During our most recent recent interview, watch industry titan Jean-Claude Biver remarked, “Why do so many young entrepreneurs, when they have their first big success in their startup or when they start to make money, why do they want to buy a Ferrari? Easy! Because they have been dreaming about Ferrari since they were young.” Indeed, countless adolescent boys do harbour fantasies of Ferrari ownership — posters of the objects of their affection plastered on their bedroom walls.
Few, however, achieve the financial mastery necessary to place an order with the maestros of Maranello. But even those who’ve failed to strike it rich still have the chance to make their youthful dreams come to fruition. The Ferraris that men now aged 40 to 50 used to drool over in their teens are often, in fact, remarkably affordable to purchase. Although prices are rising in parallel with demand, it is possible to pick up an iconic Ferrari, in excellent condition, for around $50,000. The ‘Miami Vice’ Testarossa? Chances are slim. But the ‘Magnum PI’ 308 GTS? You may just be in luck.
Alex Manos, proprietor of California classic automobile dealership Beverly Hills Car Club, offers the caveat emptor, “With a Ferrari, you kind of get what you pay for.” When shopping around, he advises, “Ideally you’re looking for something that’s been with its original owner for many years and is a nice, original example. A lot of buyers are obsessed with the service record, but that isn’t necessarily the most important thing. There are sellers who’ve tracked every oil change or minor service in an Excel spreadsheet, and then there are others who are happy to just take the car to the mechanic and say, ‘Hey, do whatever needs to be done, you have my credit card on file.’ Maybe that’s because that owner’s got 10 other cars and is just enjoying his Ferrari.”
Manos explains, “You can still have a car that’s been serviced to the gills, is mechanically perfect, has no issues, but that doesn’t have extensive service records. If we’re talking about a Ferrari 308, that (under-documented) car’s probably going to be about $40,000, whereas one in the same condition with all the paperwork might be $50,000. If you’re buying a quarter-million, half-million-dollar Ferrari, of course you want as much documentation as possible. But when you’re looking at something more affordable, from the 1980s or ’90s, you can’t just look at the deal on paper, like it’s real estate or stocks or whatever.”