355 Buying sight unseen

Discussion in '348/355' started by 32 Ford, Feb 23, 2021.

  1. 32 Ford

    32 Ford Rookie

    Jan 31, 2021
    Full Name:
    Mike McGowan
    I am looking for some advice. I found a 355 am really liking. It's in the states and I need to import it into Canada. It's a somewhat straight forward process. Pay some fees, have it shipped, pay a bunch of taxes, etc. My dilemma is trying to SEE the car. I have arranged for a PPI at the local Ferrari dealer. If all goes well I will make a firm offer. However I have always purchased a vehicle after I have laid my eyes on it. Goes against my thoughts to buy it sight unseen. Read all the horror stories. It was originally a Florida car which makes me nervous about rust. Due to the Covid thing I can't cross the border. If I do via plane I have all these restrictions arriving and returning. Any opinions? Should I take a leap of faith? My wife says NO! Its a bucket load of cash for me to spend and it makes me very, very nervous. I am afraid of a not so good surprise on arrival.
    Thanks, Mike
  2. To remove this ad click here.

  3. Dave Bertrand

    Dave Bertrand Karting
    Rossa Subscribed

    Dec 24, 2005
    Castle Rock, CO
    Usually you have an agreed upon price before you spend the money on a PPI. Otherwise, you might spend several hundred on a PPI only to find out that you can't strike a deal. Just make the deal contingent on a good PPI outcome.

    As far as seeing the car, the PPI tech can be your eyes. They'll tell you about all aspects of the car's condition. I've bought quite a few cars (mostly Porsches) this way. Most important is to get compression and leakdown tests.

    I've got almost the same problem. I'm looking for a 355 but I live in Denver where there are none for sale, and Denver is a long way from the coasts where most of them are. I can't see any 355 without getting on a plane, which is a hassle with all the quarantine rules and required pre-flight covid testing.
    jimmym likes this.
  4. Kokose7en

    Kokose7en Karting
    Silver Subscribed

    Dec 5, 2019
    SF Bay Area
    I bought mine sight unseen, it was about 2,500 miles from me. During my PPI I requested a few extra photos and videos in certain areas and demanded high resolution content. My main concern was also rust, corrosion, accidents, painted/bad respray, uneven alignment of panels, does the car even drive properly, do I even trust the PPI? Ultimately, I was comfortable enough to pull the trigger. Though, I’m not too worried about mechanical issues, as I work on cars for a living and I expected to take the drivetrain out to overhaul it my way. It is easier for me to buy sight unseen.

    It is good you are getting a PPI. What I would do is tell all of your concerns about the car, like rust, to the Ferrari dealer. So during the inspection, they can be thorough at answering your concerns.

    If you were to fly there and “SEE” the car, what would you look for? What would you inspect? Just tell that to the dealer to be your eyes. If the inspection is not enough to convince you to buy it, don’t do it.

    WATSON F1 World Champ
    Rossa Subscribed Owner

    Sep 9, 2010
    Full Name:
    L.W. Wright
    Where is the car? Someone here may be able to go look at it for you.
    Not the same as you doing it, but better than nothing.
    judd10 and EastMemphis like this.
  6. judd10

    judd10 Formula Junior
    Silver Subscribed

    Dec 30, 2006
    Seattle, WA
    I've purchased three cars sight unseen. Two of them were Ferraris... and have not had any problems. Having a dealership conduct the PPI should mitigate risk as it's in their best interest to do a good job for repetitional purposes. If you've agreed on a price, contingent on a somewhat clean PPI, I would do what Watson suggests and see if there's an FChatter here who is local and can take a look/provide a second opinion. Good luck!
  7. To remove this ad click here.

  8. bcar1

    bcar1 Karting
    Silver Subscribed

    Aug 2, 2017
    Full Name:
    I bot mine site unseen 2500 miles away with a PPI from a well respected Indy. Make sure whoever is looking at the car is familiar with them- I’m a bit skeptical of dealers. Despite any decent report there will still be issues so don’t forget to budget for that. Seems like with supply what it is now ppl can’t be too picky on which car to buy :)
  9. tres55

    tres55 F1 Rookie
    Rossa Subscribed

    Sep 18, 2012
    I've bought 7 or 8 high dollar cars all sight unseen.

