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Ferrari F355: Buying guide and review (1994-1999)

Ferrari F355: Buying guide and review (1994-1999) Classic and Performance Car
Ferrari F355 Ferrari F355 Ferrari F355 Ferrari F355 Ferrari F355 Ferrari F355
Let’s just go straight to it: the Ferrari F355 is one of the best cars ever to have come out of Maranello. The 355 replaced the rather lacklustre 348 and was a distinct improvement in both looks and dynamic ability. A quantum leap, if you like. 
 
When it went on sale in 1994, the F355 had the interesting task of moving Ferrari forward as a serious volume manufacturer. In a post-Honda NSX world, sports cars could no longer afford to be the unreliable or cumbersome to drive, and while the F355 might have been an evolution of the 348, it was a game-changing proposition from Ferrari. 
 
The mid-mounted, dry-sumped, flat-plane V8 borrowed the then-latest Formula 1 technology, featuring five valves (three inlet, two exhausts) per cylinder and producing 380bhp at a screaming 8250rpm, which equates to 109bhp per litre – and that was the highest specific output for a naturally aspirated car at the time.
 
With a 0-60mph sprint time of 4.6 seconds and a top speed only a gnat’s shy of 180mph, the 355 is a searingly fast sports car. It’s also widely considered to be the last of the traditionally beautiful Ferraris, and although styling is largely subjective, any petrol head would be hard to argue against the 355’s slender, delicate Pininfarina styling. 
 
The Ferrari has a beautifully restrained interior too, and it just fits. Climb over the wide sill and you find yourself seated low with feet slightly offset, but visibility is fine and, when the V8 starts, the sound is intoxicating at the steady yet busy idle. 
 
You can drive a 355 fast and comfortably at normal revs, keeping the engine below around 5000rpm, with the adjustable suspension in ‘comfort’ mode. The controls are accurate and communicative, the clutch is a bit long of travel yet sensibly weighted, and the manual gearbox is a delight.
 
Because you sit well forward, with the engine screaming behind you, the Ferrari seems to swivel from your hips, and it feels planted. But switch the suspension to ‘sports’ mode, allow the rev counter to breach that 5000rpm mark and the car comes on cam properly. It’s fast; reactive, angry, howlingly, road-munchingly fast. The super-sharp – if rather light – steering, massive ATE brakes with ABS, fat 225 and 265/40 tyres and that perfectly balanced chassis make it all seem very easy. The F355 does exactly what you tell it to do.
 
One of the best cars of the 1990s? Not only that, but one of the very best Ferraris ever…
 

Which F355 to buy?

 
Built between 1994 and 1999, this Pininfarina-penned Ferrari was the first of the marque to sell more than 10,000 examples. Starting out in Berlinetta (GTB) and Targa (GTS) forms, the full convertible Spider coming a little later. The six-speed electrohydraulic manual transmission was made available from 1997 – as the F355 F1 – as an option to the regular F355 six-speed manual. This automated manual 'box was capable of super-quick shift times when new, however feels a little but old fashioned when compared to the lightning-quick modern dual-clutch ‘boxes. It takes a bit of time to learn how to get the most out of it, but it's pretty dood when you are used to it.
 
There is also an altogether more hardcore option, in the form of the F355 Challenge racer, although these are restricted to track use and are surprisingly rare. 
 

Performance and specs

Engine  3495cc V8, five-valves per cylinder 
Power 380bhp @ 8250rpm
Torque 268lb ft @ 6000rpm
Transmission Six-speed manual, six-speed automated manual ‘F1’ gearbox
0-60mph 4.6secs
Top speed 183mph 
Insurance group   20
Fuel consumption  20mpg
Price when new  £83,031
 

Dimensions and weight


Wheelbase            2451mm
Length 4249mm
Width 1900mm
Height 1171mm
Weight 1350kg
 

Common problems

 
• The 355 ushered in a new generation of more reliable Ferraris, but there are still many things to look out for when you are buying a used example. 
 
• Despite the complexity of the engine, it is actually surprisingly durable if serviced well. There is an issue with some engines, where the soft valve guides wear, causing the engine to burn oil. This generally only affects earlier pre-1996 cars, although no engine is immune. A compression test can identify any problems and is a must on any purchase. 
 
