Unlike most people I like rain. I think rainy days are much more unique than other days. Unlike most people again, I actually enjoy driving in the rain as I find it far more challenging. Driving in the rain also allows me to get ‘amongst it’ while remaining in a comfortable observation capsule.
One of the things that I did learn when I took my drive day in some Ferraris all that time ago was that driving an old convertible car in the rain is no fun. Why? Because over the years the folding roof tends to stretch and not fit so well, allowing a good deal of water inside. That water then causes the car to fog up and that is really no fun.
When I initially purchased my F355 I was completely rain adverse. I didn’t want the car to get wet at all. My major fear was that water would get into the engine electrics and cause a failure.
The reason for my paranoia, as you can see, is that the engine is pretty much exposed to the world. So to me, when it rained, then the engine would get soaked, which is never a good thing right? Silly I know as the rain DOES splash up from underneath after all on ALL cars.
This aversion to weather is a very common thing for most super car owners I have found, although I think most fear getting the car dirty than it not running, but no matter what the reason they avoid rain like the plague.
Early on with ownership, I’d wake up early and pensive for a drive and if I found the weather outside to be in the slightest moist I wouldn’t go out. However, there is an overriding need for the car to go out for a run at least once a week to give everything a work out. Failure to do this is asking for guaranteed mechanical and engine problems. So when it was raining on a weekend I wouldn’t go out but I’d then be forced to take the car for ‘maintenance’ spin during the week sometime (usually around midday) to satisfy this. Now playing chicken in the weekday traffic was many times more unnerving than taking the car out in the rain. Ah, the joys of owning a super car eh?
However, a few years in to ownership and having HAD to actually take the car out when it was raining has taught me that it won’t self destruct at the first sign of H2O. The exposed engine always gave me cause for concern but speaking with Sal from Racing Red I learned that the engine in the F355 is sealed pretty good. This also comes in handy after the fire extinguisher incident recently.
With that knowledge I can now happily (well almost) take the car out during inclement weather. I even did so recently on a trip into the country where the weather was particularly foul before the kick off and the car had to stand for a fair while in the pouring rain.
Of course, I’d prefer there to be no rain during my drives and it is not for the reasons you may think:
Reason 1 – Other people do REALLY STUPID things in the rain. They drive too fast, they drive outside their lane, they jump red lights, and so on. Not being on the road at the same time avoids this.
Reason 2 – Rain seems to magically cause potholes to open up and swallow wheels whole. Roads here are bad enough in the dry but in the wet what can look like just a puddle can if fact hide a wheel shattering pothole.
Reason 3 – The car does leak a little during showers. It is no where near as a bad as a convertible though.
The water gets in just where the window and the body meet and just where the angle of the body changes as illustrated above. That is, just above the mirror and just at the roof line. This probably has something to do with the rubber seal deteriorating somewhat over the years. It isn’t a huge issue but you can get a fair dribble, especially in heavy downpours so a rag is always something handy to have available in the cabin during these time (and of course, remember there is no glove box to put it in!).
Reason 4 – It does get dirty. if you allow the rain water to stand on the car after you have it back undercover you’ll be greeted with annoying dirty spots the next time you take it out. I have therefore learned that upon return to dry the car off as best as possible with a microfiber towel.
However, now when it rains on a weekend I no longer have any hesitation in taking the car out for a ‘maintenance’ run. I simply need to be more vigilant for the reasons above but experience has shown me that I and the car have nothing to fear from the weather. It is just a car after all and cars are deigned to go in the rain (well most cars anyway).
Avoiding taking the car out simply because it is damp should not be an excuse for giving the engine a work out as that’s far more important. In short, there is no need to fear the rain in a F355.