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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 cars for sale

19 Search results
Ferrari 355
49990 134995 GBP
  • Ferrari 355 Berlinetta

    £134,995 £134,995

    Le Mans Blu, Beige / Blu Scuro Carbon racing seats. 12,000 miles, 2 owners from new. Main dealer service history at Maranello sales and MHT. An exceptional original 355.

    • Year: 1997
    • Mileage: 12000 mi
    For sale
    Nick Cartwright
    01629 56999 VIEW CONTACT NUMBER


    Information 1996 FERRARI F355 SPIDER (MANUAL) ROSSO RED Belts service just been carried out 23,000 Miles 6 Speed Manual Rosso Red Metallic Crema Leather Interior Alpine CD Changer Part Electric Seats Electric Hood Tonnau Cover Climate Control (AC) Electric Windows & Mirrors 18' Ferrari 355 Alloys Original Toolkit Full Ferrari Service History Recently Serviced Interested In Vehicle Print Vehicle Details Back To Index

    • Year: 1996
    • Mileage: 23000 mi
    For sale


    Information 1996 FERRARI F355 SPIDER (MANUAL) GIALLO MODENA Belts service just been carried out 30,000 Miles 6 Speed Manual Giallo Modena Yellow Full Nero Black Interior Optional Sports Mode Part Electric Seats Electric Hood Tonnau Cover Climate Control (AC) Electric Windows & Mirrors 18' Ferrari 355 Alloys Original Toolkit Full Ferrari Service History Recently Serviced Interested In Vehicle Print Vehicle Details Back To Index

    • Year: 1996
    • Mileage: 30000 mi
    For sale
  • Ferrari 355 GTS

    £114,995 £114,995

    Blu Swaters Blu leather Blu carpets Giallo callipers 29,500 miles All keys, books and tools complete. Comprehensive service history. Annual service carried out in August 2017. An exceptional early example.

    • Year: 1994
    • Mileage: 29500 mi
    For sale

    £104,950 £104,950

    Nero Dashboard, Bordeaux Carpets, Climate Controlled Air Conditioning, 18in Alloy Wheels with Black Brake Callipers, Electronic Suspension, ASR, driver and passenger airbags, Ferrari Radio/Tape, 6CD changer, alarm and immobiliser, electric windows, electric mirrors, ABS, power steering, Larini sports exhaust, Larini Sports Cat Converters, Tracker Horizon, full Ferrari main dealer service history, complete Ferrari toolkit, last service Maranello 30/09/2016 at 21,220 miles, last Cambelt service Maranello 27/11/2014 at 21,159 miles, beautiful example of this sought after model

    • Year: 1999
    • Mileage: 21000 mi
    For sale
  • Ferrari F355 GTS Red '96

    €82,500(£72,641.25) €82,500(£72,641.25)

    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 number of cylinders (e.g. 246 = 2.4 li

    • Year: 1996
    For sale
  • Ferrari F355 GTS Targa 1995

    €79,950(£70,395.98) €79,950(£70,395.98)

    SOLD / VERKAUFT / VENDU / VERKOCHT Ferrari F355 GTS Targa 1995 recently major maintenance At the introduction of the Ferrari F355 the V8 engine was known as one of the most powerful at that time. With the impressive power of 380HP this Ferrari is a real sportscar. Recently this Ferrari has had major maintenance. The timing chain, all other chains and fluids were replaced. The invoices are present. This car has paint in colour Corsa Rosso with black accents and beautiful light metal wheels. The interior has black leather and comfortable seats. The dashboard has the original Ferrari radio. Driving this Ferrari is very pleasant thanks to the manual gearbox and the typical Italian sound as well. 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: 1995
    For sale
  • Ferrari 355

    £69,500 £69,500

    Full service history An exquisite Ferrari 355 GTS in Le Mans Blue with crema interior. The car is immaculate both inside and out having just been re-painted. Full service history and Ferrari 355 GTS book pack accompany this beautiful car.

    • Mileage: 55127 mi
    • Engine size: 3496
    For sale
  • Ferrari 355

    £80,000 £80,000

    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
  • Ferrari 355

    £99,995 £99,995

    Variant name:BERLINETTA/GTB ,Derivative:BERLINETTA/GTB ,Variant: Berlinetta/ GTB Manual 1997 'R' reg with 26,119 miles. Giallo Fly with Nero Leather, Manual Gearbox, High Level Brake Light, Rear Challenge Grille, Alpine Sound System with Speaker Upgrade. Full Service History and Lovely Condition. This in our opinion is one of the nicest F355's we have ever driven with a manual gearbox. The Engine feels tight and delivers power smoothly, the Clutch and Gearbox Light and very Precise and the Steering is excellent. All round this is a very pleasurable car to drive and a credit to it's former owners.

    • Year: 1998
    • Mileage: 26119 mi
    • Engine size: 3.5
    For sale
  • Ferrari 355 GTB F1

    £119,995 £119,995

    Make: Ferrari Model: 355 Coupe First Registered: 01/03/1999 Mileage: 4,985 miles Previous Owners: 1 Engine: 3.5 ltr V8 Transmission: F1 Doors: 2 Seats: 2 Trim Colour: Crema Leather Carpet Colour: Red Paint Colour: Rosso Corsa MOT: TBA TAX: TBA HPI: Clear Warranty: 3 Months 5* Cover Included

    • Year: 1999
    • Mileage: 4985 mi
    For sale
  • Ferrari 355 Spider RHD Manual

    £74,995 £74,995

    Make: Ferrari Model: 355 Spider First Registered: 015/06/1998 Mileage: 40,050 miles Previous Owners: 6 Engine: 3.5 ltr V8 Transmission: Manual Doors: 2 Seats: 2 Trim Colour: Crema Leather Carpet Colour: Red Paint Colour: Rosso Corsa MOT: TBA TAX: TBA HPI: Clear Warranty: 3 Months 5* Cover Included

    • Year: 1998
    • Mileage: 40050 mi
    For sale

    £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
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