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Discussion Starter #1
Hello everyone…

I’m a newbie here and recently joined this forum in hopes of educating myself on Ferrari ownership. I am interested in purchasing a 550 and am looking for realistic feedback on maintaining a Maranello. Current prices appear almost fully depreciated and this GT stunning! Purchasing the car outright is not a concern, but maintaining is!

I have read so many spectacular reports about the 550 here and elsewhere that I was confident this would be my next purchase in 2008. That is until I came across an article by Michael Sheehan, “Can You Afford $10.27 per Mile?” http://www.ferraris-online.com/pages/article.php?reqart=SCM_200612_SS

I expected to see the belt changes and random repairs like bushings, hoses and odd electrical issues that I am familiar with on Italian cars. However, some of the repairs really surprised me for a modern vehicle, like needing new shocks, steering box and power steering rack on a car with just over $25,000 miles.

The article ends with repair expenses of appx $65k for a vehicle which is 22,000 miles out of warranty. Roughly $15k was due to personalization or modification reducing the core repair/maintenance expenses to around $50k.

Are these maintenance expenses inline with others experiences? Unfortunately, the complexity of a modern 12 is beyond my ability to perform my own maintenance, therefore, I want to be diligent in my expectations before I make a final purchase.

Any helpful feedback would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks,

Robert
 

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The 550 example Mike uses seems a bit high. However the largest cost on any new Ferrari is depreciation. Most 550's will now be fully depreciated so the biggest hit to the wallet has already been covered by the former owner (s). If you cut Mike's number another way, in 8 years the car has averaged $6,250 in maintenance costs. Some of it has been unlucky and some routine. A larger than normal amount also seems to have been spent on tires. If you plan on $2-3k per year with a $5-7k major service every 4 years you will probably be OK.

In addition, the car Mike uses as an example is an earlier 98. These tended to have more early car "teething" problems (notice quite a bit spend on hose leaks and failed sensors/switches). The later 550s did not have many of these problems.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Thanks Boxer...$3-5k per year plus a major service every 3-4 years is inline with what I thought would be reasonable.

I read some of your prior posts regarding your search for a 550, but did not see the year of the 550 you ended up purchasing. Are year models 2000 and later generally considered a better bet in terms of maintenance and reliability?

Thanks again!

Robert
 

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Thanks Boxer...$3-5k per year plus a major service every 3-4 years is inline with what I thought would be reasonable.

I read some of your prior posts regarding your search for a 550, but did not see the year of the 550 you ended up purchasing. Are year models 2000 and later generally considered a better bet in terms of maintenance and reliability?

Thanks again!

Robert
The one I purchased was a 2000. I do know that the 96/97 models tended to have more issues and that several changes were made during the production run. While I did not have mine very long (but would buy another, and hope to some day in the not to distant future) I did put a large number of miles (5000+) on it and never had a single problem.
 

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Go buy your 550. I own a 99 model. And it's the greatest car ever created.
Ferraris cost a bunch to maintain. I do my own. So what, there is nothing like it.
The problem is competent help when you need it.
My car was serviced prior to delevery by a Ferrari dealer in CA, For a small fortune.
I had to do it again, and go tighten all the loose bolts, Hell the radiator had one bolt left holding it on. (and one of the fuel filters THAT THEY DID NOT CHANGE, was hanging loose
Needless to say I own a motorcycle repair facility and I bought the manual and got to it.
I'm scared to say it has been bullet proof, because I had a little problem recently that kept me up a few nights (literally) till I figured it out. Once again no one could help, the local dealer did not even return one of my calls. And every car guy in town had no experience with the V12.
BUT
I would not trade that car for anything.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Thanks Boxer and AndyMetric…

I appreciate the feedback and encouragement. I’m relieved to hear that this car has been manageable to maintain. I do hope to buy a 550 over the next six months!

