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tall drivers in a 355

Discussion in '348/355' started by siverson914, Jan 11, 2005.

  1. siverson914

    siverson914 Rookie

    Apr 22, 2004
    30
    San Diego, CA
    Full Name:
    Steve
    Hi,

    Coming of of lurk mode... I'm basically ready to buy my dream 355, but I'm afraid I might have to wait until I can afford a 360. I had previously only ridden as a passenger in a 355, and thought I'd fit fine, but driving it is a different story.

    I'm 6'6" and can't fit anywhere near comfortably in a 355 to drive it. Has anyone done any significant but fully reversable modifications on their 355 coupe to accommodate larger drivers? I need both more legroom and headroom.

    I'm thinking:
    - some sort of race/thin seat bolted directly to the floor
    - smaller steering wheel
    - ?

    Any ideas? Who's the tallest 355 driver out there? I'm 6'6" and pretty evenly proportioned (34" inseam).

    -Steve
     
  2. FL 355

    FL 355 Formula 3

    Nov 3, 2002
    1,665
    Ft Laud
    Full Name:
    Frank Lipinski
    Steve - The spider has more head room. Best, obviously, to drive first. Steering wheel replacement has air bag issues. Some of gone to 360 wheel, but air bag will not line up correctly in case of deployment... You make the call.

    Seats - Well, if you go Sparco or similar it will be a problem due to elec seats...have to drill the frame for new rails. If you have manual seats then no problem. Depends on what year and model you plan to purchase.

    Send Martin a PM...he's tall and has driven/owned many 355's.
     
  3. TTG

    TTG Formula 3

    Jun 11, 2002
    1,517
    East Hanover, NJ
    Full Name:
    Todd Gieger
    I totally agree with Frank...good call
     
  4. murph7355

    murph7355 Formula 3

    Nov 30, 2002
    1,691
    SE England Yorkie
    Full Name:
    Andy
    I'm 6'4" with a 36" inseam and fit OK. Requires legs akimbo a bit, but comfy over long distances (am used to driving like that as few cars fit nicely).

    First up, the steering wheel adjusts for rake. Sorry if you've tried this, but a lot of people miss it. And it can save a ton of room.

    You should also try the seat in many different positions. All the way back is not necessarily best as it won't allow the seat back to rake much.

    Well worth spending an hour sitting in a car. If you go to a dealer, they may be able to help with ideas.

    I don;t believe any of the seats bolt straight to the floor....
     
  5. Robin

    Robin F1 Rookie

    Nov 1, 2003
    2,893
    Arlington, VA
    Same boat as Murph.. I'm 6'5", 34" inseam and find that my 355B fits like a glove. I opted for an F1 tranny though because the 6 speed was way to cramped in the footwell, and the shifter hits my knee in 1st and 2nd. With the gaping hole behind the pedals, I can extend my leg leg completely straight, then point my toes all the way forward, and still have room to spare. It's actually an incredibly comfortable car. Just tinker with the seating position to find the right spot for you. On a side note, I noticed that I didn't fit very well in the spider because the seat sits a bit higher to make room for the electronics underneath (my assumption). With the top down, my head pokes out over the windshield.

    -R
     
  6. cgperry

    cgperry Formula Junior
    Silver Subscribed Rossa Subscribed

    Nov 2, 2003
    496
    Chas SC
    Full Name:
    Charles Perry
    I'm 6'3" and fit comfortably in my 98 Spider with top up or down.

    If you're looking at a coupe, consider fitting the spider seats to it. They are a hair taller, but the back is substantially thinner to provide more room to the top when it's folded, so in a coupe it would give you an extra inch or two of legroom while fitting the stock rails. You'd have to rig something up for the electric motors, but that should be minor.

    For steering wheels, you could look for something like the Diablo has where the bottom of the wheel is flattened to give you a little more room when cruising. That works well for me as well. Still the airbag issue though.

    Good luck! It's a great car.
     
