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US $79.900.00
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Beverly Hills, California, United States
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4-Wheel Drive, CD Player, Convertible, Leather Seats
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Anti-Lock Brakes, Driver Airbag, Passenger Airbag
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Detailed history for this Ferrari
outlined below.


This is perhaps the rarest and most striking of all F355
Ferrari Spiders.


While there are literally thousands of red, yellow and black
355s this is the only classic Le Mans blue over Bordeaux 355 Spider known to


This is a classic color combination that was popular on
classic Ferrari, Lamborghini and Maserati from the golden era of motoring and
remains so, such so that when Ferrari unveiled its hyper rare F60, of which
only 10 of the $2.5 million dollar cars were ever built, it was a blue car with
a red interior…much like the 1950s California Spider with the same color

Presently on display at the Peterson Museum is the latest Bugatti finished in the same color combination.


When Ferrari/Maserati designer Jason Castriota, who designed
the 599, Maserati Birdcage 75th and the Maserati GranTurismo, decided to build
a million dollar one-off 599 for his father he too chose blue over red for his
personal creation.


This Ferrari features the very expensive ($10,000 I’m told)
option of the upper dash and steering wheel in red leather along with dark navy
blue carpets that contrast beautifully yet subtlety with the red interior and
complement the matching blue exterior.


The $7,000 HRE wheels really compliment this Ferrari’s color
combination while giving much better grip and braking thanks to the larger
front and rear high performance tires.

A Tubi exhaust system is included along with the factory exhaust for that amazing Formula 1 race car sound.


The typical shrinking leather dash on the F355 was just
addressed with thousands spent on new leather.  Similarly, the red leather
cover for the top is also new ($1500).  The red leather interior,
including the very expensive OPTION of a full red leather dash and
matching steering wheel (said to be a $10,000 option), is in excellent
condition as are the beautifully contrasting navy carpets with matching Ferrari
original navy floor mats.

A full engine out service was performed less than 1000 miles ago.


New hood and trunk struts were installed.


There are no sticky parts.

Gorgeous $1,000 carbon fiber door sill trim panels have been

(The blue you see on the left side of the engine panel is merely a
reflection from the bar:  The panel is actually black and matches the
panel on the right side.)


This Ferrari 355 is in exceptional show condition.


The 355 is appreciating and on its way to collector car
status. ROAD & TRACK listed it as one of the 10 best looking mid-engined
Ferraris of all time, saying it sounds “incredible” and that its “styling has
aged well, perhaps looking better than when it was first introduced.” 


The great Phil Hill described it as one of the 10 best
Ferraris ever built.


Top Gear’s Jeremy Clarkson said it was “the nicest car I
have ever ever driven.”  He then said he came
back from that drive and decided “I have to have one, I have to have one. I
have to.”  He then went out and bought
one for himself!  After buying it he said
“it’s still the best car I’ve ever driven.”


Richard Hammond recently described
the 355 in glowing terms as well in an article (below), echoing Road and
Track’s sentiment, stating:  “If anything, the 355 has somehow got more
attractive in the 19 years since it arrived.”

A recent 5,600
mile reviewer of the 355 for AutoLog noted: “I’m paraphrasing, but Autoblog
reader Paul Dyer asked me one day, ‘Want to drive my 1998 Ferrari F355 Spider
from San Jose, California, to me in Newfoundland?’  I'm also paraphrasing and leaving out some
colorful but unpublishable language, but essentially I said, "Yes."
That's how I ended up on a two-week, 5,600-mile road trip, getting an extensive
and intimate look at one of the most spectacular cars of our generation. Here's
what I discovered. To paraphrase, you
don't even know how badly you want an F355.
The F355 Spider is the last beautiful
Ferrari. Subsequent stallions are modern and dramatic, the F355 is
eternally gorgeous, like Brunelleschi's doors and sunsets in Viareggio. The
Iliad would still make sense if you said the Greeks took to ship after a
Trojan keyed Menelaus' F355. You cannot say the same about the 348, or even the
458 (though we do love it so).  “Road
& Track said the F355 had "probably the best sports-car engine
ever made." Jeremy Clarkson said it was the best car he'd ever driven.
That owner who said he wouldn't recommend it? He's had two, and still uses one
as his daily driver.”