I also found an interesting long term 550 review on Edmunds.com.

http://www.edmunds.com/apps/vdpcontainers/do/vdp/articleId=49771/pageNumber=1?synpartner=edmunds&pageurl=www.edmunds.com/used/2001/ferrari/550/100074787/roadtestarticle.html&articleId=49771

The Edmunds 550 was purchased new and seemed to have a lot of unusual problems for the first few months, then settled down and was relatively problem free. Hopefully, I will find a similar well maintained car in which the previous owner has had an opportunity to shake out some of its initial problems.

Another great bit of info from the article was their overall positive opinion of Ferrari of Beverly Hills since this is my closest dealer for maintenance and repair.

Thanks again for your help and advice!

Robert
 

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Here is another long term 550 test result:

From Evo Magazine


Ferrari 550


Text: Harry Metcalfe / Photos: Kenny P
July 2006

Hefty servicing bills smarted but overall depreciation was good

Never before have I owned a car that could make a tyre depot so happy
30,420 miles in just 18 months. That must be some sort of record for a Ferrari. On the one hand it’s meant that I’ve seen rather too many bills land on my desk; on the other, those miles have been among the most enjoyable I’ve ever driven. But has the monumental spend been worth it?
S858 XAN arrived at evo at the tail end of 2004. December is perhaps not the best time of year to start driving a car as glamorous as a Ferrari – most exotics tend to be locked away outside the sunny ‘driving season’ – but the flipside is that prices tend to be at their lowest during the darkest months, and £60,000 for a 15,100-mile 550 Maranello seemed like very good value indeed at the time.
The car had a full Ferrari service history (with the last service having been carried out just 200 miles previously), and it was red – in my view the only choice for your very first Ferrari. Only two faults were apparent at the time of purchase. On the bodywork front there was a slight bubbling of corrosion on both the inside of the bonnet and where the nearside rear wing meets the rear valance – something I never got round to having fixed as neither area got any bigger, such is the peculiar nature of corroding aluminium.
Inside, the leather covering the dash had peeled away from the base of the windscreen. Apparently Ferrari changed its glue supplier briefly, and any car built during this period (including, unfortunately, this one) that is left parked in glaring sunlight can suffer from the glue melting in the heat, allowing the leather to shrink back away from the screen. From the driver’s seat it wasn’t obvious, but from the outside it got to the stage where I recently decided to book the car in to have it repaired at an estimated cost of £800.
With the 550 pressed into service as my everyday, whatever-the-weather steed, things were soon going swimmingly, the car proving to be a very fine companion indeed. The seats, in particular, deserve a special mention as some of the best you’ll encounter in any car, anywhere. Proper side bolsters hold you in place when pressing on, yet they remain comfortable far longer than the optional sports seats I had lusted after when first looking for a car.
Another nice surprise was the range afforded by the 550’s enormous 100-litre-plus fuel tank. Combined with typical fuel consumption in the 16-18mpg range, 320 miles per tank was the norm, and I even ventured beyond 360 miles on some occasions. That makes a big difference when you’re using a car to cover big distances regularly.
One somewhat more costly thing that quickly got my attention was the 550’s appetite for tyres. Never before have I owned a car that could make a tyre depot so happy. Around 6000 miles was the limit for a set of Pirelli P Zero Rossos; the rears would be visibly worn by then, while the fronts would seem OK at a casual glance but would be badly worn on their inside edge, causing serious deterioration in the handling. I had the geometry checked several times and it was always spot-on, so this type of uneven wear at the front would seem to be normal. But at this wear rate, and with tyres costing around £900 for a set of four, it would mean keeping the 550 in tyres alone was going to cost 15p per mile!
