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post #1 of 37 Old 08-15-2011, 07:13 PM Thread Starter
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Seeking My First Ferrari . . . First Post Here

Hello everyone; First, I'd like to mention that I have searched a lot and read many, many threads on this forum that have now shaped what I am looking for. So, I'd like to thank you all for the information and advice you have already passively provided me.

ABOUT ME: I am a motoring enthusiast . . . had a '97 Supra Turbo that I turned into an 861 horsepower street monster in my less responsible day, and I bought a Viper GTS later to accomplish the same thing on pump gas, preferably. Low an behold . . . life changed a bit. My enjoyment of motoring vehicles is now more spirited weekend or group cruises, less track and off-track racing. I love cars. I noticed a lot of other peoples' threads talk about how much money they make and all sorts of stuff . . . I'd like to talk more about the cars, and I *think* I am in the right place, but not sure.

INITIALLY: I have dreamed about the F355 Ferrari since I was 14 years old, and I still love that design and body today. I found one locally in Dallas that I wanted to buy . . . it was a red/tan 1995 that was very clean, but driven . . . 35K miles on it, 10 years of service history with the dealership that was selling it . . . including some of the major stuff. Higher price than some others, but probably because of the detailed service history.

However, I started reading forum threads here and elsewhere about maintenance . . . and was surprised to see that Engine Out services were so common, major issues with headers cracking that caused lean conditions resulting in much worse, major valve guide work being the norm, and many other issues. I don't mind the expense of it, but $10K a year or thereabouts seems to be an unreasonable amount of mainteance for a $55K vehicle. I understand it's part of the "pay to play" thing, but didn't feel like the pay to play balance here was right, at least for me.

NOW: I then started reading forum threads about the 360 Modena . . . and, everyone says that this is sort of when Ferrari ownership got a lot more user friendly. Major service can be done without huge engine out expense, you can maintain it for a couple thousand dollars a year, barring catastrophes . . . and really enjoy the car without stressing too much about every little thing.

With the Viper and the Supra, there were Model Years to avoid and ones that were much more preferable. For example, I chose the '99 Viper GTS 'cause that was the latest I could get with a Forged Engine and the first with Power Electronics. The Supra I had purchased new, but it was the first OBDII car when they did a lot of nice updates.

QUESTION: For the 360, I believe I read that they are more mechanically sound from Model Year 2002 and onwards? Is this the case? Are some years more reliable or better than others? Are these cars generally not too terrible to maintain with a decent Ferrari tech.?

I am looking for a 6-Speed only, Convertible preferred . . . preferably light colored interior. I am hoping I can find such a thing for around $90K with service history. Am I dreaming here? Ruf Auto Centre in my neck of the woods had one a couple years back, but I missed it and wasn't knowledgeable enough, yet, to pull the trigger.

I am looking for any advice you can give me about my search, any things I might have missed, and any specific tips about the model year differences in the 360 . . . or if it sounds like I am generally headed down the right path?

Thanks again in advance for any help you can give me.

-Vivek Gupta

Last edited by Andrew; 08-15-2011 at 09:48 PM.
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post #2 of 37 Old 08-15-2011, 11:02 PM
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Viv, I saw your username pop up and thought, "hmmm, small world." I crossed over to Ferrari ownership last year, but I still kept both my Supras in the family; my son now owns my '94, and I still dabble with my '97 RSP coupe when I'm not tinkering with the 550 Maranello.

I can't give you any specific advise on the 360, but I'm sure others will jump in and do that. I just wanted to say hi and welcome!

'99 550, Rosso Corsa / Nero, S/N:114654, Assy: 31836, Engine: 52084

High mileage, low compression, and missing on a few cylinders.....just like my cars.

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post #3 of 37 Old 08-16-2011, 12:13 AM
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Welcome to Ferrari Life Vivek. Good place to start would be the 360 buyers guide on this site (if you haven't already read it).

Ferrari's: 360 Modena, 550 Maranello
Ex's: Dino 308 GT4, 612 Scaglietti
The Rest: Rolls Royce Silver Shadow, Porsche 911 2.7s, Porsche 911 3.2 Carerra, Ducati 916... and the Land Rovers
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post #4 of 37 Old 08-16-2011, 01:37 AM
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I'm not completely adverse in the US market but it seems you have a reasonable price point in mind. The combination of what you're looking for will be very hard to find, though.

