Buy

Which F355 would you buy?

Discussion in '348/355' started by jakermc, Jan 22, 2004.

  1. jakermc

    jakermc Formula 3
    Owner

    Jan 17, 2004
    1,778
    Palm Beach, FL
    Full Name:
    Rob
    I'm nearing the end of my search for a F355 GTS and have a few candidates. My question is about two of the front runners and how I should value them against one another. Both are red/tan and are equal in cosmetic condition, which is excellent. Here are differences:

    Car #1: 1995 with 21K miles. Documented history from day 1 and always serviced by dealer. Full service record available. Valve guides and cam belts were done in Jan 01 at 14K miles. Belts were done again in June 02 when a leaking cam seal needed repair. Compression test is OK, though #2 is 10% lower than #7 and #8 (185 vs. 205). I understand this to be the max acceptable variance. C-pillars show hairline crack in paint on each side. Wheels are not as pristine as the rest of the car and show wear consistent with age. Car is being sold by F-dealer and all books and records come with it.

    Car #2: 1997 with 8.5K miles. Maintenance history is not as well documented. Belts, rollers, tensioners, and water pump were done in Sept 03 at around 7.5K miles. Documentation is available for this service. The car is being researched, but for now, lets assume no other maintenance records are available. Owner's manual and other books are also missing. C-pillars are reported to be clean. Biggest worry is that paint work has been done. The front bumper and fender were repainted by the car's first owner for what was reported to be scrapes on the original paint. No impact damage and no work on the metal. Current owner saw pictures of the damage prior to his purchase of the car and described the scrapes as 'so minor they were hard to see in the photograph.' His is looking for those pictures, but let's assume they are lost and I will not be able to see them. Car is on consignment at a small exotic car dealer and I have spoken at length with the car's owner. He appears to be a true enthusiast and exotic car collector. I would have a PPI done on this car, including compression and leak down. Let's assume it checks out clean and everything is as reported.

    I'm new to the Ferrari market and could use some help. Which car would you buy? How much would you pay for each one? I am looking at one more car this weekend but would like your opinion on how to rank these two front runners. I won't disclose asking prices yet so as not to influence the bids.

    Thanks for your help.
     
  2. To remove this ad click here.

  3. tubeguy

    tubeguy Formula 3

    May 21, 2003
    1,039
    Upland California
    Full Name:
    Kevin Deal
    This is my opinion...but I think there are more 355 with unhooked speedos than you can shake a stick at.

    Outside of bolster wear...look at the labels sewn ot to the seatbelts. Also, the inside door handles, when you open and close the door, and the parking brake handle. Compare a few cars. Feels the doors to see if the hinges feel tight or not.

    Consignment is a way for a dirtbag to stay clear of a deal and everybody says "I didn't know".

    Not trying to bum you out...but I have never seen such shenanigans in my life as I have with 355's. Every car sees a dealer at least once a year for SOMETHING. Call the places that it was serviced at and ask for a brief synopsis. They may not fax you everything unless you own it.

    Then call other repair shops in the area, with the owners name and VIN and ask questions assuming it was there. Play dumb.
     
  4. jakermc

    jakermc Formula 3
    Owner

    Jan 17, 2004
    1,778
    Palm Beach, FL
    Full Name:
    Rob
    I'm doing everything you mentioned, and in this consignment case the owner is not hiding. We spent 40 minutes on the phone discussing the car. Assuming I am only able to get documentation on the Sept 03 service, which way would you go and how much would you pay for each?
     
  5. ttforcefed

    ttforcefed F1 World Champ
    Rossa Subscribed

    Aug 22, 2002
    16,498
  6. lapeter

    lapeter Formula Junior

    Jun 13, 2002
    885
    SunValley ID&Kapalua
    Full Name:
    Al LaPeter
    It's hard to say without the asking prices, but if the PPI checked out and the prices were close, I would go with the 1997. Some day in the future you will sell the car. I think the 97 will be worth slightly more. Based on the info, I think the asking prices should be close
     
  7. To remove this ad click here.

  8. Napolis

    Napolis Three Time F1 World Champ
    Honorary Owner

    Oct 23, 2002
    32,118
    Full Name:
    Jim Glickenhaus
    I would buy the dealer car and I'd buy an extended warantee.
     
