“Complex, sophisticated, and very fast, it is the quantum leap that has enabled the Ferrari V8 to run in proud parallel with the 456GT and 550 Maranello,” enthused Car magazine’s review of the F355. First presented to the motoring press in May 1994, the F355 effectively re-forged the reputation of Ferrari’s V8 which, 328 and 348 notwithstanding, had suffered since the introduction of the Mondial ‘world car’. The latter, with its four seats, well-appointed interior, and relatively soft ride, was considered far too sensible to be a ‘proper’ Ferrari; the F355 though, was cast in the mould of that great driver’s car, the Dino 246GT. Just how great an advance it was may be gauged from the fact that the F355’s best time around Ferrari’s Fiorano test track was three seconds quicker than the formidable 512 TR.
Despite its prodigious performance the F355 was no mere ‘racer on the road’ but a thoroughly modern automobile. It employed state of the art technology, in the form of computer controlled variable damping to reconcile the differing requirements of ultimate roadholding and acceptable comfort. A light action clutch, proportional power-assisted steering, and driver’s air bag were other features included to make the car reassuringly user friendly.
The heart of the F355 though, is its phenomenal 3.5-litre V8 engine. Equipped with four overhead camshafts and five valves per cylinder, a layout borrowed from Ferrari’s Formula 1 engine, this remarkable unit produced a claimed 370bhp at 8,250rpm, with 268lb/ft of torque available from 5,000 to 6,500rpm. A six-speed gearbox, mounted transversely behind the longitudinally disposed engine, ensured a sufficiency of ratios to keep the motor on the boil whatever the situation.
This 355 Berlinetta is presented in Rosso Corsa with a rare dark blue interior. Described as being in good condition throughout the car has had just two registered keepers form new, the first of which being the president of the Ferrari owner’s club in Italy and the second a fellow member. Brought to the UK in 2005 the car has been well looked-after and has still only covered 28,000 miles from new. Offered with the favourable manual gearbox this is a magnificent example of a Ferrari classic.