The three year anniversary

cw03

Indications would seem to be that this relationship is starting to get serious now that it has passed its third year! As the special date rolls around again, of when it all started, it’s time to stop and reflect on the magic (good and bad) that has transpired in 12 months.

To be totally up to date you should read my musing from previous years here:

One Year Anniversary

Two Year Anniversary

They tell me that the third anniversary is supposed to be leather, so let’s crack on with it!

Costs

Every three or so years the belts on the F355 need to be replaced. This means that the engine has to come out. Yes, that’s right the whole engine has to be removed from the car to do this. The reason is that the belts are next to firewall just behind the seats and the only way to service them is to drop the engine out.

Unsurprisingly, the car has been engineered to do this. So at the car’s annual maintenance it was time to drop the engine out and change those belts, amongst other things. You can read and see the full details here:

My car has no engine

I also took the opportunity, whilst the engine was out, to have the shock absorbers re-conditioned as they were starting to leak. I knew this at purchase but had been delaying doing them until now.

My road usage of the F355 increased to almost 9,000 kms travelled in 12 months! That is about a 20% increase over the past year. My odometer is fast approaching 55,000 kms travelled in total. The road usage of the F335 is fast approaching that of my daily drive as I use public transport when I need to these days as much as I can, so the road usage of both cars is pretty much on par.

Obviously the engine out and the reconditioned shocks are a major expense (more than $5,500 alone) but an important part of the car’s maintenance regime. The cost of the engine out should be spread over the three year life of the belts to be fair, however it certainly made a big dent in the budget this year and escalated maintenance costs way above the daily drive.

However, if you remove this once off cost then the maintenance was only a little more expensive than the daily drive.

The other killer expense is always insurance which continues its slow march north like all insurance. Again, that is an expected cost and in line with expectations.

The totals costs for the year where up to over $12,000 which is about a 40% increase over last year but that main reason for that is the engine out service, otherwise they would have been similar to last year.

Travel

The car has now done about 22,000 kilometres since purchase, completing almost 9,000 this year alone which is about a 20% increase over last year. That averages out to about 170 kilometres per week versus 142 last year.

This year’s learning’s

1. As always, a car like this is only as good and enjoyable as the person who maintains it. For that, there no one better than Sal DiMauro from Racing Red. He was good enough to let me hang around and watch while my engine was taken out and maintained. Best of all, he put it all back together and made it better! Without doubt, the best investment I undertake for the car is to take it Sal. I recommended plenty of frustrated Ferrari owners do the same this year to get their problems sorted. Those that followed my advice, like me, are very, very happy.

2. Some things on these cars are not made with great practicality applied. Case in point, the ashtray. I wrote about it here:

Broken Ashtray

and spent the better part of the year buying a new one, breaking that, putting the original back, fixing the old one, breaking it again, pulling out the original, fixing it using metal reinforcing and finally putting it back. Phew.

Why the hell they made it so flimsy I’ll never know but best point is that it is now sorted and better than it was before. There is always a solution, just might take a while to get to it with these cars.

3. When fuel pump clicks out, that’s it, walk away. See below for the story.

Low Points

Only one major one to speak of and regular readers can probably guess where it transpired. Yes, at a petrol station. Here’s that tale.

I’d taken the F355 to the Bathurst 12 hour with a group of supercar friends. Being February the weather was scorching hot, and I mean really hot. Stupidly (as I am known to be regularly) i failed to protect myself against the blazing sun and managed to get badly burnt. Even the top of ears and back of my hands were smarting from sun damage.

Combine that with a lack of sleep due to a rabid snorer in our shared accommodation over the weekend and I was very much below par. On the return trip home (again in the blazing sun and now with massive sunburn to boot make it 200% worse) I pulled in to get fuel.

In my daily drive, you fill the car until the pump clicks. Then you top it up to the nearest full dollar. I agree it is rather OCD but I’ve always done it that way.

I repeated the same process withe the F355 but perhaps due to the heat, I overfilled the tank. That meant when I removed the nozzle from the car I could see fuel rising up and about to spill out. Damm. I therefore rushed to screw the cap on thinking that would contain the overflow.

