The Ferrari F355 was, when you think about it, a slightly unlikely poster car during the 1990s. The natural contenders were the Lamborghini Diablo, the Bugatti EB110 and Ferrari’s own F40. The 355 was small fry against those giants… and yet, it’s one of the prettiest cars ever to wear the prancing horse.
I remember a red one on my wall, but in later years I came to prefer alternative colours. Not especially the yellow, but the blues and greens had me spellbound. When we stumbled across this example, up for auction with RM Sotheby’s in Abu Dhabi at the end of November, I had to go for some private time.
Finished in Verde Mugello Mica paint it’s the Berlinetta hard-top with the essential gated manual gearbox. The tan leather interior is in fantastic condition, too, delivering what has to be the perfect spec for the beautiful 355. I want it.
The only slight hitch for UK buyers is that it’s a left-hooker – the steering wheel is on the wrong side if you like to use public car parks, collect a drive-through KFC or overtake things on country roads.
Still, you do get pop-up headlights in one of their most glorious applications, and you do get an all-time great Italian V8. Updated from the 3.4-litre unit in the 348, the 355’s longer-stroke 3.5-litre evolution had a five-valve cylinder head that bumped power to 375bhp at 8250rpm. And boy, it sounded epic. Titanium-alloy con-rods were among a string of technical highlights.
Car & Driver tested the 355 at the time and recorded a 0-60mph sprint of 4.5 seconds. The car passed 100mph in 11.2 seconds and would run all the way around to 170mph, limited only by its (relatively) short gearing.
Ferrari built 4871 hard-top F355s. Of those, 3829 had the manual gearbox but only a relative handful came in Verde Mugello. This one appears to wear the correct Pirelli tyres and shows no signs whatsoever of having been abused. Some tyre blacker would have gone a long way, but we’re being extremely picky there.
There’s no reserve on the car at the 30 November sale. It takes place on the same day as qualifying for the season-ending Abu Dhabi Formula One Grand Prix. Now, if you’ll excuse me I need to speak to my bank.