I never expected my car to be cheap to run, even though I had read that Ferrari had upped their game with the F355 and made it more reliable. Honda had shown with the NSX that a supercar could be usable and reliable, forcing other manufacturers to react accordingly. This knowledge didn't put me at ease and it took me quite some time at the wheel before I stopped worrying that something horribly expensive would go wrong. Thankfully my car had been driven and well-maintained over the years. As Evo's "secret supercar owner" reported in his recent blog post, you shouldn't be hit with huge bills all at once if you attend to issues as they arise.
There are still horror stories of course. It was reading the readers' letters section in Evo magazine today that pushed me to finally add up how much I have spent on my car over the past ten months of ownership, something I had been intentionally putting off. One reader told of how an F355 he had viewed had a single bill for £8,000 "for replacing worn-out parts". I knew it wasn't that bad for me but I also knew that I had spent thousands of pounds.
I had taken the car back to independent Ferrari specialists Foskers, from whom I bought it, on three occasions since April 2011. The first visit was to have a new stereo fitted, to attend to the throttle sticking and to fit a battery conditioner. The second visit was essentially an unofficial service after my 2,000 mile trip around Europe. It included new brake discs and pads, all fluids changed, new coolant hoses and a new fan control switch. The third visit was to attend to an issue with the car starting. Mum, look away now...
The total cost for this work came to £5,694.18.
On top of this outlay, there is all the fuel I have used (I have no idea what that might come to), insurance (around £1,200 per year), the garage space I have rented in London to keep the car in, and road tax.
What about depreciation? Well, I haven't had the car valued but I don't think it will have lost much. Looking on Pistonheads today, there are only seven manual, right-hand drive Berlinettas for sale at present. The manual Berlinettas are seen as the purest of the breed and are, for many people, the most desirable. Of the 11,000 or so 355s that were made, less than 4,000 were to this specification and hopefully this will have a positive impact on the long-term value of my car.
As that implies, I don't want to sell it and I will keep it as long as I can afford to do so. I certainly have days when I think about changing but I get so much pleasure from driving such an exotic and high-performing car that there is little to compete within my price range. I must admit that I love the fact that values aren't plummeting on the F355 as they have with almost every other car I have owned. Comparing the depreciation on a new car, even a hot hatch, suddenly my Ferrari doesn't look such bad value after all.
There's one more thing that I would like to share about my car. I recently discovered that it is the exact car that Jeremy Clarkson drove in his video Unleashed on Cars. In it he proclaimed that the Ferrari F355 is the greatest car in the world, while driving my car. That's got to do something for its credentials!