Pistonheads it was also said the 355 was the last “truly beautiful” Ferrari. In
fact, it’s a common notion that the 355 was the last truly classically pretty

The 355 is the last Ferrari built with a throttle cable
between the gas pedal and the throttle bodies on the engine and a rod operated
manual gearbox. It is the last “small” Ferrari. 
It is the last traditionally built Ferrari. It is the Ferrari that saved
Ferrari and turned its reputation around in the mid-1990s.  It is well on its way to being a collector’s
Ferrari. See the article below comparing the F355 to the Dino.

The 355 is a great investment. It's the end of the Enzo era inspired cars, the
last of the hand-built cars and they made very few with just 2,664 six
speed manual transmission spiders being made for the world.  Compare that
to the 360 where Ferrari made more than 13,000 of that model approximately half
of which are spiders!  This is the end of the small, svelte go-kart like
handling Ferraris.  

It sounds more like an F1 car than any other road Ferrari.

It has 5 valve per cylinder and titanium connecting rods.

It is the last of the Ferrari with a manual transmission and a true throttle
cable as opposed to indirect drive by wire found in the 360 and later
cars.  It is the best shifting, best driving true sports car from Ferrari
bridging the analog cars to digital cars threshold.

The 458 spider is an amazing car but it was mass produced, still costs around
$250k and only comes with an automatic transmission and drive by wire, doesn't
sound as good as the F355, and as a spider doesn't look as good as the F355
with its two giant humps behind the seats.


It’s also huge compared to a 355 and takes no driver skill
and has far less driver involvement.   If you are wanting a true classic Ferrari
experience with modern performance capabilities the F355 is the only car that
fits the bill.  Fast, fun, lightweight, sounds great, great to look at, and
by today’s Ferrari standards produced in limited numbers.  More fun and
nimble than a 550, the other last analog Ferrari.  The F355 will only appreciate as a classic in
the future.



This Ferrari currently has a clear
title. I have the full history of the car and I have spoken to the prior
owner of the vehicle responsible for bringing the car to California. Please read the full history.


Here is the history
for this Ferrari:  The prior California owner, then an Executive
with Warner Brothers, purchased the car from Huntingridge Motors in 2005.  One evening he was celebrating the conclusion
of a work project at a Hotel on the corner of La Cienega Blvd and Beverly Blvd
here in Los Angeles.  He let the manager
from computer animation company they were working with drive his Ferrari.  They sat at a light at that intersection
adjacent to the hotel.  I have spoken to
both the owner and the driver and both state what happened next.  Their left turn arrow turned green.   She started her left turn and was driving
very slowly.  The owner told her to give
it some gas and she gave it only a slight amount of gas. He then instructed her
to give it some more gas. By now they were midway through the turn.  She gave it a lot more gas just as the car
came into its powerband and the car spun as it was already mid-turn.  The car was not going very fast as it she was
just turning left at the intersection where the hotel was.  With the Ferrari fishtailing, the Ferrari’s rear
wheel hit the sidewalk.  That was it. They
both got out of the car and were actually relieved to see there was no body
damage.  Even the wheel itself looked
okay but clearly the A-arm had bent as a result of hitting the curb.  I have obtained the insurance company
photographs which confirm this as well. 
Not one body panel on the car was damaged, no airbags deployed nor was
there any serious damage.  All the damage
was of the simple bolt-off, bolt-on repair variety.


At that time the owner had decided he wanted a BMW Z8.  So the Ferrari was taken to Ferrari of
Beverly Hills, the most expensive place probably in the nation to service and
repair a Ferrari.  Just as expected, they
wrote a substantial estimate as each brand new part from their retail price
sheet was expensive (and typically more expensive than even other Ferrari
dealers).  They even stated on the
estimate that the removable subframe needed to be replaced and at a huge
expense.  Yet the subframe did not need
to be removed or replaced which is readily verifiable. Thus, Ferrari of Beverly
Hills did what was expected, they wrote a high estimate.  Also as expected, Mercury Insurance concluded
it would be more cost effective to pay off the car and then sell the car at an
auction.  As the car still looked very
good without any damaged body panels, a new looking interior and super low
miles, Mercury calculated it would generate a good auction sale value. 


