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Owner's survey for 355's

Discussion in '348/355' started by doktor K, Mar 21, 2010.

  1. doktor K

    doktor K Rookie
    BANNED

    Mar 21, 2010
    12
    marietta,ga
    Full Name:
    Dr. N.K.
    I've been researching the purchase of my first F-car for two years now, and I'm ready to pull the trigger in 2010! I started out wanting a 355, because I thought it was the best looking, best sounding, most awesome of the modern Ferraris. However, over the last two years, everybody from F-Chat members to salesman at Ferrari dealers to famous F-car repair shop owners have told me to stay away from the 355 because it has HIGH maintenance cost issues--mostly because everything done on the motor requires pulling it out. Then several Ferrari dealer service managers have told me about the design defects with the 355 ( manifolds, cooling issues ) that also cost big bucks to fix, so I've basically heard NOTHING heartening about 355 ownership--the damn cars just cost a fortune to run and maintain! I therefore started focusing on 550M's as my better choice for "more car" with much cheaper maintenance bills in the long run.
    However, there's a gorgeous 355B on the market now that I just adore!
    I need some factual input from you 355 owner's as to the maintenance costs of the 355--I don't want a car that needs a $15K "belt change" every 4-5 years! I plan on keeping my F-car forever--like 40-50 years and pass it on to my kids! I don't want a high-maintenance, money-wasting car, so what can I expect on long-term maintenance costs of a 355 versus a 550M? I like both, but I haven't found a really nice 550M---I have found a nice 355!
    Please send forth some advice and opinions on my dilemma!!
    --Dr. K
     
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  3. INTMD8

    INTMD8 F1 Veteran
    Owner

    Jun 10, 2007
    5,641
    Lake Villa IL
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    James Moran
    I've only owned mine for a few months but I did buy the best example I could find to save myself the initial work of bringing a car up to spec.

    I considered the same things as you but in the end decided to go with the 355 as it's the car I really wanted and didn't want things like logic to get in the way of an emotional decision :)
     
  4. f355spider

    f355spider F1 World Champ
    Rossa Subscribed Owner

    May 29, 2001
    17,269
    USA
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    Hugh G. Rection
    If you are that fearful of the service costs, then by all means get the 550. It will still be very expensive, but likely considerably less than a 355.

    Either way, you are in a Ferrari, so enjoy.

    Don't over analyze the purchase...I think it is helpful to get some outside advice, but seriously, don't go crazy calling and quizzing everyone you know...this is a CAR, and it is not a rational or sound purchase. ;)
     
  5. 50hdmc

    50hdmc Formula 3

    Oct 10, 2006
    1,204
    Michigan
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    mark s
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  7. jqpd99

    jqpd99 Formula 3
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    Jul 25, 2007
    1,495
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    DFO
    LOL!!
     
  8. UConn Husky

    UConn Husky F1 Rookie

    Nov 11, 2006
    4,416
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    maintenance won't be cheap, but it can be mitigated. Unfortunately some people like to quote full dealer prices to make the 355 sound scarier, but in reality most issues can be fixed much more reasonably at a trusted independent. First, look at a late '98 or '99 355 - those had valve guides already upgraded. For an earlier car, just find one with a documented valve guide fix...problem solved. Headers are a one time fix, aftermarket for about $3k. You will be looking at an engine out belt change every 3-5 years (I'm planning on 4-5). Bare minimum that will cost about $4-5k or so, but other ancillary preventative fixes can bring it up to $7-10k pretty quick.

    There are some maintenance horror stories out there...but for every one, there's 100 other happy drivers just putting miles on :D
     
  9. MFC997

    MFC997 Karting

    Nov 13, 2009
    60
    I'm torn between the 355 (easily affordable) and the 430 (affordable but a bit of a stretch) due to the more angular nature of both cars. I actaually think the 355 is better looking but the 430 performance is hard to pass up. I'm sure maintenance is more of an issue with the 355 the question is ... is it worth it ?? Well ... is it guys ??? :D
     
  10. FerrariDeeJay

    FerrariDeeJay Formula Junior

    Jun 2, 2009
    418
    Chino, CA
    Full Name:
    Michael
    I have a 1995 F355 Spider and I bought it with 10,500 miles in 2007. I now have over 30k miles! Yes I have spent about 10k in repairs, but it was worth every F***** penny! I wake up every morning and take my baby through the twisty canyon roads-puts a smile on my face every time-priceless!
     
