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Thread: It's time to build a Spyder...

  1. #1
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Feb 2003

    It's time to build a Spyder...

    Hi everyone I need your help.

    I've decided that in order for me to get an 355 spyder the
    way I want it I'm going to have to build it. So my question
    is what do I need and who do I get it from.
    Which year is the best donor?
    Who has the best kit?
    How hard it is to assemble?
    How much time to complete?
    About how much is it going to cost?

    Personally, I would like to use an '88 donor with a 3" stretch,
    seperate rockers, 3.8 SC V6 and 5-speed.


  2. #2

    Re:It's time to build a Spyder...

    Tom this question get answered numerously.

    My opinion... The mirage or the A.D. 355 are the absolute best bar none. Both are available at the the powerhouse web site.
    The Needles Dance, The Gauges Glow,
    As Engine Speed & Heartbeat Grow,
    Gears They Shift 'Neath Anxious Thumbs,
    Formerly: Powerhouse

  3. #3
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Oct 2002
    San Diego

    Re:It's time to build a Spyder...

    Good luck finding an 88. The SE's are faster than the GT's and the Formulas beat both.Read this link to find out what years to stay away from.
    What to look for,unless your planning to redo the whole car.
    Major Specifications
    Engines .........................2.5 Ltr. 4cyl T.B.i., 2.8 Ltr V6 M.P.F.i.
    Overall Width .................................................. ...........72 inches
    Overall Length .................................................. ........165 inches
    Wheel base .................................................. ......................93.4
    Curb Weight (Average)......................................... ........2600 Lb
    Wheel size .................................................. ...........15 x 7 inches
    Tyre size .................................................. ..F/2215x80R/235x60
    Luggage Capacity .................................................. 5.85 Cu Feet
    Fuel Capacity (Unleaded)......................................10-11 Gallons
    Transmission ..................................3 Spd Auto 4 & 5spd manual

    Electric windows,
    Electric mirrors,
    Central locking,
    Full width sun roof,
    Tinted glass,
    Tilting steering column,
    Cruise control,
    Quad sound system,
    Vairous alarm systems and C.D players,
    Leather interior,
    Walnut dash,
    Various steering wheels,
    Stainless steel sills,
    Air conditioning,
    Wilton carpets.
    The road to life is full of flat squirrels, who couldn't make up their mind!

  4. #4
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Dec 2002
    New England

    Re:It's time to build a Spyder...

    First off good choice on a spyder kit!! There is no easy way to answer your question on cost becasue the option list is numerious. Just for example, do you plan on using wheel spacers or going with a completly new suspension, real ferrari parts or replicas and the price of the kits vary based on quaility. I do agree with powerhouse on the mirage and the AD 355 kits however those are also among the more expensive kits also. As you can tell there is a lot of choices to be made. As far as donors goes, if you are planning on using a 3800 and a new suspension then any year should work fine for you, just make sure you get the options you want in it (auto or stick, power window..etct..). Assembly....well that will vary slightly based on which kit you buy but the 355's are NOT a bolt on kit. They do require a lot of work to complete. To give you a rough estimate on the cost, I have over $9500.00 invested into my car so far and I am just starting to install the kit. Good luck with your build up!! that will show you what 9500.00 gets you...ha ha

  5. #5
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Feb 2003

    Re:It's time to build a Spyder...

    Thanks guys...

    A couple of more questions.
    1. Since the Mirage and AD 355 kits are the best then
    which kit are second best and which ones to avoid?
    2. What make the Mirage and AD 355 kit so much better
    than the other kits?
    3. What would be the difference in the amount of prep work
    needed to be done on the Mirage or AD 355 compare to
    the others?
    4. What would be better to do. Get the second
    best kits and have some prep work or get the Mirage or
    AD 355 kit and do a little less prep work. Compare to the
    5. On the suspension, I heard that the '88 had a better
    suspension than the previous years. That's way I was going
    to use an '88. But in order to get the width correct I would either have to use spacers or a new suspension. Since I've
    heard bad things about using spacers I guess I will get a
    new suspension. So who has good suspension system?


  6. #6
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Dec 2001

    Re:It's time to build a Spyder...

    1 - Who or what to avoid...

    That's a matter of personal preference as much as saying that Mirage and AD make the best kits on the market. I happen to agree, but there are a few members on this forum that have one form or another of the IFG based "Stretch" cars that look VERY VERY nice.

    What is more important than the kit you decide on I think, is WHERE or WHOM you buy it from. There are ALOT of scammers out there that will gladly tell you what you want to hear and relieve you of your money and never deliver anything but shattered dreams. Sometimes a crap kit with broken down donors that you wouldn't wish on your sorst enemies and other times, nothing at all.

    Pick a source, then ask here on this forum who has had experience with them. Also, get references of REAL people that have purchased the cars from them before and can relay their experiences.

    In the case of Mirage and AD... several of us on this forum have them and had zero issues with the delivery or quality of service.

    2 - Mirage is not made any longer. There are still a few kits rolling around for sale but they are extremely hard to find. Both MAPICS and I have one and were very happy with them. MAPICS has recently sold his and is building an AD now and one other member here on the forum just ordered and received one with no issues. AD is still building them and you can order factory direct from them... for now... depending on how long it takes the "Ferrari Police" to catch up with him.

    3 - As for prep work, anyone that tells you that a kit is ready to paint or drive out of the box is a liar. Period. The Mirage and AD kits both come out of the molds extremely well but still require some prep work, fitment, sanding, priming and painting. These kits are very well built with solid and heavy glasswork that is very strong and liberal applications of gelcoat which helps in fit and finish.

    In fact, the stretch kits of IFG Clones out there have pretty good gel coats as well but lack consistancy inside to side equality and built specs. Not bad, just minor differences. Some of these need be fixed and modified before final prep and painting.

