Cosmetically restoring an old car to its original as-new condition can be a challenge, especially if the car had a relatively low production volume. But a rare-ish car is exactly the sort of thing that an enthusiast would want to restore to its former glory—actually, I don’t really fix things on my own, so I’m not an enthusiast. I’m a poseur.

It’s late and I’m a little tired, so I will give some examples on my car without too much talking:

One rubber pad on the edge of the engine bay was missing when I bought the car. I refused to pay $60 at the online stores. Mechanic had no idea what the hell I was talking about. Asked me to show him on a Spider that he had in the shop. I went down and of course, the Spider’s engine bay does not have those pads.

After a month of hunting, I found one at an exotic junkyard in Sacramento, CA. They wanted $5, and of course the guy who pulled it off the wrecked F355 GTS broke the thing. I ended up gluing it back together.


My coolant temperature gauge also began to act up by jumping around randomly. Unfortunately, the gauge is only sold as a pair (they are mounted in one housing behind the instrument panel), and this “pairing” was different between manual and F1 cars.


Manual transmission: Oil pressure on top, coolant temperature on bottom. A new unit is $480.

F1 transmission: Gear display on top, coolant temperature on bottom. A new unit is $1400.


After a few weeks of hunting, a junkyard agreed to let go of a manual set for $100. My mechanic swapped just the coolant gauge onto my instrument cluster. He sent my old gauge to a gauge repair specialist. “Someone else will need this,” he said. At this very moment there are three F355s at his shop (down from five last month) so I believed him.

A few other rubber bits and pieces had also fallen off the doors, the wipers and the tow hook hole. But all of those were available brand new at friendly two-digit prices.