By paying the car off and then selling it at an auction Mercury
could avoid having to pay other non-repair costs, such as rental car and loss
of use of the Ferrari. Mercury would have had to have paid for a rental car
that was comparable to the Ferrari while the car was being repaired.  Whether a loss of use claim or a rental car
cost, renting a Ferrari is typically over $1,000 a day and if the car took four
weeks to repair which was entirely possible (e.g., waiting for parts from
Italy) that cost alone could be in excess of $30,000. As the owner had his eye
on a Z8 he was happy to have Mercury “total” his Ferrari.   With Mercury thinking they could get $45,000
to $50,000 for the Ferrari at an auction and save $30k in rental and loss of
use fees and with the owner having “only” paid approximately $70k for the
Ferrari, Mercury made a business decision to cut a check and sell the car at an
auction.  Mercury turned this paper into
California’s DMV who then proceeded to issue a branded California title.  A gentleman purchased the Ferrari and had it
repaired and titled in his home state of Illinois where a non-branded title was


This Ferrari was not issued a branded title because of extensive damage. On
the contrary, it was branded simply because Mercury concluded it would be more
cost efficient to sell the car at an auction. I have this information straight
from Mercury Insurance records, including numerous photos from Mercury Insurance, and from speaking directly with
the owner and the driver of the Ferrari.  


Owners Manual and tool kit


line-height:normal;mso-outline-level:1">Has the Ferrari F355 already become
a classic?

22 August 2014

Inheriting the proportions
of its predecessor, the Ferrari F355 was outwardly a much better-resolved
proposition, both aesthetically and aerodynamically. But beneath the smoother
skin were further major advancements, including power steering, variable
damping, and a 100cc engine enlargement to 3.5 litres. In revised form, the
now-375bhp V8 revved out to 8,500rpm and, even more impressively, conjured more bhp per litre than the V12 in
the McLaren F1.

“It was also the first
truly reliable Ferrari,” adds Hartley Junior. “Unlike the Testarossa and 348,
you could invariably put one in for a routine service without being hit with an
astronomical bill.”As one era was beginning, another was coming to an end: it was to be the last of the breed to be
hand-built, with the 360 and later descendants moving to mass production.

“Perhaps this is why it’s
similar to the F40 and F50 in the way it follows the trends of the classic car
market,” ponders Hartley Junior. “In recent years, values of the 355 have
climbed 25-30% – influenced somewhat by the 328 GTS – and I think this will
continue to be the case. I can see this particular example being a
quarter-of-a-million-pound car within the next 10 years.”

“The 355 was a sweet
spot in the transition from ‘analogue’ to ‘digital’, blending timeless looks
and an honest character with just enough modern influence to make it a tempting
proposition today."


All the
legend, the myth, the history and mystery in the world cannot distract from one
single fact when it comes to Ferraris: they have to be pretty. Stat sheets can
go on about power-to-weight ratios, structural stiffness, torsional rigidity
and exotic materials all day long, but if the car looks like a moose, then it’s
a moose - an offence made all the worse if it’s supposed to be a prancing horse.

The 348 that
preceded the 355 was not an especially ugly car, but it also wasn’t especially
pretty. The slats down the side echoed the Testarossa - not a good thing - so
it looked dated even when it was brand new. And it certainly wasn’t a hit, performance-wise.
In fact, much was made of the news that Honda launched the NSX at the same
time, and it appeared to be, in every single way, better than the Ferrari.

The 355 was
Ferrari’s answer. Beauty and power came together and are still very much in
evidence today. I’m not one for getting all gooey about Ferraris in general,
but there is undeniably something that happens deep inside when you see that
yellow badge on a V8 or a steering-wheel boss.