  7. riverflyer

    riverflyer F1 Rookie

    Nov 26, 2003
    3,552
    Mendocino, Ca
    Full Name:
    John
    Steve, I am with you on the fitment problem. I am only 6'3" and I just barely fit and thats with race seats.(I had given up on 355's with stock seats, just not comfortable). I have been thinking about bolting to the floor as well. I have gt3 seats in my Porsche, bolted to the floor and it gives a whole new feeling. Plenty of headroom and much better visibility, especially forward. One thing you might consider is that the factory race seats still offer quite a bit of padding and maybe some could be removed. Also there are bound to be some aftermarket, or challenge seats available with less padding and that would help a lot. I fit in challenge cars just fine.
    I do think bolting to the floor might solve your problem though, too bad Ferrari does not offer easily adjustable pedals like some brands do. Good luck.
     
  8. BriSalig

    BriSalig Formula Junior

    Aug 29, 2002
    330
    Atlanta
    Full Name:
    Andrew
    Hmmm....I am almost 6'3'' with shoes on, (about 6'2'' without) and I have never had any problem whatsoever fitting into a 355. The only ferrari that I didnt seem to like sitting in too much was a 328, and a 308. I actually remember being extremely suprised with the amount of extra room for me in the 355. (I have a 32 inch inseam) Maybe the car I was in had different seats, I dont remember??
     
  9. TimF40

    TimF40 Formula 3

    Nov 3, 2003
    1,031
    Seattle/Bay Area/NYC
    Full Name:
    Tim
    Height is one thing, but inseam vs torso is really more important. That's why some taller drivers fit and others don't. I did exactly the same thing as you when I first started looking at f-cars. I'm a little under 6'3". I started with the 355 and scrunched, bowed legs, tilted head, seat way up and way back, etc... Nothing would really fit. In fact, my poor wife and my local f-car dealer were cracking up when they watched me try to get comfortable in the 355 Spider (I didn't want a coupe). Ahem.

    I inquired about changing seats, removing padding, modifying the seat rails, etc...

    All told, everyone advised me (in my particular case) to hold off and get a 360. They said "don't modify the car if you ever want to sell it..." I waited and bought a 360. After a year of riding in 355s, and driving my 360, I made the right choice.

    You might want to look at high mileage 1999 Modenas. They seem to be getting fairly cheap (relatively speaking of course). You have to live with whatever you buy, so make sure to get what you'll be happy with! - Tim
     
  10. Hunters360

    Hunters360 Formula Junior

    Nov 18, 2004
    329
    Massachusetts
    Full Name:
    James Wardwell
    I am definately the same way I have a 348 ,355 and a 360. i am 6'5" 300lbs.
    all cars have manual seats .. the 348 and 355 i had custom seat rails made lowered the seat 1 1/2 inch. try putting seat 1 notch before end and recline all the way... one other thing by a pair of puma toe cap sneakers. they have only one layer on rubber.. they are narrow as well wil help with footwell issues. for the longest time i would drive with my shoes off til i bought these sneakers... i have a size 15.... with the 360 its an easy fit but about 45-50 k more...good luck
     
  11. johnish

    johnish Karting

    Jun 21, 2004
    71
    Hertfordshire, UK
    Full Name:
    John Isherwood
    I'm 6' 4" with 35" in seam. To get my legs comfortable in the 355 b I fitted a bracket at the front of the seat to raise the front by 38mm. This supports my thighs so my legs are comfy, and results in farly straight arms. The standard 355 seats are comfortable compared with the 348 on a long drive.
     
  12. riverflyer

    riverflyer F1 Rookie

    Nov 26, 2003
    3,552
    Mendocino, Ca
    Full Name:
    John
    Hunter, can you talk more about the custom seat rails. Where did you get them and how can I order some? I had them on a viper and it totally transormed my comfort level. John
     
  13. Hunters360

    Hunters360 Formula Junior

    Nov 18, 2004
    329
    Massachusetts
    Full Name:
    James Wardwell
    I had a local metal shop fab. them for me. I think all the dimensions were made by john Tirrell of IFS
     
  14. riverflyer

    riverflyer F1 Rookie

    Nov 26, 2003
    3,552
    Mendocino, Ca
    Full Name:
    John
    Do you still have specs or the name or number for the shop? This is something I would really like to do for my car. thanks, John
     
  15. JoeG54

    JoeG54 Karting

    Aug 24, 2004
    183
    Bay Area, CA
    Full Name:
    Joe G
    I would also be interested in the custom rails to lower my seat -- how would one go about getting them? Do you the have the specs? Lowering my seat by 1 1/2 inches would be perfect.

