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    How I found and restored my registered Ferrari F355 Challenge


    How can you successfully buy that rare, sought-after, hard-to-find Ferrari that you dream of? How to move forward in such a project, not give up in the face of disappointments, find the right opportunities, the right contacts, the right service providers?

    @kani56-Stradale56 details his Ferrari F355 Challenge project step by step, over the 3 years it lasted, in the middle of his ultra-busy schedule, to inspire you, give you ideas, make you dream!




    Years: 1995-2000  Engine: V8 3,5l 40s Transmission: manual 6 gears
    Maximum power: 380 ch at 8 250 tr/min Maximum torque: 363 Nm at 6 000 tr/min
    Weight with fluids: 1 355 kg Maximum speed: N/A Acceleration: N/A


    My journey in sports cars


    The automobile has been a lifelong passion. Ferrari is a brand that inspired me, that made me dream from a very young age.
    My father was an auto mechanic, he maintained the collection of a local industrialist who owned a Ferrari F40, a Porsche 944 Turbo, a De Tomaso Longchamps, Jaguar XJ220, Porsche 930 Turbo... I passed the garage every day on my way back from school, there was always at least one car inside.
    On Saturday morning, we lived in an HLM 100 m from the workshop, I never missed an opportunity to go back and see if a new car had arrived. There was also often the Alpines weekend and an R5 Turbo1… I also dreamed in front of a white Fuego Turbo belonging to a friend’s father!

    My father also specialized in restoring/building Tractions for his mechanic boss. He was reforming Traction wings! I was fascinated.

    I never went inside these wonders (he didn't want to), which kept the frustration and the dream alive. He had all the extreme cars of the time. Two cars fascinated me in particular: the Ferrari F40, a red car with a racing car look, I had a poster of it in my room, and the De Tomaso Longchamps, an incredible sound!
    I also bought, whenever I could, a car magazine, often Sport Auto.

    I bought my first Ferrari 11 years ago. My goal was to buy a Ferrari before I was 40. Previously, I had a Peugeot 205 GTI 1.9, a Porsche 944 Turbo, a Nissan 300 ZX, an Audi S3 but never an ultimate sports car. I bought a yellow Ferrari F430, then a Ferrari F355 two years later... in the Vigeant parking lot, without even having seen it (Karim's car from the forum)




    The challenge of the special series Ferrari V8s


    The Ferrari F430 was sold to buy a Ferrari 458 Speciale. A year already to find the right configuration and above all to agree to take the psychological step of buying a car for more than 300,000 euros! I then decided to only have Special Series, with the objective of purchasing the entire series. The Ferrari Challenge Stradale was next, an incredible car! The Ferrari 488 Pista was presented just after the purchase of the Ferrari 458 Speciale. I decided to try to “obtain” a purchase order, which was really not easy at the time.


    During a Ferrarista trip to Maranello with the yellow F430, I met Arnaud Papini from the Modena Sport dealership in Toulouse. I explain to him the overall project and the Ferrari 488 Pista project. He was the only one who listened. He tells me that he obviously isn't promising me anything but that he will try to find a car. A few months later the magic phone call!! And he found me a purchase order!
    It was my first Ferrari bought new. Then I had the opportunity to go configure it at the factory, at the Workshop, even though places were very limited. An incredible experience for a first new Ferrari!
    At the same time, on the day of delivery of the Ferrari 488 Pista, I bought the Ferrari 430 Scuderia in the parking lot of the Toulouse dealership!!
    A year later, I took a further step and moved away a little from the initial project. I'm buying the Ferrari 599 GTO, a car in the same vein as the Challenge Stradale, which potentially launches a second plan, getting the special V12 series!!




    La Ferrari F355 Challenge


    At the time of taking the Ferrari 430 Scuderia, I began to look at the Ferrari F355 Challenge to obtain continuity from the Special Series V8s.
    I started discussing this with @Trois cinquante cinq. He gave me a lot of information about the car. I looked all over Europe to see that it was very difficult, between those that were involved in accidents and the fact that very few were registered.