Ferrari: the
name carries so much weight, even to those who, like me, have never had - nor
wanted - a hat with the brand on it. And,
my God, the 355 is pretty. It shared almost every dimension with the 348,
but the body was all-new and its sculpting had involved a rumoured 1,800 hours
of wind-tunnel testing. But there’s little sense of form following function
here; it’s too pretty for that. If
anything, the 355 has somehow got more attractive in the 19 years since it

Inside, I
get a reminder that all Ferraris go through a phase when they are not classic -
they’re just old Fezzers. I’d say that
the 355 is coming through that and entering the classic stage of its life.
In true Ferrari form, the interior has dated well.  The layout, the design and the feel of it all
scream of their own time and, while not fooling anyone that they were drawn
yesterday, still have something to say about their period in car design… almost the definition of a classic, in

mid-mounted 380bhp V8 revs to 8,250rpm and sounds satisfyingly guttural and
raucous when it does so. It’s a Ferrari, so while it has to be pretty, it can’t
afford to be slow either. And it’s quick, it really is. The headlines, 0-62mph
in 4.7 seconds and a top speed of 183mph, are both perfectly acceptable, thank
you. The way it delivers those is what it’s all about. The bark and fizz of the
V8, the click-clack through that iconic, shiny H-gate - it’s all there. It’s a
Ferrari and feels it.

The engine
and suspension all received major updates to produce the 355, and the gearbox
too, with a six-speed manual operated, of course, through that sculptural gear
selector. It feels all those things a Ferrari needs to feel; it’s a taut
thoroughbred, and you get the sense too that, once you’ve overcome the
inevitable nerves that can flutter at any encounter with any Ferrari, the thing
is biddable and usable, with perhaps just a touch of fragility to keep things

There’s a
huge amount of love for the F355, with some claiming it pretty much saved the
company from the doldrums in the early Nineties, others that it was the car
that finally shifted the old-fashioned and faintly stuffy conviction amongst
the Ferraristi that the only ‘proper’ Ferraris were the V12s.

including F1 champion Phil Hill, named it as one of the 10 best Ferraris ever.
A landmark car, then, in the story of a legendary carmaker.



The Dino became an instant hit with
the new Ferrari customers and it was a brilliant piece of automotive design and
engineering. It also moved Ferrari up a number of gears


It used to be that a gentleman
driver would only consider a Ferrari with a large and powerful V12 engine
mounted up front. Porsche manufactured small, rear-engined sporting cars for
the arriviste. 
All that changed when Ferrari launched the Dino, with a mid-mounted
V6, and followed it with a succession 
of V8-engined sports cars. Ever since,
Ferrari has offered two tiers of performance and style – but the Dino has moved
out of the new-money realm into 
the collector-car stratosphere. Could the
1990s F355 be about to follow suit?


Ferrari broke from its traditional
front-engine philosophy in 1968, when the diminutive Dino appeared. The new
model was not even badged a Ferrari; it was simply a Dino 206GT. To make
matters worse it was developed along with Fiat, the V6 finding its way under
the bonnet of the Fiat Dino Coupé and Spider. Motoring aristocrats such as the
Agnellis of this world were about to be joined by successful Luigis who owned
lucrative pasta joints. What was Enzo thinking?


To be fair, the Old Man wasn’t keen
on the mid-engine configuration for road cars – although his 250LM racer had
proved to be the future for sports racing cars – as he thought the layout
unsafe in the hands of customers. In the 1950s, his son Alfredo Dino Ferrari
had been working with legendary engineer Vittorio Jano on small-displacement V6
racing engines that translated into successful racing cars, but Dino died of
muscular dystrophy and never saw his ideas realized with the very successful
road-going Dino.


As was often the case with Ferrari
(and other 
small manufacturers), building the required production run of 500
vehicles to meet the homologation rules was problematic so, for the new
1.6-litre Formula 2 series in 1967, Ferrari turned to Fiat for production 
to up the numbers. Sergio Pininfarina was commissioned to build a concept for
the 1965 Paris Salon and a refined Dino 206S featured at the 1966 Turin motor
show. The reaction was very favourable, 
so Dino 206GT production followed the
year after.


The Dino became an instant hit with
the new Ferrari customers and it was a brilliant piece of automotive design and
engineering. It also moved Ferrari up a number of gears, transforming it from a
small manufacturer of racing cars and expensive road cars into a specialist manufacturer
of racing cars, expensive exotics and more affordable sports cars. In 1969 Fiat
took commercial control of Ferrari, allowing Enzo to concentrate on his first
love – motor racing – while considerably expanding the company and allowing it
to grow into the success it is today.


