Looking to buy the best 355 Manual - Parts / History Concern

Looking to buy the best 355 Manual - Parts / History Concern

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Discussion

Mulsanne-Speed

Original Poster:

437 posts

102 months

Tuesday 5th May
quotequote all
Any help with this question would be much appreciated:

I was dead set on buying the best F355 manual transmission car I could find......... That was at least until my research began to cause me concern.

I'm looking for a Rosso Corsa / Crema F355, slightly flexible on either, GTS, Berlinetta or Spider, but must be a cherished example, low milage, strong service history and immaculate condition.

I contacted two independent sellers today of F355's. One had a Berlinetta with 18k miles on the clock, the other, a Spider with 7,500 miles on the clock. Although the mileage seemed to be largely in line with old MOT's, both had periods of 5-10 years without any service history. Furthermore, the seller of the Spider went on to tell me how the car recently required a new ECU for the hood, which was eventually sourced, but believed to be one of the last available - I think he was trying to reassure me that this was to the car's credit, instead it made me worry about the availability of parts.

I don't mind paying for the maintenance and upkeep of a Ferrari, but will I struggle to obtain all the necessary parts as and when they fail?



Edited by Mulsanne-Speed on Tuesday 5th May 23:27

650spider

1,008 posts

126 months

Tuesday 5th May
quotequote all
Yes.

That was the final straw for me.

Started to seem as though every daft little item ( and big ones ) were on back order at the factory with no planned date of a 'run' being made, resulting in scouring the globe for parts.

Walkersport were very helpful but still not magicians.

Just started to wear me down and bad times outweighed the good times of ownership.

Based on over 14 years of F355 ownership.

Some on here know the car inside out and can do lots themselves, but that wasn't me.

Sorry for not sugar coating it.

cgt2

1,612 posts

143 months

Wednesday 6th May
quotequote all
That is increasingly an issue. It's even harder for 550's which were made in less numbers. Many parts are bespoke and not from the Fiat/Alfa bin like older Ferraris.

4rephill

4,306 posts

133 months

Wednesday 6th May
quotequote all
The Ferrari factory parts supply for older (1980's~2000's models) Ferrari's is actually starting to get a lot better than it once was, but it's nowhere near as good as the likes of BMW's.

A big part of that is because the cars were built in such small numbers (comparatively speaking), and the fact that once the cars were @ 10~15 years old, the factory no longer really cared about the cars because the vast majority of them were no longer being traded or serviced by Ferrari main dealerships, and were going to independent specialists instead.

In that respect, Ferrari have been a funny company - Proud of the cars from their past, but not really prepared to support them properly.

With the Classiche programme in place now though, they've started to take a bigger interest in the modern classics, and have started to have a lot of parts re-manufactured.

It's far from perfect though, and plenty of parts are a serious pain in the ar$e to find (and expensive when you do find them, due to supply and demand)

The reality of older Ferrari ownership is:

Parts can, and often do, fail.
Plastic interior parts become sticky (348's on wards)
Parts can be hard to find (and expensive)
Servicing/repairs can be expensive.
The steel cars can rust, and the aluminium cars can corrode.
The leather seats can become hard and cracked if they're not fed and cleaned regularily with specialist products.
The electrics can play up.
The cars don't react well to being neglected or run on the cheap - They "age" very quickly.
The cars need driving - They don't take kindly to just sitting around for long periods of time.
The cars can leave you stranded at the side of the road (it's rare, but it can happen)
The cars can attract the unwanted attention of morons in hot-hatches, who feel the need to overtake a Ferrari at all costs.

It may sound as though I have a downer on Ferrari ownership, but nothing could be further from the truth.

I absolutely loved my 348 TS (I don't give a rat's rectum what other people think of them!), despite encountering a few issues along the way (Sticky interior plastics, drive-shaft boot clamp breaking, throttle linkage breaking, steering column switches disintegrating).

You have to go into buying an older Ferrari with your eyes open though, and armed with the facts - Ferrari ownership isn't for everyone!

Mulsanne-Speed

Original Poster:

437 posts

102 months

Wednesday 6th May
quotequote all
Thank you all for your comments.

