The following are two short pieces. The first one on the “Cost of Mileage” actually came out of research I was doing for the second on “Supercar Good Buys”.
Cost of Mileage
I’ve been following the Ferrari F12 market quite closely for about a year now, just patiently waiting for the right car to fall into my budget. When checking the Ferrari US site today, two similar spec F12s popped up right next to each other. Both were 2015 models, Rosso, well spec’ed, with clean Carfax reports. The first had an asking price of $315k and the second $209K. Why the $106k spread? The 41,902 difference in the mileage on the odometer. Each of those extra 41,902 miles devalued that F12 by $2.53. Do Ferraris essentially become worthless once they hit 125k on the odometer? At that devaluation rate, if you drove it another 83k miles would Ferrari give you a refund? It’s not just the F12 that this applies to, I have found examples of the 488, 812, and Portofino that have very similar price mileage relationships.
Is this rational? Not if you look at other similar sports and supercar brands. Take the Porsche 911 GT3 RS as an example, I found two 2016 GT3 RS’s on the Porsche US site with similar mileage to the pair of F12s. First had 49,850 miles on the odometer with an asking price of $196k. The second 2,245 miles with an asking of $220k. Some quick math gives you a Porsche devaluation rate of $0.50 a mile. Using the 2015 McLaren 650S Spider as a second benchmark, looking again at two similar car s, car #1 has an ask of $150k and 38,272 miles on the odometer and car #2 is an ask of $180k at 1,621 miles. While not quite as good a bargain as the Porsche 991 GT3 RS, the McLaren 650S Spider still has an easily Ferrari beating devalue rate of $0.83 per mile between the two examples. As a final point of reference, I pulled up a couple of examples of the 2015 Aston Martin Vanquish, as it was a direct competitor to the Ferrari F12. The first 2015 Vanquish coupe has an ask of $120k and 31,489 miles on the odometer, the second has an ask of $170k with 1,856 miles on it. While not quite as eye watering as the F12, the devalue rate between these two Aston Martin Vanquish’s is still a wallet draining $1.69 per mile.
The irony here is Ferraris are better built today then they ever have been. Reliability and build quality are light years ahead of where they were 20 years ago. That big V12 in the nose of a F12 should be good for at least 200k miles before needing to be rebuilt. If you are gentle with the brakes, the ceramic rotors should last at least 100k miles. The dual clutch transmission should last the life of the vehicle. Given these facts does a $100k hit on a F12s valuation for driving 40k miles make any since? It does if you think of the F12 as a piece of art needing to be preserved in its original form with every mile driven degrading that piece of art just a little bit more. The interesting thing though is that doesn’t actually hold for vintage Ferraris. If you look at values of the F12’s great great grandfather, the Ferrari 365 GTB/4 Daytona, mileage is completely irrelevant to values. Its condition that matters. So, buy it, drive it, and if you keep it long enough, all those miles you have enjoyed will not have devalued the Ferrari a single $. And that is a much better bet than expecting a refund from Ferrari.
Supercar Good Buys 2023
Coming out of last week’s article on the current state of the Supercar Market, I have received a few questions about what might be good buys in 2023 (Supercar Market Update Jan 2023). “Good buys” I define as supercars that offer enormous value at today’s prices. Its slightly different from what I would call a bargain which is more dependent on the current values vs. where values are likely to be longer term. A “Good Buy” might be a bargain or just really good value for what it is. While it is always difficult to predict what’s going to happen in the coming months, the following are a few that I believe could be good buys including a several on my potential acquisition list.
Ferrari F12 Berlinetta
The Ferrari F12 has been high up on the “want” list for quite some time now. So long in fact that I even have the “Use Case” all figured out (see: Use Case Rule ) and Mrs. SSO approved. I have been following the Ferrari F12 market fairly closely for about a year now and it finally seems to be headed in my direction (i.e down). While filling the V12 GT hole in the garage with a Prancing Horse has been high on my list, I am not in a rush and refuse to pay a premium for a model that has traditionally been the depreciation champion of the Ferrari line up. I would not be surprised to see another $30k drop in F12 prices in the next 12 months which would then make the last Pininfarina designed Ferrari V12 GT a great buy and the whole “Cost of Mileage” thing irrelevant as I would just hold it for the next 30 years.
