Ferrari with possible speedometer rollback - Ferrari Life
 
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post #1 of 14 Old 08-15-2007, 03:23 PM Thread Starter
 
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Ferrari with possible speedometer rollback

I have encountered a 328 that is for sale by an independant dealer. A carfax check revealed a possible speedometer rollback. In 1990 the car had over 19,000 miles on it. In 1992 it had just over 3000 miles reported on the speedometer.

The carfax report warned of a possible speedometer rollback. In the best case, the milage is at least 16,000 more than the car now shows, but could be much more. Perhaps the discrepancy is a result of a speedometer replacement. At worst it is purposeful deception at sometime way back in the history of the car. In either case it results in a large shadow being cast on the cars history. In addition, the car has been sold about 12 times since new. The only record the dealer could provide was the carfax report. After the carfax report was faxed to me I called the salesman and told him that was the most interesting carfax report that I had ever seen. The salesman started with a song and dance about that being a data entry error and that someone put one too many digits on the number at some DMV. Since we were talking by phone, I don't know if he kept a straight face when he tried that explanation.

I told him that no serious Ferrari buyer would buy that car. He told me that he agreed and that the took the report to his boss and they agreed that they should wholesale the car. The salesman said that he was suprised that I even called back. I told him the reason I was calling back was to tell him that I would not even consider buying that car at anywhere near the price range that we had been discussing.

I asked if they had records for the car. He said that they did. I said, I mean going all the way back to when it was new. He said that they thought the guy who sold them the car had those records. He further explained that the person who sold the car to them was a private individual who was a friend of the salesmans boss. I cannot imagine that records exist which were not delivered to the dealership along with the car.

All the above having been said, the car is significantly devalued as a result, but is not worthless. I told the salesman that if they could produce the records, I would consider making an offer in the wholesale price range and asked if they would be interested in talking about that. He said that he was intrested in such an offer.

The purist among you will probably advise that I walk away from the car. I may indeed do that. On the other hand, assuming that the car is otherwise a good car and checks out mechanically and cosmetically, this might be a good chance to buy the car at a rock bottom price. I realize that when I go to sell the car, if I ever do, this issue will result in a lower sales price. I would never misrepresent the car to a future buyer. I tend to keep things. I still own a 1973 mgb that I bought new. My estate will probably sell the Ferrari that I buy.

I would only consider buying the car if they will take a wholesale price, and the car does well in a pre purchase inspection. I would also have to spend the money to have a full service, especially if the service records are unavailable. The salesman could not tell me when the last service was done. He said that they had spent $3,000 on the car but could not tell me exactly what was done to the car. I doubt that it had the timing belt changed for that price.

Having written the long explanation of the situation, I now seek the advice of those of you here on the forum. First, your opinions and observations about the situation....second, the value of the car. What is the wholesale value of a 1983 328 GTS with the history that I have described, in an otherwise very good condition?

Thanks in advance for your advice.

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post #2 of 14 Old 08-15-2007, 06:30 PM
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It would be such a tempting sale if they had offered even less than wholesale. With the bad history uncovered, and if the car checks out well with the PPI, why not?

1. 12 previous owners - may mean that this car did not have the loving tender care it deserved and had been passed around too many times. I would say that this may have been more of a headache of the previous owners. Buyer Beware!

2. With unknown miles, it may be close to its breaking point. Even though everything checked out, no man-made item lasts forever. Think of it as a ticking time bomb, and see which owner will take the hit.

3. Is it really worth the temporary gratification versus the possible headache repairing or even selling the car once you get fed up with the breakdowns.

4. It is easier to let go of something less valuable compared to something you had sacrificed for, or patiently waited for. Be patient, your ferrari will find you

my 2 cents

Just my 2 cents...

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post #3 of 14 Old 08-15-2007, 07:12 PM Thread Starter
 
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Thanks Pete

Pete,

Thank you for your input. I may have been wrong about 12 previous owners. That was a conclusion that I made based upon the fact that it has been registered 12 times. It could be that one of the owners moved a lot and registered it in the state where that owner moved to. I really can't tell how many owners it has had from the carfax info, only the number of times it has been registered. It is curious that it began in South Florida and ended up again in South Florida. If the dealership comes up with the records for the car that mystery will perhaps unravel.

The real issue is the condition of the car. If it indeed had 12 owners, I would agree that those owners would not have cared for the car in the same way that a longer term owner would have. I would hope that a good PPI by a certified Ferrari mechanic would disclose its true condition. I also appreciate that when the dealership discovered the problem they did not try to hide it from me, although the salesman did make some lame attempts at minimizing it.

I contacted a friend who is in the town where the car is offered for sale and is knowledgable about cars, although not Ferrari specific. He likes Morgans. He is familiar with the dealership and tells me that the dealership has a good reputation in the community there. That is consistent with the decision of the dealership to wholesale the car rather than stake the reputation of the dealership on a questionable car.

