I was out on the 2013 FOG rally with a bunch of other cars,” recounts Kevin Enderby. “I came over this crest in the road and saw a line of cars stopped right on the other side. I got hard on the brakes but never found out if I could stop in time—the car behind me hit me and pushed me into the car in front. Then the car behind him hit him and pushed him into me, again, and that pushed me into the car in front, again.”
The damage to Enderby’s F355 GTS? Smashed bodywork, buckled subframes, the engine forced into the firewall, the transmission’s bell housing shattered. No one was hurt in the pileup, but the Ferrari looked to be mortally wounded.
In most cases, the story would end there. At the time of the accident, in September 2013, the F355 had 121,000 miles, many of them racked up on the track. If anyone would buy such a well-used F355, Enderby reckons it might command $30,000 (pre-accident, of course), far less than the cost of repairs or the value of its constituent parts. But the grieving owner didn’t see things that way.
“My insurance company was willing to give me $42,000 if I kept the car,” he says, “so I started thinking about what I should do. Should I buy another F355? No, because they’re expensive to maintain. [This longtime owner recommended against purchasing an F355 in issue #134’s Buyer’s Guide.—Ed.] Should I put the money toward a new 488 GTB? Then I thought, This was my first new Ferrari, and I have a real emotional attachment to it. So I decided to see if it could be saved.”
THE FERRARI’S FIRST STOP was Springer Auto Restoration in Santa Cruz, California. “The crash was only four miles from here,” says owner Chris Springer. “When the car got here, my first thought was like the ‘Ferris Bueller’ movie: ‘You killed the car.’ Then he asked me if I thought I could fix it.
“It’s not an easy car to fix, not like the old ones with tube chassis,” Springer continues, “but we had done it before. Back in about ’99, Kevin got hit pretty hard in the left front or right front. We had to put the F355 on a frame bench and pull it straight, get all new panels from Ferrari, then we repainted the whole car, jambs and everything, in the brightest yellow we could find. This time was worse. The damage was front and rear, and because the value was down the car was totaled. Financially, it was disastrous.”
Springer looked over the Ferrari and figured it could be repaired. “The question then was the motor,” says Enderby. “If the motor had to be replaced, the job wasn’t worth doing.”