    Total difference... in terms of hours bight be as little as a few to as much as half the prep time.

    Costs? Time mostly. Not alot of financial investments unless you want to separate the panels of a stretch kit so they are individual as with the real car, the Mirage and the AD cars. That requires glass work and materials. A member of this forum chose to separate the rockers from his IFG stretch kit and have them glassed back together and the cost ran just over $1000 if memory serves. In addition, the front "clip" needs to be cut into four separate parts and the rear end into at least three parts if you wanted to go all the way. Most people choose to leave these types of kits as they are.

    5 - 88 is the best suspension and can get you along way to your supercar goal. You are correct about your width concerns but the 88 eliminates the bump-steer issues and weak front spindles and poor geometry issues that you would ultimately have to PAY to replace anyway. Leaving only width to deal with. Saves you money there.

    The reality of spacers is that they are bad for hte bearings and present significant risk to you if not mangaged properly. By mangaemnt, I basically mean "replaced as needed" which, depending on how hard you drive, can be as often as every three months!

    On the other hand, sometimes, a spacer is neccessary.

    For instance, if you purchase a replica wheel that is basically a Fiero Wheel and the offsets are the same, you do NOT need a bearing because the stress loads to the bearings are the same PROVIDED you have made up the width difference with suspension.

    If you have purchased, like some of us have, REAL Ferrari 355 wheels for your project, the offset of those wheels are different and far enough off that without a spacer you will cause the SAME damage to the bearings. In that case, you need to add a spacer to bring the bearing load pack to the same place again, THEN add the suspension width increase to make up the difference. In this scenario, the spacer is a GOOD thing.

    Most of us use Held Motorsports Wide Track suspension. This will allow you to choose the width increse up to 4 inches wider on each side of the rear and 3 inches wider on each side of the front. In most cases, that is enough for most any replica.

    There are a few other sources out there but if I referenced them, I'd have to venture my opinion of them (which isn't high) so I'll digress

    Just remember one thing... Whatever you are trying to decide at whatever step of the build... DO IT RIGHT. Don't second guess youself or go cheap in order to get the car done faster thinking you can fix it later. It rarely happens.

    This is your personal safety and the safety of your passengers. Take is seriously. Plus, the reputation of the replica community has been damaged enough for a hurried built to loose most of a body somewhere on a very public freeway

    As always, Ask you questions and we will do our best to answer them!

    Best of luck!

    DKOV -

  7. #7
    Moderator FunnyWheels's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2002
    Tampa, FL

    Re:It's time to build a Spyder...


    Welcome to the Forum. By the way, great choice on going topless. In my first adventure with the wonders of building a replica, I chose a Mirage kit the first time out and it served me well for about 4 years. They are built like tanks. Although, I recently sold the Mirage body to Bondo Bob on this forum. I did so in order to accomplish a new look. My new car is part kit and part Ferrari. My Hybrid vehicle has the proper wheelbase, bumpers, rockers and the OEM door lowers. All OEM lights, grills etc. I followed my desire to have an accurate replica of a 355, plus all the trick suspension, 3800 engine and big brakes my heart desired.

    It all comes with a price though. In our underground replica society, I feel Air Dynamics makes the best kit. The wheelbase can be Fiero or +3 like the Ferrari. The +3 is more time and trouble than you can ever imagine. I selected most of the parts from Air Dynamics because John Watson, Owner built some racing parts for the Ferrari Challenge Series Cars. The Challenge Cars eat up bumpers rockers and door lowers at a rapid pace when racing. I felt AD parts were closest to the OEM stuff as you can get. John eventually made a kit out of these components to mount on a Fiero std. wheelbase car. You can put one together in a few weekends if you keep the Fiero basically in a stock configuration (wheelbase and engine stuff). Most people can’t tell the difference anyway. John was an engineer for GM and really is a perfectionist. I guess that is why his parts go together so well. He worked on the concept cars for the big 3 in Detroit and the 82-86 corvette convertible conversions until GM had one from the assembly line.

    I can only compare my experience with the first generation Mirage to the AD parts. I feel the AD parts have a leg up on most. They are components that can easily fit on an OEM Ferrari. DKOV has a 2nd or 3rd generation Mirage kit and I believe his parts were of a better quality than mine. I know if your like most people, they say, “I can do body work to fix flaws in a car” or “I can make the parts bolt up to a Fiero”. I have issues with most of that BS.

    I guess I am here to tell you that I would gladly invest the extra $1,000 or $1,500 to get a kit that bolts on and has minimal effort to get on the road. If you can’t find a 3-generation Mirage, call John Watson for one of his kits. I would stay away from the remainder of them. The guys that build the IFG and Lucas kits are very handy or soon learn to be handy. The originator of this web forum, Ari, has a car for sale that needs to be completed. If you modify the suspension on a donor car, call Dave Held, if you need help ask one of us. We have been through it all.

    Anyway, you choose to go we wish you the best,


    If you're not confused, you're not paying attention.

  8. #8
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Dec 2001

    Re:It's time to build a Spyder...

    Let's not forget that THIS car is MAPICS 1st car, a Mirage

    DKOV -

  9. #9
    Moderator FunnyWheels's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2002
    Tampa, FL

    Re:It's time to build a Spyder...

    Yep, that's it. I loved that car.
    If you're not confused, you're not paying attention.

  10. #10
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Dec 2002

    Re:It's time to build a Spyder...

    Tom Slick-
    You're in the Dallas area. Check out:
    Its in your neighborhood. Lots of fiero's. Running, driving, & others. If your doing a swap anyway, 3800 SC 5 sp (good choice ;D ) get one thats not running.
    Big D.

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