My friend will stop by the dealership tomorrow and look over the car. He will pay particular attention to the details that would indicate high mileage, seat wear, pedal wear etc. He will also casually ask about the history of the car and if the mileage is original.

My friend explained that when a dealership wholesales a car they sell to a "wholesaler" who buys it for less than he thinks it will bring at an auction. The wholesaler then takes the car to the auction and sells it, betting on it bringing more money that he paid for it. A risky business it would seem for the wholesaler.

I plan on calling the dealership and having a frank conversation with the guy in charge. I plan on telling him that I know how the process works and ask him to contact me after the wholesaler has made his offer. If my friend reports to me that the car is in excellent shape, I will tell the dealer that I will give him a bit more than the wholesaler offers.

If the dealer agrees to that procedure, it will generate a number, a price at which the dealer is ready to sell the car. Whether or not that number is genuinely the price offered by the wholesaler I will have no way to know. However it will establish the price that I can then decide whether or not to accept taking into account all the factors.

There is actually the possiblity here that the "mileage problem" is rather innocent, that is the replacement of the speedometer. I would bet against that and would lean in favor of a rollback. In any case it will establish a price that I am either willing to pay, or not willing to pay.

I welcome any comments or feedback on my approach to this issue.

Pete, you are right, eventually the right car will find me. I have no emotional attachment to this car or any other. My Scot heritage however compels me to seek the "great deal", but not without caution.

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post #4 of 14 Old 08-15-2007, 07:56 PM
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Pretty scary, Tony. As a nit-picky detail, and 1983 would not be a 328, but rather a 308 QV. I wonder what the title says?

This could be the can of worms of all time. I would only touch it if I could assertain that it had not be wrecked and rebuilt. Then I would assume that it needs everything, and spend a year or two on it myself. If you don't have the time or skills to do that, it could end up costing you a bloody fortune. Parts and labor can eat you alive on these cars. -Steve
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post #5 of 14 Old 08-15-2007, 09:36 PM
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If you are planning on keeping and driving the car long term, then the only things I would really be worrying about are:

condition
condition
condition

On a 25+ year old car, I would really not put to much emphasis on the mileage or number of owners (unless this is an investment or you are intending to show the car).

If the 308 QV checks out visually, then I would get a very through PPI done. Have both a compression and leak done test done on the engine, check to make sure the chassis is straight, and go thru the body with a flashlight checking for rust. If it passes then you might have a good deal on your hands but factor a large service into the price to replace all the belts, liquids, and rubber hoses into the price.

Good luck.
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post #6 of 14 Old 08-15-2007, 10:50 PM
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I've heard that speedo's are very easy to disconnect on 308's, which beg's the question, how many seemingly legitimate 308's have accurate mileages? However, this one looks suspiciously like it has been clocked.

As Boxer said, condition is probably more important if you are planning on keeping it for the long term. If you only plan to keep it for 2 or 3 years, it boils down to what you can get it for, what needs doing to it and what you realistically expect to get for it on resale. All said and done, even tatty and high mileage 308's have a value, so I wouldn't consider it worthless.

I'm not sure that the number of owners makes a huge difference on a near 25 yr old car.

You are doing the right thing by thoroughly checking it out, and if the PPI comes back good, make them a really low offer, afterall they might say YES.

Good luck.

Archie
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post #7 of 14 Old 08-16-2007, 03:31 AM Thread Starter
 
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Correction

Thanks guys for your insights. Also I must make a correction. I mistyped the year of the car. It is actually a 1987 328GTS.

I was earlier looking at a 1983 308 GV which I have since walked away from.

The dealership, before they knew of the problem, put a price tag on this car on their lot for 49k, and advertised it on ebay with a buy it now price of $44k and an opening bid price of 40k. Nobody placed a bid on it. My thought at the time was that it could be bought in the $40k range. I am now thinking low to perhaps mid 30's depending upon condition.

Recently a 328 GTS with 75,000 miles sold on ebay for about $31,500. I am thinking of an offer in that range. A nicer 328 with very low mileage received bids of $47k but did not meet the reserve. The dealer wants $65k for that car.

I just wish I knew what the wholesale price would be for this car.

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post #8 of 14 Old 08-16-2007, 03:41 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tonyjohnson View Post
That was a conclusion that I made based upon the fact that it has been registered 12 times. It could be that one of the owners moved a lot and registered it in the state where that owner moved to. I really can't tell how many owners it has had from the carfax info, only the number of times it has been registered. It is curious that it began in South Florida and ended up again in South Florida. If the dealership comes up with the records for the car that mystery will perhaps unravel.
This fact is correct, 12 different carfax registries does not mean different owners. The registry always registers transfers like bank transfers from dealers, or state registry. But you should clearly be able to trace carefully on how many previous owners the vehicle had either from examination of the carfax, the dealer, or through the DMV or MVC.