After working through three sets of Pirellis, I decided to give some Michelin Pilot Sports a try instead. While there was a significant decrease in the amount of grip, they lasted almost twice as long as each set of Pirellis had. Another advantage was that the 550’s playful handling could be enjoyed at much lower speeds. In fact, I’ve never before encountered such a gulf between two makes of tyres on the same car.
More often than not I would take the Maranello the long way home. Its ability to shrink around you meant that it never felt in the least bit intimidating to hustle down a typical B-road. That may well explain why the tyres didn’t last too well, but with the car being so enjoyable to drive on such roads, I could never resist. I’m no ‘driving god’, as the bloke with the white teeth on the telly might put it, but not once during those 30,000 miles did I ever encounter that horrible feeling when a car does something unexpected when you’re pushing on. Yes, the rear would soon step out, but it did so progressively, so stopping it getting out of hand with a slight lift and a bit of corrective lock was child’s play. Never once did it hint at snapping back the other way, either. For a 200mph, near-500bhp, rear-drive car, it was nothing short of remarkable.
Obviously, the enormous servicing costs can’t go without a mention here. While we spent a small fortune keeping the 550 in fine fettle, that’s mainly because we packed in so many miles. Do 12,500 miles a year and you can expect the annual service bill to be around £1800. On top of that, you’ll need to budget another £400 every third year to replace the cambelts, but the really scary bill comes at the 45,000-mile point, when all four lambda sensors need changing, adding a whopping £1500 to the usual servicing cost.
Other costs for our car included a Ferrari Power Train warranty, which saved us a hefty bill for a new gearbox but seems to be of dubious value as a car gets older due to the increasingly limited cover. Meanwhile the 550’s only breakdown, caused by the failure of a £27 fuel cut-off solenoid, resulted in a bill showing a ridiculous £634 charge for labour.
In July 2005 I had a Permagard paint protection treatment applied to the Ferrari. It seemed to work very well for some time, but after around eight months there were signs that water wasn’t beading up quite so readily, the treatment clearly having started to wear off. Still, it was a really tough test in view of the life that this particular 550 lived, so at £145 for eight months’ protection, it still seemed pretty good value.
Eighteen months after the Ferrari arrived, I was very tempted to continue running it at the same frantic pace for another 30,000 miles, but it’s a Ferrari and deep down I couldn’t bring myself to do it. The 550 had been such a special car, it really didn’t deserve to be treated as an everyday hack any longer. It ended on a high, still running superbly, and that’s how I want to remember it.
Taking servicing, tyres, fuel and depreciation into account, the overall running costs worked out at 105p per mile. That might sound like a chunky figure, but according to Glass’s Guide it’s identical to the running cost of a brand new BMW 535d M Sport, and a world away from something like a BMW M6 (192p) or Aston Martin Vanquish (364p). And to help reduce costs you could check out the Ferrari clubs and befriend one of the many Ferrari specialists out there, rather than using a franchised dealer.
Even at over £1 per mile, it was more than worth it. I’m sure the 550 will go on to be a classic Ferrari one day (if it isn’t already), in the same way that the ’60s Daytona became one over time. At today’s market value of around £60,000 for a low-mileage 550, they look spectacular value too.
The only trouble I’m having now is deciding what on earth to replace the 550 with. It’s not an easy decision, but I think I have the answer: something Italian again, and with a V12 engine too. Of course, it’s going to need to be pretty special to top running a Ferrari 550 on a daily basis, but I think this one just might be able to do it…
 

