1997 Ferrari F355 Spider
The Ferrari F355 was a milestone car for Ferrari. The 348, while a wonderful car, suffered in the marketplace because of the release of the Acura NSX and other contemporary competitors which had seemingly "caught up" to Ferrari. The head of Ferrari at the time, Luca di Montezemolo, knew that the future aluminum chassis and body mid-engine V8 model (what would become the 360) would not be ready for a number of years, and he needed a replacement for the 348 that would put Ferrari back on the top of the exotic sports car ladder.
The F355 was the result. Its 3.5-liter 5-valve-per-cylinder V8 engine made a stunning 375 horsepower, almost a 25% power increase over the previous 348. Top speed was an astonishing 183 miles per hour, and a manual 6-speed gearbox was used for the first time in a V8 Ferrari. The iconic design of the car was by Pininfarina, and is etched into enthusiasts' heads as one of the most beautiful designs of the 1990s, if not of all time.
There are three body versions of the F355: the Berlinetta, the GTS (targa), and the Spider. Out of the three, I really prefer the Spider; it may give up some chassis rigidity to the fixed-top car, but the way the convertible top's lines are drawn backward across the rear deck lid, echoing the C-pillar buttresses when it is closed and drawing the eye back when it is open, is just beautiful. And, given that the sound of the F355 is unlike any Ferrari that came before or after, a high-pitched "ripping silk" sound that continues to the 8,500 RPM redline, having that roof open allows the driver to bask in the symphony coming from behind the ear.
So. This is a 1997 F355 Spider, in the classic Ferrari color combination of Rosso Corsa over Beige interior, with the all-important gated 6-speed manual transmission. And, there are certainly other very similar cars out there on the market, so why should you buy this one?
First of all, this is quite simply the best F355 that I've driven, Spider or otherwise. These cars were still largely hand-built, and over the years have been cared for in various fashions. I've driven many of these cars, and it's easy to tell when a car is just "right". This is that car. It's hard to explain, and something that one just has to experience by driving. In other words, if you are considering an F355 Spider, I suggest that you drive multiple cars, and then come drive mine. You'll understand what I mean.
Secondly, the paint is 100% original. What you see is what the Ferrari factory applied back in 1997. Which also means that there has been no bodywork and no incidents requiring paint. The interior is original as well, and shows extraordinarily well. There are no "sticky" plastic parts (all have been addressed), the dash is not shrinking, and neither is the airbag cover, all common F355 issues.
Finally, the car has been extremely well maintained, which obviously helps with the "rightness" that I discussed above. The last engine-out major service was done in 2012 by Brian Crall in California (before he moved to Texas), one of the premier Ferrari mechanics in the country, and an annual service was just completed in April 2016. Service records going back to 2001 are present. There are no issues with the convertible top, often a problem on these cars. The car has 25,738 miles on it, which is important on a F355; super low mileage F355s often have unresolved issues, and I always recommend a F355 that has been "sorted" over at least 20-25K miles.
If you are interested in quite possibly the finest F355 Spider on the market, I would love to talk to you. Prices on these cars are increasing rapidly, and the gulf between the great cars and the not-so-great cars is similarly widening as well. For more information, please contact me, Michael Foertsch, at firstname.lastname@example.org or 832-617-0494.