With the new Dino costing some
£5500 against the big-gun 365GTB/4 Daytona’s £9000, it’s no wonder 
the small
Ferrari (priced similarly to the Porsche 911) took off the way it did. Just 157
examples of the 
all-aluminium 2.0-litre 206GT were manufactured in ’68 and ’69
before Ferrari realised that improvements were required to sustain the sales


The steel-bodied 246GT was
introduced in 1970, with a larger 2.4-litre engine that upped the horsepower
from a screaming 160bhp at 8000rpm to a gruntier 195bhp at a still heady
7600rpm. Importantly, torque followed suit, from 138lb ft at 6500rpm to 166lb
ft at 5500rpm. Weight rose too, to 1077kg, a tad more than the Porsche 911 of
the day, but performance also improved considerably, with the 0-60mph sprint
taking seven seconds and a top speed of 143mph.


The 1972 Giallo Fly Ferrari Dino
246GT you see 
here belongs to Capetonian Dickon Daggit. Daggit is a leading
light in the historic racing scene in the Cape 
and has raced his Cooper
Bristol at Monaco and Goodwood. He has owned his Dino since 1981. ‘Of all the
cars I own, this will be the last one to go,’ he says. ‘Not only is it
beautiful to look at, it’s a classic that’s quick, handles superbly and does
everything I want in a sports car. I regard it as being one of the most
important road-going Ferraris ever, even if the Dino GT only actually received
the Ferrari badge once the model was launched in America.’


And there’s the crucial point.
Informed motoring collectors such as Dickon Daggit consider the Dino to be a
proper and seminal Ferrari. But because Dinos were half the price of the bigger
V12 Ferraris when new, many of them had harder lives and multiple ownership.
Rust, unreliability and expensive, high-maintenance servicing costs dragged
their values down to the point where they became ‘cheap Ferraris’, an oxymoron
that led to neglect and demise in many cases. Dinos were abused, smoked around
and lost much of their value.


When the classic car phenomenon
took hold in the 1970s, 275GTBs, 365GTCs and Daytonas increased in value and,
come the crash of 1989, a Daytona was worth four times as much as a good Dino.
But things have changed since then and today a good Dino is worth almost as
much as a solid Daytona: say about £130,000. The Ferrari Dino is now as
respected and collectable as any of the big V12s and having its engine mounted
behind the cockpit is no longer a negative. After all, it became the way of
many Ferraris.


The sublimely beautiful Dino
Berlinetta and Spider were followed by the less classical, more angular
Bertone-styled Dino 308GT4 in 1974. It was never considered to be one of
Ferrari’s finest creations, yet its V8-engined heart founded a theme for every

junior Ferrari that followed, starting in 1975 with the superb 308 (as
featured in Octane issue 83), which morphed into the 328, then the tricky and
348 of 1989.


This was the low point for the
junior mid-engined Ferraris, as the company appeared to be concentrating its
skills on the larger Testarossa and 512TR, the magnificent 288GTO and the
ballistic F40. But in 1994 Ferrari focused anew and came up with the F355. The
best mid-engined, smaller-displacement Ferrari since the original Dino, the
F355 was met with enthusiasm by both the press and Ferrari owners, who once
again had a compact and wieldy sports car to enjoy thrashing along their
favourite roads.


Adam Blow brought along his
immaculate 1996 F355 Berlinetta to pit against Daggit’s Dino and together they
make a fine pair. Both designed by Pininfarina, these are two of the
best-looking Ferraris ever created. The F355 has obviously moved on from the
246 and its specs are very impressive. It is the first Ferrari to feature five
valves per cylinder (three intake and two exhaust valves) and its 3.5-litre V8
engine thumps out 380 stallions at 8250rpm. This translates to 109bhp per
litre, an even higher specific output than the legendary McLaren F1’s 103bhp
per litre. Performance? Little-league no longer, thanks to 0-60mph in 4.5sec
and a top speed of 178mph. That’s properly fast, even today.


