It used to be that within the European segment of the collector sports car world, when a collector who owned, say, a Triumph TR6 would look to step up to their first higher-dollar car, they tended to choose the Jaguar E-Type.
The E-Type represented a time in sports car history where everything came together: styling, performance, heritage, and as a result it became the next step up on the ladder for collectors. The Jaguar was more exotic than a Healey 3000 but less expensive than an Aston Martin DB4, and it ended up filling that niche perfectly for thousands of owners.
But times are changing. Among the new group of collectors in their 30s and 40s, there is a new kid on the block, one that represents a change in the world of sports cars, offering stunning styling, performance and as great or better heritage than the Jaguar.
The Pick of the Day is one of those new targets for collectors moving up, a 1997 Ferrari F355 Spider that is finished not in the usual Rosso Corsa but in the slightly darker and less-common shade of Rosso Barchetta, and with a nicely contrasting tan leather interior. It also has the desirable 6-speed manual gearbox.
The Ferrari F355 launched at the 1994 Geneva auto show as a 1995 model year, and was Ferraris take on a new generation of production sports cars. The F355’s styling did away with the Testarossa cues of the 348, and combined that with a new chassis. The V8 in the 355 was a bored-out version of the 348’s engine, adding more displacement, 5 valves per cylinder, titanium connecting rods and other niceties, giving it an 8,500 rpm redline and 375 horsepower, the highest horsepower-per-liter rating of any production car built during that time, including the legendary McLaren F1.
The F355 also was the first mid-engine Ferrari developed as a car that was usable in day-to-day traffic and not just on track days or spirited driving on the weekend. A lot of that was due to the Motronic engine-management system as well as a heat exchanger to help warm up the gearbox, effectively doing away with the balky cold-gearbox issues that plagued Ferraris for years; the F355 is the first Ferrari that instead of waiting to use second gear until the car warms up, you can actually easily shift from first to second after you first start the car and not have to worry about harming the syncros or the gearbox when doing so.
According to the Miami dealer advertising the Ferrari on ClassicCars.com, it has covered just 31,616 miles from new, and that it recently has received a major service. If you are looking to buy, be sure you see documentation of this as the F355 is expensive to service as the engine must be removed from the car to do the job properly, including changing the engine belts.
The pictures in the ad show a Ferrari that looks to be in excellent condition, and the price of the car at $85,000 could well make it one of the last affordable F355 cars with a manual gearbox out there.
To view this vehicle on ClassicCars.com, see Pick of the Day.