Logistical challenges

image
Lovely shiny F355 5.2 Motronic engine bay

The big question in regards to Project 458 is whether I would trade the F355 in for a 458? The current value of F355’s would go a long way towards a 458 (even a 488). Another school or thought also suggests that a 458 is a much more modern car with more creature comforts and therefore better. While all these arguments are true, I have decided that, unless I really have to, for a variety of reasons, I am not planning on selling the F355. Having a manual sports car just has a certain appeal to it and honestly the F355 has always been my dream car.

Ok, with that decision made, now come the logistical challenges. The first of which is that with having multiple “fun” cars, the question arises when do you enjoy them? My current regime is an early morning Sunday drive the F355 and generally back before mid morning. I know the F355 requires a good run at least once a week to keep it in condition and I have settled into a nice routine. However, add a second car and things start to become complicated.

Spending all that additional cash on yet another “weekend toy” means that you want to ensure you get the full enjoyment from it, right? So does that mean that immediately upon returning with the F355 I turn around and jump into another car and take it out for an extended run as well? As much as I would love to that, by that time of the day there are more cars, traffic, enforcement and so on. The downsides start to accumulate. It also means that instead of having most of Sunday to myself, half of it is consumed driving. I feel that may become somewhat of a chore after a while and that’s not value for money because then all the enjoyment has gone out of it.

So, let’s say that I retain the current F355 routine and perhaps take a second car out only occasionally? That’s a lot of money to pay for something that is only enjoyed fully every few weeks. Also, 458’s really do need to driven every week or hooked up to a trickle charger in the interim (which is another logistical challenge I’ll cover soon). Now a 458 is eminently more a car you can drive everyday but would you want to? It still kind of draws attention to itself. So, how does one reap the benefits from a second “weekend only” car?

Of course, these are all first world problems and there are argument for all points of view. It is clear that I know I’d regret selling or upgrading the F355 because every owner I know who has owned one has said that. So that means two cars. Two cars introduces many challenges and the first major one is logistical. The biggest questions is, would I get value from spending all that money on a car that I only drive occasionally? Would I feel the ‘obligation’ to drive it regularly and in doing so take the shine off ownership?

All very good questions that I have not fully come to a decision on as yet. In short, it’s a lot of money to pay for something that appears will only be used occasionally. Could I live with that?

Ferrari Classiche Open Day

image

One of the services that Ferrari offers is Classiche, where they will get you car back to original as possible and then provide you certification of that. This is aimed at those who want to win shows and increase the value of their car. The good news is that a Classiche workshop is now available at Ferrari North Shore and yesterday was the open day to announce this.

image1

Lots of amazing cars on display including an F40

image

and some amazing F355’s

image

Don;t know if I’d be looking to send my car through the program, but it is good to know that it is now available locally.

image


Project 458 has commenced

Ever since I was lucky enough to get behind the wheel during Targa Tasmania a while back I’ve become keener and keener on the idea of owning a 458.

In fact I have had my eye on the 458 market for a while now but of late the 488 market has also come down dramatically. This is probably due to the flood of new cars that are coming onto the market. As I write there are currently 26 x 488s on the market and only 12 x 458s. That means that potentially you could pick up a 488 pretty cheap. Yes, it would be more expensive than a 458, but it is a more modern car, faster, better over performance and so on. There is also a good chance that you could also pick one up that still has the factory warranty included. Still having a factory warranty certainly provides some piece of mind against unexpected maintenance costs.

I have been lucky enough to drive the 488 in anger around Fiorano. That experience taught me that the 488 is a magnificent car that one could user every day and that’s were some of the doubt started to creep in for me. Yes, the 488 is an amazing car and wickedly fast but the 458 is just that bit rawer and the 458 is also the very last of the normally aspirated V8’s from Ferrari it would seem. Apart from the performance issues, a 458 is generally always going to be cheaper than a 458 and in Ferrari money, that can be a significant chunk of change.

At this stage I’m not going to completely rule out 488 ownership but I think a 458 ticks more the boxes that I’m after and I also feel that the 458 will be more valuable over time being the last of the non-turbo V8’s.

With the model now set, now it’s time to track down a good deal!

The seven year anniversary

WP_20160911_06_01_34_Rich

Here’s the summary of another year’s ownership of a F355. You may want to catch up on previous episodes:

One Year Anniversary

Two Year Anniversary

Three Year Anniversary

Four Year Anniversary

Five Year Anniversary

Sixth year Anniversary

The seventh year they say is woollen

I am happy to say that this year there has been no major issues at all. The biggest one was the replacement of the intermittent wiper timer, which was taken car of at the annual service. A very trouble free year indeed.

Costs

Total expenses for the car this year were around the $8,500 mark. The majority of that cost is the comprehensive insurance, which again was around the $3,000 mark.

The car is due for an engine out service in December 2020 (i.e. not this year), so it is time to start saving because I’ll probably take the chance then to get the springs re-conditioned and the geometry reset. At this year’s service I’ll need to address the recent pain flakes that have started to occur at the front of the car. That will probably mean removing the front car and getting the whole thing resprayed. We’ll see.

