For sale on ebay – 1997 Ferrari 355 Challenge, road legal restored

Details about the car and the ebay auction HERE

Asking US $ 199.000

VIDEOS posted HERE (The first video as created for Petersen Museum’s upcoming virtual Cars & Coffee. The others are clips showing how amazing this car sounds and its real world usability on and off the track.   Please note : The tire marks on the road are NOT from the Ferrari.)

Beautifully restored and offered for sale is perhaps the very last Ferrari Road & Track vehicle in the long history of drive to the track, race and drive home Ferraris.  The end of an era that made Ferrari famous, from the 250 TDF, SWB and GTO and ending with this F355CH.

This Ferrari 355CH is believed to be the only Factory-built 355 Challenge car that was actually Titled by an authorized Ferrari dealer. (New Jersey Title) Thus, this car is 100 percent legitimate to drive on the street as well as race on the track.

Unlike the 360, 430, 458, etc. Challenge cars that came after this model, this Ferrari has true dual road and track specification. For example, it has power windows, power mirrors, power locks, a leather dash, console and trim, analogue gauges, and yes, BEST OF ALL…. THE VERY LAST MANUAL GEARBOX FERRARI RACE CAR EVER BUILT BY FERRARI! I’ve taken this car grocery shopping at Costco. It gets relatively good gas mileage and is a blast to drive!

It sounds amazing and even shoots flames when driving (see photo). In the video at the shift point you can actually hear this race car sound.  Handling is simply unreal. I’ve taken the car on Mulholland Drive and it truly drives like it is on rails. Turn-in is instant with amazing front and rear grip. At speed you can really feel the carbon fiber rear wing stabilizing the handling! No comparison between this car and a regular F355 as this is so much more precise and handles so much better and is so much faster and stops so much quicker. Far more fun and engaging than any of the more modern Ferraris, including the 488 Pista.

A brief history is provided below explaining how most 355 Challenge cars were not actually built at the factory but were sold as regular 355s with dealer installed kits.

However, this is a rare, fully factory built 1997 355 Challenge car….and one that has been restored with:

  1. New paint using the classic yellow formula as used by Enzo Ferrari on the 275GTB.
  2. New leather interior including the dash and trim around the rear window and rollcage.
  3. Refurbished original 355CH seatbelts.
  4. Restored 355CH wheels.
  5. New Pirelli Trofeo tires, perfect for road and track use.
  6. New 355 CH seat covers and cushions imported from Italy.
  7. Air horns installed for use on street (race cars don’t normally have horns.)
  8. Engine out service and detailing with recently changed belts and just changed again engine and gear oil (Redline synthetic) and filter.
  9. Suspension and brakes serviced and detailed.
  10. H&R springs fit to make this Ferrari truly street friendly with well lubricated spring perch collars making ride height super easy and doable simply by rotating the springs themselves by hand.
  11. New windshield as original windshield had pitting typical of a car of this age.
  12. New battery.
  13. Trickle charger installed.
  14. Fire extinguishing system still in place.
  15. Remote Battery kill switch retained.
  16. Full rollcage comes with the car but for street use purposes the front section has been removed.
  17. New front marker lights.
  18. Alcantara headliner
  19. New Ferrari floor mats (Challenge cars have no carpet but floor mats add nice touch and protect the black paint finish.)

 Simply put, this is the best condition F355 Challenge on the market and the ONLY 355CH built by the factory with a road legal title.

This car comes with a a 355 Challenge manual and a binder documenting its history and also included is , which is summarized as follows: Owned over the years by several Gentlemen Racers. They never actually took possession of the Ferrari. Instead, it was maintained by Classic Coach in New Jersey and when they wanted to drive the car at a race Classic Coach would bring the car to the track (Lime Rock, Watkins Glen, the Pocono, Moroso, Sebring, Daytona, etc.), perform services as the pit crew, and then take the Ferrari back to their shop where they would service it, which is reflected in the binder. Prior owners include notable collectors.

This car is also believed to be the car driven by Paul Newman at Lime Rock in 1999. I have not been able to confirm for sure, one way or the other, whether this is certain, but one thing I have confirmed is Newman lived nearby the owner of this car (a neighbor) and both men frequented nearby Lime Rock raceway (which was ~69 miles from Newman’s home and the home of the owner of this 355 CH).

A bit of history regarding why this car is a truly “Factory Built” 355 Challenge Car unlike most other 355 Challenge cars.

All 1996 and later 355 Challenge cars were, by order of Ferrari, to be sold MSO (Manufacturer’s Statement of Origin and expressly to be sold without a road Title. 

The reason for this is simple: Ferrari started the Challenge Series with OBD1 cars. However, starting in 1996 Federal law required all cars sold in America to be OBD2. Yet the Challenge series needed more cars over the next several years. So when a car was needed, Ferrari would pull a 355 from the assembly line and build an OBD1 Challenge car. Of course, it would have been illegal for Ferrari to sell OBD1 cars after 1995 given the laws requirement that cars be OBD2. Ferrari’s way around this was to sell the post 1995 F355 Challenge cars built at the factory as MSO-only and to not sell them with titles.

However, for whatever divine reason, this F355 Challenge was actually titled by a Ferrari authorized dealer and so it became the only known legitimately titled F355 Challenge car, and as such, the last Ferrari ever built to race and be driven on the street.

This is quite profound when you think about it as this is the formula used by Ferrari during much of its history, including its glorious 250 era where the 250 TDF, 250 SWB, 250 GTO and 250LM all could be driven on the road, raced and then driven home.

Thus, this is the last Ferrari race and road car and the last factory built race car with a manual gearbox.  Now that I think about this fact and this car’s historical significance, its a bargain at this price point.  The car was featured in a museum for approximately one year and given its historical significance, it may well yet again one day be featured in a museum.  For now though, best to enjoy this most versatile of Ferraris! 

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