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Questions for 355 owners

Discussion in '348/355' started by KarlA69, Jan 9, 2021.

  1. KarlA69

    KarlA69 Formula Junior

    Oct 9, 2017
    718
    UK
    Full Name:
    Karl
    Hi all

    I've only owned modern F cars (Portofino, 812 Superfast and now 812 GTS). I only recently bought the GTS and I absolutely love it, but it is huge and almost too fast for the road - you can't really get up the rev range before you're doing serious and illegal speeds. As such, I am considering adding an older model at some point. I'd love your views on the 355. By the way, I am leaning towards a manual spider version.

    (1) Would a tall person fit in the cabin? I'm 6 4". As far as I can tell, the 355 models all come with the same seats (which look like they have a lot of padding - the seating height might be an issue?). Anyone added racing / bucket seats provide more headroom?
    (2) I've heard a lot about how good the 355 sounds (although coming from a N/A V12 I might be hard to impress ;-). Would you recommend an aftermarket exhaust or is the car decent in stock form?
    (3) Do really need the spider version to enjoy the sound or is the berlinetta also good (i.e. berlinetta doesn't have too much sound insulation so you can still hear engine and exhaust)?
    (4) any pros and cons of the spider vs. the GTS (targa top)?
    (5) Any other thoughts for someone who has never driven or owned older F cars but is considering adding a 355?

    Thanks!

    Karl
     
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  3. Qavion

    Qavion F1 Veteran
    Silver Subscribed

    Feb 20, 2015
    6,260
    Sydney
    Full Name:
    Ian Riddell
    Depends on your leg/body length. I'm 6'3", my legs are long, so there the steering wheel could be a little closer, but the headroom is fine. I don't mind driving upright. You can buy bosses for the steering column and fit aftermarket steering wheels.

    To get the best sound, you'll probably need a Capristo and Tubi exhaust, but the F355, generally, is reputed to have one of the best, if not the best sound.

    I have a spider. The electrics/hydraulics are hopelessly complex, but these are generally well understood by the forum members.

    How handy are you with tools?
     
  4. A348W

    A348W Formula 3

    Jun 28, 2017
    1,606
    North Wiltshire, UK
    #3 A348W, Jan 9, 2021
    Last edited: Jan 9, 2021
    I’ve got a 355 spider with capritso level 2 pipe. Having run with an 812 and done a track day with a few, the 355 in my view will not disappoint and in all honesty on the track day, other than the 488 evo was the best sounding car by some way!

    As to head height, you will have to try them out, it will be snug, but it will depend on leg/torso ratio as to how snug.

    pros and cons between spider/gt/berlinetta, unless you are doing serious track work, purely personal preference. I was surprised how well the spider works in terms of being tucked into the car but still out in the open. I’ve only sat in a 812gts but suspect the 3555 will feel a lot more exposed; which with a good exhaust is awesome.

    Other thoughts; I see you are uk based, so working with your main dealer for good servicing should be easy. They offer very good rates for the older cars, and places like dick Lovett and carrs for example have good reputations with the older cars; my 348 and 355 both go to dick Lovett now for servicing as does a friends 308 amongst a lot of other far more exotic older stuff and carrs are particularly know for working on 246s.

    When we get out of lock down you are more than welcome to come out in my 355. I’ve a friend with a 355 berlinetta that we could drag along as well.

    hope that helps; and love to hear how you progress.
     
  5. thibaut

    thibaut Formula Junior

    Feb 28, 2004
    504
    London, UK
    Full Name:
    Thibaut A.
    I am 1.93 and drive a challenge. I had to tweak a bit the racing seats, replacing the runners with fixed plates, but I have enough headroom to accomodate by race helmet.

    I am with you on modern cars. They are super powerful and fast and don’t give you much impression of speed. 355 is just the opposite. It’s quick but feels really fast. This is obviously magnified in the challenge which is one of the best cars I have ever driven from a driver connection perspective. Feels like a go kart.

    only irritating points are melting plastic finishes and a few annoying things. But given the cars are done depreciation, it’s worthwhile investing a bit in these areas.
     
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  6. ttforcefed

    ttforcefed F1 World Champ
    Rossa Subscribed

    Aug 22, 2002
    16,561
    exhaust wise the best setup is tubi headers, tubi test pipes, a Y pipe, and according to @restored_by_elliott the tubi evolution...he has tried all the different mufflers and think the tubi evolution how the widest range of the high pitch f1 sound.
     
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  8. PhilB

    PhilB Formula 3
    Silver Subscribed Owner

    Feb 17, 2004
    1,863
    NYC, USA
    Full Name:
    Phil
    I have a manual 6 speed spider, stock exhaust except for the Tubi muffler. Honestly, it's the most fun you can have driving legally on the street, and I find the sound to be intoxicating. I agree with Thibaut, it's like driving a go kart.

    The top works and I never really pay any concern to it, I exercise it just about ever time I take the car out, along with all other switches and stalks, I give everything a run through in the 5 or so minutes I warm the car up. I'm a stocky 5'10" so I can't vouch for your fit, my car fits me fine. I find the targa top thing awkward which is why I went for a spider (I had a 308 GTS and didn't care for the targa thing), but the "S", "B" or "GTS" version is all subjective. I also love the contrasting look of the black convertible top against the painted car - same reason my DD is a Boxster and not a Cayman, but again, it's subjective to the viewer.

