Ferrari 355 Buyer’s Guide To Avoid Costly Ferrari Services

December 6, 2019
Ferrari 355 Buyer’s Guide To Avoid Costly Ferrari Services

After so many years of buying used Ferraris, one of the most common questions I get asked is if I have a buyer’s guide for every specific model. The answer to this question is no, but what I think may be helpful is to outline the top most important things to look for in specific Ferrari models.

First, I am going to discuss the Ferrari 355. This car was produced from 1995 to 1999 and came as a gated six-speed as well as an F1 transmission. This Ferrari had three roof options:  a GTB hardtop coupe, a GTS Targa (removable roof) and a spider canvas, retractable, convertible top.  Now, let’s look at the top five things I recommend you go over when you are purchasing a Ferrari 355.

  • First, the most important thing to examine is the engine compression. It is imperative that you have a compression test done by a Ferrari technician who is familiar with this specific model to make sure that the car does not have engine compression issues. One of the scariest Ferrari service concerns with a 355 is valve guide issues with the motor because this can cause low compression in multiple cylinders.  An issue like this may lead to a motor rebuild, which could cost $30k, $40k, or possibly more.
  • Second, be sure to assess the clutch. If the 355 is an F1 car, you need to scan the clutch to try to determine the clutch life that is left.  If the Ferrari is a gated shifter, start the car and make sure that it shifts to every gear to ensure there are no transmission issues.
  • The next item you need to look at is the physical condition of the interior.  Ferraris, in particular, are known for their leather issues.  Leather shrinkage is a real concern and it can occur sometimes around the airbag covers, as well as on the seats.  Leather in these cars can also become very hard and crack at times, so be sure to examine the leather thoroughly.  Another interior problem is the notorious sticky button issue, which Ferraris are also known for.  Sticky buttons can be an incredibly expensive Ferrari service cost, so it is very important to know upfront what you are dealing with.  Lastly, the interior of the Ferrari will also tell you just how well the car was cared for.
  • Next, look underneath the car to see if there are any obvious damage or oil leaks. Signs of a fluid leak could lead to a pricey repair so be sure to have a thorough look.
  • The final thing you need to do is review the service records and all documentation to determine how well the Ferrari has been cared for. Look at how often the car has been serviced, what service issues the car has had, and any other Ferrari services that may stand out to you.  If you do not have any records for the car, you can sometimes find information online.

Now, this is certainly not a complete buyer’s guide to buying a Ferrari 355, but as a private individual who is not a professional at buying cars, this is a terrific start.  This will help you weed out many examples before you waste a lot of time on a 355 that is not a great investment.  Therefore, if you find a Ferrari and it passes your test in these five areas, then I would then say it's worth investing the money in a pre-purchase inspection with a Ferrari technician that can look over the car and assess its current condition.


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