• Although rare, there have been a few cases of engine bay fires. Ferrari issued two recalls to fix the possible causes, so you should check that these have been carried out. The worst thing is a car that is used infrequently with little servicing. Perishable items such as fuel hoses are usually replaced as part of a comprehensive service.
 
• The F355’s catalytic converters are very expensive to buy from Ferrari, and are often replaced with straight-through pipes. If this is the case, it won’t pass a UK MoT test, so you should make sure that the cats are included with the car. It can be good for bargaining if this is not the case. If the originals are not working properly, specialists can rebuild them. Still an expensive job, but much cheaper than buying new replacements.
 
• Exhaust manifolds can, and eventually will crack. Listen for the usual ticking or blowing sound. This is why you might find aftermarket manifolds from the likes of Tubi on a lot of cars. The original Ferrari manifolds were notoriously weak, but can be repared by a good specialist. The repaired manifolds longevity depends on the quality of the repair, but have been know to outlast the originals.
 
• While the targa-topped GTS model offers a nice compromise between the full coupe and Spider, the roof can pose a few problems. Seals can leak, causing water to get into the interior. If the car is only ever used in the dry, and is parked in a garage, it can go unnoticed until it gets caught in an unexpected shower. New seals are expensive, but keeping everything well lubricated with silicone will slow down any degradation, and will also help it to seal better. Roof squeaks can usually be cured with careful lubrication of the latch mechanisms.
 
• The oldest 355s are now more than 20 years old, which means that corrosion is already a surprising problem on higher mileage cars. The worst (and most unsightly) area is where the buttresses meet the rear wings. This seam flexes and the moves over time, causing cracks to form and letting moisture get in. Most cars will have this problem to some degree, but a recent respray is always a positive point. 
 
• If you see a rusty sill, then don’t panic. These are non-structural covers, and can either be removed and refurbished, or even replaced with carbon fibre replacements. A small amount of surface corrosion on the inside of the wheelarch lips is normal, as this area can take some punishment from small stones. It can usually be rectified regularly at a small cost.
 
• Perhaps the most important area to check for corrosion is the rear subframe, which is exposed to the elements, and is a tricky and expensive repair if it does need doing. Getting the car on a ramp, and having a good poke of all the joints. It’s also worth identifying any areas of surface corrosion, which is to be expected on a car of this age, and treating it before it develops. 
 
• Interiors are generally reasonably hard wearing, but can become a little bit rough around the edges. Check how the rubberised coating on the centre console trim is holding up, as this is very expensive to replace properly. 
 
• Cars from hot climates can often suffer from UV damage to the leather on the dashboard. The only option is to recover the dash. It might be good to do this at the same time as the seats, which often need attention to the worn bolsters. 
 
• If looking at a Spider model, then it’s important to ensure that the electric roof mechanism is operating correctly. If it isn’t working correctly, one possible problem is that the seat potentiometer (which is part of the roof’s in-built safety mechanism to prevent damage) has packed up, which can be a expensive job. Alternatively, the hydraulic roof motor has failed, which is considerably more difficult and expensive to remedy. 
 

Model history

 
May 1994: Ferrari F355 Berlinetta and targa-topped GTS model goes on sale.
1995: F355 Spider, a full convertible model, is launched. F355 Challenge also introduced.
1996: Minor ECU change brings in a mildly re-configured airbox arrangement, and airbag steering wheel.
1997: Automated manual F1 gearbox introduced, with paddle shifters.
1999: Ferrari F355 production ends. 
 

Owners clubs, forums and websites

 
• www.the355.com – Fantastic resource for F355 owners
• www.ferrariownersclub.co.uk – UK-based Ferrari owners club
• www.clubscuderia.co.uk – International forum, for owners of all Ferrari models
• www.eurospares.co.uk – Specialists in affordable parts and service items
 

Summary and prices

 
The F355 was one of the most popular Ferraris when it was new, and prices have never particularly dipped to the level of the previous 308 and 348 models due to continued demand. Today prices start from around £75,000 for a higher-mileage example, probably with the less desirable F1 ‘box, while £100,000 will get a very presentable example. Up to £135,000 is paid for the absolutely top-class cars, although some dealers might ask even more.
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Last updated: 7th Jun 2017
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Ferrari 355
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  • 1997 (P) FERRARI 355 COUPE 3.5 GTS TARGA 2DR