    The interior plastic finishes are not unique to mid 90s Ferrari's, same thing occurs across multiple car brands right up to modern day cars and the same thing occurs on all sorts of household items. My kids video game controllers had the same soft touch finish and they went sticky, and they were setup in the basement well out of sunlight; and this is funny, I have a bottle of Ferrari Black cologne, and the cap went sticky.....go figure.
     
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  9. fboutlaw

    fboutlaw Karting
    Silver Subscribed

    Dec 3, 2014
    188
    Woodside, CA
    (1) Would a tall person fit in the cabin?

    Seriously I would try this first. 355 GTB here, 5' 9". I don't take the car to the track because my helmet compresses into the ceiling. I have about 2 fingers worth of space head to ceiling with the stock setup. IF you extend the steering wheel towards the driver with spacers and put in a racing seat that leans you back, then you may be able to fit vertically.​

    (2) I've heard a lot about how good the 355 sounds (although coming from a N/A V12 I might be hard to impress ;-). Would you recommend an aftermarket exhaust or is the car decent in stock form?

    Subjective. I put a Tubi exhaust on and didn't like it. Swapped back to OEM, which I prefer.​

    (3) Do really need the spider version to enjoy the sound or is the berlinetta also good (i.e. berlinetta doesn't have too much sound insulation so you can still hear engine and exhaust)?

    In the GTB, it's relatively tame until up in the RPMs. Spider will obviously be noiser. It's very night and day in my 650s spider between hardtop up and down and I imagine it would be for a F355 as well.​

    (5) Any other thoughts for someone who has never driven or owned older F cars but is considering adding a 355?

    This is a good vintage variant to own as it was done in the golden age of technology that really went into driving experience. It was the first F-car with power steering and ABS, which both add to drive-ability. The sidewalls of the tires are still big enough that you'd have a comfortable ride on most roads. It's not overly harsh like newer cars, and is really a pleasure to drive.

    Now... you're looking at a 22-27 year old vehicle. It's likely going to require some maintenance. If you can stomach that, then go for it.​
     
  10. KarlA69

    KarlA69 Formula Junior

    Oct 9, 2017
    718
    UK
    Full Name:
    Karl
    Thanks all! Very useful comments. I need to save some more money (not for the purchase of the 355, but for the inevitable repair bills!) but plan to get one in the next year or so. In general, I am becoming increasingly interested in older F cars - more involving, more character, plenty fast for real world driving, and none of the BS that comes with many modern cars (GPF/OPF filters, EU noise limits, unwanted electronic nannies etc). While I love my 812 GTS, 800 hp is often too much... plus, the car is so expensive that you worry every time you drive it around a crowded city, park it, etc.

    A348W - thanks for the offer to meet, PM sent!
     
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  11. Drock28

    Drock28 Formula 3

    Jan 13, 2013
    1,399
    Montreal
    Full Name:
    Tony
    I would predict, you would have a much more involved/enjoyable/realistic experience with an F355.
    an actual streetable car. where you can rev it out and get the most out of it. as apposed to what you mentioned in the 812, boom and you are already flying..

    in regards to the 3 variants, I am biased to the Berlinetta.
    if you want to have some open experience I would take the GTS over the spider any day. in a addition to values a GTB/GTS will always hold better then a spider.
    in general I am not a fan of spider cars, unless its the modern hard tops which retain coupe shape.
    simply in my opinion, up or down, the spider takes away the lines of the car. and the many headaches to keep the stone age components functioning properly.

    in regards to head space, seems like you are quick tall. so in a spider your head may be above the line of the windshield.

    in regards to exhaust, all stock is respectable, but at minimum you would want to install an aftermarket back box to open it up.
    if you don't mind smelling exhaust fumes, then yes put in test pipes to make it scream even more. I did for 2 years, yes it was fun, but couldn't deal with the fumes anymore, put cats back in.

    if you can afford an 812 GTS, then you should have no issue owning an F355.

    simply find a good one, that has been well maintained, good history etc.. that has the various known issues sorted already.

    in regards to year. it would be widely agreed a 1995 is the most coveted. and again in terms of value retention.
    and the 1995 has that higher scream, versus 1996+. all setup a 1996+ can scream very nice, but will never be the same a 1995.
     
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  13. ttforcefed

    ttforcefed F1 World Champ
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    Aug 22, 2002
    16,561
    I love the fumes!!!
     
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  14. WATSON

    WATSON F1 World Champ
    Rossa Subscribed Owner

    Sep 9, 2010
    17,357
    WI
    Quite frankly, a cup of coffee and and the 355 warming up on a cool Saturday morning is about the best smell the world can produce.
     
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  15. ttforcefed

    ttforcefed F1 World Champ
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    Aug 22, 2002
    16,561
  16. tres55

    tres55 F1 Rookie
    Rossa Subscribed

    Sep 18, 2012
    3,154
    Canada
    Set of high flow cats keep fuel smells down and still give you a nice note.

    I'm 6'1" and at the track my helmet was compressed against the roof by a touch. I managed...but not sure I would do that again and definitely not on a regular basis without modifying the seat tracks somehow to sit lower.

    That said, I've driven all kinds of faster and newer cars and having sold my 355F1 a few years back...the 355 is the only car I miss and have been hunting to replace for the better part of 3 years now.

    For the same reasons you're considering one...you can wring it out in the hills and not be doing absurd speeds but get all of (if not more) the satisfaction modern cars would provide. It's a 90s era F1 inspired go-kart. What more could one ask for? :D
     

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