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Purchasing a F355. Your thoughts?

Discussion in '348/355' started by Shurik355, Apr 24, 2019.

  1. Shurik355

    Shurik355 Karting
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    May 19, 2013
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    #1 Shurik355, Apr 24, 2019
    Last edited: Apr 24, 2019
    Hi guys, so Im trying to finally purchase this 1995 F355 Berlinetta. A member that was on here had this car. He recently traded the car in. I've been looking at this car for over 2 month now. And I think I might finally pull the plug.
    The car is in Miami FL right now, im located in Ohlahoma. Im thinking just shipping the car here, or actually checking the car in person which requires me flying there for few days, or perhaps anyone that lives there in the area willing to inspect this car for me for the price? Any suggestions??
    Personally I talked to the member here who owned it, and he says good things about it. But what do you guys think?

    I also never bought a car online before that's in different state. What are the tips and what to look out for??? What's the best way to send a payment, signatures and etc. Would really appreciate your help guys.

    Here's the link to the car for sale

    http://www.realmusclecar.com/listings/1995-ferrari-f355-gtb-berlinetta-1-owner-22k-miles/
     
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  2. Ferrarium

    Ferrarium Formula 3
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    Well many people love the 95 even more than the newer ones they are considered a premium from what I read. I would never buy any ferrari and double triple so for a 355 of any year with out a compression and leak down check. I ran into several cars that were amazing that failed leak down or I tracked down owners who told me about the car eating oil.

    If you love the car, and I don't blame you, red Berlinetta, come on now.... then do a PPI and a cylinder health checks and if it checks out go for it. Buy it and drive it back. I know guys who drove from CA to MD and one Chicago to NJ with new purchases.

    If you get it for the love of god drive it! :)

    Good luck!
     
  3. Shurik355

    Shurik355 Karting
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    Appreciate the response and some tips. But buying and driving back I don't think is a good idea. I'd rather ship the car here and that way it be safer.
     
  4. Ferrarium

    Ferrarium Formula 3
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    #4 Ferrarium, Apr 24, 2019
    Last edited: Apr 24, 2019
    btw most cars engines are quite fine, its an expensive purchase and the quality of your ownership experience depends on the quality of the mechanicals going in is all. Engine health check is cheap insurance and you will likely only need to do 1 but it is peace of mind is all. BTW I would never buy an E46 M3 without engine check either so its not a ferrari thing, fixing a bad high strung high performance engine can be costly. To some it matters not, I know one guy who spent over 1MM on service and restoration of Ferrari's so to some people it matters not. This board is full of 100K+ refurbishes and 30K paint jobs just cause.

    Spend time out here searching for purchase 355 and 355 issues and so and and educate yourself, these cars can swallow 10K in service without even trying. Its nothing like owning a 100K beemer experience wise.

    Just make sure you know what your getting into, like expected service costs etc which you may know, just sayin...

    There is no ferrari like the 355. Lots of guys have stables of them brand new ones included and they frequently like the 348 and 355 best the driving experience is so different and engaging. Just dont expect modern supercar performance its a classic ferrari experience.
     
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  5. Qavion

    Qavion F1 Rookie

    Feb 20, 2015
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    If the previous-previous owner no longer has a vested interest in the car, then it is always a good sign. However, what has happened in the last 2 years? Apart from a major check, how as the second owner treated the car and why did he sell it after only two years (or less)? How has the Florida climate been treating the car?

    Have you driven a F355 before? Do you have particularly long legs and short arms which might make driving the car difficult? Have you done your research on this kind of car and know the questions to ask the previous owners and vendor? Have you seen our FAQ section? Are you aware of the pitfalls/costs of maintaining a car of this age. There seem to be a few plastic components on these cars which are reaching their "use-by" date and not all these components are readily available.

    Sometimes you just have to see the car to know what you are getting. Flying to Miami, to me, sounds like a good investment (especially if you can be with an expert as he goes over the car).

    Having said that, my pre-purchase inspection by a supposedly independent expert third party wasn't worth the paper it was written on.