The fabulous 90-degree V8 is
complemented by 
one of the most sophisticated exhaust systems of the 
which has a wastegate that opens at high revs 
to reduce back-pressure and,
unfettered, allow an extra 20bhp. How exuberant and typically Ferrari – yet it
is balanced by a cool and efficient Bosch Motronic engine management system, a
six-speed gearbox 
with tightly stacked ratios, underbody aerodynamics with
twin diffusers at the rear, electronically adjustable dampers, and proper
racing car-style double wishbones at each corner.


The upshot is that Ferrari not only
moved its F355 emphatically ahead of the 911 and Honda NSX opposition, it
pushed the car straight into the jaws of the senior class dominated by the V12
Ferrari 512TR and the thunderous Lamborghini Diablo VT. Road 
tests of the time
attested to the F355 being faster to 100mph than both, with the same time to
the one kilometre post and a top speed almost identical to the 512’s.


We meet on a hot 38-degree day at
Hout Bay. Victoria Road snakes along the peninsular towards Camps Bay and
Clifton beach, providing one of the world’s most beautiful motoring backdrops.
The cold Atlantic Ocean crashes onto the rocks on one side, while verdant mountain
ranges including the Twelve Apostles, Lion’s Head and the rear of Table
Mountain soar up towards the bright blue sky on the other. The smooth tarmac
ribbon dips and rises past the breaking waves and offers fast and flowing
third- and fourth-gear corners with a couple of clear dual carriageway sections

where the throttle pedals can be planted.


Rightfully, we start with Daggit’s
Dino 246GT. It shimmers in the bright and unrelenting sunlight, sitting low on
its old-tech 205/70 XWX Michelin tyres, the bodywork stretched voluptuously yet
tautly over its tubular steel frame. The mid-mounted engine requires two flared
nostrils on either side to feed cold air, and the front and rear lids are
perforated with gills. You open the driver’s door with the dinky little curled
handle, about the size of a nail clipper, and slump down into the driving seat.
It is reclined at a comical angle, like a deckchair, and has no rake
adjustment. Lying almost prone, you look over the instrument binnacle full of
optimistically rated Veglia dials and up over the high-arching front wings.


The Dino has been chuntering about
for photos in the searing heat, but a press on the throttle pedal and a twist
of the key gets the starter slurring and the three twin-choke Webers feeding
without fuss. A dab of throttle elicits a fierce bark, as the race-derived
2.4-litre, chain-driven double overhead-cam engine clears its throats. Without
having even moved off 
the mark, you know this is going to be a full-volume
Ferrari experience.


The clutch is firm and short but
has a precise bite. The dog-leg five-speed shifter is typically sticky at 
speeds and is heavy in comparison to a modern car’s. The Dino moves off,
proffering an unexpected flow of gentle torque. Changes up through the ’box get
sweeter as the speed rises and the car responds instantly and accurately to the
superbly alive steering through the beautifully crafted wheel.


Visibility is good, steering
near-perfect, brakes 
need a good shove to get their attention but are then
easy to modulate and the ride flows thanks to the 
all-wishbone, coil-spring
suspension. The V6 engine 
is mounted transversely in the chassis, with the

gearbox beneath it and the diff behind, so the mass 
is concentrated well
within the wheelbase. And that becomes apparent as soon as you get into the


Turning into corners the Dino
initially understeers, but add some throttle and the rear end squats and 
car starts to work from the seat of your pants. Load up the XWXs, start to push
and the Dino responds beautifully, seeming to get down and clamp itself to the
tarmac like an angry Cape Cobra. It darts from one apex to the next, hugging
the best line with precision.


With the enthusiastic little V6
engine revving orchestrally behind you, the Ferrari can be thrown at every
corner as fast as you like. The now-hot discs offer delicious feel as you brake
later and later, guiding the Dino via its communicative steering while feeling

it pivot about your hips, as the suspension does an excellent job of
dispensing with any interfering undulations. You become one with this car and
it flatters the driver, probably because the sublime chassis could clearly
handle a whole lot more power.


So now we move to the more powerful
blood; the supercar. And make no mistake, the F355 
is most certainly a
supercar even if, today, a good, 
pre-owned example can be had for the
relatively affordable (against a Dino) sum of £40,000-45,000 – prices that,
having moved north over the last year or two, already prove that interest in
the F355 is increasing. The best thing? Even at that money, it’s still an
absolute bargain for what’s on offer.


