Hard Choices: Aston Martin “Project 003” vs. Ferrari 430 Scuderia

Driver’s Seat: Ferrari 308 GTB
March 8, 2019
Airlines & Airport Lounges
March 23, 2019

Life is about choices. Recently I had to make a decision (and one that I expect zero sympathy for as most people would kill to be in this position) that wiped out 4 months of patient work and negotiations.  It also pushed back achieving one of the garage goals’ that I laid out in a January article: https://karenable.com/garage-goals/ by at least several months.

Here’s what happened: Back in November 2018 I started the search for another Ferrari 430 Scuderia. I had been monitoring Scuderia prices for the past few years and they seemed to have retracted a bit and then stabilized.  As the Scuderia is now a used 10-year-old car that is several generations removed from being the new, latest, must have, thing from Ferrari, it should be at, or approaching, the bottom of its depreciation curve.  The Scuderia also now sits in an awkward niche.  It is now far from being the quickest V8 Ferrari available, having been eclipsed several times over by newer models.  It’s not suited for use as a limited depreciation daily driver given its track focused set up and is therefore unlikely to be anyone’s first choice as an entry level used Ferrari.  The 430 Scuderia has also long been on the list of cars I regretted parting with, and if the chance arose, would like to reacquire.  

While trolling through the main used car websites, I ran across a reasonable mileage black/grey 430 Scuderia at the Pagani dealer in Beverly Hills https://www.paganibeverlyhills.com.  A brief email exchange indicated that this Scuderia likely ticked most of the boxes in terms of what I was looking for, but we had a bit of a gap on price.  At the time the salesman indicated that there was not much room to negotiate so we parted ways.  I did bookmark the car and decided to check back in a month to see if the 430 Scuderia was still available and if their negotiating position might have changed.  This monthly check in lasted several months before we finally had a breakthrough in February.  We were now fairly close on price and within a band where a deal seemed likely.  I went about doing my homework on the history of the car and was able to obtain a copy of the service records.  The car checked out with the only immediate need being a set of four new tires due to age.  At this point I had a few direct discussions with the owner of Pagani Beverly Hills, Vincent Golde, and we got to within $5,000 of where I wanted to be in terms of the purchase price.  I asked Vincent too to give me a couple of days to think it over and promised I would get back to him.  That’s when the whole situation took a rather unexpected change.

It started with a short private message exchange on Instagram with a current Ferrari F50 owner. We were discussing future supercars, both rumored and announced when the “Son of Valkyrie” / “Project 003” came up. I asked the gentleman if he had put down a deposit for one and he indicated he had a few months ago but thought a few build slots might still be available.  Intrigued, I did a bit of searching on the internet before reaching out to my former boss at EVO Magazine and the fountain of all information on the automotive world, Nick Trott.  Nick immediately replied that the “Project 003” would be something very, very special and that I should absolutely aim to get an order in for ‘Son Of’ immediately as there were indeed a few build slots left.  Adding even more urgency to the situation, Nick indicated that Aston Martin would be unveiling the car at the upcoming Geneva Motor Show on March 5th, after which any remaining available build slots would likely immediately disappear.  Nick then generously offered to help with a contact at Aston Martin and he put me in contact with another extremely helpful former colleague who was able to open the door at Aston Martin.  Four days, seven emails, and two phone calls later, I was sitting at the desk of the Sales Director at my local Aston Martin Dealership writing out a very sizeable deposit check for a “Project 003”.  The team at Aston Martin were terrific and highly responsive. I am really impressed at how fast and the way in which they made this happen.

The rather sizeable deposit check on the “Project 003” more than consumed the funds had allocated for the 430 Scuderia acquisition and used up most of the cash I had on hand.  I don’t keep a lot of uninvested funds in my bank account and I am very debt adverse. Hence taking out a loan, even just a short term one, to acquire the Ferrari 430 Scuderia was not a personally acceptable option.  Hence the choice to put down the deposit on the “Project 003” meant that the 430 Scuderia would have to wait.  Emotionally it was not an easy choice as I have wanted to reacquire a 430 Scuderia for several years now, Pagani Beverly Hills were very professional to deal with, and I was sure I had found an excellent car.  However, there are always plenty of 430 Scuderia’s on the market, prices are very stable, so coming back around on the Scuderia at a later date should not be a challenge.  In contrast, the window of opportunity to acquire the “Project 003” was tiny and needed immediate action to realize.  The choice was also between immediate vs. much longer-term gratification as the “Project 003” will likely not materialize on the driveway until 2022.  I’m very comfortable with the choice made here and can only hope that I eventually find another 430 Scuderia as good as the one I just passed up on.

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March 2019

P.S. Many thanks to Nick Trott for many of the pictures featured in this article.

5 Comments

  1. 001 says:

    Really enjoy these types of articles that outline the buying process and consideration when purchasing these subset of cars.

    I think that we can find reviews of mainstream super cars all over the internet but insights like this one and, for example the p1 purchase process, gives us “slightly” less financially fortunate a window on how these things work.

    Thank you!

  2. Josh Stephenson says:

    I also agree with 001.
    These types of articles are fantastic. Congratulations on setting up this website as it must take a considerable amount of time and effort to write these articles in what I presume to be a busy life. I’ve been reading your blogs since Evo so I was ecstatic karenable was created after you left.

    The new Aston looks amazing. I’m wondering if the plan was to build this all along, or if they felt the need to give customers another option when they couldn’t obtain a build slot for the Valkyrie?

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