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  12. jm348

    jm348 F1 Rookie
    Silver Subscribed Owner

    Mar 21, 2007
    2,602
    Redondo Beach, CA
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    Jeff M
    Hope this helps.....bought my F355 Spider 2.5 years ago with 20K miles on her....going to hit 30K any day. I have done oil changes, a new set of tires and a new throttle cable, cable was ($50 + $150 labor). Major is due on paper in September.....looking like approx. 5K to complete. Runs awesome, sounds even better (stock), looks great with Challenge grill, did aluminum pedals and a few details at my local car wash. Car has been flawless.

    I love her....:D

    I consider a 360 every now and then...but always go back to the look and sound of the 355. However, when I can comfortably swing a 430, I may do so. If not I will enjoy the 355 until it's time to give her to my son. :D
     
  13. Sandy Eggo

    Sandy Eggo F1 Rookie
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    Jun 4, 2009
    3,275
    Encinitas, CA
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    Rick
    Well, you really came to the wrong place for a completely unbiased opinion. The mere fact you posted this in the 355 Forum (and not the 550 forum) shows that subconsciously you *really* want the 355! :D

    My advice, check the service history on that 355 you adore and confirm it's already had all the meltdowns that a 355 is famous for (on someone else's checkbook). If it has, then buy it (after a PPI) & you won't be disappointed.

    Sure, there will be some $$ surprises along the way but that's all part of the charm of owning Ferrari. Don't forget - there are plenty of people on this forum who will help you through just about any maintenance procedure if you're so inclined.
     
  14. yelcab

    yelcab F1 World Champ
    Consultant

    Nov 29, 2001
    10,670
    San Carlos, CA
    Full Name:
    Mitchell Le
    Many years from now, on my death bed, I will not be the one who wonders "how my life would have been had I bought that F355 back in 2010." Because, I bought one.
     
  15. Future ferrari collector

    Oct 12, 2006
    1,780
    My personal take is that the high maintenance cost of the 355 is offset by the higher depreciation that you are gonna get from the newer models for marginal better road performance (read usable performance). 355 vs the 550/430 is not that big a leap than say,308 vs 355. Plus point of the 355 is that it has relatively less electronic gizmos than the 550 not to mention the 430,so perhaps less expensive to maintain in that department going forward?
     
  16. johan6504

    johan6504 Formula 3

    Jun 28, 2005
    1,168
    Sweden
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    Johan
    I have been driving my 355 for 5 years now. Haven't had anything else but ordinary service done, car drives perfect. Most problems that can/will happen on the 355 can be fixed way cheaper than the outrageous figures presented on forums and charged by official dealers....

    I have the "dreaded" F1 box that eats clutches and brakes down when you least expect it ;-) Not a single problem in 5 years...

    If you are used to leave EVERYTHING to your official workshop I guess it can be painfully expensive but if you are used to do some thing you should be ok.

    PM me if you want more details, I say go for the 355!
     
  17. 348SStb

    348SStb F1 Rookie
    Owner

    #15 348SStb, Mar 22, 2010
    Last edited: Mar 22, 2010
    Great post.

    Look. The 355 is an absolutely fabulous machine. Having owned about -- oh, six Ferraris now -- I've learned a few things...

    First, nothing has EVER gone wrong with *either* of my 355s. I have a 95 6-speed coupe and a 99 F1 Spider. Why? Because they are maintained properly. The problems with Ferraris come when they have been f*vcked around with by "mechanics" who don't know how to fix them.

    Second, the money is made in the buy. My style is to buy something that isn't "good," but "excellent. I always pay a little more for cars that are "immaculate" which have been taken care of by borderline obsessed and fanatical owners.

