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Here’s Everything I Hate About My Cheap Ferrari F355

I’m still very much in the honeymoon phase with my latest Ferrari F355 purchase — but nobody’s perfect. Much like newlyweds do with each other, I began noticing little things that bother me after living with it for a few weeks. Fortunately, it’s not anything serious, like leaving toenail clippings everywhere, or buzzsaw-level snoring — but after driving my Ferrari 200 miles, I’ve discovered a few things that are broken, and quite a few things that I don’t like.

The most annoying broken item with my Ferrari is the air conditioning. According to the previous owner, it never worked the entire time he owned it. I guess the drop top was enough air conditioning for him, but I plan on driving this car a lot more than he did, so I want it to be functional. I can’t find the AC lines to discover if the fittings are still on the old R12 freon style refrigerant (which is tough to source) or if this Ferrari is modern enough to have the more environmentally friendly (and much more abundant) R134 refrigerant. If a simple recharge did actually revive my AC, that would be two unlikely home run repairs in a row — but usually, the refrigerant has leaked out from somewhere that needs repaired. Fortunately, if the culprit is the AC compressor, it’s one of the few accessories that’s easily accessible in this Ferrari that’s notoriously hard to work on.

My parking brake, or lack of one, is another big problem. It’s not strong enough to hold the car on any incline, so I have to shut off the engine and leave the car in gear every time I get out of it. The F355 almost rolled out of my garage once, after I hopped out to grab my sunglasses. I thought the garage surface was level enough for the parking brake to hold — but as it began rolling away, I had to grab the car by the wheel well to prevent it from ghost riding down my driveway. This wouldn’t be a big deal to fix on a normal car — but with Ferrari parts prices, I’m bracing myself.

I’ve also been experiencing one intermittent suspension height warning light. The F355 has a fantastic adjustable dampening system — but something occasionally triggers the warning light for the system, and it seems to go away every time I shut off the car and restart it. I’m doing my best to ignore it, as the car drives fine otherwise. I might be the first Ferrari owner to publicly admit that I’m ignoring a dashboard warning light like someone would do with their Kia Rio.

Of course, as it’s a 1995 model, there’s some wear and tear on the interior — but my Ferrari interior is looking even more ratty due to the melting plastic trim. Over the years, the sun has caused some of the interior bits to begin bubbling, and they feel sticky to the touch. I imagine the belly of Jabba the Hutt would have a similar look and feel. That’s really the only eyesore on the interior, but one other annoyance I have inside is with the seats. Even though I’m skinny enough to be knocked over by a stiff breeze, the bolsters on the bottom end are way too narrow for me to feel comfortable.

Another issue I’m struggling with is the Ferrari ownership experience in general. My old Acura NSX was mistaken for a Corvette more than once — but overall, it was mostly ignored by fellow motorists. From the very second I pulled the Ferrari out of the wizard’s lair for the first time, people were gawking at me. This is not an exaggeration, as I even caught the first time on camera. The constant compliments don’t bother me, but people have no reservations asking personal questions, as well — like how much my Ferrari cost, and what I do for a living. It’s kind of fun to say I traded a Honda for it, and I make YouTube videos to pay for it — but I imagine this will get annoying after a while.

Of course, there’s also the looming engine-out major service that needs to be completed — and now that I’m a few months overdue on this big job, there’s some anxiety of a timing belt snapping every time I turn the key. Still, I think I’m going to wait a few more months on this, just so I can enjoy the car through the spring. Overall, I’m still very much in love with my Ferrari — but it’s totally true that love hurts. 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.

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  1. “I traded a honda for it” is the best response ever.  I have an 05 Lotus and get the how much did you pay for it weekly.  I wish I had that response.  Instead I have to go with “less than my sister paid for her minivan.”

  2. I picked up a Porsche 996 Turbo a few years ago (after reading Doug’s article on them) and the general lack of attention and gawking is really nice.  Car people notice it, for everyone else it looks similar enough to all the other Porsche Boxters and Caymans out there that it’s just a nice car.  I went on a road trip with a friend who owns a Delorean, purchased for the same money ironically, who got tons more attention, but is very tired of it by now.  In case you ever encounter one, don’t make a joke about Back to the Future, Flux Capacitors, or what happens when he hits 88 mph; the owner has heard it before, you are not original.

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