  9. Mitch Alsup

    Mitch Alsup F1 Veteran

    Nov 4, 2003
    7,891
    You should not down grade the second car for the paint on the bumpers. I get my front bumper resprayed every other year to eliminate some self induced scratches and the ever increasing road rash. Its likely this shows the previous owner was interested in the car as more than a simple toy.
     
  10. dinodude

    dinodude Rookie

    Jan 19, 2004
    25
    Atlanta, GA
    Full Name:
    Glenn Stephens
    Who buys a 355 new and then proceeds to lose the books and paperwork, all in 8.5K miles? That says something about the owner right there. Or maybe some of the documentation shows something they don't want you to see.

    If you are looking for a flipper that you won't drive very much you might take a chance on the '97. If you are looking for a driver then I have to vote for the '95 because you know what you're getting and the mileage is less important. I like the advice of the '95 with a dealer extended warranty.
     
  11. Kenny94945

    Kenny94945 Karting

    Nov 1, 2003
    161
    Marin Calif
    I agree with Dinodude.
     
  12. To remove this ad click here.

  13. 62 250 GTO

    62 250 GTO F1 Veteran

    Jan 9, 2004
    7,732
    Nova Scotia Canada
    Full Name:
    Neil
    I would walk away from both.
     
  14. jakermc

    jakermc Formula 3
    Owner

    Jan 17, 2004
    1,778
    Palm Beach, FL
    Full Name:
    Rob

    Would you care to explain why? You don't even know the price.
     
  15. ttforcefed

    ttforcefed F1 World Champ
    Rossa Subscribed

    Aug 22, 2002
    16,498
    95 with the valves taken care of i the way to go...more hp and sound better...

    25,000 miles is better than 8,000 the way i look at it...having all the records counts for something in my book

    good luck

    what are the asking prices? then we can really tell u
     
  16. chaa

    chaa F1 Veteran

    Mar 21, 2003
    5,058
    I WOULD WALK AWAY FROM BOTH>
    Always makes me laugh, there must be a great big huge bloody big aircraft hanger somewere on the planet where all the exotics are that people walk away from. HA! HA!
     
  17. Robin

    Robin F1 Rookie

    Nov 1, 2003
    2,893
    Arlington, VA
    Since I checked out the 95 in question, you know I'm going to be biased.... :) I'd have to go with it though.

    1. The dealership in question has one of the best reputations, if not *the* best reputation in the country for doing honest deals and working with its customers to ensure a good buying/ownership experience.

    2. Like Ricky says, the 95's have slightly more power and sound better.

    3. The only real worries are the c-pillars and dinged up wheels. The other car seems to have a lot of unknowns. There's a chance the dealership will work with you on the wheels though.

    4. All services have been done, so the extra mileage shouldn't be a big deal. Just means it's received a good workout.

    I'd maybe shoot for 10k off the asking price, then spend a few bucks getting the roof and wheels painted (or just get new wheels)... Of course you might want to spend a few hundred for a plane ticket to see them yourself and maybe take a short spin just to remove all doubts.

    -R
     
  18. EVartanian

    EVartanian Formula 3

    Mar 19, 2002
    1,178
    Sunny SoCal
    Full Name:
    Eric
    Have you driven either one? If possible, I think getting behind the wheel might reveal subtle differences that you could like/dislike and make your choice easier. Right now, the 95 is looking better to me, but I don't see there being anything wrong with the 97 either.
     
  19. 62 250 GTO

    62 250 GTO F1 Veteran

    Jan 9, 2004
    7,732
    Nova Scotia Canada
    Full Name:
    Neil
    Car 1, These are my reasons. I'm not being smug, it just turns me off. Compression test = poor results. My 27 year old 924 has better results and if you are already at the max tollerances for the motor, ask yourself what a rebuild will cost. Then ask yourself what kind of deal you are getting for this car. And you say the wheels are in fair condition? What's wrong with them? Just not perfect? A little scrape here and there? And the C pillars show cracks do they?