Adam Blow’s F355 Berlinetta looks
fierce in Scarlet. ‘I have a Porsche 993 Turbo as well as this and they are
completely different. The Ferrari is a pure supercar but it is useable every day.
And every time I drive it, I am reminded how special it is, even when sitting
in traffic with the air conditioning on. As a driving enthusiast, I think
Ferrari is the ultimate, so my next step is to order a new 458, which I am
planning to collect from the factory in Maranello. My dream,’ says Blow.


Modern safety regulations and
aerodynamic considerations render it less curvaceous than the 
Dino but the 355
is still a dramatic statement with its long nose, side vents, flipped-up tail
and signature Ferrari tail lights. As the Dino is diminutive, the 355 is
sizable and wide, with a low, ground-hugging front spoiler. It looks honed.
Just walking towards the car you can feel the shift from analogue to digital.
The 355 is laser-cut, the Dino handcrafted.


Having made myself comfortable
behind the fat-rimmed steering wheel, the 355 starts instantly. Whirrr, blam,
vrrrrrr. Fans blow from under the rear hood where the V8 is mounted
longitudinally and the mill produces a flat wall of sound and a swell of heat.
Every control feels oiled and accurate even though the pedalbox is offset
towards the centre of the car. The drilled aluminium pedals themselves look a
bit boy-racer in the otherwise sober and tasteful cabin.


You can drive the 355 fast and
comfortably, revving it to about five thou, with the radio playing and the

air-con cooling. But, as advised by owner Blow, things only really start to
happen above that. So turn the tunes and chills off, drop two gears via the
riflebolt gearshifter and hold on. The 355 gets serious.


If the Dino is akin to dancing with
a beautiful woman as you guide her across the floor, the F355 is like a
work-out with a black-belt karate instructor: precision thwacking with no
corner either broached or given.


You want the driving seat mounted
forward so you can grasp the fat power-assisted steering wheel, then
reprogramme your brain to keep up with the speed with which the 355 lunges into
the corners. The gears are worth swapping just for the crack and the powerful
vented disc brakes slough off speed with disdain. The car crushes the distance
between corners with complete authority, and then it takes those corners with
insane levels of grip and speed. Simply point and squirt. The superb suspension
does the rest as the 355 hunkers down and launches itself through the bends.


The first run along the costal road
is a blur. So do it again. Concentrate, balance the throttle, gearchanges and
braking. Still too much infused information to process, so do it again. More at
one with the 355, you delve more deeply into its performance abilities. The fat
225- and 275-section 40-profile tyres mounted on 18-inch rims are not even
close to the limit on this road and the 355 could do with a long, closed
to get anywhere near its properly exciting edge. Amazingly, the
electronic damping control that varies the suspension’s stiffness confers an
extremely comfortable ride amid all the high-speed action.


Obviously this is not a Dino 246GT
versus a F355 Berlinetta road test because, although both are
Pininfarina-designed mid-engined Ferraris, they are from totally different eras
and are engineered with vastly different technologies – but note that both are
Berlinettas, the purist’s choice over the Spider versions. The Dino is charming
and so much better than I imagined it might be. The 355 is a true supercar, yet
as capable of being a daily commuter as it is pushing the envelope of serious
performance. The 355 was never a ‘little’ nor a ‘cheap’ Ferrari, being launched
at £83,000, whereas the Dino was perceived as being the ‘small’ Ferrari when
first seen in 1969.


So I am surprised to find that I
would choose the Dino over the fabulous 355. This Dino, like most today, is
properly restored and in fine condition so it behaved impeccably in roasting
conditions, never losing its cool. And it is just more special than the
computerized, extremely loud, heat-venting, hyper machine that is the 355.
Nowhere near as fast, the Dino is more seductive than the 355 on real roads. It
appeals as a hand built icon rather than a precision instrument. You drive it
with your soul whereas the 355 simply requires you to aim it with your brain
engaged. You dance with the Dino and spar with the F355. Sure, the 246GT
commands a price three times that of a good 355, and that’s no surprise: but
don’t be surprised either if the F355 starts edging closer to it.





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