I’m pretty old for a young bloke in this company because when I started in this game, in 1997, some of the cars were still on sale.
I’ve also cheated by driving the 993 before, so I’m aware of just how responsive, light and compact it feels. Relatively comfortable, too, and strong, with a very tidy exhaust. You probably wouldn’t, but you could, drive it daily.
But it’s the F355 — which I collect from, and return to, Slade’s Garage — that I spend a serious amount of time in and which makes a bigger impression.
And it’s a beautiful one. By modern standards, yes, you feel like you’re sitting on, rather than in, the F355 because of its low scuttle and window line. They help visibility become terrific, but better than that is the fact that the body is around 1900mm wide, and the mirrors protrude only 70mm more than that. A modern 488’s body is still under two metres, but throw in the mirrors and it’s a 2.2m-wide car. The F55 is a good 300mm shorter too, so despite slower steering and a kerb weight not quite so different to a modern car, it feels incredibly wieldy and easy to place. Confidence giving.
The manual gearbox is fabulous too, the pedals and control weights all perfectly linear and adjustable, and the engine makes the ‘right’ amount of power, in thrillingly responsive fashion.
It’s slower, less grippy, perhaps less adjustable and quieter than any modern Ferrari, it’s true. But on a good road, I might just take an F355 over any of them.