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The car entered production on 20th May 1996 and was completed 11 days later 31st May. Finished in Rosso Corsa 300 with crema hide 3997 and rosso carpets 176. Transported to Ferrari UK, -one of the 315 manual spiders officially imported of which 267 remain taxed or SORN’d-and in turn to the Ferrari agents in Yorkshire, JCT 600. First registered on 20th June 1996 to 38-year-old civil engineer Mr M B of South Yorkshire and the start of Ferrari’s two-year warranty. The original sales invoice still with the car shows that the car cost £101,409.73 “on the road”.
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The car benefits from the later Bosch Motronic 5.2 ignition/injection system, smoother accelerator pedal action, which incorporates the factory inbuilt alarm system and modified exhaust system. It also benefits from twin airbags.
Further, it is complete with its factory original handbook, service book with 17 stamped services, wallet, two sets of factory original keys and tools.
For the first time on a Ferrari, the semi-automatic soft-top was powered electronically. The sophisticated 5-valve per cylinder V8 engine guaranteed class-topping performance.
The first Ferrari ever built was an open-top. Spiders always held a very special and vital place in Enzo Ferraris’ heart and later in that of the company itself. The inspiration behind every Ferrari spider is a mix of a genuinely sporty engineering and the thrill of open-top driving.
The F355 Spider brought this spirit to a whole new level by melding the berlinetta and the GTS’s acknowledged performance with a superbly efficient electronically-operated semi-automatic soft top. The factors that made the F355 such a successful model made the transition unaltered to the Pininfarina-styled Spider: a very elastic 380 hp engine with five valves per cylinder, 109 hp/litre specific power output, 4.7-second 0 a 100 km/h sprinting and 37 Kgm of torque.
The two-seater F355 Spider had a steel and aluminium body. Its styling was moulded around an aerodynamically severe design that included a full-body undertray designed to equalise downforce (Cl) between the two axles.
The cabin was designed with both safety and driving pleasure in mind. The seats and trim were Connolly leather. Composite racing seats were also available to order. The chassis was a steel monocoque with a tubular steel rear sub-frame for the engine-suspension assembly. Both front and rear suspension used independent unequal-length wishbones and coil springs over gas-filled telescopic electronic dampers with two settings. The car also has anti-roll bars.
The steering was rack and pinion with power-assist, and optional mechanical gear. The brakes had self-venting discs and excludable ABS ATE. The 18” wheel rims were magnesium.
The mid-rear 3496 cc 90° V8 was longitudinally mounted and punched out 380 hp, giving it a specific power output of 109 hp/l. Distribution was by means of twin overhead cams with five valves per cylinder. The con rods were titanium, while the control unit was the Bosch M5.2. Dry sump lubrication and a six-speed plus reverse mechanical gearbox completed the picture along with a dry single-plate clutch.
Taken from Ferrari’s own website
The F355 out-performs any previous Ferrari with an 8-cylinder normally aspirated engine. This meant designing an aesthetic body to the highest aerodynamic specifications. On the one hand the designers had to achieve a front and rear Cz to match the car’s performance. At the same time they had to ensure that the flow of cooling air would meet the requirements of the power of the engine. The front bumper incorporates an air intake that cools the brake discs; while the spoiler, area was shaped to optimise the airflow channelled into the underbody for negative lift. On the sides, the air ducts are generous and merge into the aerodynamically shaped sills, which contribute to fairing the wheel wells, an important element on a car fitted with wide section tyres. At the rear, wind tunnel experiments have produced a forceful tail profile, which incorporates a “nolder” to enhance grip. The 18” wheels offer a dynamic sculpture-like interpretation of the classic, 5-spoke arrangement. This Pininfarina design successfully blends the latest Ferrari styling trends including two round rear lights in a broad body-colour strip. The array of instruments is kept to the strictly essential and the controls are much in the style of earlier Ferrari models. Auxiliary instruments are clustered together on a central board and the classic Ferrari switches are close at hand near the gear lever. The latter adopts an aluminium knob and a traditional Ferrari gate. The body is a two-seater Berlinetta in aluminium and steel, designed by Pininfarina. The design of the body took over 1800 hours of wind tunnel analysis.
The shape incorporates all those ideas generated by experimentation and is aimed at maximising both aerodynamic efficiency and stability while meeting the technical requirements of performance. Having achieved an optimal Cd, research concentrated on optimising vertical loads on the wheels. This was done by analysing the factors effecting the front spoiler and rear bonnet to create an ideal shape. This stage also involved analysis of the underbody and the creation of a floor-pan shape that made the distribution of the aerodynamic load independent of ground clearance. In-depth analysis was devoted to internal airflows, and the air vents that cool the side radiators and the brakes were designed with great care. The result is a better flow of air to maintain an ideal temperature in all elements even in sports/race track conditions.
The cabin was designed to maximise both driving pleasure and safety. In accordance with established Ferrari tradition the driving position, obtained with an all-adjustable driver’s seat and a height-adjustable steering wheel, is considered a vital factor. The F355 has comfortable, body-hugging seats upholstered in Connolly leather with electronically assisted adjustments. The lever for the six-speed gearbox is positioned on the tunnel for optimum manoeuvrability. The layout of controls and instruments was also carefully designed to ensure that all are within easy reach of eye and hand. The use of adjustable suspension settings also helps to enhance the overall efficiency of the car’s active safety system.
