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Thread: Ravi 355 - 1997 F355 GTB

  1. #1
    Club Scuderia is offline Club Administrator Super Moderator
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    Default Ravi 355 - 1997 F355 GTB

    The Story so Far.....

    February 5th 2005 will be one of the most memorable days of my life. It was the day I brought my newborn daughter home from the hospital, and the day I took delivery of my 355.

    I wish I could say it was a life long dream to buy a Ferrari, but to be honest I had always driven Porsches and the prospect of Ferrari ownership had never crossed my mind. That was until I found myself reading the December 04 issue of Evo magazineÖ They had a write up on 355ís, which went into detail on what to expect on running costs, depreciation and more importantly where they go wrong the associated costs of putting them right. After reading that article I knew I had to have one.

    I called Peter Etherington at the FOC to ask some more questions, and despite not being a club member found him very helpful and he confirmed everything written in Evo and gave me some more pointers.

    After looking at several disappointments, I found an August 97 manual GTB with 3 owners, full main dealer history and only 7,600 miles on the clock. I went to look at it with a friend and after 4 hours and several cups of tea later a deal was struck and a cheque handed over.

    My first real drive of the car was down to Mothercare to buy about £500ís worth of baby stuff Ė and they say Fcars are expensive to run!

    Once warmed up the engine spun smoothly and you could feel it coming on cam twice Ė once at about 4000 RPM and also at around 7500 RPM, and pulling like a train in the process. It felt planted and flat when cornering, and the feedback from the steering was excellent.

    For the next 3 months the car stayed in the garage due to the weather and the fact that sleep deprivation and going to Mothercare was the order of most weekends. Although I did now go in the garage to have my cigarettes instead of the garden and spent plenty of time just looking at it and smiling.

    June and July brought a few drive outs round the Herts / Bucks borders and with it the opportunity to get to know the car. But it wasnít until August that I really discovered the depths of its ability.

    For me, the defining journey at the beginning of the relationship with a new car when you just know whether or not the two of you are going to get along happens in North Wales. The 850 mile round trip to Bewts Y Coed brings together motorway driving and fast A and B roads.

    The 355 sat comfortably on the motorway with plenty of grunt in 6th when required, and came in to its own on the A and B roads. The feedback from the car is itís defining feature. Yes its is fast and corners well, but itís the way it lets you know exactly how much grip you have at each corner that does it for me, and it sounds gorgeous to boot!

    By the end of this trip it was evident that the two of us were destined to become the best of friends.

    It was now time for a service & MOT, so a call to Verdiís was in order. The 355 had also developed a small mis-fire on idle after I had jet washed the engine, so this was to be investigated as well. I also used this opportunity to get a sports exhaust fitted. I had read lots on the forum and a few PMís later with other members I opted for a level 1 Capristo with the Cats retained, which transformed the car completely.

    My total spend at Verdiís for this visit was a shade over £2830 inc VAT. The mis-fire was down to the plugs, so all 8 were replaced adding an extra £175 + VAT for supply and fitting to the bill.

    Despite being washed when it was at Verdiís the 355 wasnít as mint as the day it arrived (the previous owner kept it in concourse condition). Whilst being able to appreciate a well-kept car I have never been one for washing them. Another look round the forum revealed Dave Bowerman of sports car protection was the guy to speak to. A phone call later I had agreed for him to come out to give it the full monty using the £6,000 Zymol Royale wax and agreed to the annual maintenance / top up contract at a total cost of £1450.

    Dave came for his first visit in September and he and his apprentice spent just over 8 hours transforming my car. The depth of the shine was other - worldly and we both sat there, cups of tea in hand just looking at it admiration once hed finished. Photos cannot do the finish justice, anyone in doubt should log on to www.sportscarprotection.com and book Dave in for a visit Ė you wonít be disappointed.

    October was a relatively quiet month with a couple of drive outs hunting down tunnels to enjoy the new exhaust.

    November saw Dave come back for a top up, this time using the Royale wax formulated especially for red cars. An again I found myself having to pick my jaw up from the floor with the result. I have to hand it to Dave for his level of patience and attention to detail Ė I certainly couldnít do it.

    With the start of the bad weather and a 2 week holiday looming the car went in to retirement for the winter at the end of November.

    In the first year of ownership the car has covered just under 2000 miles and cost £4280, mostly through choice than necessity Ė exhaust and annual valet contract. There will be some more expenditure this year, some seats and challenge grille are in order, but more on that next month.
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  2. #2
    Club Scuderia is offline Club Administrator Super Moderator
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    Default

    Donít you just love the way Italians write car handbooks? I had heard about flat batteries being a common problem so decided to invest in a battery reconditioned (£30 from halfords). The manual clearly states that battery can be accessed via the front luggage compartment by undoing some screws and removing a panel.

    After 20 minutes of pulling the luggage compartment to bits and finding no battery I made a call only to be told that the battery is actually located behind the wheel arch liner and the charging point is accessed via the engine bay. I think the handbook guidelines were lost in translation, but given the price of F-Cars you would think they could invest in a decent translator to help write the manuals.

    This month also saw the long awaited carbon fibre sports seats being re-trimmed and fitted. It took almost a year to source a set which I purchased along with a challenge rear grille for £1820 + VAT. Finding a reputable individual to undertake the work who could source Connolly hide and be able to imprint the prancing horse in the headrest proved to be hard work. After a lot of phoning around and helpful info from the forum I came across Mike Hammond of Auto Interiors. Mike has been re-trimming F-Cars for quite some time, and he has some very interesting before and after shots in his workshop of some very rare cars. The work took 3 weeks (mainly due to getting the leather sent off to get the prancing horse embossed, and Mike contracting a bout of flu) and the job was absolutely superb. So much so that I am in the midst of getting the car booked in to get the dash re-trimmed.

    My challenge rear grille is still sat in my study and is a job I need to get round to.

    Other than that its been a very quiet month. But, with the weather now getting better and no more salt on the roads February should see some more miles on the clock.

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