    £99,355 £99,355

    Prior to offering for sale, all cars are subject to the AMARI Inspection, a stringent 170 point investigation of the car cosmetically, electrically and mechanically. Our resident master technicians attend to all issues prior to offering the car for sale, using the very latest and best diagnostic equipment, state of the art tools and methods. Our highly qualified master technicians can carry out servicing on all road cars, from the standard family hatch back to the latest Lamborghini, Ferrari, Aston Martin... We are the only independent dealer with full Ferrari SDX Diagnostics and the Lamborghini LARAS Diagnostics systems. Our fully equipped workshop enables us to attend to any electrical, and mechanical issues, from intricate electrical repairs and renewals, to brake disc Skimming and air conditioning recharging. Before collection all cars go through our exhaustive detailing process (can take up to three days) using only the worlds finest Swissvax products, carried out by our professional certified Swissvax trained technicians, covering every aspect of the car inside and out. Collection and delivery throughout the UK can be offered through the most reputable manufacturer championed company who use only the very latest covered car transporters with extensive experience of transporting cars across the world. Vehicles are supplied with a three month warranty *Exclusions Apply. We offer part exchange and finance facility on most cars. AMARI Lifestyle Limited T/As AMARI SuperCars is authorised & Regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (663066)

    • Mileage: 41621 mi
    • Engine size: 3.5
    For sale
    £99,355 £99,355
    Amari Super Cars GB
    01772 663 777 View contact number
  • Ferrari 355

    £99,995 £99,995

    Air Conditioning, Climate Control, Dual Climate Zones, Full Leather, Alarm, Anti-Theft System, Central Locking, Immobiliser, Remote Central Locking, Colour Coded Interior, Electric Seats, Front Centre Armrest, Head Restraints, Sports Seats, Adjustable Steering Column, Power Steering, Traction Control, Trip Computer, ABS, Twin Air Bags, Colour Coded Body, Front Fog Lamps, Premium Cloth soft top, Electric Front Windows, Electric Mirrors, Power Hood, CD Player, Radio, Stereo, UK Supplied, 18'' Alloys, Full service history *** COMING SOON ***An absolutely gorgeous example of one of the prettiest Ferrari's to leave the production line at Maranello. Finished in a rare colour combination, this Iconic Ferrari has had just four owners from new and has a full service history. These models have shot up in value and continue to rise year upon year. Don't miss your opportunity to purchase a future classic.....

    • Mileage: 30971 mi
    • Engine size: 3496
    For sale
    £99,995 £99,995
  • Ferrari F355 GTS F1 1998

    €79,950(£0) €79,950(£0)

    Ferrari F355 GTS F1 47.200 kms 1998 European car Coming from a collection, this 1998 Ferrari F355 GTS F1 Targa in original top condition in colour Rosso Corsa. The car is in marvellous conditie, has driven only 47.200 kms and was always maintained by Holland Ferrari Dealers or specialists. All booklets and tool set are present. The car also has the very rare F1 gearbox. This is the last Ferrari model with the iconic round rear window like the Ferrar Dino had. Car has Holland title and mot/tuv. Easy to register in every EU country. You do not need to pay any import taxes. We can help with transport.

    • Year: 1998
    For sale
    €79,950(£0) €79,950(£0)
  • Ferrari 355 spider six speed manual Ferrari

    £79,990 £79,990

    Production of the car started on Friday the 27th February 1998 and was completed 12 days later on Wednesday 11th March 1998.Delivered to Ferrari UK by truck and first registered R13 ASK, by my colleague Mark Hawkins ,then of Maranello Sales in Egham Surrey, to property consultant Miss Adina Kohn of London on the 1st April 1998. Finished in Giallo Modena DS430 with black hide 8500 , carpets 151 and hood. Additionally the car was factory optioned with a 6x CD changer (CDCH) at £720.00 and a rear challenge grille (GRD1) at £288.00 (Enamel Scuderia wing shields have also been fitted retrospectively.)The car is understood to be one of only 38 manual 355 Spiders finished in this colour combination ,from the 315 cars originally and officially imported by Maranello Concessionaires/Ferrari UK. Invoices from Racing Technologies, which was to later become Autofficina, show that by December 2005 and with 24,700 miles the car appears to be in the ownership of 60 year old film producer ,Mr Jamie Brown of London, who continued to use Racing Technologies/Autofficina to maintain the car. By December 2008 and 33,000 miles the car was with Mr Chris Green of Surrey ,owner of the Autofficina property,

