I finally had my first failure on my 1995 Ferrari F355 — a car that everyone advised me against buying. Despite its horrible reputation for reliability, I’ve put over 500 glorious, trouble-free miles on it — until last week, when I was left stranded with a flat tire. Normally, a blowout isn’t a noteworthy experience, but on this Ferrari, it was a big deal.
During my few days off during my hectic filming schedule for the still untitled TV-show project (I recently pitched the name "Car Trek"), I do my best to exercise as much of the hooptie fleet as possible. This particular day last week was a momentous occasion, as I had sold my nightmare Bentley Continental GT, and the transporter had arrived to ship the car to the next owner — whose life will surely be ruined. Afterward, I decided to take the Ferrari for a spin, but I only made it a few miles before a catastrophic blowout of the right rear tire.
On a normal car, this isn’t a big deal, as a tire can be changed in a few minutes with a factory jack and a spare wheel — but this 355 didn’t come with a spare. This was a rare and expensive option on this Ferrari, leaving most cars with only a can of tire sealant slime from the factory. My can was long gone, but it wouldn’t have worked anyway, as the tire was completely shredded on the inside sidewall.
My options weren’t good, as leaving a Ferrari on the side of a busy road is a major risk, and I wanted to avoid a tow truck. Since I don’t have the factory tool kit with the recovery hook, the tow truck driver would have to get creative with the winch — and probably damage the car in the process. So I decided to limp the Ferrari a few blocks to a friend’s house and assess my options.
Tire choices aren’t the best in my hometown of Wichita, Kansas, as most specialty sizes need to be ordered in. I was leaving town the next day for the next 5 days, and I certainly didn’t want to leave the Ferrari parked in the street during that time. So I was thrilled to find a tire shop that had this weird 19-inch tire size in stock — but there was one problem. The only brand available was a Duraturn Mozzo, a generic, poorly-rated tire from China.
Since it was my only good option, I removed the afflicted wheel from the Ferrari, borrowed my friend’s minivan and drove down to the tire store to mount this abomination. This cost $130, and I spent another $550 ordering a matching pair of appropriate rear tires — but in the meantime, my Ferrari is rolling on a mismatched set of three different tire brands.
With the new tire mounted, my Ferrari now pulls to the right during hard acceleration, as the rear tires grip differently. My least hooptie of a car in my fleet totally drives like a hooptie until these tires are changed — and Ferrari owners who suggest only using the Ferrari dealer for every little hiccup to avoid a hit in resale value are now screaming at their computer monitors. Oh, well… Find a Ferrari F355 for sale
Tyler Hoover went broke after 10 years in the car business and now sells hamburgers to support his fleet of needy cars. He lives in Wichita, Kansas.