1999 Ferrari F355 Spider 3.5L V8 DOHC 40 Valves from North America
Several minor electrical glitches -- switches wouldn't work, windows were jerky, turn signals wouldn't work.
The vacuum hose that operates the variable exhaust tract came undone twice.
The operation of the top was awful. It'd stick, refuse to operate, or stop halfway.
A few years back, I came into a largish sum of money. At some point, I decided I really needed a fancy sports car. Basically just an expensive toy, I realize. But, what good is money if you can't have a little fun?
So I went shopping. Looked at Porsches, BMW's, Aston Martins, Mercedes, and Ferraris. From the moment I laid eyes on it, the 355 spoke to me. It's not just about numbers, performance, and top speed (being female helps put that in perspective, perhaps). It's about emotion. Ferraris, more so than anything else, have soul, and lots of it.
I ordered one up, and while I waited for it to be made, I invested in driving lessons. That's something I'd highly recommend to anyone who buys any high performance vehicle. Learn how to drive the thing! You'll enjoy it that much more.
Performance is truly stunning. The 355's limits are higher than mine, for sure. I have trouble relating just how good -- it's not something you can understand from numbers on a page, only from first hand experience. That said, it cornered as if it were on rails, accelerated like a scalded cat, and stopped like you threw out a parachute. I gave it a 9/10 only because I now own a 360.
I must mention the sound, especially top down. It's a mechanical symphony, especially as you rev it, and the exhaust opens up and variable timing kicks in. Truly a joyous noise, ranging from muted burble, to all out shriek.
Prior to buying it, I had heard that Ferraris are prone to be troublesome. I experienced a few small electrical glitches, and a hose that kept popping off. Not that bad, for such a sophisticated machine. And the dealer went to great lengths to fix them and keep me happy. Reliability wasn't Honda-like, but it was better than I was led to believe, and better than older Ferraris, from what I've learned from other owners.
Ferraris are slightly quirky, too. The interior ergonomics were a bit odd, but overall it was quite comfortable. At least there were no extraneous gizmos, gadgets, bells, and whistles. Just pure driving machine.
The styling is great. A perfect blend of testosterone filled boy racer, and nothing too outlandish. The design looks a little dated next to a 360, but it does have that Ferrari soul.
My only real gripe is the top -- pure junk. It would stick, refuse to operate, and was just a general pain. However, all of that is easily solved by just leaving it down almost all the time. That's why I bought a convertible, after all. Just keep your fingers crossed if it looks like rain!
Other gripes? None, really. You can't look at something like this as you would a "normal" car. If you want that, get a Ford. Operating cost is about what you'd expect, I suppose. Gas, insurance, tires (eats them quickly!), and maintenance are expensive, but if you can afford the car, those are incidental.
In all, I'd highly recommend the 355. Especially now with the introduction of the 360, prices are dropping rapidly. Just be sure to research it thoroughly, know what you're getting into, and take proper care of it. And by all means, drive it plenty! They aren't fragile, and that's what Enzo intended.
Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes
Review Date: 26th November, 2001
16th Jan 2002, 21:50
I would have to agree with you 99%! I am an eventually F355 buyer, and I sure can't wait for it to come! And of course, I WILL leave the top down always.
7th Sep 2007, 19:43
As stated with the man law... if it rains when your top is down, you must then therefore always leave it down. LOL.
JK, who the hell would do that to a $____.00 dollar car!???