Words by Richard Metcalfe
The Ferrari F355 arrived at the same time as the McLaren F1, yet it was not overshadowed by arguably the greatest supercar of all time. Several reasons for this are clear, the brand – one of the greatest sportscar companies of all time, the styling – a combination of well proportioned curves, and that engine. That engine – an evolution of the 348 engine, was hailed a masterpiece. Not only did it deliver more power per litre than any other road car that proceeded it, but it was also (and still is) one of the greatest sounding engines of all time.
The classic styling continues into the cabin, manual cars feature the famous open gated Ferrari gear shifter that define classic Ferrari. An uncluttered dashboard and switch free steering wheel separate this from a modern Ferrari.
The F355 is one of those cars that you can’t help but stare at when it’s parked up. I may be more complacent about owning it these days, as I’ve had it for so long, but I always look forward to driving it. You don’t realise just how low the roof line is until you get right next to it and open the door.
Why is the F355 so alluring? It’s the completeness of the design that really shows. There’s a subtle ducktail at the back on the rear deck lid which makes all the difference compared to the earlier Ferrari 348. I also love the standard wheel design which Ferrari seemed to get just perfect both in terms of size and alloy-to-air ratio in the spokes. The seats are extremely comfortable, but perhaps the best thing is the feeling of space when you get in. Due to all the glass, the cabin feels large and is never claustrophobic.
The whole car is extremely well judged, all the controls complement each other. The steering weight and feedback on the road are sublime. The hassle free nature of them allow full concentration on the main event, that 40 valve engine. The Formula One sound at high revs is insatiable, once you experience it yourself, you’ll also want it in your life for good. Full owners experience can be found in the magazine.
Why buy one?
★Arguably the most beautiful post 1980’soundtrack Ferrari, classic pop up lights and well proportioned curves
★Soundtrack is still intoxicating and has many fans, V8 soundtrack hasn’t been improved by more modern Ferrari’s
★Find a cherished one and keep it in a heated garage, it will always have value
Full list of reasons to buy can be found in the magazine.
Full analysis and advice of the ideal specification can be found in the magazine.
Expect to pay £38,000 to £55,000 depending on age, mileage and condition. Low mileage and low owner cars demand a premium. Full valuation details and examples on the market found in the magazine.
A classic supercar will command high parts prices. The most vulnerable area in terms of buying a F355 is in the exhaust components, it is inevitable that the original components will degrade with time. For this reason ensure that the exhaust system is thoroughly inspected. Full breakdown of prices can be found in the magazine.
Ensure before purchase that the inspection reports that the compression of all engine cylinders is above 180psi, any lower may mean worn valve guides (some had bronze guides that wear easily rather than steel guides). The car will likely be burning oil and need an engine overhaul. It is possible to confirm whether the guides are bronze or steel at a Ferrari dealer with the chassis number. Full breakdown of buyers checkpoints for engine, clutch, gearbox, steering, suspension, brakes, wheels, tyres and servicing schedule can be found in the magazine.
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