360's are nice and reliable, certainly with 6-sp, but be aware that it is a Ferrari and no matter what you do - if something goes kaputt and you need an OEM part, it is going to hurt. Just as long as you know that, you should be OK. You can get very lucky, a friend of mine is running his 6sp 360 for almost 5 years now, 30k miles or so, and I think his total maintenance costs are below the $2k mark. Personally I would do the majors a little more often but it's an indication that costs are manageable.

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post #5 of 37 Old 08-16-2011, 05:17 AM
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Welcome to the forum Vivek, you've come to the right place.

I think your price target is spot on. One year ago, I purchased my 04 Spider (red/tan, stick, many options, 10K miles) at exactly that mark. You'll just have to be patient and be ready to pass on numerous initially-promising candidates.

So far, knock on wood, maintenance cost has been extremely low.

You may also want to consider the 550, another good choice in your price range.

Read the Buyer's Guides and then get engaged!
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post #6 of 37 Old 08-16-2011, 07:55 AM
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Vivek- For the 360s there were two major changes and those were upgraded cam variators, which should all have been upgraded during a Ferrari service campaign, and a much improved F1 ECU/TCU change in the 2002 timeframe. The last of those obviously does not affect the three pedal versions.

If you really want to understand all the differences between early and late models, go to Ricambi's online 360 parts catalog and go through it page by page to see what other changes were made. These will be shown by Assembly Number, a number assigned to each Ferrari as it reaches the assembly line.

Ferrari Parts, Ferrari Accessories, and Ferrari Performance Products - Ricambi America, Inc.

Also, if you go to this web site, there is a copy of all the technical bulletins issued by Ferrari for the 360. Plus you can download copies of 360 owner's manuals and workshop manuals from the same site. If you want a Ferrari, might as well learn all you can about the car before you buy it.

All Ferraris

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post #7 of 37 Old 08-16-2011, 10:03 AM
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Welcome:

- I agree with all that has been said even to the point that even though the 355 was what I thought to be my first dream Ferrari, I would probably not want one at this time.
- the 360 per models listed above/TAZ, would be the better experience over the 355 and especially the F355

that's my opinion. MY ebay moniker is still Ferrari355 but, started that when I was still in the begining market.

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post #8 of 37 Old 08-16-2011, 04:44 PM
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I have owned my 360 F1 now for just about a year! She has been a joy to own and no problems as these cars with service records are very well maintained.
Would I do it all over again if I had the chance?.....
Oh yeah!! Ain't she purty!!!!
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post #9 of 37 Old 08-22-2011, 07:15 PM Thread Starter
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I have had tremendous trouble finding a 6-Speed 360 that is 2002 or newer, and I'll just have to keep an eye out. For the ones that are earlier, say 1999 to 2001 . . . are those Cam Variator issues something that can be remedied with service and/or an upgrade, or are you destined to be "at risk" forever?

Also, I keep being tempted by this F355 I saw at a local Lambo. dealership. It has a full service history. It's had Valve Guides and exhaust manifolds done in 2002, and it's last engine out service was in 2008, although it supposedly had Nylon belts put in so it lasts longer and has had numerous services inbetween . . . including clutch bearing updates, etc. Would this be a decent entry into Ferrari ownership, or should I hold out for a 360 that is just right . . .

Or, I could buy the 355, and then get a 360 in a few years . . . win/win/win? ;-)
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post #10 of 37 Old 08-22-2011, 07:29 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lilviv View Post
I have had tremendous trouble finding a 6-Speed 360 that is 2002 or newer, and I'll just have to keep an eye out. For the ones that are earlier, say 1999 to 2001 . . . are those Cam Variator issues something that can be remedied with service and/or an upgrade, or are you destined to be "at risk" forever?

Also, I keep being tempted by this F355 I saw at a local Lambo. dealership. It has a full service history. It's had Valve Guides and exhaust manifolds done in 2002, and it's last engine out service was in 2008, although it supposedly had Nylon belts put in so it lasts longer and has had numerous services inbetween . . . including clutch bearing updates, etc. Would this be a decent entry into Ferrari ownership, or should I hold out for a 360 that is just right . . .

Or, I could buy the 355, and then get a 360 in a few years . . . win/win/win? ;-)
Don't settle - you have the means get what you want.

I think the hunt is the best part and makes for a great story. If you wanted that 355 you would be posting as an owner.

Mighty Joe - love it and the challenge wheels!

