After screwing around with Porsches for many years it was feeling of “Exclusivity”, and influence of the 80’s iconic Magnum PI that got me into a Ferrari. I started my search with a F355 because it was in a more affordable range ($60-$80k), but after two failed PPIs I found out that there are too many known issues that can easily cost $10k – $20k in repair bills (Crack manifolds, valve guides), so I decided on upgrading my purchase option to an earlier model F360 ($99-$105k range) for the sake of “Better” built quality. At the end of my 6 month search I ended up with a mid model year, not so cheap F360 spider ($137k + tax = $150k) fully load with every option.
18 month later, Ferraris ownership does not excite me anymore. All I can say is that owning a Ferrari is the most stressful and annoying car owning experience in my life. Owning a Ferrari puts you on the verge of a nervous breakdown everytime you get in for a drive, makes you wonder what else could go wrong with the darn thing. You can’t keep your eyes off the gauges and the rearview mirror just wondering any minute now if you are going to see a cloud of smoke behind the car.
Prior to any trip I always have to make a mental plan on where I am to go first, do I go with the top up or down? Fearing that the top may get stuck while I am out, are there enough parking spaces? Are the parking spaces visible from where I will end up eating, shopping? etc.etc.etc.etc…..
I never could imagine people still design and built cars like a Ferrari, obviously these are small production run cars never intended as mainstream automobiles. They are horribly designed and fabricated. Nothing make sense, illogical placement of many components and completely lack of any caring thoguhts for the mechanics who will work on it in the future.
Here is a brief run down of my experiences in the short 18 month/ 4k miles of ownership.
Day one: picked up my dream car (nightmare) from an authorized Ferrari dealer. Convertible top stuck, wouldn’t open all the way, strong gasoline smell from the car, center console storage box stuck (had to bang it to get it to open). Within 5 minutes of signing over the paper work my Ferrari was already in need of work. Drove the darn thing with the clam shell open to the service center (Which is not located at the dealership), waited 3 hours for the convertible top to be repaired, but the strong gas fumes will require another 14 hours R&R to replace a leaky rollover shut off valve on top of the gas tank. The entire convertible top assembly has to come out for this. I said screw it will deal with this later. Who the hell wants to leave their newly acquired car at the dealer for repair rigth after they just bought it?
On the way home from the dealership, well… not a problem, but more of a design problem. apparently in a Ferrari you can’t get heat out of the HVAC system unless you turn on the A/C compressor. Who would have thought of that? So I was frantically playing over the controls trying to figure out why my car have no heat. Of course the owner’s manual was completely wrong about that, lost in translation from Italian to English???
Discovered another problem 5 miles from home, the clutch disc gets stuck on the flywheel when the engine is turning at high RPM (7000+). I mean the clutch disc is really stuck, you lose the clutch pedal the clutch does not want to release until the engine RPM drops down to a reasonable range. I grinded the gears trying to shift while discovering this. Damn!!!!
After several tank of gas I discovered that I might have a cracked exhaust manifold, which is a common problem on the 355/360/430. So you would figured the Italians would have fixed their header issues only after a full decade. Of course not!!! Dealers will not warranty it and the headers cost over $12k to replace. I bought a used set of headers to take apart, and it is not hard for me to imagine that it cracks so easily, the craftsmanship and the quality of the headers were sub-par from anything of a production standards. people make fun of products made in China, this Ferrari headers can’t even qualify as being made in China.
Stripped oil drain plug, the Italians apparently don’t know how to write a damn manual. Both the owner’s manual, factory shop manual, and they make fun of the Japanese writing manuals? Please!!!!! The drain plug torque spec. was like double of what it should be, I still don’t know where they got the specs from. Which makes me not trust in any torque specs. stated in the shop manual, only 70ft lb for the wheel lug nuts? They must be nuts!!!
A year, 4 k miles later I discovered that I had a bad oil temperature sensor, how in the world do you have a bad oil temperature sensor at just 16k miles? Well, I did and so did many other F360 owners. Once the sensor reaches 230 degrees it will go haywire, I mean it will send the temp gauge needle bouncing up and down all over the place and cause all sorts of warning lights. See what I mean by Ferrari using sub-par parts?
Overall the only “fun” part of the ownership is the sound, and the car looks nice. A chick mgnet? Don’t know, never had a girl even as much as giving me a wink.