After paying inside the establishment I returned to find a puddle of fuel underneath the car, below the filler cap. Turns out that there is an overflow tube at the top of the fuel hose, just near the cap. Thus, all the excess I had tried to force into the car by not stopping at the click was now in a puddle underneath the car.

My biggest concern was FIRE! given the heat of the day and my engine nearby. What to do? What to do? Trying to siphon fuel out wasn’t an option so the best plan seemed to be to ‘drive like I stole it’ to burn off the excess.

Of course, the ONE time you want the road to be clear and the lights to be green they are not. I had to wait to pull onto the road. Then I got caught at every set of lights from the service station to home. The stress didn’t help the sunburn either as I fully expected the car to burst into flames.

However, the good thing was that the car actually didn’t burst into flames or leave a fire trail from the service station, so I parked it with a new lesson learnt – when it clicks, walk away!

High Points

1. No matter what dramas transpire, it is still a joy to drive the F355. Each year there seems to be less and less dramas (although that could be me acclimatising I suppose).

2. Getting to do a lap of the Mount Panorama Circuit at Bathurst while I was at the Bathurst 12 hour with other supercar owners. Here’s the video.

The funny thing was that thanks to following someone who didn’t know the way, I ended up at the end of the pack. This meant the track was pretty empty when I finally entered. We’d been told that our lap was to be a parade lap which meant slow and steady driving. When I emerged onto the track I wasn’t sure whether the marshals were:

A. Waving at me to catch up with everyone else so they could get these cars off the track for the next event.

B. Waving at me to go slower because it was a parade lap or

C. Waving at me because I was driving a Ferrari and they are friendly country folk.

I decided that I’d go with option A unless advised otherwise. That allowed me to travel a ‘tad’ faster than parade speed around the circuit. Simply magic. Achievement unlocked.

3. I’ve been on so many drives and events with the Ferrari Club this year it has been great. Here is a small sample:

Auto Italia

Christmas in July

Werri Beach

Twilight Track event

but probably the highlight was attending the 488 launch which I posted about here:

The night of the prancing horse

Value

All of this is totally subjective but I think it is still a good indicator. Part of the rationale for purchasing the F355 specifically was the belief that it’s value would increase over time as it became a ‘future classic’. Not the main reason for purchase but certainly a justification for the capital investment. That capital investment requires maintenance (such as the belts being changed) to retain its resale value, like any capital investment.

So the numbers:

The average asking price for a F355 = $ 154,000

That is about a 20% increase since the same time last year. I reckon I could get more for mine if I decided to sell since it has more desirable features (colour, manual gearbox, Australian delivered, new belts, etc). Conservatively, I estimate my car’s value is now 40% above what I purchased it for. Again, I’m biased I agree, but I do try and apply some science to this.

Now if you divide the average price of recent models by the number of cars available for sale you get a rough ‘value index’ for each model as I have detailed previously. The results in order are:

1. F355 = $ 38,5000

2. 458 = $ 19,230.53

3. F430 = $ 13,152.13

4. 360 = $ 9,171.30

Once again the F355 comes out on top by a ratio of 2:1.

Summary

Owning a F355 is special and will always continue to be a ‘different’ experience from a daily drive. However, as our experience together grows we are settling into a relationship that is far more comfortable than it used to be in the early days.

This equates to their being far fewer low points and much greater enjoyment of the F355 and the Ferrari community in general. There is still nothing better than waking early on a Sunday, taking the roof off and going for a blast on an empty road and being back before most people have had their first coffee.

2016 looks like a big year in more ways the one which the potential for a huge bucket list item to get checked off. Mum’s the word until it is all confirmed, but you’ll certainly get the full details if you stay tuned here.

I thank all those who take the time to read my ramblings and I’ll try and be a bit more regular with these posts in the coming year. When you are out driving the F355 as much as I do now you just don’t seem to find the time to sit at a computer and type. However, I do appreciate readers of this blog and followers of my YouTube channel.

Roll on year four.

cw02

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