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Hi Viabono,

I've gone through the same process when I bought my 550 6 months ago. The Michael Sheehan article is a bit of an exaggeration and it scared me as well. A lot of the $10.27 cost per mile is actually attributable to depreciation, which is admittedly very high on modern V12 Fs, but 550's are now a bit of a bargain.

Subsequently I've put a lot of work into preparing a spreadsheet to predict total ownership cost based on the EVO tests that Boxer quoted and the knowledge on FerrariLife and another forum. The spreadsheet was done for the Dutch market so it has some peculiarities but it will give you a great idea on what to expect and so I have attached it for you. [EDIT: No I haven't, see below!]

Since owning the car I've found: I've predicted fuel consumption accurately, I've way underestimated the mileage you can get out of rear tyres (but this depends on your driving style), and I've underestimated depreciation. Costs so far have been below what I predicted.

Just a short manual to the spreadsheet: I've put in prices of actual cars advertised on the internet in about 7 European countries between March and June 2007. Importing a car into Holland incurs a specific road tax called BPM which is calculated on the new price, on a sliding scale. You can ignore all that obviously. For purchases prices in the states you can pretty much swap the Euro sign for a $ sign (as prices have fallen since I started looking). Which, all in all, would mean that I would expect you to come to between $1.5 and $2.0 per mile total ownership cost (includes fuel, tyres, insurance, you name it), depending largely on mileage.

Have a look at the spreadsheet and if you find some time to adapt it for the American market, then please post it here for the benefit of other (prospective) owners.

OK!!!! After typing this e-mail I find that I can't attach XL files, nor ZIP files, and if I embed it into a DOC file it is too large. Andrew - you need to do something about your rules, IMHO - the competition is much friendlier in this regard.

If you want the spreadsheet I can mail it to you. Send me your e-mail address. I would much rather post it, though, so that people can get it themselves and I don't have to waste my time typing this again and again.


Onno



Never pay again for live sex! | Hot girls doing naughty stuff for free! | Chat for free!
 

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Hi JazzyO,

That’s a very generous offer and yes, I am very interested in reviewing your spreadsheet. My email address is xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

An all inclusive $2 per mile is acceptable to me. I have not kept track of expenses on my current car (C6 Corvette) but gas mileage is around 10.6 miles per gallon around town and the tires are in the same general price and wear range as the Ferrari‘s. Insurance is something I need to check in to soon. Insurance on the Corvette is actually reasonable considering the performance and while I anticipate it will be higher on a Ferrari I’m guessing it won’t deviate significantly from the Vette. The real distinction is of course maintenance. The Vette’s 400 hp LS2 is simple and almost bulletproof. Ferrari is exotic and complex, but that’s part of the reason these cars are so exciting.

I’m currently following the inventory in the Southern California while trying to educate myself on the car and costs of ownership. I’m hoping to pick up a 550 at a fair price between Feb & April. I’ve actually got my eye on a one owner car that is very close to what I’m looking for, but for now I’m going to try to be patient and watch this car to see if it moves or continues to sit at its current offering price.

Thank you again for offering to send me your spreadsheet and providing additional feedback on 550 ownership!

Robert
 

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Discussion Starter #13
WOW...Just saw the photos. That is a fantastically stunning car!! Great pictures…I wish the air was that clear here in Los Angeles. Gorgeous 550…thanks for posting them!!!
 

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Something to get you salivating a bit - well, at least she does that to me :D


Onno
Your car is looking better everytime I see it, Onno. Now I can see the beautiful lines the car shows.
 

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Onno,

I never get tired of looking at your wonderful 550; damn she is hot looking....


Mario


~
 

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Discussion Starter #17
Onno,

Thank you very much for the spread sheet. I’ve been so busy lately I have not had a chance to open it until tonight. A couple things come to mind. 1st, that is a sensational amount of detail and work! 2nd, I’m guessing you have a very large flat screen monitor because I need at least three 17 inch monitors to cover that spreadsheet.:)

I am going to take you up on your suggestion to adapt it for the U.S. market, but first I’ve emailed it to my office where I have a much larger screen and up to date excel software to modify the columns.

Thank you again. This is the greatest amount of thought and detail I’ve seen and it will be a huge help in evaluating one car vs. another. I’ll try to post my results as I continue my quest for a 550.

Your 550 is spectacular!!!

Thanks,

Robert
 

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Onno,

Thanks for the feedback, just upped the file size to 2MB for Docs and added both ZIP and XLS to the allowed file types also at 2MB.

Cheers
 

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Robert, I'm glad you can find some use for the work I've done. And thanks for the compliment on my Blue Roaring Beast - that car of mine is really every bit as good and as beautiful as I was hoping for. I still can't help staring at my desktop...

For anyone else out there who is interested: please find the spreadsheet attached. Andrew, thanks for changing the rules!


Onno



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