Maintenance Costs – The Ferraris

Maintenance Costs – The Ferraris

Recently I asked for ideas for future articles, I got a lot of requests about maintenance costs.   I believe at the time I replied that it was a highly dangerous topic given Mrs. SSO does read all the articles I post.  However, I’ve decided to take the risk and will do so in several parts.  First, I’ll cover the Ferraris, then the McLarens and finally all the others.  I have always tried to be quite religious with annual services which I’m sure has helped finance better lives for quite a few very talented mechanics.  In addition, any issues that come to light during these annual pilgrimages to the service center get taken care of right away.  My philosophy has always been that small problems only grow into big problems and it is much less expensive to take care of things immediately than to wait.  As a reference point, when evaluating the annual maintenance costs (I define maintenance as annual servicing cost plus replacement of wear & tear items), I take into account the original list price and not our acquisition cost.  A car that cost $250,000 new is always going to have $250,000 car type service costs regardless of what you might be able to buy it for a lot less 5 or 10 years later.  Unfortunately, unlike a car, service costs don’t depreciate over time, if anything they move in the opposite direction as more of a car’s components wear out and need to be replaced.

In no particular order here is a bit of our maintenance cost history.  For the sake of simplicity, I have kept the costs in the currencies they were incurred in.

Ferrari F50 – We owned the F50 for 7 years and the total maintenance costs were £ 29,750.  In fact, looking over the service invoices, this included £13k for the once every decade fuel cell replacement and £5k for a new clutch shortly after I purchased the car.  The clutch replacement was not due to wear but caused by a seal that had failed due to lack of use as the F50 had sat unused for several years before I purchased it.  While the grand total of the services invoices was just under £30k, when you take out the £13k for the fuel cell and £5k for the clutch, the annual servicing costs averaged a quite reasonable (for a limited-edition Ferrari Supercar) £1.7k. 

 

Ferrari 308 GTB – We owned the 308 GTB for just over two years.  This was the fourth 308 GTB built and as an early fiberglass model I was hoping it would be largely immune to rust.  The first annual service was a very reasonable €460.  Turned out I was wrong on the rust and there was plenty of hidden in the door frames.  The second however was a bit more involved and included an engine rebuild repairing the door frames.  The total was €11,790.  In fact, the maintenance cost on the 308 GTB in the two years I owned it equated to just under 50% of its purchase price.

Ferrari 360 Modena – The 360 Modena had a place in our garage for 2 ½ years.  In that period of time it was serviced 3 times.  The first service was basically just an oil and filter change for £710.  The second service did much more damage to the wallet as the 360 was due for a cambelt change and there were a number of other issues that needed to be attended to including the motor mounts.  The total bill on service #2 was £4,910.  The third and final service which included a respray of the front bumper was a much more palatable £1,225 bringing the total for the 2 ½ years to £6,845.

 

Ferrari F355 GTS – The F355 was our first Ferrari and we had it for 3 ½ years. The F355 taught me a fair amount on what Ferrari ownership really involved in terms of both servicing costs and the complexity of the cars.  During our ownership, the F355 was serviced three times.  The first bill was for €3,300, the second was €3,210, and the third a very reasonable €240.  This adds up to a grand total of €6,750 which was roughly 10% of what I paid for the car.

Ferrari 430 Scuderia – During our relatively short year together, the 430 Scuderia made two trips to the Carrs Ferrari Service center.  The first was for an annual service and four new tires.  The bill for this came to £2,340.  The second trip was for a windscreen repair for £45. 

Ferrari 16M – This was our first US based Ferrari.  We owned it for just under two years.  It made one trip to Boardwalk Ferrari for an annual service.  Total bill was $2,640.  This annual service was basically for liquids and filters.  Labor charges were $1,870 of the $2,640.

Ferrari 599 GTB HGTE – The 599 GTB was another 2-year Ferrari for us.  While it was only serviced once at Boardwalk Ferrari at a cost of $3,060, it also rang up a bill of $5,200 for new wheels after losing a battle with a pothole on the New Jersey turnpike which was followed shortly thereafter by four new tires for an additional $1,590. 

Ferrari F40 – We have owned the F40 for 14 years so it’s no surprise that it has run up the biggest tab.  Total maintenance costs to date are £52,930 for the first 12 years in the UK and $5390 since we brought it over to the US.  The £52,930 includes two new clutches at about £3k each and the once every decade fuel cell replacement for £9,000.  The fuel tank replacement on the F40 is not as labor intensive as the F50 so the cost is slightly more reasonable.  The first new clutch was due to normal wear and the second due to a leaky seal caused by an extended stay in storage.  As part of the normal serving schedule, the cambelts on the F40 require changing every 2 years.  Unlike the 348, F355, Testarossa, and BB’s which the engine to be removed to change the cambelts, on the F40 the cambelts are accessible via a panel behind the seats so it’s a much simpler job.   In addition, reupholstering the seats was £3,700 and we had the suspension system refurbished for £6,500.  Other on-going “rolling restoration” expenses for alternators, AC compressors, new fuel lines, etc. are included in the annual maintenance costs.  The F40 has also been through 3 sets of tires as we change them every 3-4 years regardless of wear.  If you take out the fuel cell, clutches, seats, and suspension, the average service cost per year for the F40 in UK was £2,310.