I previously owned an F430 Spider (manual) so understand about the cost implications, I'm not too worried about that.

I suppose it's just the thought for example, of buying a Spider, the roof failing in the down position (or even worse, half way through a cycle) and then not being able to find a replacement part - The car essentially becomes useless. As even on sunny days, the weather could change and catch you out. I'm guessing there is a manual override switch though?

I suppose there's always a 458 Spider as an alternative - I do like them, but it won't have the same great sound, or a gated shifter.

I'm going to have to weigh it all up

Many thanks

Cactussed

5,204 posts

168 months

Wednesday 6th May
quotequote all
For reference, I've owned and run mine for pushing 13 years now.
If you want to polish it, buy a low mileage car.
If you want to drive it, buy a well used example. 60k miles is considered huge in the UK, but its not even 3k miles pa.

Cosmetically, things wear on old cars but are comparatively easy to sort (e.g. sticky bits, cracked leather etc).
Many parts are FIAT / Alfa. e.g. alternators, a/c compressors. Coils,plugs, much of the switch gear.
Others are just Bosch / Hella etc.
Ferrarichat has a useful cross-reference page so don't be concerned about those bits..

Some parts are bespoke but again, can often be sourced.

My experience has been that (like all cars) they run better when used. they develop problems when left standing.
I enjoy spattering on mine also which is helpful, so belt changes aren't a problem.
I'd be concerned that low mileage examples still have 20yo+ hoses and clamps etc.

Again, just my experience but don't be fooled by shiny paint (mine is chipped to buggery!). You're buying an old car and old cars ALWAYS need something doing.

650spider

1,008 posts

126 months

Wednesday 6th May
quotequote all
Mulsanne-Speed said:
Thank you all for your comments.

I previously owned an F430 Spider (manual) so understand about the cost implications, I'm not too worried about that.

I suppose it's just the thought for example, of buying a Spider, the roof failing in the down position (or even worse, half way through a cycle) and then not being able to find a replacement part - The car essentially becomes useless. As even on sunny days, the weather could change and catch you out. I'm guessing there is a manual override switch though?

I suppose there's always a 458 Spider as an alternative - I do like them, but it won't have the same great sound, or a gated shifter.

I'm going to have to weigh it all up

Many thanks
The over-ride button will still only put the roof up or down if the sensors decide it is safe to.

For example, if a seat potentiometer fails the 'roof down' button shall not move the seats forward and therefore roof shall not go down; you can tilt the seat forward and use the over-ride switch in that instance.

However, a multiple of issues can result in the over-ride button not working.

I swear i had my fingers and toes crossed every time i put the roof up and down on my 2nd and last spider.


carspath

620 posts

132 months

Wednesday 6th May
quotequote all
Hi , I would like to make 3 points

1) I had a 1994 GTB FOR 9 years, and took it twice a year , every year , to the far ends of the continent . Did about 6k miles a year . Never had any issues when abroad , so grew confident with using the car

2) In between the car just sat around in an admittedly dehumidified garage . Warmed it up for 30 minutes every 6 weeks and drove it up and down the drive .
The 355 seemed perfectly happy with this schedule which suggests that it did not mind not being used regularly

3) QV London looked after my car .
They were great , very honest , and very reasonable price wise .

4) The only time that the car let me down was in the UK one very , very rainy October evening . Being broken down in the middle of Bath during Friday evening rush hour was not good
Even more difficult was finding the cause .
Turned out to be the electronics .... even the magnificent QV experts took 4 goes at finding and fixing the fault .

5) Very reasonable on fuel consumption cf V12 Lambos , even when booting the car

6) Any old car , esp a low production volume supercar , will bring replacement part problems with it .
Not just the 355 or Ferrari .

Twice I have had to change the ignition pack on the Countach , and on both occasions there was only 1 pack available from the factory shelves, and none immediately available in the UK .
You could set Big Ben as to when the packs would die .... every 10 years to the minute .
Now I have an MSD pack .... so maybe aftermarket electronic suppliers will also step in with time for the 355 .