    • Year: 1998
    • Mileage: 41900 mi
    For sale
    £79,990 £79,990
  • FERRARI F355 SPIDER MANUAL GIALLO FLY - GIALLO FLY

    POA POA

    Information 1996 FERRARI F355 SPIDER MANUAL GIALLO FLY 33,000 Miles 6 Speed Manual Giallo Fly (Yellow) Full Nero Black Interior Optional Sports Mode Electric Seats Electric Hood Tonnau Cover Climate Control (AC) Electric Windows & Mirrors 18' Ferrari 355 Alloys Original Toolkit & Handbooks Immobilizer Documented Ferrari Service Invoices & MOT’s Recently Serviced Belts service has just been carried out Interested In Vehicle Print Vehicle Details Back To Index

    • Year: 1995
    • Mileage: 33000 mi
    For sale
    POA POA
  • Ferrari F355 Spider |

    £96,850 £96,850

    Specification MAKE Ferrari MODEL F355 Spider COLOUR Blu Tour De France YEAR 1997/R MILEAGE 31500 DESCRIPTION We are delighted to be able to offer for sale this Exceptional Low Mileage Ferrari 355 Spyder. Finished in Blu Tour De France with Crema Interior. ( Comprehensive Ferrari Service History ). STANDARD EQUIPMENT Electrically Operated Black Soft Top, Electric Windows, 18" 5 Spoke Alloy Wheels, Power Steering, Switchable Sports Suspension, TRANSMISSION 6 Speed Manual ENGINE CAPACITY 3496 STANDARD POWER (BHP) 375 EMISSIONS (CO 2 ) 395 WARRANTY Supplied with our 12 Month Warranty. PRICE £96,850 Share this car Interested in vehicle × INTERESTED IN VEHICLE Ferrari F355 Spider Submit Close Form Print vehicle details E-Mail to a friend × E-MAIL TO A FRIEND Ferrari F355 Spider Bramley have a Ferrari F355 Spider available for sale. Check it out on their web site: http://www.bramley.com/carsales/details/Ferrari/F355-Spider/13390.htm Submit Close Form Stock Index Go Back FINANCE EXAMPLE Representative Example Representative % APR Fixed Rate of Interest % Price £96,850.00 Finance Deposit £ Loan £ First Payment £ Followed By Payments £ Final Payment £ Total Amount £ Calculation includes; A d

    • Mileage: 355 mi
    For sale
    £96,850 £96,850
  • Ferrari 355

    €175,000(£0) €175,000(£0)

    Specifications Year of manufacture: 26/09/1996 Chassis number: ZFFPA41B000101465 Exterior color: Rosso Corsa Interior color: Black Mileage: 50 950 km on the odometer - 37 300 miles Engine displacement: 3496 cm3 Hp: 380 hp Gearbox: Manual History A true collector, this F355 Challenge was created and developed for the F355 Challenge championship. The production was extremely limited, 109 cars precisely, and only few were registered as the one we propose. This one was delivered new in Italy on September 26, 1996 and is in pristine condition. There are several points on which the F355 Challenge differs from the basic version: specific exhaust, lowered trim, oversized brakes... The list is not exhaustive. The engine develops 380 horsepower, 60 more than the 348 Challenge. Warranty The vehicle will be sold revised and guaranteed 3 months or 5000 Km Price 175 000 euros Ad link http://www.jeanlainvintage.com/vehicule/14962-ferrari-f355-challenge/ Find us and contact us Jean Lain Vintage – Showroom / +334 79 88 66 36 – Jérôme Millias +337 60 14 73 07 11 Rue de la Dent du Chat 73 420 Voglans France info@jeanlainvintage.com http://jeanlainvintage.com/ Opening hours From Monday to Friday, 8am to 12am and 2pm to 7pm Saturday and Sunday on appointment only

    • Year: 1996
    • Mileage: 37300 mi
    For sale
    €175,000(£0) €175,000(£0)
  • Ferrari 355 Spider Manual

    POA POA

    1996 Ferrari F355 Spider presented in Rosso Corsa with Crema leather and Bordeaux carpets. Fitted to this car is a Capristo sports exhaust system and Carbon Fibre door sills. Known to The Ferrari Centre for the past 7 years, this car comes complete with the original leather service wallet, book pack and tool kit. A great example of a classic convertible Ferrari.