For the Ferraris that we have owned but are not included in the above list, it’s because we either owned them for too short a time to have any meaningful maintenance history or the records have disappeared in one of our many moves. 

I’m not sure what conclusions to draw from this exercise other than Ferraris are not inexpensive to run.  The annual maintenance costs have little to do with the current value of any model, but the service costs are fairly consistent across the range at about £2k per year.  It’s the “wear & tear” items like clutches and fuel cells that really generate the big bills.  Newer Ferraris in general are less expense to run than older models and service costs in the UK seem slightly more reasonable than the US.  I’m not going to add them all up as that just seems unproductive.  Anyways I am sure Mrs. SSO, who is very quick with numbers, will be in to see me for a discussion shortly with the grand total in hand.

More on our complete Ferrari ownership history is in these two articles:

Our Ferrari History Part 1

Our Ferrari History Part 2

P.S. All of the maintenance work on our Ferraris in the UK was done by Carrs Ferrari in Exeter.  They are outstanding and I would highly recommend them.

 

Next up will be our McLaren Maintenance Costs.

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Man Math & Ferrari V12 GTs

Man Math & Ferrari V12 GTs

Man Math & Ferrari V12 GTs

Recently there have been a number of front engine Ferrari V12 Grand Tourers that have appeared on different online auction sites at very tempting prices.  I have to confess that every time one of these pops up, the man math and garage space games start.  The purpose of this article is actually to remind myself why I should not go there again despite a Ferrari V12 being one of man’s greatest creations.  We have owned four front engine Ferrari V12s and none has lasted more than 2 years in the garage.  When I compare this to the average garage life of the various mid-engine V8s we have owned, it is less than half.  The question therefore is why?

The four front engine Ferrari V12 we have owned are a 365 GTB/4 Daytona, 550 Maranello, 575 Maranello (manual with Fiorano Handling Pack), and a 599 GTB HGTE.  The first and last of these were the 2-year cars whereas the 550 lasted about 8 months in the garage, and the 575 made it just over a year.  In all four cases, the V12s were traded in for a mid-engine car.  The 365 GTB/4 Daytona left when the Jaguar XJR-15 arrived.  The 550 Maranello was traded in against the Ferrari F40 (Collecting the F40) while the 575 left for the Mosler MT900S (Mosler MT900S) and landed next in the hands of the #3 driver on car #188 at Garage 59.  Last but not least, the 599 GTB HGTE was traded in for the McLaren 720S (599 GTB Like but not Love).  With the exception of the McLaren 720S, which does both civilized and tasered cat equally well, the other three are far less civilized hard core carbon clad supercars.    There might just be a trend here…….

One of our house rules is that cars that don’t get used need to depart to new homes.  Three of the four V12s fell afoul of this rule and it led directly to their departures.  The outlier, the Ferrari 575, actually was exactly the opposite.  It was my daily driver for a year and that’s what led to its departure.  As a Grand Tourer on road trips, the 575 was wonderful.  The 575 had huge amounts of power, was comfortable, had lots of luggage space, and with the gated 6 speed gearbox was engaging and a joy to drive.  We still have fond memories of driving the 575 across Wales and down to Reims.  As a daily driver however, it didn’t like crawling in traffic on the M25 and the Fiorano Handling Pack made it teeth rattling stiff on Surrey’s pockmarked roads.  As it was acquired for daily duty and didn’t thrive in the role, the 575 was moved on.

Of the other three Ferrari V12s, almost all their use was on road trips.  The 550 Maranello did two epic trips in the short time it lived under our garage roof.  The first was a wonderful summer jaunt from Brussels to Lisbon and the second took us from Madrid to Kassel.  Had the opportunity to acquire the F40 not come along, the 550 likely would have kept its garage spot a bit longer.  The 365 GTB/4 Daytona saw quite a bit of Great Britain during our time together and the 599 GTB HGTE got called to duty for multiple road trips across New York and the New England states.  The catch in all these cases though was when they weren’t being used on road trips, they got very little use.  For a weekend drive, each lost out to a mid-engine V8 that just happened to be a bit more engaging to drive.  Hence this lack of regular use led to their departures.  In the case of the Daytona, the fact that it was a good, but not great one also didn’t help, especially given one of my close friends has one of the best Daytona around.  Yes, I suffered from Daytona envy.  When I bought the Daytona, it was in pretty rough condition.  A year later we had moved it from rough to pretty good and quite presentable.  It was never going to be great though without an additional major investment of both time and money.  Lesson learned, always buy someone else’s restoration project.

Looking back, the fact than none of the front engine Ferrari V12s were long termers was much more to do with my tastes than any shortcomings on their behalf.  All four V12s were brilliant at what they were designed to do, crossing continents at high speed and in comfort.  All had magnificent engines and sounded superb.  The crux however is the demand for these attributes only happened a few times a year.  In the case of the last our V12s, given the choice of a 430 Scuderia or a 599 GTB HGTE for a weekend drive, I would be grabbing the keys to the former 9 out of 10 times.  Add in the fact that today we have what I consider to be the best road trip car we have ever owned, the McLaren 675 LT Spider, and the man math games on the next 550 or 575 Maranello to pop up on Bring a Trailer or Collecting Cars needs to stop.  As much as I like the concept, I do know that if I bought another it would be consigned to the same fate of limited usage followed by garage expulsion 12-24 months later.

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