7) Question the claimed mileage . Interesting how all the 355s appear to have the same mileage today cf when I bought mine 16 years ago .!!
Mine was the highest mileage car advertised when I sold it in 2014 , and interesting that you still don’t see many cars advertised with mileages over 65 k .
Incidentally, the car didn’t fall apart at 60k ..... and the part that failed was a £50 part

8) But that £50 part was part of the electronics ...... v difficult to diagnose . OBD was no help , even with the dedicated Ferrari system that QV had
Therein lies the principal weakness of modern cars.... too much electronics, serving systems that no one really needs .
That is why I now prefer simpler , older cars .... less electronic nannying means more fun , and less grief

9) Ditto an electrically operated roof . Of my roofless cars , the only 1 I fear is the one with a complex electrical roof mechanism . I specifically chose all the others because they have manual roofs .... it’s just so much less concerning .

I really enjoyed my 355 .
I would highly recommend QV London , if you are anywhere near them .
I used to travel 4 hours each way just for their expertise .

OK , so that’s 9 points now

Good luck with the search



Edited by carspath on Wednesday 6th May 17:30

Garvin

3,503 posts

132 months

Wednesday 6th May
quotequote all
Any car of any age can leave you stranded at the side of the road. No matter how new the car is it is highly unlikely that you or your recovery service will be carrying the necessary spare.

Of the very many and varied aged vehicles I have owned the only vehicle that has ever ‘stranded’ me was a three month old Discovery where the throttle butterfly spindle sheared! One other vehicle came close to stranding me, a 12 month old BMW Z4 where the opened roof refused to close (no manual override) in an open hotel car park (no undercover available) over 250 miles from home on a Saturday evening when no BMW dealer wanted to know or help until Monday morning. The open roof effectively locked the luggage in the boot but just as I was about to give up and drive home the roof did work. I kept it firmly closed until it was eventually fixed (one dodgy micro switch).

I suppose the moral of the story is that newer cars are no guarantee of not being stranded.

Regarding replacement mechanical items then the companies springing up doing additive manufacture (3D printing) are becoming a god send. For NLA parts then they can usually scan a used/broken/borrowed one and print a replacement. For electronics then, as stated above, a lot are not bespoke to the model and can be sourced as a Fiat or whatever part - as stated above there are matrices available on line that cross reference the parts. There are also a lot of electronic system repair companies who can fix failed units. There are also companies that specialise in breaking exotics for spares.

It can be a PITA sourcing things but if you find a good dependable trustworthy independent (they do exist) then they usually know how to get hold of things or fix them.

However, if this is all too much then running any vehicle over 10 years old of low production run is, I’m afraid, not for you.

phib

4,066 posts

214 months

Wednesday 6th May
quotequote all
I am just going to leave this here

14 years of ownership

I have found there are ways around most things, dont buy one with gaps in the history and dont buy a low milage one would be my advice

Mine has done 40k and gone wrong twice in all the years but it’s been serviced on the same day, by the same garage every year no matter wether I have done 1,000 or 100 miles per year.



Phib



Edited by phib on Wednesday 6th May 19:45

650spider

1,008 posts

126 months

Wednesday 6th May
quotequote all
phib said:
I am just going to leave this here

14 years of ownership

I have found there are ways around most things, dont buy one with gaps in the history and dont buy a low milage one would be my advice

Phib

Lovely.

Couldn't add any more than the above.

Bo_apex

1,097 posts

173 months

Wednesday 6th May
quotequote all
carspath said:
Hi , I would like to make 3 points

1) I had a 1994 GTB FOR 9 years, and took it twice a year , every year , to the far ends of the continent . Did about 6k miles a year . Never had any issues when abroad , so grew confident with using the car

2) In between the car just sat around in an admittedly dehumidified garage . Warmed it up for 30 minutes every 6 weeks and drove it up and down the drive .
The 355 seemed perfectly happy with this schedule which suggests that it did not mind not being used regularly

3) QV London looked after my car .
They were great , very honest , and very reasonable price wise .

4) The only time that the car let me down was in the UK one very , very rainy October evening . Being broken down in the middle of Bath during Friday evening rush hour was not good
Even more difficult was finding the cause .
Turned out to be the electronics .... even the magnificent QV experts took 4 goes at finding and fixing the fault .

