• Dec 9, 2006


Ferraris have often been compared to beautiful women. Like some of the aforementioned companions, they can become high-maintenance over time. Sure, the first couple of years of getting to really know each other are fun (or, in the case of the Ferrari, under warranty). But once the honeymoon is over, however, you might find that your bank account is getting more attention than you are, and that maybe this endeavour is a little more than you bargained for.

Sports Car Market has a story covering the first 6 ½ years of the life of a very-well-maintained Ferrari 550 Maranello. It began life as a $225,000 plaything for a successful real-estate investor in California. The well-documented repair history takes you through 36,000 miles of Ferrari ownership, and illustrates why owning a Ferrari means so much more than being able to simply buy one in the first place.

On the surface, it seems amazing just how much money has been spent on maintaining, personalizing, and repairing this vehicle. It's really all relative, though. For someone of considerable wealth, covering the maintenance costs of a Ferrari is no different than a person of average means picking up the tab to maintain his or her Toyota, Ford, Honda, or Chevy. The Sports Car Market piece is interesting because it provides such an unusually comprehensive look at one particular exotic's total cost of ownership. Make sure you read it through to the end for a great quote from one of the subject car's owners, which helps put it all into perspective.

Like we said, everything's relative.

[Source: Sports Car Market Magazine]


It is amazing how much money is spent on repairing and maintaining this vehicle. Obviously driven hard and enjoyed, here is a quick, but not nearly complete, list of repairs performed to the 550 at the owner's expense:

  • Front ball joints and swaybar bushings
  • Steering Box/power steering pump/steering rack
  • Suspension bushings
  • Radiator R&R for coolant leaks (twice)
  • Instrument panel repair
  • O2 sensor
  • Front & Rear shocks
  • Cam belts/tensioner bearings (twice)
  • Valve job w/all-new valves and guides
  • Oil leak repairs
  • Plus all factory recommended maintenance, tires, etc.

The third owner purchased the Maranello in August of 2006 for $90,00 and had to immediately repair an oil leak to the tune of $1,582. The total out-of pocket repairs over the span of 36,200 miles and approximately 100 months of Ferrari ownership, including depreciation of some $135,000, comes to $200,760.50, or about $5.55/mile. Take out the$135,000 in depreciation, and the number drops to a mere $2.90/mile, or about fifteen times the number that an average Toyota will set you back for the same period.

On the surface, it seems amazing just how much money has been spent on maintaining, personalizing, and repairing this vehicle. It's really all relative, though. For someone of considerable wealth, covering the maintenance costs of a Ferrari is no different than a person of average means picking up the tab to maintain his or her Toyota, Ford, Honda, or Chevy. The Sports Car Market piece is interesting because it provides such an unusually comprehensive look at a single exotic's total cost of ownership. Make sure you read it through to the end for a great quote from one of the subject car's owners. It puts it all into perspective. Like we said, it's all relative.



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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 35 Comments
      • 8 Years Ago
      I guess if you have the money...but to spend a quarter million on a car that has to be constantly repaired at astronomical prices? I don't get it.

      Maybe that's because I'm one of those that doesn't have that kind of money, but even if I did, I can't imagine spending on a car that is so high maintenance.
      • 8 Years Ago
      Lesson learned: when buying an exotic car, drive it as much as you can when it's under warranty, then sell and move on to the next one.
      • 8 Years Ago
      That is not normal maintenence. That car fell apart, hence, it's crap. If you are paying $250,000 for a car, it should at the very least last 100,000 miles without any serious reliability problems.

      Wonder if Masserati's have the same problem... you can buy one for the price of a 7 series, but with all those problems, probably would reach $150,000 in total expenses.
      • 6 Years Ago
      The cost to own an exotic car is irrelevant to someone that can actually afford it. A lot of people want it and do get it but overlook the ownership costs. Majority of the people in this world (including me) wouldn't be able to really justify owning that kind of vehicle because maintenance costs equal the cost of a used car from a local dealership. We all have our wants and they vary tremendously. If I had a choice of buying a Ferrari or a Porsche, which on would I choose? I'd still go with Ferrari. Plus, I really doubt I'd be putting the same amount of miles on that Ferrari as these owners have. That's what my 530 is for! Lastly, why the Ferrari even after reading all of this? It's just self satisfaction and reassurance that I know I've "made" it.
      • 8 Years Ago
      I wonder what will the price be in a few years on the new Ferrari 599, these front engine ferrari's don't do so well on resale.
      http://www.dpccars.com
      Greg A.
      • 8 Years Ago
      Apparently you don't buy a Ferrari, you just borrow it from a Ferrari serviceship.
      • 8 Years Ago
      Reliability in cars is a relatively recent phenomenon. It is also why people buy Porsches for daily drivers rather than Ferraris. Porsche cars are expensive to maintain comparatively, but not as much as the Italians, and they are far, far more reliable.

      If I was going to buy a daily driver exotic, I would probably buy a Carrera GT just for that reason, although the clutch is a bit questionable. Or perhaps the Acura NSX, which was another daily driver, and maybe the new one might be... The Vette, of course.

      I imagine the Lotus cars, using their Toyota engines, might not be too fussy.
      • 8 Years Ago
      Autofan(ny): Your comment is truly remarkable for being a 1st grader. Please enlighten us more.
      • 8 Years Ago
      Of course... I think people automatically assume these cars, simply because they are expensive, are actually built with any type of reliability. That's simply not true.

      You get a car with exotic components and a lot of power, but you're not buying something that was engineered with reliability in mind. In this sense, they're not high quality at all.

      These vehicles are money pits to a degree much higher than "other" cars, plain and simple. To an extent its just the price one pays for such privileges... however, I have to question people who actually continue to pay for repairs when the reasonable thing to do would be to simply buy a new exotic vehicle every time the warranty runs out!
      • 8 Years Ago
      #32 (T): "Speaking of Jay Leno... of all his cars he does NOT own any Ferrari. Before he made it really big, he tried to buy one and they snubbed him, so he won't buy any."

      Do you have a link to the story? Sounds like something I would like to read. Thanks.

      BTW, here's another Ferrari snub, one they probably regretted: "Lamborghini's founder began his car company in response to a snub from Ferrari. When Ferrari refused to customize a car for him, Ferruccio Lamborghini went ahead and started his own company."

      Source: http://www.nagpur-info.com/auctions_jay2.asp
      • 8 Years Ago
      Jesus, guys. It was a joke.

      And, yes, I've been to Italy. Castelfranco, Venice, Parma, and a few other places in the northern part of the country. It's beautiful, and I sincerely apologize to one and all for ever even thinking of maligning the country, however humorous the intent may have been. I offer a complete and utter retraction. The imputation was totally without basis in fact and was in no way fair comment and was motivated purely by malice, and I deeply regret any distress that my comments may have caused you or your family, and I hereby undertake not to repeat any such slander at any time in the future.

      Better?
      • 8 Years Ago
      Actually, considering it's made in a third-world country, that's probably a pretty good reliability record.
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