    (EDIT: sorry.. crossposted. Didn't see Eric's post)
     
  6. Ferrarium

    Ferrarium Formula 3
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    I was afraid of this also, so what I did was I did my own PPI with a PPI check list and paid for compression and leak down.
    My348.com has a really good pre-purcahse process laid out and you can down load various ppi check lists.

    Google this - > "buying 355 site:ferrarichat.com"
     
  7. Shurik355

    Shurik355 Karting
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    Yeah I've been on here and aware of what the 355s are like, and what to expect. Im fairly educated now on those cars.
    Just the main concern is buying the car out of state that's 1000 miles away without me inspecting it in person. Although I did speak to the previous owner and aware of what's been changed what to look out for and the history of the car.
     
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  8. Qavion

    Qavion F1 Rookie

    Feb 20, 2015
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    It's a long story, but unless I had pulled the car to pieces, most of the defects would have been missed on a PPI. e.g. clutch wear. The clutch feel was good (btw). but it was close to it's limits.

    Not having the PPI-guy check the magplug on the gearbox was my biggest mistake. $22,000 in gearbox repairs later...

    33 undetected PPI defects and still counting... some not so expensive to repair... some really expensive
     
  9. Ferrarium

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    Valid concern. I would have comp/leak down done with pictures of the gauges as evidence. If that passes I would go down and do the PPI. It mostly stuff like check turn signal, check brake lights, check cigarette lighter, inspect body panel alignment etc then test drive and this check list. Not necessarily in that order.

    Courtesy of http://www.my348.com/

    Prelude - you want a clean title and a professional pre-purchase inspection that includes a "leak down" test (in which **you** personally listen along with your mechanic for any sounds of leaks during the test). Also, keep in mind that in many states you will be held responsible for any unpaid license fees (so make certain that the 348 has a current in-state license plate in the state in which it is being sold) as well as any unpaid sales taxes of any prior owners (so make certain that the 348 is correctly titled in the state in which it is being sold).

    Passing off a high mileage car as a low mileage version (disconnected odometers are common on leased cars with strict mileage limits, then reconnected prior to turning back in to the leasing company)...using a Duplicate Title to hide a salvaged vehicle...rolling back the mileage, etc.

    Things to look for:

    1. Does she start instantly

    2. Does the engine knock

    3. Does she rattle or shake when driving above 60mph

    4. Does the transmission have a major grinding sound when shifting up
    through the gears (don't try a hard downshift, that's a different story)

    5. Do all of the headlights, blinkers, brake-lights, fog-lights, parking
    lights work and does the horn honk

    6. Do both of the power windows and door locks work

    7. Any vibrations in the steering wheel while driving, or secondly, is the steering wheel loose or tight?

    8. Are the tips of the exhaust pipes coated black or gray (any visible holes
    in exhaust pipes)

    9. Any obvious paint burns/fade, rust, or clearly bent frame

    10. Can the car turn in a slow-speed circle, with the steering wheel turned
    all the way to max left, then another circle with the steering wheel max
    right, without hearing tire scraping, loud knocks, or having bad steering
    wheel vibrations

    11. Air conditioning blows cold

    12. Anti-lock brakes prevent the tires from locking in a quick stop (say,
    from 25 mph to 0)

    13. Top goes up and doesn't leak (canvas goes **outside** of black metal bars on sides)

    14. Top goes down and the "boot" snaps correctly into place over it

    15. Passenger and driver doors open and close tightly, with no squeaks,
    rattles, or hesitation. With doors open, do you see any obvious breaks or burns in the wiring harness that runs from the car into the doors?

    16. Front trunk opens and closes normally (simply drop it with no added pressure besides its own weight), and applying water to the outside when it's closed doesn't cause leaks inside

    17. Rear engine vent cover opens and closes easily

    18. Car tracks reasonably straight when you remove hands from steering wheel

    19. Car goes into reverse with only minor effort (you may have to push down on the gearshift lever, that's by design)

    20. Emergency brake holds car when parked and gear-shift is in neutral

    21. Car idles below 1100 rpm, and idles reasonably smoothly (revs easily, puts smile on face)

    22. no obvious signs of oil leaks below the engine on the pavement or in the engine compartment

