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Supercars On A $50,000 Budget: A Manual Ferrari With A Heavenly V8

In today's market, manual Ferrari cars are a must-buy.

Being able to find a Ferrari for less than $50k is a rare occurrence. In our Supercars On A $50,000 Budget segment, we have featured a few Ferrari models including a Magnum P.I. 308 and a V12 465 coupe. We highly recommend that you buy any manual Ferrari model that you can find, because the values have been on the rise. This week's supercar is a 1996 F355 Spider with the much more desirable six-speed gated manual transmission. Best of all, it has popup headlights.

The F355 is very different than a modern Ferrari. It doesn't have any turbochargers or a dual-clutch transmission, so it's a lot slower than a modern Ferrari. This isn't necessarily a bad thing. The F355 has hit rock bottom prices, and now values are beginning to go up as the used market for manual Ferrari cars dries up.

This F355 is actually slightly over $50,000 (cue the angry comments), but we still think it is worth being talked about as an amazing car for the price. The seller is Motorcar Studio in Atlanta, Georgia and the asking price is $52,900. The car has 61,556 miles on it, and comes in the classic red with tan interior typically associated with Ferrari. We love the F355 because it is right in the sweet spot of the V8 Ferrari range. The 348 that preceded it was slow for the time, and the 360 that replaced it is more expensive. We love the '90s-style popup headlights and the sweet sounding 3.5-liter V8 with five valves per cylinder. This masterpiece of an engine produces 375 hp going to the rear wheels through a gated manual.

The F355 may be the best Ferrari driving experience at a "reasonable" price. A new Ferrari isn't as involving because pulling a paddle shifter isn't quite as satisfying as sliding a gated manual into place and listening to the pure, unadulterated scream of that amazing V8. Having a convertible makes listening to that engine even easier.

Matt Farah had the chance to drive one of these recently, and we think that it may have the best sounding flyby exhaust note of any car that he has tested. Ferrari built 11,273 units of the F355, which made it the highest produced Ferrari at the time. This was later surpassed by subsequent models like the 360 and 430, so don't worry about it being too common. Prices are rising and should continue to do so. There are a few issues that you should consider when buying a F355. This was the last Ferrari that required an engine-out service every three to five years. The 360 was the first model that could be serviced without taking the engine out. We would happily swallow the maintenance costs to drive this amazing car.

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