    Those found in Europe cannot all be registered in France, because they have benefited from registration of convenience in their country, which cannot be transposed. And I didn't want to buy a car just to do track days. 109 Ferrari F355 Challenges were produced in total. There is no precise figure on the number of Ferrari F355 Challenge registered in France. It's between 19 and 30, but more like a low twenties.
    It was the Charles Pozzi dealership that registered the cars. They are not different from the unregistered versions, but since they have not gone through the whole procedure, they are not registrable. The mine type on the Carte Grise indicates MOD following assembly of the Challenge kit.




    The difficult quest for a beautiful example of Ferrari F355 Challenge


    I looked through the ads for two years. I found a very nice Ferrari F355 Challenge in Modena, Italy. But I wasn't available to go see the car right away. It went to the USA and was sold for $250,000!
    Then I found a car in Paris, but after information from Ferrari, it was a Ferrari F355 Challenge which had been badly damaged, then another at Pozzi where despite my trip with an appointment to Paris, I never had the price !!??


    I was stalling and last year I found myself doing a run at Castellet in a Ferrari 488 Challenge. There, a friend who knows my fleet and knew that I was looking for a Ferrari 355 Challenge, tells me about one of his friends who is bringing in a Ferrari F355 Challenge today.

    Are you interested in this? He calls his friend, the boss, who tells him that two foreign customers have already positioned themselves there and must travel in the next few days. The next day when it opened after a 2-hour drive, at 9 a.m., I was in front of the garage.

    And this is the discovery of the car: it is a former Cathy Caly, who had raced in rally-cross at the time with a pink Audi Quattro, and in a Citroen ZX. I see the car with a complete file, including a complete set of invoices. She had never been in an accident because she was at the bottom of the rankings. It was serviced by Pozzi before and after each race. I think very quickly, I buy it in half an hour without trying it.




    Mechanical and cosmetic restoration service providers


    We agreed on a major mechanical update at Cheval Cassé. I met Sébastien there, a very nice encounter, a true enthusiast, who was a mechanic in Ferrari Challenge at the time. He works in a closed workshop, above Nice. He only works on very beautiful Daytona cars, Ferrari F40, F50, Maserati MC12, etc. He owns two Ferrari F355s and a very beautiful Ferrari Testarossa Grigio, and is therefore very happy to be able to work on this Challenge again.


    A major mechanical overhaul was carried out, including a major overhaul, the replacement of all the hoses, the re-cured cylinder head cover, the screws changed, etc. I had the exhaust remanufactured at Tubistyle, which required three round trips. I now have 3 exhausts: one from Challenge, a TubiStyle and one which did Spa-Francorchamps in 98, and which is so sonorous that it only did one race.


    Between May and December 2022, there was the temporary closure of the workshop in December, then the recovery of the car, which was repatriated to the Ranrouët workshop of  @askim2. Sébastien, its mechanic, carried out all the remaining finishing touches, mechanical and aesthetic, finishing with the bodywork. This lasted from December to June 2023. That’s one year in total.


    The interior was redone by a local craftsman, Laurent Fleury, who works for Wheeler Dealer, and occasionally for Ferrari Classiche at the Trident dealership.
    I hesitated for months on how to redo it, in leather, in Ferrari F40 interior fabric, or in Alcantara fabric.
    I inquired and noticed that two Ferrari F355 challenges had been redone in Alcantara at the Classic department of Ferrari. So it was possible and it was done again on the following special series. Some Ferrari F355 Challenges were originally released with Alcantara on the dashboard and rear upholstery. The result is superb and contributes to this “racing” atmosphere.




    The impossible to find part: the seats


    In the meantime, I bought a multitude of pieces on the internet in the USA, the Netherlands, and Germany, which is part of the fun. It was an interesting treasure hunt full of pitfalls, scams... The biggest problem was the seats because it didn't have the original seats.