    Car 2, Poor record keeping is either lack of attention to detail or the want/need to hide something. There is no other reason. Both sit equal in the negitive column. Same with the missing books. The paint may not be a problem but you are unsure, so it is. Let me get this straight. The current owner {who is trying to sell it} said it wasn't a big deal. He lost the pics? Like the other guy lost the records? Again, I'm not being a hard ass but I would make it seem like "no big deal" too, IF, it was a problem. As for him being "a true enthusiast", I could put on a big grin and get into trading stories and info. {Number 1 rule for selling door to dorr is... make a friend.} In my opinon, that's what he is doing.
    As for me not knowing the price, it would have to be ONE HELL OF A DEAL for my name to go on the title.
    Good luck.
     
  20. 62 250 GTO

    62 250 GTO F1 Veteran

    Jan 9, 2004
    7,732
    Nova Scotia Canada
    Full Name:
    Neil
    How many cars have you bought and sold??? As for the "aircraft hanger somewere" there would be thousands of these filled to the top with cars I wouldn't touch, it has nothing to do with exotic cars, it has everything to do with used cars. Does Mr. Jakermc want to buy a lemon? I wouldn't think so. My advice is sound, I always go with my gut and it hasn't failed me yet. Maybe I have missed out on a couple of deals. But I haven't lost my shirt/taken a bath/had the wool pulled over my eyes/have my gonads squeezed/been taken to the cleaners... that list could go on for awile for a lot of people.
    If you want a great car,
    find a great car.
    Only you can sign the papers.
    Good luck Jakermc.
     
  21. saiid

    saiid Karting

    Jan 6, 2004
    52
    London, UK
    I agree with the last poster. However, if these are the only two that you can choose from, I would go with the 95. A car with 8.5k miles and lost paperwork is ridiculous, especially at this end of the market. And when you come to resell, it won't help you at all.

    The 95 sounds like an honest car, but I don't like the results of the compression test. But with a warranty and from a good dealer, I would be happier with this one.

    Either way though, I wouldn't even buy a VW without seeing it and test driving it, so for the sake of a round trip, please at least take a look. There are too many horror stories out there!
     
  22. jakermc

    jakermc Formula 3
    Owner

    Jan 17, 2004
    1,778
    Palm Beach, FL
    Full Name:
    Rob
    Thanks for all the advice. Without a doubt, I would visit the car in question, I simply don't have time to fly around and visit both. I am simply trying to rank the possibilities I've come across so far.

    With regards to the 95, the asking price is $89.9 though we have not begun to negotiate yet. Things such as the wheels (which are OK, but not great) and a 1 yr warranty would be topics to negotiate. The maintenance history on this car is strong, so its odd that the compression numbers were marginal. I may ask to get it retested, sometimes you get bad readings if the car has not been driven enough or the engine is not at operating temperature. Doing a search on this board would lead you to believe that the C-pillar problem happens on the majority of 355s, so I am not sure how much of a penalty this is. I also haven't found anything to say that this is a critical structural flaw. My understanding is that moisture forms in the joint and causes a hairline crack in the paint. Most retouch the area every few years and the problem is simply a minor cosmetic flaw. That is all I have been able to gather from the archives on this board. Am I missing something here? If not, I wouldn't think this is one of those cars to 'walk away from'. As Robin said, FofW has a strong reputation, I do have trust in what they put on the floor.

    With regards to the '97, the asking price is $89. The seller has already indicated that his price is $83. The lack of history is a bit scary. The current owner claims that he has recently moved and 'the records and books are here, just not sure where'. My impression of him is that he likes nice cars, boats, etc., treats them well while in his care, but bores of them quickly and flips models often. The major service is documented, so having every oil change I would consider nice, but not a necessity. That said, I understand the car came from Miami and I have the VIN so I will be able to call the dealerships and see if I can track it down from their service records. This is a car that would require a full PPI obviously - mechanical and structural, and if it passes with flying colors, do I really care that he can't find the owner's manual?

    I am not gullible. I do know how to negotiate, hunt down records, and ask for a PPI. The point of my question was to better understand how the Ferrari community values certain things about a car. I found the response about the paint work not being a big deal (assuming the story is true) very insightful. I have also learned that the model year is largely irrelevant and that mileage isn't a huge factor within the limits presented here. I appreciate the feedback.