Travel

The car has just crossed the 80,000 kilometre mark and is now heading towards 90,000. I have enjoyed some really great runs this year including to Bathurst and Mudgee.

Low Points

As I was returning home from a drive and making the turn off the main road I noticed some large obstruction on the road. In retrospect (which is always great eh?), I should have kept going straight on, made a left and come back around avoiding the object totally. I didn’t however and the object turned out to be a block of course concrete, which I only identified as the car was passing over it. Due to it’s size and low clearance of the nose I heard a loud scrape as I passed over it. The good news is that it didn’t do any other damage to the under side of the car or the mechanics (which it could have) but it did leave a very nasty gouge under the nose. The good thing is that you really couldn’t see the mark. The problem is, it was quite large and I knew it was there.

A few months later I finally got around to at least painting over the mark so it won’t annoy me as much and one day I’m going to need to get the whole bumper re-sprayed. However, until then, the patching is fine.

High Points

The car has performed pretty much faultlessly this year. It has been a joy to drive at all time, especially on country roads. I always look forward to driving it.

Value

The value of F355’s has come off a little in the last 12 months but still remains around the $260K – $280K mark, depending on the model. I expect it to continue to stay around that mark.

Summary

Another magic year with the F355. It is magic to drive every time and I’ve been lucky enough to do some great drives this year. There are few maintenance issues on the horizon, with an engine out service being the main one in about 15 months. I wonder whether I’ll cross the 100,000 kilometre mark by this time next year? Time will tell!

Annoying paint chips

image

An annoying item I noted on the front of the car recently was a paint chip, just where the bonnet meets the bumper. It wasn’t really a chip, more like a flake that had broken off exposing the metal. Really annoying.

image

After a good clean I was able to dab some paint over the offending mark to at least protect it before taking the car for it’s normal repair. However, almost immediately after patching the original spot, another another appeared in the same area, just a few centimetres away. Annoying. Easy enough to cover up with paint on the next wash but it kind of seems like the whole area on the front there needs to be taken off and resprayed.

For now, I’m adding that to the list of items to attend to during the nest major service.

Normal transmission to resume

cw03

It’s been a long while between posts here. That in part has been due some technical frustrations with the previous blogging platform. That has facilitated a migration of the content now to WordPress, which should hopefully provide a better and easier platform going forward.

It is about time for me to an annual ownership update as well as bring you up to date as to what has been happening since the last post. Hopefully, the technical demons have been slayed and I can get on with all the latest plus my new exciting focus! Project 458!

Annual service time

It is the time of the year when the F355 needs to go off to Sal at Racing Red for its annual service and registration check.

Luckily there wasn’t a huge amount that I could think of that needed attention. However, as always there were a few things.

The first issue was the oil pressure readings. A while back they had started to bounce around, sometimes getting up to the maximum of 10 which is always cause for concern. Normally, this is an indication that the actual connection to the gauge is loose. However, after checking no fault was found.

Next up was the decision to change the battery. Having owned the F355 now going on six and half years it was probably a good opportunity to get a new battery. Even though the current battery had never failed to do it’s job, generally best practice is to change the battery every three years. So, now the F355 has a new battery and wow! Does it start quickly now.

There is still an issue with the ride height on the right side. It is more evident on the front drivers side than at the rear. The car still drives fine but it is definitely lower on that side of the car. This is more than likely because I’m the only one riding in it! The sagging issue can only really be fixed by getting the suspension springs ‘re-conditioned’. The best time to address that is probably at the next engine out.

During the last engine out, last year, it was noted that the catalytic converter linings are cracking and will start to dislodge. This will cause the exhaust to ‘rattle’ and indicate that new converters will be required. Having not happened as yet, that will be left until the ‘rattling’ starts to occur.

The most annoying thing that wasn’t working was the intermittent windscreen wiper. I honestly, thought that it was something that I was not doing but as it turned out Part #153095 Windshield wiper motor intermitter had failed. It happens on a 20+ year old car.

image

image

image

image

This part is located on a panel, right in front drivers nose of the car. A bit of a pain to get to. A brand new version of this would cost around $600 but I got a re-conditioned module for significantly less.

So that was everything I wanted looked at it, however while the car was on the hoist the following was discovered:

image

Basically, the left hand front sway drop link had come loose from the suspension fork. You can see it here:

image

The fitting just screws into the lower fork and now a spring washer was also fitted to prevent the same thing happening again in the future. Having this loose affected the ride of the car, with it tending to roll in corners more than it should. Can’t say that I really noticed it but now that I think about it didn’t seem quite as flat during some recent runs.

To fix all of that only took Sal just over a day and I was able to pick the car up with the complete cost being around $1,600 for the lot. A bargain!

As always, there will be things that needs doing down the track but they are not urgent. The most noticeable change now means that the car starts in a blink of an eye now it has a new battery and new starter motor after a previous replacement.

Once again, big thanks to Sal from Racing Red for keeping the car in such good nick. It is very comforting to have such an experience hand to look after stuff that I can’t do.

Looking forward to another year of driving.