By on June 20, 2009

For about the price of a loaded BMW 335i, you can grab the ultimate evolution of the non-Ferrari Dino and its flying buttress styling. Your Shit Economy (YSE) Car of the Week: the Ferrari F355 Spider. Supercar? No, super-toy. Which means most pre-adored examples will likely have low mileage. Warning: as RF will tell you, the F355’s purchase price is only the price of entry; budget $3K a year for routine service, and $5K for leaks, rattles, malfunctions and/or rust (yes, rust). And set aside another $5K for REAL surprises. (To be on the safe side, double it.) As with any used car, have an independent, model-specific mechanic inspect the vehicle before purchase. Drum roll please . . . For those of you who would be born again with that V8 screaming behind your head, this F355 drop top is yours for $48,599. Sure there are cheaper Ferraris out there, and this particular example could be a mechanical nest of vipers. But to quote Bob Dylan, true love tends to forget. Alternatively, insanity is its own reward.

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23 Comments on “YSE Car of the Week: Ferrari F355...”


  • avatar
    jjdaddyo

    Umm, you forgot the 2-4k per year for insurance.

  • avatar
    Robert Schwartz

    How are you going to have rust if you only take it out on sunny days?

  • avatar
    TonyJZX

    italian cars have the wonderful ability to rust even in the dry desert air of arizona

    i’d only buy one of these if i was had a large fortune… because i’m pretty sure it’d turn into a small after after a few years tending to this

    i also wonder if 360 modenas are as bad as this?

  • avatar
    forditude

    Interesting read for those of you who are enticed by the purchase price. Different model but same year.

  • avatar
    Andy D

    Most Ferraris I see in traffic are on ramp trucks. Mebbe a used one would be a worth while accessory

  • avatar
    twotone

    I’ll take a gently used M3, thank you. It will run circles around a F355 on the street or track, carry three of my friends and all our luggage for a weekend trip. And, be in the range of reasonableness to maintain.

    Real Ferraris have 12 cylinders up front. Now, about that used 456 GT…

    Twotone

  • avatar
    zora

    Cars like this attract the wrong kind of attention. I would much rather have a used C6 Corvette Z06, nobody looks twice at those things.

  • avatar
    CarnotCycle

    @twotone:

    Real Ferraris have 12 cylinders up front. Now, about that used 456 GT…

    Exactly! If there was a “bargain” for a used Ferrari, it would be that car (GT 6-speed especially). From what I understand, the V12 in the 456GT is just about the most reliable Ferrari motor out there. It’s a great-looking (looks way better than a 612) car that is also subtle at the same time…damn near impossible combo for a Ferrari.

    It also doesn’t look dated, which is something Ferraris have had a problem with since the 80’s; they don’t age well in the context of being “timeless.” I bet its at least as fast and fun as the F355, and its a useful car to boot. I bet 456’s out there have also been owned by people who don’t hit the redline quite as much either, mile-for-mile I bet they’ve been beat less on average than the two-seaters.

    F355’s and Modenas are cool, but five-valve heads + Italy = pain I’m guessing.

  • avatar
    Robert Schwartz

    TonyJZX: “Italian cars have the wonderful ability to rust even in the dry desert air of Arizona”

    I wonder if this one of the technologies FIAT is proposing to transfer to Chrysler?

    forditude: “Interesting read for those of you who are enticed by the purchase price.”

    Read it. Very good. Would people put up with that kind of mechanical nonsense, if the car costs $20,000 rather than $200,000?

  • avatar
    Bimmer

    That’s another proof that ‘fancy FIAT’ (Ferrari) are garbage. No wonder brand new Ferrari same as ‘fancy VW’ (Lamborghini) comes with only two year warranty. Sure, they look good and drive good, but at what price? Find me one with 100K miles on it. They don’t exist! At least I’ve seen Chrysler and VW products with over 100K miles and, yet, they’re persistently called unreliable vehicles.

  • avatar
    MBella

    I wonder how much one of these would be to run for someone with some mechanical know how. A car is a car is a car. I bet you can find ways to use parts from mass produced cars in these, and keep the costs down.

  • avatar
    vww12

    «Now, about that used 456 GT…

    Exactly! If there was a “bargain” for a used Ferrari, it would be that car (GT 6-speed especially). From what I understand, the V12 in the 456GT»

    I found it interesting that just as the F355 in the article is the cheapest one in Auto Trader at $49K, there is a 456 at $52K or so… same price, V12.

