Soon to be an owner.. Can use some input..

Discussion in 'Ferrari Discussion (not model specific)' started by 355soon, May 1, 2004.

  1. 355soon

    355soon Rookie

    Apr 30, 2004
    I have been lurking for about a month... nice site...

    Hopefully this is the right place to ask these things...

    I am going to be buying my first Ferrari.. To make a long decision making process story short.. I had been looking at 348's for about 3 months... Liked the 355 as well but the price difference made the 348's easier to justify for my first Ferrari...that was until I saw them both side by side a month ago on a local show room floor... Then I had no doubt it was going to be the 355... I took the wife down to see for herself. She was not keen on spending 100k on a car when she wants an addition to the house, but a mans got to have his priorities :) After seeing both she agreed the 355 is the way to go. (oh so lucky me)

    So I have been looking and researching as much as possible. So far my wish list is buying from the original owner with less than 10k on the odometer with it already being a CA reg car and must be red. (I am in SoCal)

    From what I hear (much of it on here) multiple owners increases the possibility for problems/lack of paper work and the higher mileage can be a concern. Though historically I have believed cars being broken in with a few miles tends to get any bugs fixed prior to the second purchaser taking ownership. This does not seem to be the popular consensus with exotics. Also it sounds like it can run into the thousands to CA reg an out state car. I also have had trouble finding many (okay only two so far) used models with part specs I want.

    My biggest dilemma (as well as my biggest flaw) is that I am very impulsive and now that my wife is on board I want it in my garage yesterday. So far I have held back these impulses and kept my hunt for the perfect one going.

    It is getting tougher though as there is a 1998 355 Spyder red with 19k on it on consignment from the 2nd owner at a local exotic dealer. (They say the 15k is done and all records are available). They have it listed on the floor at $99.8, though I am not as concerned with getting the lowest price. Finding the right car is most important. (At $99.8 this one seems priced fair? anyone have thought on pricing?)

    Okay so this got a little long here... to the questions, where do these fall in order of importance and what line of thinking am I missing altogether:

    Is original owner important?

    Is low mileage important?

    Is it really a big deal to convert to CA reg from out of state? Expensive?

    Is there someone specific I need to keep in mind?

    Thanks for any enlightenment offered...
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  3. richard_wallace

    richard_wallace Formula 3
    Rossa Subscribed

    Feb 6, 2004
    Cincinnati, Ohio
    Full Name:
    Richard Wallace
    1.) Original Ower is not - Original Paperwork/Records is important
    2.) Miles - Not important - Records/Service is important
    3.) The 1998 should have it's full 30K service by this time (not becuase of miles but because of time) Figure 5K on average for the 30K - and if there is any of those "while the engine is out" things - could run you up to around 10K for everything. This should be considered in the price - so I would say if you could get the car for around 90K this would be a good deal. I would look at Ferrrariads (up top of the page) - there is often some great F-Chat guys or sponsors selling 355's and it will give you a good price comparision for what you are looking at.

    Hope that helps,
  4. FL 355

    FL 355 Formula 3

    Nov 3, 2002
    Ft Laud
    Full Name:
    Frank Lipinski
    Well coming here is the right thing to do first. I studied the tech section everyday for months before buying. I'll cover some of the basic things.

    1. Original owner? Personal issue. I would stay away from a 3-4 owner car. The important thing is full records with service history. More value if dealer serviced IMHO - that way you know recalls are up to date (alarm comes to mind) and preventive maint was done on schedule. Should have original tool kit, etc etc. MOST Important - have a PPI (Pre Purchase Inspection) done. More on that latter.

    2. Don't let miles worry you too much. See thread on Garage Queens. Atrophy takes its toll if you let them sit. The 355 is a great car and can be driven daily.

    3. Any US car should pass CA smog...unless the previous owner pulled the cats and replaced them with a straight test pipe (as some do with Tubi)

    4. You mentioned one car had the 15K service done. Not good enough. The killer on the 355 is the major service. Has to be done at 30K miles or 5 years, therefore you need to have that done (and documented). The reason it is a killer is that you have to pull the motor to replace timing belts. Ballpark at dealer is $7500 or $4500 by independent. Make sure your car has a fresh 30K.

    Other issues: Valve guides on some models were soft bronze and latter upgraded to steel. You know by a leak down test (PPI) if yours are good or not. I have a 97 and they had to be replaced (prior to purchase). Some say only an issue on 95, but it appears on latter cars also.

    Cracked headers - The stock headers are known for cracking. Can be covered under fed warranty (7-8 years depending on state of purchase). Aftermarket replacement headers readily available.

    The most important thing I can tell you is get an independent PPI done. I think I spent about $2K just on inspections for cars that did not pan out, worth every penny.

    Feel free to send me a private mail here if you have any more specific questions.


