The one year anniversary

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So it has now been a full 12 months since I picked up the Ferrari F355 GTS and I thought it might be good to reflect back on this chocolate anniversary.

Costs

Maintaining a Ferrari is not cheap, however when I did the sums it is interesting what you find. If you take out things that I added to or improved on the car such as the re-doing the dash, purchasing a spare and jack as well as exclude the one off major cost of four new tyres then outlays are comparable to my normal road car.

What I would consider ‘standard’ costs for the F355 came to about $10,000. These costs included, rego, insurance, parts, servicing, fuel and tolls. The biggest difference between the cars was the comprehensive insurance which was about 2.5 times my road car, however given the value of F355 this is not unexpected.

So ‘once off’ costs for the F355 came in at about $6,000 which included things such as the four new tyres, re-doing the dash, spare and jack etc.

Other ‘non standard’ costs included things like a garaging fee, etc.

So total of all costs (standard, once off, non standard) for the F355 came to just over $17,000. However, if you consider just the ‘standard’ costs then it is pretty similar to my normal road car. But don’t fooled, if you purchase a car like this you need to beware that maintenance costs are also significant but not exorbitant (at least note yet, phew!).

Travel

I have driven the Ferrari F355 about 5,000 kilometres since purchase that’s almost an average of 100 kilometres per week. By comparison, my normal road car has done about 12,000 kilometres, which is an average of 230 kilometres per week.

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Lessons

Here are some lessons I have learnt about cars like the Ferrari F355 when compared to normal road cars.

1. You need a GOOD mechanic. I really can’t praise Sal DiMauro from Racing Red enough. He has come out to me when required, he has gone above and beyond (e.g. fixing my exhaust bypass valve), been available on the phone and via email when I’ve panicked about the car and most importantly made the car better than it was the day that I picked it up. The engine has never run more sweetly than it does now. So if you need Ferrari mechanic, Sal’s the man.

2. Even though you pay more money for a Ferrari F355 that doesn’t make it a ‘new’ car. Mine came without warranty on sale (because it was over the luxury limit), you are relying on how the previous owner has treated and maintained it and most things in are at least 15 years old!

3. The sports suspension of these types of cars really makes you understand how CRAP the roads are here! Driving this car REALLY puts you in touch with the road surface, so prepared for all the rattles, bumps and clunks.

4. These cars are LOW. If I’m not paying attention I get a very quick reminder of how low these cars are with a whack and scrape from the nose of the car as I go over a gutter, up a drive, down a drive, into a driveway, etc too quickly. The other area that you notice the lowness is getting in and out of the car. It takes a bit of practice to exit and enter elegantly. That lowness however does have a benefit when you are flying through corners by making the car so much more stable and flat.

5. These cars are noisy. Everyone who has come along for a ride has noted at how ‘noisy’ the car is. That is no surprise given that that the cam belts and the rest of the engine is just behind your seat. It is also designed that way so that you can enjoy the sound of the engines as you accelerate. Again, not a problem, just different.

6. They are simple. By this I mean, mine came with no spare, no jack, no glove box, not much storage space, etc. Even when I look at photos when the dash was disassembled, there is not a huge amount of ‘bits’ in comparison to cars of today. It is even simple enough that I could workout and repair the initial issue I had with ECU.

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Low points

1. Having the ‘1-4 Slow Down’ light come on while driving the car home after picking it up.

2. Battling to resolve the ‘1-4 Slow Down’ light over many weeks.

3. Buying new floor mats from the US and finding that they didn’t quite fit.

4. Having the car chipped and dented (by me).

High points

1. Every day I get to see the car. Whether under a cover or from behind the wheel, I thank my lucky stars every time.

2. Travelling to the Hunter up the Putty road with the Ferrari Club of Australia (and to think I wasn’t going to go!).

3. Driving with the top down and no lights on the dash.

4. The Ferrari track day (even though I only watched).

Looking back and laughing

1. Having a panic attack and not realizing that the immobilizer was on.

2. Trying to fill the car with fuel from the right hand side.

3. Trying to get the petrol cap off.

Future

What will the next year bring? Hopefully, less repairs and more driving. The next task is to get the dent fixed I made and get the car detailed in late September. There is another track coming up in October which I ‘think’ I’ll sign up for. I’d like to take the car over the Bell’s Line of Road as well as down the south coast before the year is out. Come December it will be time for the annual service and rego.

Summary

Owning a Ferrari F355 has challenged me. It has taken me to places where I may not have always been comfortable, however I and the car have survived and grown closer, strange as that sounds. I have enjoyed learning about the car, how it is put together, how it responds and what makes it so unique. I have enjoyed the looks I get from people when the car is out and about as well as being part of the Ferrari Owner’s Club.

In short, I am glad I took the plunge and got the car because it has really made the last year most enjoyable (even the challenging parts looking back now). There will no doubt be challenges in the future and certainly more enjoyment which I am looking forward to.

Finally, I thank anyone who has taken the time to read and follow my musing about ownership. I hope you have enjoyed the ride and hope you stay on board for at least another year here on the blog.

My favourite video of the past year from teh car

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_bgFZwG34x0

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