On the comfort side, an ideal cabin climate has been created by achieving a perfect balance between the speed and distribution of airflows from the heating/ventilation system. The air conditioner operates on environment-friendly R134A gas. The 220 litre front boot is designed to hold a tool kit and a set of three optionally available suitcases.
The Ferrari F355 adopts a stress-bearing frame of welded variable section steel tubes plus a tubular subframe that holds the engine and suspension assemblies. The layout adopts the racing model format with a central stree-bearing shell to which the engine assembly and suspension are attached. The monocoque construction technology also involved the use of sophisticated laser welding techniques for the double thickness sheet steel. This means that torsional and bending rigidity can be enhanced while reducing weight. The independent suspension system adopts unequal length non-parallel wishbones with springs and aluminium gas dampers plus anti-roll bars.
The F355 incorporates a damping management system with two different (sports and comfort) programmes. Within each programme, damping force varies on the basis of vehicle speed. An electronic control unit adjusts the system automatically in order to adapt the vehicles response to each new situation. This involves two sensors that transmit the figures for longitudinal, vertical and lateral acceleration to the control unit where they are instantly processed and converted into a damping variation. Rack and pinion power steering is standard.
The braking system adopts four self-ventilated discs with 4-cylinder aluminium calipers. The ATE ABS can be cut out as necessary. The wheels are 18” with magnesium rims. These combined with the aluminium dampers, brake calipers and wheel covers to lighten the unsprung masses in a way that further enhances roadholding and performance.
The tyres were developed in collaboration with the manufacturers for even greater stability and grip without detriment to comfort, handling and safety. Particular care was taken to enhance the tyre’s capacity to absorb bumps in the road surface and over the careful design of a noise-reducing tread. The new directional design of the front tyres makes for optimum safety in hydroplaning conditions. The rear tyres feature a new asymmetric tread design to ensure that traction and braking are on a par with the vehicle’s performance. The fuel tank is in light alloy.
For the F355, Ferrari developed a new 90-degree V-8 3495cc engine with a 85mm x 77mm bore and stroke. This power unit develops 380bhp @ 8500rpm. Its maximum torque is 268lb/ft at 6000rpm. At 109bhp/litre, this engine develops the highest specific power for a normally aspirated Ferrari engine. Timing is by four overhead cams with tapered lateral intake cam valves designed especially for Ferrari and five valves per cylinder (three radial intake and two exhaust). In order to reduce exhaust emissions and maintenance flexibility, hydraulic tappets with automatic play take-up appear for the first time on engines capable of over 8000rpm. In addition, the variable rigidity-valve double springs raise the resonance potential state to over 10,000rpm. The cylinder head layout of the F355 derives from Ferraris long experience in Formula 1. The Ferrari engineers have created an extremely compact high-swirl combustion chamber with an 11:1 compression ratio. The creation of a 15 degree 30’- 22 degree 30’ angle is also significant here. The use of five valves per cylinder makes it possible to combine high revs with high intake permeability in a way that maximises overall engine efficiency. The pistons are made of a forged aluminium alloy with a distinctly lower than average apparent density (K=0.44) and are coupled with Nicasil-coated “wet” steel liners. These are wet-sunk into he aluminium engine block.
For optimum engine efficiency at high speeds the F355 adopts Ti6a14V titanium alloy, finite element-designed conrods previously seen only on Formula 1 engines. The F355 also features Bosch Motronic M2.7 electronic injection/ignition management. The dry sump engine oil circuit incorporates twin scavenge and one pressure pump plus a thermostatic control valve.
The intake system draws in air through the upper side ducts, each of which feeds its own intake duct. This ensures a dynamic supply of air at ambient temperature for optimum engine performance even in very hot weather. In addition, load losses are minimised by the use of two large filter panels.
The Bosch M2.7 twin-injection system adopts hot wire airflow meters. The intake ducts feature an extra-large internal volume and progressively tapered duct. The intake manifolds adopt single throttles with evolving profile to ensure prompt engine response combined with smoothly progressive performance at partial-throttle. The exhaust system is in insulated stainless steel with 4-2-1 manifolds for each cylinder bank.
The system features a twin-branch delivery to the catalysts: one main branch to a ceramic matrix catalyst and one by-pass branch to steel matrix catalysts. The by-pass branch only comes into play at high speeds in response to the opening of a throttle valve controlled by the Motronic system.
This optimises engine performance by reducing exhaust backpressure. The on-board diagnostics conform to the toughest of the current regulations.
The new transverse gearbox offers six speeds plus reverse, all synchronised and with a shorter engagement travel. Ratios are designed to make the most of the torque curve, hereby enhancing the driveability and sporty performance of the car. The gear shifter adopts a lever, which actuates a rigid rod, and the turret is fitted with sliding ball sleeves. The differential is multi-plate limited slip type with a segmented lock that adopts a differentiated drive and overrun. The single 9 ¾” dry plate clutch is hydraulically actuated. The clutch housing is made of magnesium alloy. A water/oil heater exchanger ensures that the gearbox oil is rapidly brought to the correct operating temperature.
Taken from Ferrari Market Letter Vol. 20, No. 13.
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