    WILLIAM H Three Time F1 World Champ

    Nov 1, 2003
    Victory Circle
    Full Name:
    If you plan on keeping & driving the car then miles dont matter as long as the maintenance was done. Miles only matter to resellers & dealers

    Doesnt CA have a way of bringing in out of state cars without having them comply w CA emissions ? I think you may have to pay an extra fee perhaps, That would be a lot better & cheaper than messing around trying to get the car to pass CA regs I think
  6. BeachBum

    BeachBum Formula 3

    about 6 months ago i looked at a 97 355gts, blk/chocolate, 12.5K, original owner, all records, cal car, never damaged, needed back tires, no 30K service

    car ended up going for 85K ish if i remember correctly to somebody from N.Y.

    indepenant inspection with leakdown is a must, best money youll ever spend
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    RAYMAN Formula Junior

    Mar 10, 2004
    Full Name:
    Raymond Santilli could find a low mileage car, maybe 4-5K miles and not have to worry about leak down test and all that maintenance stuff. YOU make the history of the car, don't worry about how 3 or 4 owners have treated it. I feel the premium you'll pay on a car like this is worth the peace of mind. Just have the fluids changed before you take delivery and drive.

    Every see a Ferrari with high miles? No matter the service history, it's not a pretty sight.
  9. 355soon

    355soon Rookie

    Apr 30, 2004
    Wow! Great response.. thanks for the info and suggestions... and of course now new questions are in mind...

    Richard_Wallace - I am looking for a 98 or 99 355 Spyder. It sounds like the 30k is a must be done already (engine out). I'll check out Ferrrariads again. There is a lot of availability out there but I was concerned about the CA smog issue.

    FL355 - Great info thanks. I won’t be purchasing a car without first a PPI being done. From what you mention the valve guides then could still be a concern on 98/99 Spyder models? Sounds like a cracked header would be found in the PPI (Though I have to imagine you would hear it too)? Now you really have me curious as to the CA DMV smog issues. If I don't have to worry about it then my options have just been broadened 10 fold..??..

    WILLIAM H - Although it wont be my daily driver it will be my weekend warrior. For those on the west coast expect to see us regularly. I am curious and confused on the CA smog issue. I think I might need to contact the DMV and see what they have to say... but I wouldn't trust their word longer than it takes to hear it. Be great if someone who has gone through it recently could comment..??..

    BeachBum - Exactly. Having the entire U.S. as shopping grounds would be perfect.

    RAYMAN - I have seen a couple that were not cared for and driven hard... you're right not a pretty sight... and exactly why I am doing this research up front... why take the lumps when I can learn from those that already have...

    Thanks again...
  10. ultgar

    ultgar Karting

    Nov 21, 2003
    New Jersey
    Full Name:
    Steve D'Gerolamo
    #8 ultgar, May 6, 2004
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 7, 2017
    We'll be starting a major service on a 355 Spyder....this will give me a change to break in the new workshop. I'll try to take some pics of the highlights for reference. SD
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  11. gripet

    gripet Rookie

    Oct 31, 2003
    south of Chicago
    After 3 years with my first ferrari, '01 360 Modena, I was surprised at how much things cost. $1000 oil changes at the dealership, $5000 inspections with minor repairs. But the car is magnificent, draws 10x's the attention of my '01 996TT, and the sound with test pipes is heavenly. If you are on a budget the car can be a challenge. On the other hand, you will have owned a Ferrari at least once in your life.....and that may be what its all about. There are a lot of Tifosi but not all of them are owners.

    Good luck
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  13. riverflyer

    riverflyer F1 Rookie

    Nov 26, 2003
    Mendocino, Ca
    Full Name:
    Steve, your garage is just magnificent. Any car parked in there must be well honored. Seems like a fitting home for an Enzo.
    BTW, though my garage compares in no regard to yours, I do have skylights over one of the bays and had to put in an opaque collector to keep the spider droppings off my car. In my climate we have tons of spiders and you could sweep them out daily and they would come back within hours.
  14. PeterS

    PeterS Three Time F1 World Champ
    Silver Subscribed

    Jan 24, 2003
    Full Name:
    Your garage is stunning, just pitiful when I compare it to mine! The tile is beautiful! NICE JOB!!!!!!
  15. Schatten

    Schatten F1 World Champ
    Rossa Subscribed Owner

    Apr 3, 2001
    Austin, TX
    Full Name:

    Here's one in your area. Not exactly what you are looking for, but very well maintained, one owner, however 37K miles, and some of those are around a few tracks as well.

    edit: I wonder if Doug will offer a finders fee! ha! er... maybe just a beer.
  16. ultgar

    ultgar Karting

    Nov 21, 2003
    New Jersey
    Full Name:
    Steve D'Gerolamo
    #13 ultgar, May 6, 2004
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 7, 2017
    The blinds for the skylight are not installed yet. It is triple glazed to reduce UV. Normally, for very expensive garages, we try to avoid natural light altogether as to not fade the paint or interior (humidity control is also important).

    Here's some more pics of the detail bay...the work will be done in the lift in the main workshop. SD
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