owner

    Feb 28, 2004
    12,623
    Mesa, Arizona
    Full Name:
    Robb Williamson
    Huge amount of brainpower here on f-chat in this section.

    Owners here have seen most of everything and you’ll find them very enthusiastic to help you out on any questions as you work on your car.

    Robb
     
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  8. MAD828

    MAD828 Formula 3
    Silver Subscribed

    Oct 8, 2011
    1,853
    Sydney
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    Elliott Caras
    Congrats on your first Ferrari! Looks like a great example. Love the spec.
     
  9. Ferrarium

    Ferrarium F1 Rookie
    Rossa Subscribed

    Jul 28, 2018
    2,920
    Central NJ
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    Eric
    Looks great congrats!
     
  10. texasnoiz

    texasnoiz Rookie
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    Oct 7, 2018
    33
    Sugar Land
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    k s
    damn that is clean! Congrats! how is the interior on it? ' ' '
     
  11. ttforcefed

    ttforcefed F1 World Champ
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    Aug 22, 2002
    15,364
    well done - pure bliss!
     
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  13. sgtpeper

    sgtpeper Formula Junior

    May 4, 2004
    344
    Denver
    Full Name:
    Jeff
    Thanks!

    The interior is OK. I think I can really bring it back to life by having a professional just soak the leather in conditioner. From being a CA car and then a FL car, and a GTS, the leather has seen the sun. The driver's seat needs to be re-dyed, I think. The rest is really quite good. No stickies and just a small crack in the ashtray surround that I think I can just epoxy and move on with life. The targa headliner is a bit depressed - which I think is mostly because the top wasn't on this car very often.

    The weatherstripping on the targa is less than ideal though. Can I replace this relatively easily? Some owner did a decent job painting this red. I'm thinking about taking it back to black or finding a spare one in good shape.

    More photos:

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  14. tres55

    tres55 F1 Rookie
    Rossa Subscribed

    Sep 18, 2012
    2,631
    Canada
    Driver seat looks a bit too far gone and will likely need to be recovered or a professional to work their magic, but the rest is pretty standard wear on the 355 interior I'd say.

    Nice car congrats.
     
  15. sgtpeper

    sgtpeper Formula Junior

    May 4, 2004
    344
    Denver
    Full Name:
    Jeff
    Thanks! A local classics shop I trust said they can do a pretty good job cleaning up the seat. The issue there is it has been dyed previously they said. So the plan is to get it presentable and when it goes again just recover the seat.

    They quoted me 1k to completely condition the leather and clean the carpets etc.

    They also quoted me 2k to do a full paint correction (including touching up the small rock chips on the nose) and doing a full ceramic coating.

    And now for my first driving questions:
    1. How high should the clutch engage? Mine also has a little play in the pedal at the top - maybe an inch?
    2. The A/C blower - even on high it's sort of akin to my 11month old blowing on me. Normal? I did have the targa off.

    Thank you!
     
  16. Sancho22

    Sancho22 Karting

    Oct 24, 2018
    142
    Northern New Jersey
    Full Name:
    Laszlo Szanka
    Congrats and enjoy! As you stated the seats/paint correction can be done in a fairly affordable manner.
    the A/C may be better in other cars but "blows" in my 1995 Spyder...LOL
     
  17. sgtpeper

    sgtpeper Formula Junior

    May 4, 2004
    344
    Denver
    Full Name:
    Jeff
    haha meaning you get some relief or it's just sort of a slight breeze in the desert?
     
  18. Sancho22

    Sancho22 Karting

    Oct 24, 2018
    142
    Northern New Jersey
    Full Name:
    Laszlo Szanka
    yeah exactly...
     
  19. sgtpeper

    sgtpeper Formula Junior

    May 4, 2004
    344
    Denver
    Full Name:
    Jeff
    Another, probably dumb, question for the group - any issue with leaving the targa top stowed all the time? Does it warp or anything if left off for too long?
     
  20. phrogs

    phrogs F1 Veteran
    Silver Subscribed

    Apr 13, 2004
    6,547
    Michigan sometimes out west chasing fires
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    Johnny
    My headliner looks the same on my GTS top.
    I try not to touch it
     
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  21. bjwhite

    bjwhite F1 Rookie

    Mar 17, 2006
    3,988
    Seattle, WA
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    Brian White
    naw man. You can leave it off forever if you'd like. It won't warp unless you accidently drive over it. :) Then it will sort of shatters/crack.
     
  22. jjtjr

    jjtjr Formula Junior

    Aug 29, 2016
    430
    Vermont
    Full Name:
    john truskowski
    Congrats on your new toy. You will find this forum to be of great value while you own and maintain your car, as there is a lot of product knowledge here for sure.
     
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  23. krazykarguy

    krazykarguy Formula Junior

    Apr 17, 2014
    624
    Fort Mill, SC
    Full Name:
    Matt
    Congrats on the purchase! The car looks quite nice - how many miles on it?

    The cracked ashtray surround has a fix that was outlined by DaveRocks - a former member here who also does sticky button repair. Search for it in this section.

    The driver's seat looks pretty rough, I'm not sure if it can really be saved. Lots of members have had luck with Leatherique to restore the leather - although the previous dye job might hinder the efforts there. The airbag cover actually looks pretty good - what does the rest of the dash look like?
     
  24. sgtpeper

    sgtpeper Formula Junior

    May 4, 2004
    344
    Denver
    Full Name:
    Jeff
    Thanks! The rest of the dash is pretty strong - it's pulled just SLIGHTLY by the defroster vent. The sun visors are horrendous.

    I think for the ashtray I can probably just use a touch of epoxy and be good. Is there something I'm missing?

    The car has 36k miles on it - and counting as I can't stop driving it :)
     
  25. sgtpeper

    sgtpeper Formula Junior

    May 4, 2004
    344
    Denver
    Full Name:
    Jeff
    Great news! I passed emissions on my first try! The car has some sort of race cats on it and I had the shop in Florida put mini cats on to keep the CEL off - and it worked!

    Now if only the DMV would re-open so I can get plates...
     
  26. sgtpeper

    sgtpeper Formula Junior

    May 4, 2004
    344
    Denver
    Full Name:
    Jeff
    Another newb question for everyone - I was just going through all the books that came with my car and noticed the manual for the Alpine stereo has a note on the back with the install date - 3/97. Since my car is a '97 model, and I don't see an option for a radio on the original sticker, could that mean this IS the original radio to this particular car? Was the radio an option or just standard in '97?
     
  27. MAD828

    MAD828 Formula 3
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    Oct 8, 2011
    1,853
    Sydney
    Full Name:
    Elliott Caras
    From my understanding the radio was factory fitted in 1997 and the factory fitted stereo is the Ferrari branded Sony XRF20 and XRF21RDS units. Do you have a cd stacker too in the front?
     
  28. sgtpeper

    sgtpeper Formula Junior

    May 4, 2004
    344
    Denver
    Full Name:
    Jeff
    No CD changer in the front or signs it existed. Wouldn't the original window sticker show the radio? Mine doesn't. Sort of interesting and I wonder if the original owner had the dealer swap it so he could have a CD player instead of the stock tape deck.
     

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