5) Very reasonable on fuel consumption cf V12 Lambos , even when booting the car

6) Any old car , esp a low production volume supercar , will bring replacement part problems with it .
Not just the 355 or Ferrari .

Twice I have had to change the ignition pack on the Countach , and on both occasions there was only 1 pack available from the factory shelves, and none immediately available in the UK .
You could set Big Ben as to when the packs would die .... every 10 years to the minute .
Now I have an MSD pack .... so maybe aftermarket electronic suppliers will also step in with time for the 355 .

7) Question the claimed mileage . Interesting how all the 355s appear to have the same mileage today cf when I bought mine 16 years ago .!!
Mine was the highest mileage car advertised when I sold it in 2014 , and interesting that you still don’t see many cars advertised with mileages over 65 k .
Incidentally, the car didn’t fall apart at 60k ..... and the part that failed was a £50 part

8) But that £50 part was part of the electronics ...... v difficult to diagnose . OBD was no help , even with the dedicated Ferrari system that QV had
Therein lies the principal weakness of modern cars.... too much electronics, serving systems that no one really needs .
That is why I now prefer simpler , older cars .... less electronic nannying means more fun , and less grief

9) Ditto an electrically operated roof . Of my roofless cars , the only 1 I fear is the one with a complex electrical roof mechanism . I specifically chose all the others because they have manual roofs .... it’s just so much less concerning .

I really enjoyed my 355 .
I would highly recommend QV London , if you are anywhere near them .
I used to travel 4 hours each way just for their expertise .

OK , so that’s 9 points now

Good luck with the search



Edited by carspath on Wednesday 6th May 17:30
+1 for QV.
The earlier the Ferrari the simpler they are to fix.
Lots of man maths there to justify a 330 or 250 series biggrin


Mulsanne-Speed

Original Poster:

437 posts

102 months

Wednesday 6th May
quotequote all
You see that photo is the one thing I can't let go of........ That's a beautiful car!

Thank you all for taking the time to reply, all your comments are very much appreciated. I'm still going to pursue the F355, I think I just need to find the right car.

I'm fortunate enough not to live too far away from Aldous Voice's new workshop. He's very kindly offered to give me some advice and invited me over for a chat next week. So, the search continues!

phib

4,066 posts

214 months

Wednesday 6th May
quotequote all
Bo_apex said:
carspath said:
Hi , I would like to make 3 points

1) I had a 1994 GTB FOR 9 years, and took it twice a year , every year , to the far ends of the continent . Did about 6k miles a year . Never had any issues when abroad , so grew confident with using the car

2) In between the car just sat around in an admittedly dehumidified garage . Warmed it up for 30 minutes every 6 weeks and drove it up and down the drive .
The 355 seemed perfectly happy with this schedule which suggests that it did not mind not being used regularly

3) QV London looked after my car .
They were great , very honest , and very reasonable price wise .

4) The only time that the car let me down was in the UK one very , very rainy October evening . Being broken down in the middle of Bath during Friday evening rush hour was not good
Even more difficult was finding the cause .
Turned out to be the electronics .... even the magnificent QV experts took 4 goes at finding and fixing the fault .

5) Very reasonable on fuel consumption cf V12 Lambos , even when booting the car

6) Any old car , esp a low production volume supercar , will bring replacement part problems with it .
Not just the 355 or Ferrari .

Twice I have had to change the ignition pack on the Countach , and on both occasions there was only 1 pack available from the factory shelves, and none immediately available in the UK .
You could set Big Ben as to when the packs would die .... every 10 years to the minute .
Now I have an MSD pack .... so maybe aftermarket electronic suppliers will also step in with time for the 355 .

7) Question the claimed mileage . Interesting how all the 355s appear to have the same mileage today cf when I bought mine 16 years ago .!!
Mine was the highest mileage car advertised when I sold it in 2014 , and interesting that you still don’t see many cars advertised with mileages over 65 k .
Incidentally, the car didn’t fall apart at 60k ..... and the part that failed was a £50 part

8) But that £50 part was part of the electronics ...... v difficult to diagnose . OBD was no help , even with the dedicated Ferrari system that QV had
Therein lies the principal weakness of modern cars.... too much electronics, serving systems that no one really needs .
That is why I now prefer simpler , older cars .... less electronic nannying means more fun , and less grief

9) Ditto an electrically operated roof . Of my roofless cars , the only 1 I fear is the one with a complex electrical roof mechanism . I specifically chose all the others because they have manual roofs .... it’s just so much less concerning .

