Poor Ferrari or Poor Man’s Ferrari?

Black Ferrari F355 GTSPLEASANT GROVE – The Ferrari F355 was built from 1994-99 and was the successor to the F348.  The F355 is a mid-engine, real-wheeled drive, V-8 powered machine.  It was offered in several models and this particular one shown is the GTS , released in 1995.  The GTS is based off the Berlinetta but offered a targa-style roof instead.  Over 2,500 models were made, most of them being sent to the US, but until now, I had never seen one in person. As I passed by the house it was parked at, I flipped around and pulled over to get a better look.  I even went knocking on the door of the presumed owner, unfortunately nobody was home to answer any of my questions.  Because I had plenty.

Several things are wrong with the scenario which I found myself and the exotic car in, and most of them are obvious from the pictures.  First, without judgement, I wasn’t in the most up-kept neighborhood where I found this car.  Second, it’s dirty, it’s covered in dust, and it’s dirty.  Third, why is this “Ferrari” out in the open, barely in a covered spot, not receiving protection from the elements?  Then it hit me, it must be a kit car.  I knocked on the door several times to inquire about the diamond in the rough (conditions).  Nobody answered, so I quickly snapped some photos and left the scene, hoping I wouldn’t run into anybody on my way out.

I did not get a glimpse of the interior, nor did I take the time to investigate the wheels and body for flaws, confirming any suspicions. I did however, quickly return to work and inquired on the knowledge of a good friend over at The Daily Derbi to help me investigate my find.  We searched for as many photos as we could online of the GTS model and comparing my photos to every possible angle we could find.  The only obvious differences were the rims, which are definitely not the stock option, and the grill which appears to be different as well.  Up close, the F355 does look a little bit like a MR2 which triggered my original suspicions.  I did discover that several kits for the F355 GTS were made, particularly for a 99-05 Corvette, Fiero, and more commonly, an MR2 MKII.

My conclusion, I don’t have one.  If it is a kit, I don’t believe it is on a MR2 based on this YouTube video (the front end on this one looks shorter than the one I saw).  If it is a kit, it must be based off a Corvette.

So, what do you think?  Poor Ferrari, or poor man’s Ferrari?

**UPDATE**
It’s the real deal.  We just got back from speaking with the owner and it is a 1996 F355 GTS that was originally purchased in Texas. Only has about 38,000 miles on it but doesn’t currently run because an issue with the battery.  The owner purchased the car over a year ago from family and hasn’t seen the road much.  As for it’s condition, he plans to get it cleaned up before winter and cover it up from the elements.  Wheels are not original to the car but are original Ferrari wheels.  Hopefully we’ll hear it out cruising a lot more next Spring.

 

  • Great find! To be completely honest, I think it’s real. We need to drive by and see it in person.