Not quite the right size

One of the recommendations made to me was that I should look at using some replacement mats for the car while keeping the originals in as new condition as possible. Good idea, I thought. That way if I ever show or the car or sell it (heaven forbid) then I’d have as near to perfect original mats.


The above shot shows you the original mats side by side (left = passenger, right = drivers). You’ll also notice that they are different shapes and have two eyelets each to secure them onto the floor.

As a temporary measure I bought some ‘standard’ car mats just to put over these mats. What I overlooked again was the fact that a car like a Ferrari is very different from your run of the mill car. Why? Because in the F355 the pedals are actually mounted on floor as they connect to the motor at the rear. Most ‘standard’ cars these days have their pedals connected at the top leaving underneath clear.

The main issue was the driver’s side with the pedals but I managed to kinda get a ‘standard’ mat to fit by reversing it. This all worked well in the interim, preventing wear and tear on the original mats while I scoured the Internet for some custom replacements.

I found a couple of places that had F355 mats but most would not ship to Australia. Finally, I located:

These mats are provided through Ricambi America which I know very well are perusing their website looking for different parts and engine configurations. I sent them an email, as I wanted right hand side mats and they said that would no problems. They emailed me a PayPal invoice for $125 to cover the mats and delivery. All very efficient and response.

The mats arrived in about three weeks and looked like:


They were well made Llyods Mats and certainly look like they’ll do the job.



Problem was when I attempted to install in the floor of the car them I discovered that the distance between the eyelets on these new mats was too short. The passengers side was about 3cm too short and the driver’s side was about 7cm too short. Both mats will attach to the outside floor mount on each side but the inside eyelet simply doesn’t match up.

I checked the original floor mats and the distance between the the eyelets is 48cm for driver and passenger mats. Strange I thought. Surely, they would have the layout for these mats and should be spot on?

I have emailed Ricambi America to see what they say and how they want to handle this. I not fussed enough to return the mats, they’ll do the job that I need, however it would be nice if they did fit but as I keep being reminded by this car, nothing every works out the way you think. What I however have learnt by this stage, is that this is all part of the enjoyment of owning one.

The full monty

The car has been running well over the past few week. Unfortunately, the weather hasn’t been as kind being wet regularly. However, recently there was a break in the weather that allowed me to go ‘top down’ for the duration.
Now a Ferrari F355 Berlinetta is the model with a solid roof like so:

Having a solid roof makes the car stiffer since there are two connections (roof and floor) between the front steering and the power in the rear (engine). To the purists this makes the car much better for driving which is what Enzo Ferrari was all about. When looking for a vehicle I did try and find a Berlinetta, however they are hard to come by. Obviously owners love them (as you would expect).
The next type of Ferrari F355 is the Spider (or convertible) like so:

Purists will claim that removing the roof makes the car more likely to warp thus affecting performance and handling. To compensate for this, manufactures add more strengthening elements in the floor. Along with the mechanics for the folding roof, this adds additional weight and weight is the major component that reduces performance.
Even though a Spider does allow you to enjoy millions of free cubic metres sky when you are driving I do feel the car isn’t as pretty as the other models. Someone once describe the convertible Ferrari F355 to me a bit like a flat bed truck in appearance. Not nice, but there is a certain element of truth there.
The other issue with any convertible (reinforced to me after a drive day) is that over time the roof starts to leak. As the fabric and mechanics of the roof age the sealing ability tends to suffer. So while the sun shines, convertibles are great, but when it rains? Not so much. Maybe this is why most Ferrari F355s for sale are convertibles. Coincidence? I think not.
Finally there is the Ferrari F335 GTS which has a detachable roof like so:

The detachable roof is a single component that unclips and can then be placed behind the seats.

As you can see in the above image (of Top Gear UK’s Jeremy Clarkson with his Ferrari F355) the detachable roof is not really something you can quickly put up and down. It is much heavier and more cumbersome than it looks. To stow it easily you really need two people and somewhere that you can have both doors wide open, however the locating the roof behind the seats is quite simple to position.
Interestingly, I couldn’t find any images on the Internet that shows the roof operation and stowing in more detail, so I’ll add that to the list of shots for next time.
So the Ferrari F355 GTS is probably the best compromise between the Berlinetta and the Spider. It doesn’t provide the stiffness of the Berlinetta but it does provide access to the million cubic metres of sky when the weather is good.
Driving without the roof is a very different experience I will admit. Firstly, you seem to be looking over the windscreen (even though your aren’t) but it certainly does have the feel of being a convertible. The best part is that you get to experience more of the glorious sound of the engine as it growls along. That said, it is still possible to have a conversation with the passenger with out shouting. Once you drive with the top down on a nice day you begin to understand why people prefer convertibles. However, if it starts raining along the way then you’ll realise why they may not be such a good idea. Ying and yang and all that.
Even though I initially wanted a Berlinetta for the ‘pure’ driving experience I am glad that I instead went the GTS route, for there is simply nothing like driving a car like this with the wind in your hair, the growl of the engine in your ears and the unrestricted vistas. It is pure magic.

Starter motor up close

As promised in a previous post, here’s some pictures of the actual starter motor in the vehicle up close.


This is the view looking into the engine bay from the top. The black lead going to the housing of the starter motor is from the positive terminal on the rear right of the car.


This is the view looking from underneath the car. That fixture from the body shown above appears to be an earth wire as it seems to merely bolt to the frame between the barrels.

I also found this nice video on the principles of the starting motor put out by the US Department of Defence in 1957.