    PPI at a location of your choosing and give them a list of things you want to see.

    Can't beat being there in person but this last year and a half has made that near impossible.
  10. tres55

    tres55 F1 Rookie
    Rossa Subscribed

    Sep 18, 2012
    I've never sent to a dealer for PPI. My experience with Ferrari dealers and PPI's hasn't been the greatest but of course that varies by location.

    I always try to locate an indy shop that is as close to a specialist in whatever car it is I'm purchasing.

    I've also bought without PPI as long as the service records are intensive and up to date.
  11. fboutlaw

    fboutlaw Karting

    Dec 3, 2014
    Woodside, CA
    32 Ford, any info on car location, link etc. You'll get a lot of feedback here.

    Agree with others, PPI's from dealers (yes Ferrari dealers and lux car dealers) are useless. Unless a PPI is going to get you both a compression and leak down test (some hard numbers), it's not worth doing unless it's done by a well respected, systematic, and cynical mechanic. That's really hard to find unless you ask around here.

    I've bought a few cars sight unseen. They've all had used car issues, and always one unexpected issue... like my g-wagon that smelled like years of old pot. It's an adventure, just expect something.
    jimmym likes this.
  12. To remove this ad click here.

  13. jimmym

    jimmym Formula 3

    Sep 30, 2008
    Northeast U.S.
    Full Name:
    Getting a good ppi from a trusted source is key, not that something can’t go wrong afterwards as there is always some risk with any older car.

    When I purchased my car I had seen pictures of it, spoke with the second owner of it, and had a ppi done by F1 imports who are very familiar with the 355. They did a comprehensive inspection as well as compression/leak down tests. I spoke with them on the phone about the inspection to see if they had any concerns that weren’t on there inspection sheet. There weren’t any, so I took the plunge. To say that I wasn’t a little nervous wouldn’t be accurate after reading some posts on this forum. But I am glad that I bought it and haven’t had any regrets.

    I would have liked to see the car in person, but bought it based on what the professionals who knew the model well.

    Good luck with your decision.
  14. Qavion

    Qavion F1 Veteran
    Silver Subscribed

    Feb 20, 2015
    Full Name:
    Ian Riddell

    Apart from the compression test, I would also get the inspector to pull the gearbox plug to check for chunks of gears.

    I wouldn't recommend getting an inspection done by an indy known to the owner. Sometimes owners who do a lot of their own work can give the impression to others that they are doing a good job (and aren't). Of course, geography is sometimes an issue. There may not be too many Ferrari specialists in that area.
  15. GTUnit

    GTUnit Karting

    May 25, 2014
    Full Name:
    Some of you guys are either very brave or big gamblers.
    I bought my F355 from Florida. Rust was not at issue. 1995 with 35k on the clock.
    In my opinion rust becomes a serious concern if the car comes from Northern states that salt the roads in the winter.
    Florida is not such a place.
    I would Definitely pay an experienced F355 guy, who lives in Florida, to go look at the car for you and give you his honest opinion.
    Post up a thread in the Local Florida section and someone may even volunteer to go do it for fun.
    Qavion and Borrow’d Mine like this.
  16. 32 Ford

    32 Ford Rookie

    Jan 31, 2021
    Full Name:
    Mike McGowan
    Thank you gentlemen. Exactly what I was looking for. Great stuff. The local Ferrari dealer is about 10 minutes away from the dealer. They do not have the VIN in their data base, so was not in for service. Talked the the Ferrari service rep. clarified what they do. First thing he said was leak down and compression. I have a list of thing to check based on the info from you fine gentleman. I have a good friend who lives 3 hours away. He is an expert on Italian cars. Had a dealership for years. Talked to him last night looks like he will help me out. Dave thanks for the tip on price first then PPI. I was going to do it the other way around . Thank you. looking better for a purchase as I progress through this process. Car seems to be all I was looking. will keep you posted.
    Thanks again to all
    Targatime and Qavion like this.

Share This Page