    I have always been a Porsche guy (I own three), I track my cars, and would never buy a car to own a garage queen. Most Ferrari owners are a bit different. Not better or worse, just different. In my brief search, it seems the average mileage for a F355 is about 2,000 miles a year. This is very different from the average Porsche owner. My friends with GT3s all track their cars and drive the piss out of them. I think a Porsche owner cares less about the owner's manual. (Of course when I bought my 911 without an owner's manual I went out and bought a replacement) These type of things made me wonder if Ferrari owners and potential buyers value the various aspects about a car differently. I think the Ferrari experience is more involving than P-car ownership. It includes the manuals, the leather boxed tool kit, etc. Ferrari's get waxed more, Porsches get driven more and nothing is wrong with either approach. Hell, next to a Ferrari a P-car looks like an ugly stepchild so the Ferrari deserves the extra coat of wax. :)

    I hope I didn't piss anyone off with the P-car vs. F-car thing. That wasn't my intent. I very excited about buying my first Ferrari and putting the miles on - on the road and on the track. I also look forward to meeting some of you at Cavallino this weekend.

    Again, thanks for the advice.
     
  23. Prugna 328

    Prugna 328 Formula 3

    Sep 10, 2003
    1,233
    L.I.N.Y.
    Full Name:
    Gregory
    I rented a 55 when I went to Vegas last year. I hate to be the guy who winds up with that car one day. Like one of you guys said there seems to be alot of "games" with 355s. Like my brother told me after he attended a Skip Barber school "don't ever buy a red Viper"
     
  24. tubeguy

    tubeguy Formula 3

    May 21, 2003
    1,039
    Upland California
    Full Name:
    Kevin Deal
    I have not followed GTS prices...but if it were a berlinetta both are high.

    Any guy that is so flippint about the service records being "somewhere" may be full of it. If you are not buying at roachy cheap price...then get a car where the stars and the moon line up.

    Buying from a dealer means little, except you do have a bit of recourse if things go crazy, and IF it is provable. Dealers will turn a blind eye...or miss stuff.

    Problem is...when you have that sinking feeling in your stomach...and you know the truth...but can't connect the dots legally. I have been in that situation. So has a dear buddy. I took a $30k hit. He got hit for over $100K
     
  25. lapeter

    lapeter Formula Junior

    Jun 13, 2002
    885
    SunValley ID&Kapalua
    Full Name:
    Al LaPeter
    IMHO, both asking prices are too high. Those might be spider asking prices. GTS seems to sell for less than spiders and more than berlinetta's.Those seem to be mid 70's priced cars. I think all of the following are important in pricing an F car- year built, mileage, service records, any painting that shows and condition.
     
  26. 355f

    355f Formula Junior

    Nov 1, 2003
    305
    the situation with c pillars is this.

    When the vehicle is spot welded at the factory (this particular seam is about 1 in deep) the whole body is electrophoretically dipped.

    Unfortunately, the primer does not sink into the joint very far and rust begins to form under the flexible sealer, rust is very powerful and pushes up from beneath and is made worse by condensation underneath that can infiltrate the joint.

    In cases where accident damage requires the removalof this panel in many cases they are red with rust.

    The only way is to dig out the sealer and get as far down as you can then an acid etch primer and remove the undershealds and use dynitrol under there to help.

    Whatever you do it seems to last 2 years and then appears again.

    For some reason there are a few cars about 6% that dont have the problem.

    Some comments have been made to suggest that the joints break because the car is run in sports mode and this is nonsense.

    If you run it on glass smooth roads not in the wet and hardly use the car- they still do it!.
     
  27. chaa

    chaa F1 Veteran

    Mar 21, 2003
    5,058
    Hey chill dude you are clearly an EXPERT in all matters Ferrari. I only made comment on how i think about the vision of a hanger full of cars,it was a light comment ok. Regarding of how many cars i have bought and sold, hey not many but included are three Ferraris that have never been bad choices and that includes my current 355 spider. How many ferraris have you bought and sold, OOPS! you havn't have you sorry about that!! (JOKEING DUDE RELAX)
     
  28. GTO84

    GTO84 Formula Junior

    Dec 13, 2003
    562
    I have seen the c-pillar crack of a few f355's, and I thought it had to do with the unibody flexing along the seams.
     

Share This Page