Failure has been a regular theme throughout this used-car hoarding odyssey I’ve been documenting, and I’ve never been bashful about showing it. Obviously, it’s cathartic to vent about these major mistakes — but it’s also educational, as I’m a shining example to the car-enthusiast community of what you should never, ever do. That being said, I do get lucky with about the same frequency as a Stormtrooper hitting its target — and thankfully, this Ferrari F355 purchase is one of those rare instances.
Last week, I traded my perfect-sorted 1992 Acura NSX, a car considered one of the best, most reliable exotics of all time, for a 1995 Ferrari F355 — a car known to be a nightmare to keep running. In addition to trading my NSX, I paid an additional $10,000 on top. Considering the much-higher values of the F355 versus the NSX, this may seem like a great deal — but the Ferrari didn’t run. The previous owner reported hearing a loud pop, followed by a plume of smoke — and after pulling over, found coolant was gushing all over the engine bay. Fed up with the endless repairs, he had the car towed to his home garage, and he let it sit for months.
Making this trade was a massive gamble on my part. The repair could have been a simple hose, or the entire engine could have been cooked. After getting the car up to the wizard, we did discover it was a hose that had burst. The engine also ran very well — but the final verdict would come after the repair. Thankfully, I didn’t have to wait too long for the replacement heat-exchanger hoses to show up. The old hoses were very accessible, and only required pulling away the coolant reservoir tank and removing the throttle to access the simple hose clamps to replace the hoses. With the cooling system bled of air bubbles and topped off, I could finally take my Ferrari out on the road for the first time.
Amazingly, the car ran perfectly, and there were no other issues stopping me from driving it home — and to several more outings over the weekend. I couldn’t get enough of the incredible tone of the V8 singing through the Capristo exhaust, and I’ve managed to drive it every day that I’ve been in town — adding nearly 200 miles to the odometer in under a week. So this car, which could have been another huge disaster for me, has so far turned out to be one of the smartest things I’ve ever done.
I should probably put an asterisk on the end of that last paragraph, as the F355 is also due for its major engine out service — but I’m actually looking forward to tackling this with the wizard. The plan is to enjoy the car through the spring, tackle the major service during the summer and then maybe complete a cross-country road trip. I’m sure as these plans come to fruition, I’ll return true to form, bad things will happen and everybody will go back to thinking I’m an idiot. Stay tuned! 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.