Try checking autotrader, cars.com, dupont registry and or some auto sales magazines for price comparisons. Gives you better bargaining power. Trust me, once you offer cash, its always king rather than waiting for the wholesaler to auction off the vehicle. I would offer on the low end of the wholesale price at cash provided the mileage discreapancy.

Use those discreapancies as bargaining chips to knock the price down as low as possible as a hedge in case you need a lotta repairs.

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post #9 of 14 Old 08-16-2007, 05:09 AM
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Tony, $30K would be a good price if the car is in fair condition and isn't going to cost you too much to service and fix the minor issues you'd expect with a 20 year old car. If you can fix everything for less than $10K, I'd say it's a good deal.
However, I don't know how US values compare to Euro prices? In the UK, An 87 328 is going to be in the region of £23K GBP (poor, no history) - £35K GBP for a mint low miler with a huge history file.

Archie
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post #10 of 14 Old 08-16-2007, 07:55 AM
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Tony,

I almost bought a 348 4 weeks ago. The guy was asking 45K CAN ($41,900 US) saying in the description no documented history, but engine and clutch runs strong. Figured what the hell, major and new clutch aprox 10K would be a good deal.

So I sent him an email asking question about when the last major was performed or at least the belts and other mechanical related questions and how the interior and paint was. I asked for more pictures and asked why the side sills were not painted but the front and rear were. His reply was if you’re looking for a perfect car this is not. Also it had no tools and no manuals.

So called and he said the add had been up for a week and received lots of calls but nobody was interested when they heard what he had to say. So I asked him and he said, the A/C components work but only warm air. The right rear top fender in pushed in as if someone leaned on it too hard about 8X4 inches in size with no marks or damaged paint so his evaluation was it just needed to be popped out. The driver door had no stopper so when he opened the door it slightly bent the edge of the fender. He had no clue on engine status besides it runs very good and clutch is strong but the engine picture was very, very dirty like it wasn’t cleaned in 5-6 years or more. He said there was a little ticking noise that he couldn’t locate and was not based on speed just when the car was running. He said he was going to let it go for 40K CAN ($37,300 US). So I said I would call up Ferrari in Toronto and get an evaluation over the phone on what it should require to get it up to spec.

The Service guy said it was a little of a gamble to buy that car and could become a money pit but proceeded to give me prices. So a major, timing belt, bearings, water pump, all fluids, valve gasket leaks if any, new clutch and updated bearing if needed, compression and leak down test, side sills painted to match, fender dent popped out and repainted if needed, fix door stopper and fender, inspect A/C and change hoses only if cracked and an updated A/C kit to the new non harmful Freon stuff (compressors or condenser not included) would be a grand total of 26K taxes in. So for 40K plus 26K is 66K for the car or I can buy one with half the mileage, full history impeccable paint and interior from an independent Ferrari dealer for 62K. Not worth it…I said to myself, what else is not working and will be a surprise costing me more $$$

Almost forgot, he had just purchased the car 2 weeks prior and his excuse was the Diablo pictured next to his 348, had just blown a timing chain on the driver side and said he had done considerable damage to his Lambo and his dealer had quoted him 25 to 40K to fix it (blew all the valves and pistons). So he couldn’t justify buying a 348, spending the money to have it overhauled and his Lambo as well.

I told him I would only buy it for 30K ($27,900 US) considering the repairs needed.

It sold last week for 38K ($35,400 US)

Good luck to the next owner…


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post #11 of 14 Old 08-16-2007, 11:45 PM
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Tony,

It is a tuff situation. How long has the dealer had the car? If its been sitting there every buyer that does their homework will probably walk. Did you get a PPI? If so and it checks out then I would offer them a low number. Calculating wholesale would not be easy, I'm not even sure there is a wholesale price as other dealers are not going to want to buy this for fear they can't sell it.
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post #12 of 14 Old 08-17-2007, 05:28 PM Thread Starter
 
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I passed on it.

Thanks for all the advice and information on this situation. For those of you following this saga, my friend looked over the 328. He reported back that he could not tell much from the aluminum break and clutch pedals, but the drivers seat was worn to a much greater degree than one would expect on a car with 27,000 miles on it. In fact, the seat had torn at a seam in one spot.

I passed on the car.

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post #13 of 14 Old 08-17-2007, 09:25 PM
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Tony, it may have been cheap but you will thank yourself in the long run. As we all know, cheap doesn't = good.
Keep on looking and I'm sure you will find a great 308/328 with your name on it.

Archie
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post #14 of 14 Old 08-18-2007, 06:15 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tonyjohnson View Post
Thanks for all the advice and information on this situation. For those of you following this saga, my friend looked over the 328. He reported back that he could not tell much from the aluminum break and clutch pedals, but the drivers seat was worn to a much greater degree than one would expect on a car with 27,000 miles on it. In fact, the seat had torn at a seam in one spot.

I passed on the car.
Good choice, it is so much harder to walk out of a great bargain, but will save you from headaches later. I got my wife at a bargain and now I have headaches for the rest of my life

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