Good Luck - may be a good idea to call some Ferrari dealers and tell them what you are looking for.
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post #11 of 37 Old 08-22-2011, 10:20 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lilviv View Post
I have had tremendous trouble finding a 6-Speed 360 that is 2002 or newer, and I'll just have to keep an eye out. ;-)
There are a few about, where are you located?
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post #12 of 37 Old 08-24-2011, 04:14 PM Thread Starter
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There are a few about, where are you located?
Hello. I am in the Dallas, TX area. Any tips would be appreciated!

Thanks for the advice on this forum; you guys are right, I shouldn't settle. I think a 6-Spd. 360, ideally a Spyder, would be my dream car. Just need to find a well taken care of and sorted out one that has full service records for a reasonable price.

I've been checking my favorite dealers (Boardwalk, Park Place, RUF Auto Center, etc.) and some private listings. And, I asked S.W. at Elite Motorsports in Austin, TX (who I've bought a couple cars from in the past) to help me find one, also.

Another couple of questions:

1) Should high mileage scare me on these cars, if they are well sorted out and have good service histories/records?
2) If I get a 6-Spd. and choose an earlier model like the 1999 to 2001, the Cam Variator issues can be remedied in a permanent manner, right?

What were the cosmetic updates that occurred in 2002?
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post #13 of 37 Old 08-24-2011, 05:59 PM
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Vivek- Do not limit your search to the local area if you really want to find a specific car. The numbers of cars are too low to find exactly what you want locally unless you really get lucky. Compared to the price of the car you are preparing to buy, the cost of a couple of plane tickets and a pre-purchase inspection is pretty cheap. Even if you have to ship it home, the price is pretty low as a percentage of price. Of course, you could always drive it home. That makes for a pretty good war story later in life.

You can always ask Boardwalk or one of the other dealers to find a car for you if you are serious. Boardwalk ownd Ferrari of San Francisco, I think, so they have folks they can call on to search the west coast for you. Lots of 360 owners picking up F430s as they pick up 458s, so they are out there.

My car came from Boardwalk, and they are a good bunch in my opinion.

Taz
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Last edited by tazandjan; 08-24-2011 at 07:37 PM.
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post #14 of 37 Old 08-24-2011, 06:21 PM
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Originally Posted by lilviv View Post
Hello. I am in the Dallas, TX area. Any tips would be appreciated!

Thanks for the advice on this forum; you guys are right, I shouldn't settle. I think a 6-Spd. 360, ideally a Spyder, would be my dream car. Just need to find a well taken care of and sorted out one that has full service records for a reasonable price.

I've been checking my favorite dealers (Boardwalk, Park Place, RUF Auto Center, etc.) and some private listings. And, I asked S.W. at Elite Motorsports in Austin, TX (who I've bought a couple cars from in the past) to help me find one, also.

Another couple of questions:

1) Should high mileage scare me on these cars, if they are well sorted out and have good service histories/records?
2) If I get a 6-Spd. and choose an earlier model like the 1999 to 2001, the Cam Variator issues can be remedied in a permanent manner, right?

What were the cosmetic updates that occurred in 2002?
I went to school sorta at UT - lots of good friends down in your area.

Mileage wouldn't bother me or the year ... they all have some downside which never comes near the upside.
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post #15 of 37 Old 08-24-2011, 10:52 PM
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Originally Posted by lilviv View Post
Another couple of questions:

1) Should high mileage scare me on these cars, if they are well sorted out and have good service histories/records?
2) If I get a 6-Spd. and choose an earlier model like the 1999 to 2001, the Cam Variator issues can be remedied in a permanent manner, right?

What were the cosmetic updates that occurred in 2002?
In the US I would start looking with a call to Mike Sheehan and checking the FML classifieds.

On the mileage, as long as it has been maintained, mileage should not be an issue.

I personally would pass on the 99-00 cars.
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post #16 of 37 Old 08-26-2011, 08:27 AM
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High mileage 360

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Originally Posted by lilviv View Post
.1) Should high mileage scare me on these cars, if they are well sorted out and have good service histories/records?
Absolutely not! A nice 360 with very low miles can be fine, but it can also be nothing but trouble when you begin driving it. If service records and a competent inspection show a well cared for car, high miles can be way better than low miles. The worst things for these cars are (1) parking them, and (2) deferred maintenance.