Aston Martin DBS (2008-2012)
With the 2008 DBS, all production moved to Gaydon and the same VH platform that the DB9 utilized was adopted. Unlike the Vanquish, a six-speed manual was standard with the automatic six-speed ‘Touchtronic 2’ gearbox as an option. Both coupe and convertible (Volante) versions were sold during the production run. Today automatic Volante’s and automatic Coupes sit at the bottom of the DBS food chain with both starting at around $80k. Manuals tend to bring a $40-60k premium over the automatic versions. What is interesting is Volante’s don’t seem to command any premium over the Coupes. DBS’s have enjoyed a bit of a run up in values over the last several years and I would expect they will retreat to pre-Covid valuations in the coming years with the floor being around $70k. For less than half the price today vs. its contemporary, the Ferrari 599 GTB, the DBS a huge amount of car for the money.
The Ferrari F430 was the last of the line of mid-engine V8 Ferraris that ran for over 10 years starting with the 360 Modena in 1999. The 360 Modena was the first Ferrari to use an all-aluminum space-frame chassis and was powered by a new 3.6 liter flat-plane crankshaft V8 engine producing 395 bhp. With the 360 Modena, build quality was dramatically improved and cambelt changes were no longer a costly engine out exercise. However, the 360 Modena did have its share of issues and the F430, which replaced it, was a significantly improved car.
Today you can pick up a F430 Coupe with a F1 transmission for just under $100k with Spiders commanding an additional 15-20% premium. The rarer manual F430s (about 10% of F430s were produced with 6 speed manual transmissions) command a fairly absurd 2x premium. Having driven both manual and F1 F430’s, it’s the F1 transmission that suits the car best, unlike the 360 where the manual is the better of the two options. Unlike both of its predecessor, the Ferrari F355 and 360 Modena, values on F430s basically haven’t moved in the last couple of years which makes them the bargain of the Ferrari world right now. Ferrari produced around 15,000 F430s so there are always plenty on the market. The high production numbers have also served to hold down values.
Ferrari 612 Scaglietti
If the 360 Modena was the first of a new generation of Ferrari V8s, the 612 Scaglietti played the same role on the V12 GT side of the Ferrari business. Back in 2004, the Ferrari 612 Scaglietti was the first Ferrari GT to be built on an aluminum chassis and was powered by a 5.7 liter V12 engine producing 533 bhp, 30 bhp more than the Ferrari F50.
In today’s market $100k will land you a nice 612 Scaglietti although most dealers have asking prices a bit higher. The rare manual 612’s do command huge premiums but the F1 gearbox suits the GT nature of the 612 better. The original list price on a Ferrari 612 Scaglietti was just north of $310k, before any of the multiple option boxes were ticked. Most 612s are highly spec’ed cars so you can add at least another $30-40k on top of the base price. Despite being a Grand Tourer and designed to eat up huge number of miles effortlessly, most 612’s have seen fairly moderate amounts of use and there are plenty around with under 25k miles on the odometer. If you are looking for a supercar that can haul 4 people in relative comfort over vast distances, the 612 Scaglietti has to be the best value on today’s market.
We did own a beautiful Nart Blue 612 Scaglietti a few years ago. It was a terrific car that did what it was designed for brilliantly.
The McLaren 12C was McLaren Automotive’s first production car when it was launched in 2011. The 12C was built on a carbon fiber tub and is powered by a 3.8 L twin-turbo 616 bph V8 engine. Performance at launch was best in class. The 12C can do 0-60 mph in 2.8 seconds and top speed is well over 200 mph.
