Can You Afford a Ferrari?
February 1, 2017
By Scott Lewis
Can you afford a Ferrari? I am NOT going to bury the lead on this. If
you are reading this, the answer is:
A working class person cannot afford a Ferrari. Since we have
established that you can't afford a Ferrari
article is going to be about why you can't afford a Ferrari
or you could use it to determine what it WOULD take to afford a Ferrari!
We should set ourselves a realistic, though hypothetical, budget in
helping to decide this. For right now I will target a purchase price
around $60,000 - $65,000. Why? We will get to the specifics of that next
month when I plan on covering other "Super Cars."
Let's do a little background on the Ferrari models. There are
basic models of Ferrari (currently). They are:
Mid Engine V-8
Front Engine V-8
Front Engine V-12 2+2
Front Engine V-12 GT (2 Seater)
Mid Engine V-8 - This model starts with what is affectionately referred
to as the "Magnum P.I." Ferrari. The 308GTB & 308GTS. GTB = Berlinetta
or coupe, and GTS = Spider or convertible. Before this, the car was
actually the Dino 246 with a V-6, but we will skip those for this
discussion. The 308 progresses from the late 70's until today. The model
number refers to the engine (except the newest one). 308 = 3.0 liter, 8
Cylinder. The 328 followed with a 3.2 liter engine. Next was the 348,
going to a 3.4 liter V-8. Then came the F355. This number means 3.5
liter, but 5 valves per cylinder. Then it went to 360, which is a slight
departure with a 3.6 liter V-8 but no 5 or 8 in the name. This was
replaced by the F430 which has a 4.3 liter engine. Now we get the "8"
back in the name with the 458 which had... yep, a 4.5 liter V-8.
Finally, the current model in this lineup is the 488. No, the 488 does
NOT have a 4.8 liter engine. It has a 3.9 liter twin turbocharged V-8
engine. It produces more power than the 458, so I can only assume
Ferrari was afraid owners would not like the number to go down with an
increase in performance.
Front Engine V-8 - This is relatively new. It started with the
California, and has progressed to the California T, whereas the T is for
turbocharged. I have driven one of these and they are very nice indeed.
I would consider these a more practical GT car than the 12 cylinder GTs
Front Engine V-12 2+2 - In modern times, this starts with the 465
followed by the 612 Scaglietti, and finally the FF (which is for Ferrari
our Seat F
our Wheel Drive).
Front Engine V-12 GT - The modern line of Ferrari's flagship Grand
Touring cars begins with the 550 Maranello (the 550 was for 5.5 liter
engine). It was replaced with the 575M Maranello (getting a 5.7 liter
engine), and then the 599 GTB Fiorano (with a 6.0 liter engine, oops).
Next up is the F12berlinetta, which is the current grand touring car in
the Ferrari lineup. Interesting trivia: at the time of this writing, the
F12 is the least expensive production car that has more horsepower than
the vaulted Hellcat Charger and Challenger. The F12 has 730 (vs. the
Hellcat's 707). Any other car with more than 707 hp is more expensive
than the Ferrari F12.
Ferrari used to have a mid-engined 12 cylinder with the Berlinetta Boxer
which turned into the Testarossa. Other models really fall under a
unique category and not a product line, such as the LaFerrari, Enzo,
Back to it... can you afford a Ferrari?
We are going to concentrate on the Mid Engine V-8 cars. Quite simply,
these are usually more affordable across the board.
Early V-8 Ferraris require what is called an "engine out service." Yes,
this means the engine has to come out of the car to service it. This is
part of the "major service," and must be performed every 3-5 years
regardless of mileage. The timing belts on the V-8 Ferrari must be
changed more so than your normal car. The belts are located toward the
front of the engine (meaning the part of the engine facing the front of
the car... yea, against the seats). This is why the engine needed to
come out for the major service. Cost? It varies but I am going to just
throw a number out there... $7,500, give or take a couple grand. As I
said, this will need to be done every 3-5 years. If you want to own one
of these you REALLY need to prepare for that. The number is loose. You
will need more than just the major services, so the costs could be
higher depending on what's needed. Also, since the engine is already
out... you might as well replace the clutch assembly. Add another $2,500
to that, approximately.
Let's just say 3-5 years = 4 years. You will need to spend about $10,000
every 4 years on these major items. You will also need to budget about
$2,000-$2,500/year for tires, brakes and other items. All in... you are
going to average about $4,000-$5,000/year in maintenance for these early
V-8 cars. Remember, that's after purchasing one. Plan to save around
$350-400 per month. With payments in the neighborhood of $800/month for
a $60K loan, you are looking at a budget over $1,200/month.
If you want to see an example of how expensive a Ferrari can be to
maintain, watch this video (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6hUyTFSj08U)
from JR Garage on the F355 they bought. Jump to the 1 minute mark. You
can also read this article
by Doug DeMuro when he was writing for Jalopnik on "Why You Should Never
Buy A Ferrari F355!"
The silver lining is that Ferrari put in a removable bulk head behind
the seats starting with the Ferrari 360 Modena. Whoo-Hoo! This drops the
cost of the major service to around $2,000-$2,500, since you do not have
to remove the engine for the major service. Just plan for $4,000-$5,000
every 4 years (major service, clutch, etc), and $2,000/year for
tires/brakes/etc. This works out to something in the area of $3,000/year
($250/mo). You might be able to get by with a budget of $1,000/month
overall, likely a little more.
Why do it?