    23. no overpowering aroma of fire inside the cockpit

    24. no noticeable smell of gasoline

    25. radio and speakers function without large-scale hisses or pops

    26. no visible smoke beneath the car or in the engine compartment when idling

    27. is there a functioning car alarm (is it factory or aftermarket)

    28. VIN plate in door-jamb and engine compartment is visible and unscratched and matches the number advertised

    29. Front windshield is uncracked and seals appear tight around it

    30. power mirrors adjust as expected

    31. heater works as expected

    32. Any loans against the title, any "duplicate" title history via autocheck.com, any stolen/salvage title history, is the car currently registered and tagged with a correct license plate in its current state/province

    33. Open up the radiator and look for corrosion just inside the overfill tank. Sludge in the radiator tank can be a sign of a blown headgasket. Have a quickstop oil change place show you the transmission plug so that you can see if it has many metal fragments on it (i.e. disintegrating tranny or not). See if you have a Ferrari Purflex or high-end Wix oil filter with the date of installation/oil change written on it, or if the prior owner was a cheapskate (e.g. a Fram paper filter). Did the prior owner use a thick oil such as a 20-w50 to hide oil leaks, or do you have a decent synthetic (e.g. 5w-40) in the car?

    34. When you first turn the ignition key to "run" (not "Start"), do you temporarily see both Check Engine (non-Euro cars) and both Slow Down lights? This is important, because if those bulbs have been removed or replaced with dead bulbs, engine trouble computer codes are probably being hidden from you. Do you see the ABS light and the BRAKE light? Do these lights turn off within 1 minute of starting the car?

    35. Go drive the car. Brake slowly. Do you feel any vibrations? Does the car pull left or right while braking? Repeat this step (to warm up the brakes).

    36. Can you shift smoothly into 2nd gear without grinding or clunking?

    37. Is the acceleration smooth? Now brake hard. Vibrations? Pulling? ABS engaged?

    38. Has the oil temp risen to the 1/4 mark during this drive? When it gets there, kill the engine (did you hear a loud "box of rocks" metallic clanking noise when you turned the engine off). You want to wait about 10 minutes to see if it will start up again when hot, so kill time by checking the exterior of the car, under the front and rear hoods, etc. OK, time has passed. Does it now start right up again when hot? This is important. Did you hear a loud "box of rocks" metallic clanking noise when starting the hot engine (this is an early sign of the flywheel needing to be repacked with grease...not terribly expensive to do, can even be done yourself, but good to know)?

    39. Go idle the car or drive in traffic for 20 minutes. Do the oil and water temperatures both stay at or below their 1/2 way marks, or does the car overheat?

    40. After all of the above, will she start up *again* easily, or is the battery "dead"

    41. Now look under the rear engine deck at the catalytic converters. Are either of them glowing red?

    42. Are all of the rubber CV boots (near wheels, on axles) intact, or do they have a split, crack, or hole? When driving slowly next to a wall, do you hear metallic bearing noises from your wheels?

    43. Does the car have a reasonable paper trail for its documented service history?

    44. Does the seller have all 3 original Factory keys (black, fold in half)?

    45. Examine the shock/suspension set up (most 348 shocks need rebuilding for around $400 or all new shocks for $1,600).

    46. Examine the doors/rockers for rust (typically on the bolts).

    47. The car should have all service records *after* the last "Major Service." If it hasn't had a cam belt change in over 5 years or 30K miles then budget $4-6KUSD short term because you'll have to have the cam belt changed.

    48. Try the climate control buttons; it's $2k and up if they don't work (Freon conversion alone is $300 once it's opened).

    49. Look at the front airdam from underneath (Corners especially) for holes, bondo, skidplates and the like. Look under the side rails as well for hard bottoming out. Thanks, SeaBayR

    50. The Clutch should be mid throw; at the top it's thin, and watch out for a grabby clutch (may be breaking pressure plate fingers internally).

    51. Check for oil leaks near the 1 timing belt (355 has 2) and listen for squeaks from the belt idler pulley, rightside exhaust rattles, as well as warped front rotors causing loud noise upon braking.

