I can appreciate anyone who hopes to be able to own their own Ferrari, as I personally lusted over them for many years! Here is my story of being patient in the search, the ecstasy of being an owner, and my angst over the need to finally part ways!!
The art form of the Ferrari was something that I had admired beginning in my teens. In 2007 Ferrari celebrated 60 years, as did I. In the preceding months I postured myself to pull the trigger - all the while wondering if I really could/would. A major factor for me was that I'd been diagnosed with a form of Muscular Dystrophy that I'd been battling for several years. Realizing that nothing in life is guaranteed, and that my my body was not likely to see improvement in the coming years, I decided that it was OK to allow myself to trade a little bit of the future for a little bit of living for the moment. In my case, I robbed the retirement fund to fulfill the dream by selling one of several rental properties! AND... I have no regrets!
My prior Ferrari experience was zero. With my mobility issues, I decided that I would head down to the local Ferrari store & if I could get my sorry butt down into one and back out again, I was gonna do it! Of course it had to be an F1 because my left side is weak & there was no way for me to operate a clutch.*
Originally I thought that my price point would restrict me to a 355, but I wasn't really that keen on the early F1 gearbox. No reason why; I just figured that the 360 was probably new & improved. And man did I love the sleekness of the 360! My requirements were that the only color for me was Rosso Corsa with the tan interior. Anything other than a red Ferrari was just a bit less exciting. And a black interior was an absolute deal breaker! Tubi or Capristo exhaust was a big plus factor, as were Challenge grills, shields, and hopefully something other than the factory standard wheels (which I was never crazy about!). Seeking a car with less than 20K miles & armed with a budget of $80 - $100K, Thus began the search.
They had a wonderful example in the showroom at the local dealer, but it was $125K and apparently without a lot of wiggle room. Anyway, the internet can be your friend when you're in the hunt. I found one online at an out of state Ferrari dealer for $110K, a bit north of my desired price point. When I inquired, they told me that it had just been sold. But a few days later they called me back & said that the guy returned it - something about the wife bringing down the hammer. I don't know... It sounded a little fishy to me. Fortunately, they had records & I was able to track down the mechanic, Andy Falbo, who had done the recent service for the previous owner. Anyway, we made a deal & after a PPI, I had the car shipped to CO, never having seen it.
It was Colorado & it was October when the transport arrived. I knew that my driving opportunities were going to be minimal until the following spring. Thankfully she sat in my heated garage tethered to the trickle charger throughout the winter months.
There were a couple of minor cosmetic issues noted when I got my first good look. A slight dent in the rear challenge grille & a couple of wheels suffering from curb rash. I was so excited that it just wasn’t a big deal! When I first got her out in the warm weather, I felt that the AC wasn’t cooling as it should. Searching in this forum I found that these cars can crank out the icy air along with the best! Anyway, it was time for my 1st visit to the local dealer, and time for an oil change… just so that I knew for myself that all was fresh before I started accumulating any miles.*
When setting up the appointment with the dealer, I inquired about the cost for an oil change. When told that it would be around $1,200.00, I said “No, you don’t understand; I just want the oil changed.” Dealer: “Hrumph! We almost never do just an oil change; there is much more to it than that!” Me: “Look, I’m not a rock star; nor am I a professional athlete. Just an average guy who is trying to live his dream.” Anyway, I managed to get the icy cold AC restored and an oil change for under $800.
Hey, I knew that you don’t worry about fuel economy or repair costs if you want to own a Ferrari. But after that exchange, the dealer lost a bit of credibility. I kind of felt that their primary interest was to see how deep they could get into my wallet!
While the operation of an Italian exotic is not quite a year round possibility on the highways of Colorado, each time that I was able to drop down into the cockpit was an*exhilarating experience! And CO provided me with my one and only touring experience in the 360. The mountains and the*straightaways between Denver and Durango offer an amazing road experience for any enthusiast! That roundtrip added about 750 miles to the*odometer, all in one chunk. But, oh what an experience!
Over the next couple of years, the prospects of my increasing weakness became a reality and I decided to retire and say goodbye to the snow & cold of CO winters. A single level home in Phoenix seemed to be our destiny. One would guess that might have been a good time to part ways from my prancing pony. One would have guessed wrong! What better place to enjoy the benefits of Ferrari ownership than the Valley of the Sun!
One of the benefits of relocating to PHX was the opportunity to re-boot the care & maintenance of my 360 with Andy Falbo at Ferrari Motor Service. I had become acquainted with Andy thru our original introduction while I was in the pre purchase, due diligence phase of my 2007 search/purchase.
Before the AZ move, Andy had become my go-to guy for telephone tech support. He was so gracious, and obviously possessed a wealth of knowledge. Prior to my first visit to the FMS shop in Fountain Hills back in ‘08, I was unaware of Andy’s credentials. The first thing that I noticed was the vintage Indy type race car with its Andy Falbo lettering. Who knew that he had been a race car driver? Talk about standing in the ultimate man cave!
Anyway, I ultimately learned that Andy was a Fiat/Ferrari test driver, a Ferrari factory trained mechanic, and formerly the chief mechanic on the Ferrari Challenge team in North America.
Upon our move to AZ in January of 2011, I had my F360 transported directly to FMS in Fountain Hills for routine service. I’m sure there are other good and trustworthy Ferrari mechanics out there, but Andy’s demeanor and character had spoken volumes to me, and I became a loyal customer and fan!
I always knew that the end of my hands-on Ferrari love affair was one day going to end out of necessity. Late 2013 & into 2014 is when I finally started to entertain the idea of selling the Ferrari in favor of something that was a bit easier to extricate myself from. However, I still experienced that feeling of total joy whenever I was behind the wheel! So this has been an evolutionary process for me! It wasn’t until this Spring ’15 that I finally made the decision. I got her polished up and ready to show. With 26,230 miles on the odometer (about 8,400 of them that I can take credit for) I drove to a local park and took some beautiful photos. However, there I was, enjoying the ride and falling in love again! When I got back into my garage, I felt that I sorta, kinda bounced out of the drivers seat... and, heck, I could postpone this for a tad longer.
Well, I have lasted for another 6 months. But the reality of the situation has finally caught up to me as I found myself more frequently avoiding my beloved Ferrari because of my physical challenges. She still looks mighty awesome sitting in my garage, But I really need to find something a lot more accommodating for a senior citizen having some strength & mobility issues. Off she went to Fountain Hills and our old friend Andy for a little spritzing before she goes on the block. Oh my gosh! I do love that ride across town!
I have enjoyed the sights, sounds, and pleasures of Ferrari ownership, but now its time to move on!
I hope you all will enjoy this brief video slideshow presentation...
Regards to All!