    Thanks very much in advance,

    Joe
     
  16. riverflyer

    riverflyer F1 Rookie

    Nov 26, 2003
    3,552
    Mendocino, Ca
    Full Name:
    John
    Joe, since we are both in N. Cal, maybe we could find a machine shop that could do several sets and save us all some $. I will ask around with some of the independants on board like Rifledriver and see if they could help. The set I had for a Viper was simple yet still involved some good engineering work. It took about an hour to install and made a huge difference in my comfort level in the car. Anybody else interested??
     
  17. JoeG54

    JoeG54 Karting

    Aug 24, 2004
    183
    Bay Area, CA
    Full Name:
    Joe G
    John - sounds like a good plan to me.

    James - How can we get in touch with John Tirrell, or can you get us the rail dimensions/specs?

    Thanks,

    Joe
     
  18. JoeG54

    JoeG54 Karting

    Aug 24, 2004
    183
    Bay Area, CA
    Full Name:
    Joe G
    James, can you help John and me with this? We'd both really appreciate it.

    Thanks in advance,

    Joe
     
  19. Hunters360

    Hunters360 Formula Junior

    Nov 18, 2004
    329
    Massachusetts
    Full Name:
    James Wardwell
    John Tirrell owns IFS )Independant ferrari service in Easton Ma.. sorry idont have his number here. try search engine on yahoo.. Good Luck
     
  20. JoeG54

    JoeG54 Karting

    Aug 24, 2004
    183
    Bay Area, CA
    Full Name:
    Joe G

    Thanks, James
     
  21. siverson914

    siverson914 Rookie

    Apr 22, 2004
    30
    San Diego, CA
    Full Name:
    Steve
    Thanks for the input. I'm going to continue to research options for how a 355 can fit.

    Thanks,
    Steve
     
  22. stinkydog

    stinkydog Rookie

    Jan 26, 2009
    29
    #22 stinkydog, Mar 19, 2009
    Last edited: Mar 19, 2009
    Thanks, my search terms didn't cover 'tall' and 'driver' for some dumb reason. I like the practicality/summertime cruising potential of a GTS, but the GTB is just so perfect looking........ not to mention a Spyder.

    Oops, replied to the wrong (old) thread, sorry.....................
     
  23. Tim12

    Tim12 Rookie

    Nov 9, 2019
    1
    Full Name:
    Tim Warren
    I know this is an old thread but I figured I would give it a shot. Did anyone end up getting the custom brackets made for the 355? I’m 6’6” and am considering a 355 purchase.
    Thanks,
    Tim
     
  24. RudyP

    RudyP Karting
    Silver Subscribed

    Dec 6, 2018
    137
    La Jolla, CA
    Tim - have you tried fitting in the car as is? I’m 6’6” as well (220 lbs, 36” inseam) and I actually fit just fine in my stock f355. I do have the seat reclined much more than I normally would to allow for enough headroom and end up splaying my legs more than other cars but I’ve driven it 2+ hours and felt perfectly comfortable.

    I couldn’t wear a helmet and it does require some accommodation of my normal driving position but it isn’t even my least comfortable car.
     
  25. Qavion

    Qavion F1 Rookie

    Feb 20, 2015
    2,692
    Sydney
    Full Name:
    Ian Riddell
    I don't think it's leg length that causes the most problems, it's the steering wheel being so far away with no fore-aft adjustment. I started looking for a wheel boss, but it got too difficult with airbag wiring. I think Hill Engineering UK make one now, but I just got used to the position. I just drive with my legs splayed and the seat back upright to reach the wheel. My inseam is close to 37"
     

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