Open Season

When the weather’s right, it’s hard to beat an F355 or F430 Spider.

September 8, 2016
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To many enthusiasts, there’s just something right about a convertible. Coupes may be the choice for track use and ultimate performance, but open cars better engage the senses: wind in your hair, sun on your face, engine roaring away in your ears.

These two Ferraris represent Maranello’s vision of open-air excitement in the 1990s and 2000s, respectively. Both are based on their closed siblings, and share those cars’ mechanicals, bodywork, interior, and more. At heart, the F355 Spider and F430 Spider are simply decapitated coupes with fabric roofs—and given how good the F355 and F430 berlinettas are, that’s no bad thing.

After decades of driving BMW M5s and Porsche 911s, in June 2011 Bob Hall bought his NART Blue F355 Spider. He was initially attracted by the car’s design, while his wife was drawn to its striking color combination.

“The F355’s Pininfarina design combines a beautiful shape with more of a wide, low, muscular look than the original 308 it evolved from,” he says. “In addition, the Spider version has a bit of a ‘dangerous’ feel to it, with the vents in the doors. My wife just says it’s the most beautiful car we’ve ever owned.

“The other very strong attraction was the unique Formula 1 sound of the engine higher in the rev range,” Halls adds, which may be part of the reason he’s put 15,000 miles on it.

Evan Shone bought his Blue Pozzi F430 Spider in June 2015 with just 1,400 miles on the odometer. A little over one year later, the Ferrari has passed 5,500 miles.

“The car belonged to a client of mine,” longtime Ferrari aficionado Shone explains. “He bought it because it was beautiful, but he just didn’t use it. I had recently driven the car and loved it. I really liked the color combo and the options and the fact it was really pristine.”

I’ve driven several F430 Spiders, and still vividly remember the model’s press launch back in early 2005, although it’s been a few years, and many 458s, since the last time I was in one. I’ve likewise piloted a handful of F355s over the years, but never a Spider and never one with an F1 transmission. The day ahead promises to be very interesting.

Also from Issue 153

  • LaFerrari in the Alps
  • 500 Mondial
  • Ferrari wins GTE Am at Le Mans
  • 2016 Goodwood Festival of Speed
  • F1: Falling behind
  • FORZA Tifosi Challenge: F430 hot rod
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