    It was delivered with a single OMP seat. I put the leather seats back. At the end of the season, the OMP seats were thrown away because they were no longer approved. Some have been salvaged to have a second seat, so there are very few OMPs left. This is why other Ferrari F355 Challenge are today in Sabelt or other brands.
    I was confronted with a lot of scams, for a budget between 20 and 25,000 dollars, with never the certainty of getting the seats. I found sales ads with carbon kevlar, but there were only carbon seats on Ferrari F355.

    Desperate, I contacted the OMP factory for seats, but an order for two seats is not possible. OK if the order is for 50 or 60 seats. I tell them yes, we can think about it!! Certainly some Ferrarista’s would have been interested!
    I obtain an agreement in principle. OMP needed confirmation from Ferrari to validate the order, but we never got a response. The OMP track has therefore fallen away.

    Looking at the ads as usual, I come across another Ferrari F355 Challenge for sale at Cobalt Automobiles, registered, with seats. I call the garage to tell them that I am ready to take back the seats with an exchange of mine + 20,000 euros. The owner thinks about it for two or three days, a priori not against it. In the end, he did not give up on doing the operation. Back to square one.

    My idea then is to buy the car to get the seats! This also allows the recovery of the original fire extinguisher. The car was purchased, its owner having driven 37,000 kilometers with it. The seats were recovered in May 2023. The car then went to Le Mans Auto Racing for cosmetic preparation and decaling consistent with its presentation livery in 1995.




    A Ferrari F355 Challenge for what?


    I'm picking it up the weekend of the Le Mans Classic 2023, Centenary Edition. I'm taking it on Friday to try it out and do a few first spins. It's an extraordinary experience, there's no better atmosphere. A real thunderbolt !!
    You have to get in the car, harness it, turn on the circuit breaker, start it and then it produces an extraordinary sound, with its Tubistyle exhaust. You have to ride with a helmet because the Ferrari F355 Challenge brakes very hard, you get the roll bar in your head, which risks hitting you. The interior is very narrow. These first turns of the wheels were extraordinary, magical.


    The car is complete, but I am not satisfied with the seats, the fabric is damaged, bleached and the rest of the interior is new. I continue my research in Italy to find the fabric this time... without success... finally after discussing with Andrea Modena (Director of Classiche), I decide to bring it to him after the riding season. I should get them back early this year.


    It’s a Ferrari F355 Challenge that will drive and do roadtrips, like all my other Ferraris…and the track!
    Moreover, his first real outing was the annual Ferrarista Meeting, at Mas du Clos!! It was an extraordinary ride and I was able to have certain members try this Challenge as passengers but also at the wheel!
    I'm thinking about doing historical events with it. Ferrari is also considering setting up a historic Challenge. They could give the Ferrari F355 Challenge a try. The problem remains the availability of parts. They don't know how to answer this problem at the moment. This would allow the development of the notion of heritage. This car is highlighted on parades today, as part of the Ferrari Challenge in 488.
    Let’s hope for the start of a new story for these Ferrari F355 Challenge.




    Additional tips if you're looking for a Ferrari F355 Challenge


    The finished budget for this car is around 240,000 euros. I have no regrets, quite the contrary! It’s a very endearing car, rather delicate to
    driving on the road, but what a treat!! It has astonishing agility, extraordinary braking and its musicality is incredible!
    It really has its place in my collection and I always find it extremely interesting to move from a car of this type to my future Ferrari SF90 XX.
    Experiences so far away… but so exciting!

    Des conseils pour qui chercherait ce type de Ferrari au final après cette expérience ?
    Patience, patience et patience !! le budget, prévoir large et surtout bien vérifier l’origine de l’auto. Accidentée, pas forcément rédhibitoire sur une auto de course.
    Les compressions évidemment en conditions suspensives.
    Jamais on ne regrette un tel achat !


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    User Feedback



    Amazing story kani56-Stradale56! I am on a similar journey with my challenge. Amazingly i have managed to track down two seats, but they need recovering. Could you/would you recommend who you used? / could you send some images?

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    @deck8rd: @kani56-Stradale56 will get his Ferrari 355 Challenge seats back next week in Maranello. To my knowledge, it is Ferrari Classiche who covered the seats back with the original fabric for him. He should be able to give you more details when he will read your comment.

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