    The 355 is an immensely "cheap" car right now. It's not losing any more value. Educate yourself on what needs to be done on the car, and set aside that money for advance, preventative maintenance. The engine does need to come out to change the timing belts. But once it's out and it goes back in, there's no reason to take it out again for at least 3-5 years. And it's not $15K!! It's 40 hours of labor plus parts. Depending on the shop's labor rate, it will cost $5000-$7,000.

    EVERY OTHER MORE EXPENSIVE CAR ON THE PLANET GOES DOWN IN VALUE BY THE $THOUSANDS EVERY YEAR. The 355 does not.

    The 355 being a "nightmare" is a myth. It is myth just like the 348 is a "nightmare."

    ANY Ferrari is a nightmare if it's been fiddled with by mechanics who screw it up. Ones that have been cared for and DRIVEN will be pretty much problem-free -- and I don't care the model.

    Pony up some dough and start playing with the big boys. It sounds like it's your dream come true.
     
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  18. SGM

    SGM F1 Rookie
    Silver Subscribed Owner

    Sep 27, 2006
    2,651
    Northern VA
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    Steve
    I'm not going to turn this into a thread about valve guides but just because its a 98 or 99 doesnt mean that the valves were upgraded from the factory.

    Your thread is a perfect example of why you don't buy the cheapest 355 for sale. Cars that have sat for years or dont have any service records are the ones that can be a nightmare. You want to find a car that has been driven and maintained regularly. It also helps if the owner is really anal about their car. And when you do find the car you like make sure you get a PPI done.
     
  19. f355jimv

    f355jimv Formula Junior

    Jan 21, 2008
    685
    Southern California
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    Jim
    Well said...
     
  20. AceMaster

    AceMaster Three Time F1 World Champ

    Feb 6, 2009
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    Mike
  21. AceMaster

    AceMaster Three Time F1 World Champ

    Feb 6, 2009
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    Mike
    LOL!
     
  22. BigSky355

    BigSky355 Karting

    Nov 8, 2004
    196
    Montana
    Full Name:
    Chris
    If you have spent 2 years thinking about buying your first Ferrarri, then spend the same amount of time finding the right car. Decide on which model you want then take your time. Once I decided I wanted a 355, it took about a year to find the right one. These can be very expensive cars not only to "make right", but also to maintain. You will need to have the stomach for it...

    I am all in with mine, and the 360/430's just don't do it for me.

    Maintainence aside, the 355 is a perfect car.
     
  23. BigSky355

    BigSky355 Karting

    Nov 8, 2004
    196
    Montana
    Full Name:
    Chris
    As mentioned above, find yourself a good independent mechanic- very important. I think I will be doing belt services (and whatever else Dave H recommends) every 5 years.
     
  24. BigSky355

    BigSky355 Karting

    Nov 8, 2004
    196
    Montana
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    Chris
  25. doktor K

    doktor K Rookie
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    Mar 21, 2010
    12
    marietta,ga
    Full Name:
    Dr. N.K.
    Well, I can definitely handle $5K for a "major" every 4-5 years, if that's all it costs. I heard stories of engine out "majors" costing $20K- $25K!! That's half the value of the car!
    --Dr. K


     
  26. doktor K

    doktor K Rookie
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    Mar 21, 2010
    12
    marietta,ga
    Full Name:
    Dr. N.K.
    I hate to make you guys jealous, but the owner of SportAuto HAS promised me that I get first rights of refusal on this blue 355B, because I'm a previous customer! Does anyone out there know about this car?! It's coming from Cincinnati.
    The interior is an odd blue, so that may be the deal-killer for me, but the paint colour is superb!!
    --Dr. K


     
  27. gothspeed

    gothspeed F1 World Champ

    May 26, 2006
    10,244
    U.S.A.
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    goth
    Well said ........ :)

    Welcome to the 355 section :) .......... the fact you are already on the forums will already save you some time and money. There is a lot of info on the many f-car forums and plenty of owners have posted how to's and resolutions on many 355 maintenence items/issues.

    From first hand experience ............... the 355 is just flat out awesome ............ :cool: !!!!
     

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