  • avatar
    TonyJZX

    the 456 like all the 2+2 Ferraris have always been the ugly ducklings

    they just don’t have the following of the 2 seat GTs or 2 seat sports

    but realistically… i had a boss who had one

    they have a similar 48 valve quad cam V12 as the 2 seat GTs and they weigh somewhere in the vicinity of 2 tons so you can expect the same service bills as the big Ferrari GT cars

  • avatar
    ZoomZoom

    Hold on a minute there, kemosabe. This car is way too expensive, even for successful people in a good economy. Truly successful people usually drive used cars or trucks anyhow.

    I’d shitcan the Ferrari. With that many rust problems? Yeah, really! I’d go with the M3 or Z06 ideas. Even the lousy-ass Corvette (I owned one, I’m allowed to say that) won’t cost as much to maintain as that Ferrari.

    Yikes; we actually found a WORSE car than a GM, and it’s not a Fiat or a Yugo. No, really!

    P.S. That’s very funny; there’s a Ferrari ad next to my post. Hahaha!

  • avatar
    JohnHowardOxley

    # twotone:

    Yes, cubed! Real Ferraris have 12 cylinders — anything else is simply a car posing as a Ferrarri. Though I suppose there are worse poses to take.

    Confession — even if I had enough cash, I would never buy one. I would kill myself in the first mile of driving — I know I am not that good a driver.

    Which is why I am a BMW man….

  • avatar
    CarnotCycle

    the 456 like all the 2+2 Ferraris have always been the ugly ducklings

    they just don’t have the following of the 2 seat GTs or 2 seat sports

    but realistically… i had a boss who had one

    they have a similar 48 valve quad cam V12 as the 2 seat GTs and they weigh somewhere in the vicinity of 2 tons so you can expect the same service bills as the big Ferrari GT cars

    The GT4 and 400i were fugly, to be honest. But the 456 is a good-looking car. Its not a lack of looks that keep it under the radar, its the fact it doesn’t scream “LOOK AT ME IN MY COOL FERRARI!” like the 2-seaters.

    Also, the V12 in the 456 is a less high-strung version of the same motor in the 550 Marenello. The less extreme timing and such from what I understand has contributed significantly to the vehicle’s reliability compared to the 550.

    456’s have problems though, stupid problems for a car like that. For instance, there’s something to do with the door mashing on the seat belt cover unless you manually move the seat belt cover every time you close the door. Over time, it bangs up the door panel. My girlfriend has a Ford Escort ZX2 with the exact same problem. Shouldn’t see crap like that on a Ferrari!

  • avatar
    TonyJZX

    that 355 has some of the nastiest panel gaps i’ve seen outside of a russian car

  • avatar
    no_slushbox

    Mid-engine, excellent handling, 2 seat convertible for ~$49K:

    One or two year old Porsche Boxster S

    1990’s Ferrari F355 with a front end that seems to have been poorly repaired by a body shop.

    If you actually want a car to drive the choice is obvious.

  • avatar
    Greg Locock


    I wonder how much one of these would be to run for someone with some mechanical know how. A car is a car is a car. I bet you can find ways to use parts from mass produced cars in these, and keep the costs down.”

    Bet you can’t. Not that and have any resale value.

    They are lovely looking things in their own right, but with slightly less usability than a decent motorbike. If you look underneath Ferraris or Lambos from the 80s and 90s you’ll often see some rather agricultural design work (I guess that’s given with Lambos).

  • avatar
    Samir

    I don’t even like this car in video games! But kudos on thinking outside the box.

  • avatar
    KnightRT

    “If you can’t afford the best example of the breed, you definitely can’t afford an example that’s anything less.”

  • avatar
    Kurt.

    @ MBella:

    “I wonder how much one of these would be to run for someone with some mechanical know how.”

    Well, I suppose you could put a 4.3 Chevy V6 in it. It would be dead on reliable and still sexy, but then that’s not the point of Ferrari ownership, is it really?

    Ferrari owners come in two catagories:

    Those that pour their heart and soul into their possession. They wash and polish it, have it repaired in hospital clean shops. Ogle it’s every curve and nuance like a horney drunk in a strip bar.

    And those that can afford not to care.

  • avatar
    70 Chevelle SS454

    The F355 Spider is not that impressive. I used to have an SLK32 AMG and I raced a guy in one. Just annihilated him over and over. 0-60. Quarter mile. Twisties. You name it, that Ferrari was not that impressive. I think a Miata with a turbo kit could’ve taken him.

    Sure was pretty, though.

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