    Be skeptical. Make the car prove itself to you before you spend your money.v
     
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  10. H/O Driver

    H/O Driver Rookie

    Apr 7, 2018
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    Crane, MO
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    I bought a 355 off of BAT last year, flew to LA and drove it home to Missouri. Took a detour for a scenic drive into the mountains leaving LA. Great experience I’ll be telling for many years. Car was flawless and after I got my wallet out of my back pocket wasn’t even uncomfortable to me for those 1600 mi. Car had 19k mi on it at the start and have never regretted putting the extra on her. Now BAT puts a seller through the paces, so I felt pretty good about getting a we’ll sorted car. Seller appeared, and was, honest. My vote: go drive it home!


    Sent from my iPhone using FerrariChat.com mobile app
     
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  11. Shurik355

    Shurik355 Karting
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    thanks guys! appreciate the responses.
    Eric's post on the checks to check is pretty thorough :D
     
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  12. carnutdallas

    carnutdallas Formula Junior
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    How do you guys ever buy anything? Just asking? All cars need something or nothing. I decide based on the phone call and the person I am dealing with. This particular car, I did not like the seller - south Florida dealer who really knows nothing about these cars. The owner is on here and seems great. I advised him to keep the car, but he apparently has not.


    They are not complicated and not overly expensive in reality. I know that people get leveraged out of there money pretty easily in the 355 world. Sometimes with a lot of unnecessary repairs, some desperately needed. Most of these cars are pretty sorted.

    All the best with the car. Buy it and ship it. About $1500 roughly to you in OK enclosed. There is a decent 355 tech near Tulsa if he is still in business. You have Norwoods Auto Italia in Addison area of Dallas. James and Michael are excellent. Just drive it. That is important.

    I fear the PPI because they break crap. They over analyze. Over charge and really can’t lay hands on it and know the future. Yes a compression/leak down does provide some data, but if the car runs poorly, low on power and smokes, then you already have your answer.




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  13. zhani355

    zhani355 Rookie

    Dec 31, 2018
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    Bellevue WA
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    Kevin Jones
    My 2 cents, having picked up my NSX out of state a few years ago and driven it close to 1000 miles home. This is what I would do:

    1 Fly there and inspect the car in person, both inside and out. Flying out the night before is usually a good idea so that you can see the car first thing in the morning and then be able to spend a good part of the day with or around it.
    2 Have the seller pick you up from the hotel/airport, however you decide to do it. Twenty minutes in a car with someone watching them drive will tell you all you need to know about what kind of person they are and how they are likely to have treated the car.
    3 Drive the car, both local roads and highway. Ideally a good hour would be reasonable in my mind.
    4 Get a PPI done, including as many checks as time/money allows. It might actually be sensible to get the PPI done BEFORE you fly out and see the car, since this will tell you if the car is actually worth seeing in the first place.
    5 If you feel confident about the car, seal the deal and drive it home. Allow 2-3 days so that you can actually enjoy the trip and maybe take a scenic route or two. However, there is nothing more nervous than parking your new expensive toy overnight outside some hotel in the middle of nowhere and then trying to sleep. You will get very little in the way of shut eye for the first few days of ownership.
    6 Expect attention on the way home if you drive it. Every single rest area you pull over into will attract people, lots of them, continuously. Some will take photos, some will complement you and others will knock you up for money since they assume you have some.
    7 Get AAA just in case :)
     
  14. WATSON

    WATSON F1 Veteran
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    Sounds like you have done your homework.
    Not sure if I would drive it home or not. More because of the highway idiots than anything.

    You seem to have the PPI thing sorted, but for me I would have a tech provide compression / leak down numbers and a review of the underside for leaks and issues. That's it.
    The rest you can see and drive... Pulled dash leather, bad seats, squeaks, rattles, etc....
    You have been hanging around long enough to know all that.

    the 1995 without the immobilizer is nice....and that price is in the right range, especially for spring time.
     
  15. Drock28

    Drock28 Formula 3

    Jan 13, 2013
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    just a quick observation from simply looking at the pictures..
    the left hand valve cover looks soaked in oil.. and the ad says fresh engine out 600miles ago..?
     