    • Year: 1996
    • Mileage: 56387 mi
    For sale
    POA POA
  • Ferrari 355 GTB

    POA POA

    to the vehicle overview Ferrari 355 GTB Year 1996 Colour Giallo Modena Leather Nero/ Giallo PS 381 Hubraum 3.495 ccm Kilometerstand 64.317 Fully documented history Last service through Ferrari Kassel for more then 10.000,- Euro Works carbon-seats in black with yellow Manual gearbox price 77.500,- Get in contact

    • Year: 1996
    For sale
    POA POA
    Movendi
    0049 211 7888 016 View contact number
    Movendi
    0049 211 7888 016 View contact number
  • Ferrari 355 GTS F1

    £81,995 £81,995

    1999 Ferrari 355 GTS F1. Presented in Rosso Corsa with Nero leather and Nero carpets. This car comes complete with the original leather wallet, book pack and tool kit. Complimented by a challenge rear grille, sports exhaust and a comprehensive history. This is a first class example of a hugely desired classic Ferrari.

    • Year: 1999
    • Mileage: 33715 mi
    For sale
    £81,995 £81,995
  • Ferrari 355 Spider Manual

    £84,995 £84,995

    1998 Ferrari F355 Spider manual. Presented in Tour de France Blue with Tan leather, contrasting Navy stitching and Navy carpets. This car still retains the original leather wallet, service booklet and book pack. Complimented with a sports exhaust and carbon fibre door sills. Please call one of our sales team for more information on this fantastic example of a manual F355 Spider.

    • Year: 1998
    • Mileage: 42754 mi
    For sale
    £84,995 £84,995
  • Ferrari F355 GTS Red '96

    €79,950(£0) €79,950(£0)

    Lowered price from €82.500 -> €79.950 Full maintenance booklet with last maintenance in 2015.Apart from the displacement increase from 3.4 to 3.5 L, the major difference between the V8 engine in the 348 and F355 is the introduction of a 5-valve cylinder head. This new head design allowed for better intake permeability and resulted in an engine that was considerably more powerful, producing 380 PS (279 kW; 375 hp). The frame is a steel monocoque with tubular steel rear sub-frame with front and rear suspensions using independent, unequal-length wishbones, coil springs over gas-filled telescopic shock absorbers with electronic control servos and anti-roll bars. The car allows selection between two damper settings, "Comfort" and "Sport". Ferrari fitted all road-going F355 models with Pirelli tires, size 225/40ZR 18 in front and 265/40 ZR 18 in the rear. Although the F355 was equipped with power-assisted steering (intended to improve low-speed drivability relative to the outgoing 348), this could optionally be replaced with a manual steering rack setup by special order. The nomenclature does not follow the formula from the previous decades, i.e., engine capacity (in liters) followed by

    • Year: 1996
    For sale
    €79,950(£0) €79,950(£0)
  • Ferrari 355

    £70,000 £70,000

    1997 Ferrari 355 GTS finished in Rosso Corsa with Nero Leather interior. This is a left hand drive manual vehicle and has completed 47,701 km (29,640 miles).

    • Mileage: 29640 mi
    • Engine size: 3496
    For sale
    £70,000 £70,000
  • FERRARI 355 GTS

    £74,995 £74,995

    Rosso Nero leather Bordeaux carpets 18500 miles Maintained by our company since 2011. Left to right hand drive professionally carried out by Ferrari Specialist Pro Sport with available genuine Ferrari conversion kit. Extensive detailing program recently carried out at NCSC. Cam belt service carried out December 2016 Outstanding value in this condition.

    • Year: 1996
    • Mileage: 18500 mi
    For sale
    £74,995 £74,995