Pulled the trigger - 456M GT - TdF - 1999
As you might have read elsewhere on the forums, I purchased a 456M GT this week in Germany. Delivery is 28th of March and I wanted to share a little of my experience here - it might help others.
This is my first Ferrari and I'm relatively young, so quite anxious about how everything will turn out. Always wanted the 456, had a model of it in TdF at home for 15 years I think. Still got it.
Some details about the buying experience:
I have been following the market for 4-5 years, sometimes more intensively, sometimes less. Mostly focused on Europe, as it's just not feasible to get US cars imported. I always wanted an M GT, either Pozzi Blu or TdF, preferably beige interior.
My feeling always has been that a good car, no matter what the bargains out there suggest, will be at least € 50k and more likely to be in the upper range of that. For me, buying from a reputable dealer and getting a car with complete history was important and those are quite rare as it happens, particularly if you want a certain colour. I have only really seen 2 or 3 that seemed acceptable (on paper) during my search.
The car I picked now is a 1999 (I would have preferred a later model, but also have not heard about significant changes across the M model years), it has 17000 km, most of which were accumulated in its early years. It had one owner only and an immaculate history and full documentation, including the original contract. There was no history of any significant issues, the tires were almost new, battery has been replaced in 2009 and the belts were done in the same year.
The interior is in excellent shape, the carpets are like new. It is blu scuro, which initially I thought was less elegant than beige, but it has grown on me now. I also feel it will be hold up better as the car gets older and used more.
The dealer is Eberlein in Germany, which is the country's biggest Ferrari Dealer and also a Classiche partner. I contacted them and after getting some info, I flew in from London, where I currently live, and looked at the car for half a day.
I did not have a formal PPI from another dealer or similar, but had a DEKRA inspection, which is an independent German car inspection company. They do a generic review and not necessarily focused on the specific make / model, which is a downside. I looked at the car in quite some detail myself and all the minor issues we identified were recorded with the dealer and will be rectified before delivery. The car will also get a full big service incl. belts / fluids etc.
I did in fact not get a chance to drive it - weather was horrible, but we did run the engine and it seemed very smooth at idle. Sound was great too! I was on the lookout for the usual concerns that you hear on the 456, windows, sticky interior, valves etc and did my research as far as possible. On the less obvious items I did rely on the dealers assessment, the mechanic was with us as well, which is why I wanted a reputable dealer that I could build a relationship with. There is definitely some risk here, but I felt comfortable. In the end, there is always a little luck involved.
After seeing the car I took about a week to think about it, as I mentioned this was mostly about the risk of buying such a car at my age and the required investment in maintaining it. In the end I felt though in worst case I will have to spend a few grand and if I can't maintain it or priorities change sell it again - I could live with the loss and would at least have had the experience of owning my dream car for a while. So that's when I signed the papers You only live once.
Money was transferred and I had all the papers of the car with me next day. These are now going to the insurance and I have reserved my number plate in the meantime and am now waiting until the 28th like a kid for christmas.
As I live in London and the car will be living in the garage in Germany, she will be mostly sitting on the battery tender and get driven when I get a chance to fly over over the weekend.
I know these cars want to be driven, but I'd rather have her in my garage than in the dealer's showroom! In the end, there are not so many of them and I did not want to take the risk of trying to find one 5 or 10 years down the line. You never know what happens.
I'll keep you updated and I hope you find this interesting / useful. In the meantime, here are a few pics.
(I posted the same thing on fchat, just for reference.)