  16. Smiles

    Smiles Moderator
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    Nov 20, 2003
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    My two cents:

    ALWAYS inspect a car you might purchase yourself. It’s worth a couple of days and a few hundred dollars for the flight and hotel.

    That’s in addition to a PPI.

    Matt
     
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  17. jjtjr

    jjtjr Formula Junior

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    I think most people have the intuition to know what kind of person and car they are dealing with when met face-to-face. Which is why I would definitely recommend going to see it. And if you have any mechanical backround, driving it and listening to it means a lot. I would not even consider a purchase of a car like this without first driving it. Too big of a gamble IMO.
     
  18. tres55

    tres55 Formula 3
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    +1 on compression and leak down test

    I turned down a beautiful Red/Tan F1 Berlinetta with carbon seats and interior trim, factory shields...because compression and leak down was all over the place. In hindsight...I wish I had bought it anyway and rebuilt the motor since finding those options is next to impossible, whereas rebuilding the motor is doable.

    Ironically the motor was already rebuilt...just by a Japanese import shop which I guess didn't have much experience with the 355 motor.
     
  19. Mmckee

    Mmckee Formula Junior
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    I’d put your first text in the Florida thread for a local Good Samaritan. Good luck. I got a ulcer just reading all the above. I’ve had mine two years & have only done an annual on it. Guess I was lucky.
     
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  20. Culprit

    Culprit Karting

    Apr 4, 2011
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    I've bought 3 Ferrari cars sight unseen and each time it worked out fine. On a 360 the heat exchanger failed a few weeks after I got it and had to throw some money at it.. nothing a PPI would've caught anyway. The leakdown/compression of course is a good idea. At the end of the day, you just gotta take the plunge!! There's no guarantees for these things. It's a 1995 GTB, doesn't get any better. Buy it, have a little money in your pocket to fix some stuff here and there, and enjoy the adventure!!
     
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  21. bcar1

    bcar1 Karting
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    +1 I bought a car sight unseen that passed an independent ppi from a well respected shop with flying colors. Within 10 minutes of driving it a bypass cel came on and the alternator failed. Part of the ownership experience!
     
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  22. chrisj951

    chrisj951 Karting
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    Feb 18, 2015
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    When I was searching for mine, I found two 95 black GTB’s in south Florida. One in Miami with full records since day one and the other had 2000 less miles, but limited records. They both needed majors, so a visual inspection was most important. They both ran well and I would have been happy with either, but I spent a few grand more on the one with full records.

    This was August of 2018. I took it to my mechanic in late February for the major, plus I bought Tubi headers, cat delete pipes and a fabspeed exhaust. It didn’t need valve guides, but I did replace both radiators with full aluminum ones from Ricambi because they were showing signs of age and it was easier to do now.

    I’d definitely fly down and see it in person and drive it. Plus it’s in Miami, maybe make a long weekend out of it.


    Sent from my iPhone using FerrariChat
     
  23. carnutdallas

    carnutdallas Formula Junior
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    Should have bought it


    Maybe the test were performed poorly? Could have maybe lived with it till next major and then like you kind of said - do it all. I look at all cars with 3 parts in mind - exterior, interior and mechanicals. Then I add options. Has of two of the three in any combination and then I look at options and add bonus points for that. I look at the money and if two of the three meet my money criteria, I buy and address the weak link accordingly and on my time and budget. Rarely fails me. I have enjoyed hundreds of cars at very little “cost.”

    I only do cars and I am limited with abilities outside of that. No gardening, little to no hunting, no boats.....just cars. I have taken up bourbon as a new “release”


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
     
  24. audi_328

    audi_328 Formula Junior
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    While I know it's worked out for some people to buy cars sight unseen, pretty sure you only need to get burned once buying a car (especially a 24-year old Ferrari) that way to know that indeed, you should have checked it out yourself first...the potential downside is too great, IMO.

    One of the invoice pics in the ad says the cam covers were refinished, so maybe the pic in the ad is a before pic?
     
  25. Shurik355

    Shurik355 Karting
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    Man guys! thanks for the responses! The 355 community here is awesome and helpful when coming down to these kind of things. Lots of great tips and help!
     

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