In some ways the Ferrari F355 was a bit of a miracle. Put one side by side with a Ferrari 348 and you can see that the 355 is essentially a development of the earlier car. Yet while the 348 had a reputation as an unwieldy, unruly, and ultimately unsatisfying car, the 355 was transformed.
That was largely down to the steering and suspension being retuned to turn the car into a much more enjoyable and benign-handling Ferrari, but it was also because of a magnificent engine. The 20-valve flat-plane V8 mustered 380 horsepower, which doesn’t sound all that epic these days, but it easily broke the 100hp-per-litre barrier which, without turbocharging to push those power outputs ever-higher, is quite an achievement even now.
Combine the decent handling and awesome engine with classic Ferrari mid-engined styling (and the always-wonderful pop-up headlights, one of the last cars to feature them) and you’ve got a truly great Ferrari. True, the first iteration of the robotised manual F1 gearbox was both delicate and clunky and the driving position was ergonomically questionable, but a diamond often sparkles more brightly because of its flaws.