I really enjoyed my 355 .
I would highly recommend QV London , if you are anywhere near them .
I used to travel 4 hours each way just for their expertise .

OK , so that’s 9 points now

Good luck with the search



Edited by carspath on Wednesday 6th May 17:30
+1 for QV.
The earlier the Ferrari the simpler they are to fix.
Lots of man maths there to justify a 330 or 250 series biggrin
+ 2 for QV
Looked after mine for nearly 20 years !
Phib


Bo_apex

1,097 posts

173 months

Thursday 7th May
quotequote all
Mulsanne-Speed said:
You see that photo is the one thing I can't let go of........ That's a beautiful car!

Thank you all for taking the time to reply, all your comments are very much appreciated. I'm still going to pursue the F355, I think I just need to find the right car.

I'm fortunate enough not to live too far away from Aldous Voice's new workshop. He's very kindly offered to give me some advice and invited me over for a chat next week. So, the search continues!
There is no escape now ! smile

Ferruccio

1,193 posts

74 months

Thursday 7th May
quotequote all
Mulsanne-Speed said:
You see that photo is the one thing I can't let go of........ That's a beautiful car!

Thank you all for taking the time to reply, all your comments are very much appreciated. I'm still going to pursue the F355, I think I just need to find the right car.

I'm fortunate enough not to live too far away from Aldous Voice's new workshop. He's very kindly offered to give me some advice and invited me over for a chat next week. So, the search continues!
All depends how much you want it.

There are people devoted to driving around in pre war cars. They can be fabulous things.
They do require a bit of effort, unlike a Toyota Corolla.

DC355

3 posts

2 months

Sunday 10th May
quotequote all
I own a manual 355 GTS (18k miler) and spent a fair bit of time looking for one. The reality is that any 20 year old car will need regular use and regular servicing. Parts haven't been an issue from my experience. I think the main dealers have now sourced enough of the parts for these over the years that the tricky OEM parts can be replaced by others.

There are enough cars around that you should be able to find a low miler with a good service file. The absence of regular stamps in the books and invoices would make me wary.

If its been serviced by a main dealer they should be able to provide an electronic copy of the service history since day 1, and also details of consumables and parts fitted since 2006, (when they updated their database) I have this for mine since its delivery inspection on 11/01/1999.

I get mine serviced by one of the specialists (SMDG). If you find a car you like the look of its worth getting a specialist to take a look at it with you before you buy, as their knowledge is invaluable. IMO they are often a better source of info than the mechanics at main dealers.

BTW, don't be put off by the 'sticky plastic' chat. That's easily sorted. Some detailers know how to do it, or their are specialists around who can deal with it!



More importantly, the manual gearbox is sensational. Happy Hunting!





Edited by DC355 on Sunday 10th May 16:04


Edited by DC355 on Sunday 10th May 16:06

Mulsanne-Speed

Original Poster:

437 posts

102 months

Sunday 17th May
quotequote all
Thank you for the info DC355 - Please private message me if you're interested in selling.

DC355

3 posts

2 months

Saturday 27th June
quotequote all
Have DM'd you!

jayemm89

2,712 posts

85 months

Saturday 27th June
quotequote all
As a point of curiosity, is there a reason why you are so keen on acquiring a low mileage car?

It just seems odd to me to be looking for a 25 year old car, with four-digit mileage, then being surprised that it may have been laid up for quite some time?

I recently helped someone source a Dino, the tattiest of which is worth far more than any 355, and they almost all had huge gaps in the paperwork or history, etc etc......

Most people I know who have 355s or 360s often put so little mileage on them the car may not even see the light of day for 3-5 years - I'd personally be more interested in seeing one large recent bill for a big overhaul.

It's a shame the 355 is not included under Ferrari's "Premium" program, because it seems designed to address many of the issues you're talking about.