The 360 Modena is considered the first affordable Ferrari because of the
easier maintenance costs. If you are seriously thinking about buying a
car in the $60K range this might not be a bad thing. Rob Ferretti
spelled out the cost of owning a Ferrari 360 Modena on his YouTube
Channel. I will do a quick summary of this video
(https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a0YEMmyCZRA). Buy a 360 Modena for
$60K, put the sales tax as a down payment and finance $60K. Budget
$300/month for maintenance. After 5 years the car is still likely worth
$60,000. You paid around $4,700 in interest, $3,000 down payment and
$18,000 in maintenance. Your out of pocket is $25,700 (not counting the
payments toward equity). You sell the car for $60K and walk away with
$34,300 (the equity from the loan payments).
Rob compares that to buying a new Corvette for $60,000. After 5 years
you have similar loss of interest ($4,700), down payment ($3,000) and
maintenance ($6,000, I guessed here myself at $100/month for items like
clutch/brakes/tires/etc). That adds up to $13,700. When you sell the car
it is worth about half, so $30,000. You walk away with with $16,300...
which is less than half the money you would walk away from with the
Rob is clear that you should be making at least $6,000/month to even
consider either of these options. He also adds up his own maintenance
costs on his personal 360 in this video
(https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T2PJVzsY2pc). He comes up with a total
of about $8,000 in 2-1/5 years. That's pretty close to the estimates I
calculated above of $3,000/year.
Pricing A Ferrari
I did a quick search on AutoTrader (the day I wrote this) and found
1995 Ferrari 348 Spider, 60K miles - $42,500. That is a lot of mileage
for a Ferrari. Let's keep looking.
1999 Ferrari F355 Spider, 15K miles - $55,000. Mentioned the last
"service out" was done in 2012. So you have $10,000 in maintenance that
needs to be done any day. Nope!
1996 Ferrari F355 Spider, 32K miles - $60,000. It did meantion it just
had the service out 2K miles ago. Sweet! But Doug DeMuro says never buy
Those are not the "affordable" Ferraris. The least expensive 360 I found
1999 Ferrari 360 Modena, 49K miles - $63,000. This car looked promising.
Here is the description... so you have an idea of the maintenance
involved, "Beautiful, Adult Owned & Maintained Ferrari 360 Modena.
Major Service Recently Performed-Timing Belt, Timing Belt Tensioners,
Front Camshaft Seals, Valve Cover Gaskets, Valve Job, Oil & Filters
Changed, Gearbox Fluid & Filter Changed, Coolant Flush, Spark Plugs,
Cabin Filter, Air Filters, Complete Intake Manifold Resealed, Camshaft
Variator Update Performed, New Motor Mounts, All Genuine Ferrari Parts,
New A/C Compressor, Tubi Exhaust System-Customer Headers, High-Flow
Catalytic Converters, Tubi Muffler, Challenge Stradale Rear Grille, All
Four Tires Less Than 1 Year Old, Less Than 2000 Miles On New Kevlar
Clutch Kit, New Rear Main Seal, Hydraulic Shift Actuator Rebuilt, New
Interstate Battery, Absolutely No Leaks Or Problems Whatsoever. Runs,
Drives & Sounds Amazing!
49K miles still seems high to me for a Ferrari, but not bad if it is
properly cared for.
If all that service and mileage freaks you out, the next up (in Red!)
2003 Ferrari 360 Modena, 28K miles - $74,000. It did not mention the
service history, so more research is required. And we just bumped well
past our $60-65K budget.
There is a saying in these circles. It goes something like this: The
less you pay for a Ferrari the more it costs. If you are bargain
shopping a Ferrari then you will likely get one that has had less than
ideal maintenance done to it. It is hard to find good Ferrari mechanics
that are not working at a dealer. I hate dealers. They rip you off.
However, if you live in these circles, the people that CAN afford a
Ferrari do take them to dealers for service and the dealers back up that
service. Yes, they charge a lot, but you do know it gets done right.
People who buy Ferraris and can't afford them, take shortcuts on the
maintenance. Those cars will be expensive to own.
Think of it this way... you ALWAYS want to buy a Ferrari that has been
serviced properly at a dealer. Not that it can't be done properly
somewhere else, but who knows. Then you should also take yours to the
dealer when it needs service to preserve its resale value
That leads to NOT buying a Ferrari on AutoTrader. A Ferrari dealer will
NOT put a car on its lot that does not have good service records. They
have a reputation to uphold. The ONLY Ferraris... on AutoTrader... under
$100,000... that were at Ferrari dealers... were these two:
2003 Ferrari 360 Spider, 24K miles - $78,800
2003 Ferrari 360 Modena, 9,730 miles - $94,985
Both were bright yellow. Not my preference.
I still wanted to see what was available. I went to the 4 Ferrari
Dealership websites in Texas to see what they had in stock:
San Antonio: No 360s. They had a F430 Spider with 16K miles for
Austin: No 360s, no F430s. 2013 California with 5,641 miles for
Houston: 360 Modena Race Car for $74,995 with no details. F430 Spider
with 4,400 miles for $149,995.
Plano: No 360s, no F430s. 2010 California with under 10K miles for
Can you afford a Ferrari?
Next time I will see what we can look at in place of the Ferrari. Do you
want to drive a Super Car? Wait until next time to find out.
BTW... if you are truly solvent, and can afford $200,000+ for a new (or
nearly new) Ferrari all the maintenance is included. That's right, I was
checking the 458's at my local dealership and they include 7 YEARS of
maintenance. If you have the means, you should consider this. These cars
depreciate a lot slower than most cars, and if you don't have to pay for
top-of-the-line maintenance from a dealer, why not.