Welcome Steve. Great for you that your dream car is coming close. I love the 348 (although I would not buy one, I'd rather have a 328, but that is just a matter of personal preference), it is a Ferrari in every conceiveable way and therefore worthy of total and utter worship.
The first point I'd like to make is that a lot of Ferrari owners are normal people with not that much money to throw around who just sacrifice a lot for the priviledge of owning one of these cars. You will definitely not be the only one to have to dig deep for realising your dream.
Second, within most Ferrari circles there is preciously little snobbism in my experience. If you own one, you're part of the club, no matter what it is. If you don't own one but have your heart in the right place, you are often still part of the club.
Thirdly, I cannot recommend enough that you do your homework before buying your 348. I spent several months this year gathering information (particularly concerning costs) before I bought my 550 in June. I am but a "poor" engineer and have to run this car off my salary so I needed to know what to expect. Work it out in detail (insurance, storage, mileage per year, mpg, tyres, brake pads, labour rates, services and so on) - it is the only way you can find out what a car like this really costs. The info is available on the forums, and you can ask 348 owners - they'll be happy to tell you. Once I had the necessary information, I started putting every 550 I saw for sale into the spreadsheet. This allowed me to calculate a cost per month for each one and this way you start understanding pricing and what is a bargain and what not. Should I buy the cheap one with lots of miles, or the expensive one with very few? It is a very difficult question to answer and almost always is down to the invidual car itself: how many miles, what work was done, what needs to be done soon, what is the asking price?
Once you finally have done all the homework, and you give yourself the green light, you can forget worrying about it and just enjoy the car.
Fourth, I would not recommend getting a loan for your car if that is the only way you can afford it. Personally, I could buy the car cash but only just. So I took a loan for 20% of the value of the car just to make sure that if something bad would happen I could cover it. I would not have bought the car if I needed a 50% loan or more.
Best of luck with the hunt - I found a thoroughly enjoyable process, and it paid off for me in a big way finding a really special 550. I hope you find your 348 soon.
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