Early 12C’s have now dropped to under the magic $100k line. In addition, as they are now over 10 years old, they will have fully bottomed out on the depreciation curve. If you have a bit of patience, $110k-120k should be all it takes to land a good spec well maintained late production McLaren 12C Spider in today’s market. Having owned three 12Cs, each from a different production year, I can attest that they got better with each model year. For the money, you will be getting a car that not only outperformed everything in its class when launched, but could still keep pace with a Ferrari F8 up to 60 mph. Spiders command a slight premium over the coupes but lose next to nothing in terms of performance due to the carbon fiber tub.
I know it’s a bit unusual to put a new car on the good buy list but on occasion something does come along that is just so unique and a great deal that it qualifies. Given that the SCG 004S is both the first and likely the last US built fully homologated, 3 seater, central driving position supercar certainly makes it quite interesting. When you consider that the list price on the SCG 004S is 1/6th that of two other recent 3 seaters, the McLaren Speedtail or GMA T.50 (see: 21st Century 3 Seaters ) it looks like a huge bargain. Throw in the fact that it is about the same price as the latest tarted up “limited edition” from Aston Martin, the DBS 770 Ultimate Edition (which despite a hefty 44 bhp increase in power over the base DBS delivers the same 3.4 sec. 0-62 mph sprint time and 211 mph top speed), I do think the SCG 004S qualifies as a great buy.
To be transparent, we do have an SCG 004S on order via the official dealer HK Motorcars.
A few Sports Cars that I would rate as Good Buys in 2023:
Alfa Romeo 4C
Alfa’s beautiful but flawed carbon fiber tub go kart. These had a run up in value in 2021 but started to return to earth in 2022. It is certainly the most interesting car to come out of Alfa Romeo this century (I am not including the 8C as it was basically a re-engineered/rebodied Maserati Granturismo). $45k-55k seems like where the current market is right now, down from $55k-65k in 2021. I would not be surprised if it dropped another 10-15% this year.
Porsche 911 Turbo (930)
When it comes to raw and wild, the 1st generation of the Porsche 911 Turbo is hard to beat. The 911 (930) Turbo was nicknamed the “Widow Maker” for good reason. Make the mistake of lifting off mid corner, and a quick trip to meet your maker is likely in order. Prices on the first generation Porsche 911 Turbo have basically doubled in the last several years but started to soften a bit in the 2nd half of last year. I would expect that to continue and once they drop into the $80k range, they should be a great buy again.
Early Maserati Granturismos have to be one of the best bargains in the current market. Granturismo production ran from 2007-2019, and with over 40,000 produced it is likely the best selling Maserati of all time. If you are brave, early high mileage Granturismos are $20k today which does put you in the driver’s seat of a Ferrari powered great sounding proper GT. Double your investment to $40k and you get a mid production Granturismo with reasonable mileage. There are quite a few Granturismos with 80+k miles on them which is a good indication of their build quality.
While this is a relatively short list, it’s not through lack of trying. I looked at a wide range of different models but in the madness that’s today’s rapidly changing Supercar market, figuring out what really are good buys is harder than getting a getting a Ferrari Daytona SP3 build slot. Almost all the cars on the list are between 10-20 years old which is just over the point where normal depreciation curves flatten out. With one exception, they all fall into the group of yesterday’s models but not old enough to be classic yet. Currently we have a sport & supercar market that is slowly deflating. Inventories are way up. Interest rates have spiked, and the housing market, which made a lot of buyers feel much richer than they should have, is tanking in many areas. All of this should lead to plenty of good buys and bargains emerging in 2023.
Thoughts and comments? Please see the comments section below.
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we ALWAYS appreciate your thoughts tvm!
Great insight, as usual…
930 and 12C are both on my short list to grab when the right one comes along. 4RS inbound.
I still own and love a pair of slightly modified 996 Turbo as the absolute best drivers car / supercar bargain out there. Mezger engine, manual transmission, hydraulic steering, sublime handling when set up property, 500+ hp, classic looks, bulletproof reliability, mileage-proof and under $75K.