Quote:
Originally Posted by lilviv View Post
.2) If I get a 6-Spd. and choose an earlier model like the 1999 to 2001, the Cam Variator issues can be remedied in a permanent manner, right?
Definitely. There are several other issues with the 99-01 cars (fluid leaks, brake ECU, ring gear, etc.) and with the manuals in particular (shifter bushing, linkage, clutch master cylinder, throwout bearing, etc.) but all were (or can be) dealt with. Dealers can check FNA records and the car itself to know what any particular car needs. The advantage of the 02 and later cars is that most such issues were taken care of at the factory so buying used is much easier.

Quote:
Originally Posted by lilviv View Post
.What were the cosmetic updates that occurred in 2002?
None. All updates were mechanical or electrical.

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post #17 of 37 Old 11-02-2011, 01:12 PM Thread Starter
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Don't settle - you have the means get what you want.

I think the hunt is the best part and makes for a great story. If you wanted that 355 you would be posting as an owner. ...
Well, you said it best here. I wanted to update everyone who was so kind to help me here on my search.

I ended up not finding a 360 in my range, and I always loved the 355. But, every one I found had some major issues. In one instance, I found a Euro. car that had been imported, had been painted, and had no service history. Then, I found a perfect one at Boardwalk Lamborghini - it had $40K in service receipts . . . majors done regularly, catalytic converters, valve guides, exhaust manifolds, sticky panels/gauges, and everything. We reached a deal, and they were selling it on consignment . . . and, when I went to finalize the deal (including the dealership buying my Viper GTS from me) . . . the seller "changed his mind" and backed out. He said his car had to be worth more.

Boardwalk Lamborghini ended up asking him to pick the car up from them and that they no longer wanted to sell it if he was refusing solid offers, and I believe he since listed it at another dealership.

But, I kept looking very actively, did some test drives . . . and the one I fell in love with? The 550 Maranello, 6-Speed. I am currently working on pursuing one of three I've located . . . one that is lacking in service history completely, and all I know is that it has a new clutch in it.

But, the reputable selling dealership did a PPI on it (discovered some issues), and I am trying to purchase it with them doing a full Major and repair the issues in the PPI (about $8K worth of work at their shop).

My question is, how wrong could I go on a 550 Maranello with no service history if I immediately do a full major and remedy issues a PPI revealed knowing that it already has a brand new clutch? I'm probably still in the mid-$80K range for a 1997 . . . is that about market or relatively high?

550 Maranellos are pretty reliable specimens and decent first Ferraris for a first time F-Car owner, right? I know someone else mentioned that here earlier in the thread, which got me intrigued.

Any help and guidance, again, would be very appreciated.
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post #18 of 37 Old 11-02-2011, 01:22 PM
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A belated welcome to FL, Vivek. The guru to ask is Taz.

One thing you ought to keep in mind is the purpose, since midship V8 and front V12 are quite different. There is no question that you would be more than happy with 550. Good luck with your search. w/ smiles Jimmy
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post #19 of 37 Old 11-02-2011, 01:29 PM
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Vivek- Sorry the deal fell through on your F355. Some owners are just flakes, and unfortunately you helped Boardwalk discover that the hard way.

The Maranellos are great cars and currently an outstanding deal for $200K+ car obtained for money spent. Better to get other opinions because I am a known V12 addict. Once we have you, you will be an addict, too. 400+ ft lbs of torque will do that to you.

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post #20 of 37 Old 01-07-2012, 10:11 AM Thread Starter
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Thanks!

Thanks to everyone who responded here, but mostly cribbj. Throughout the process, he was E-Mailing me lots of information, helped guide me through the service I had done before I took delivery, etc. I can't thank him enough for that . . . his guidance, I think, may have helped me avoid some heartache in the future.

I wound up with a 1997 Ferrari 550 Maranello (that I likely overpaid for), and I immediately had a "Major" done, upgraded to Scuderia Rampante's Coolant Hose Kit, proactively changed all 3 Coolant Sensors, replaced the motor mounts, and changed the front timing bearings, as well . . . in addition to remedying several things found in the PPI. the right catalytic converter was apparently blown, which I didn't notice until a few hard miles on it . . . and now it's at the shop waiting on Hyper Flow Cats. from Ricambi. So, I haven't really gotten to enjoy more than 30 miles on it, yet . . . and had it for 2 months, but hopefully with all the service I just performed on it, I'll be good to go for a while.

Thanks again for everyone's help here, and I promise once I get it . . . I'll make a post formally introducing myself and will document my ownership experience, as well, as I have done with many of my other cars on my website. Thanks, guys.

-Vivek Gupta
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