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550 Barchetta driving and ownership reports

Discussion in '456/550/575' started by watt, Jun 17, 2005.

  1. watt

    watt Formula 3

    Jun 17, 2004
    1,312
    Way Back In, NZ
    Full Name:
    Giuseppe T Hemingway
    beginning to think about a barchetta as a winter car [in S CA, it's 65 and sunny, in the summer it's too hot]. All who have experience w/ the 550 barchetta i would value highly hearing your opinions on reliability, problems, performance. i have no plans to ever use the roof, except if caught at the office in an unexpected rain.

    the book i have indicates the cars were properly strengthened thru the windshield and hoops to replace the stiffness lost with the roof and that they are true performance cars [as much as heavy cars can be]. Comments?

    the only owner i turned up here is my GT2 pal WHart... who i am hoping will expatiate and any others, please speak up!!!!! thanks to all
     
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  3. udalmia

    udalmia Guest

    i cant believe you cali sukkaz actually want an opentop car for the WINTER! there is no justice in the world i tell u
     
  4. whart

    whart F1 Veteran
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    Dec 5, 2001
    6,485
    Grandview NY
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    Herr Prof.
    Watt: give me a little time today, and i'll start to post my thoughts. At distressed prices these cars are probably worth buying, particularly if you live in a climate that doesn't require use of the top. My biggest concern is that most of them seem to be queens, and given that the cars have been sitting, what, 4 years now, may have needs that will not go detected until they are driven in earnest. I'll follow up with some detailed comments about my ownership experience when i get a few minutes, later.
     
  5. Kevallino

    Kevallino Formula 3

    Feb 10, 2004
    2,248
    Los Angeles
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    Kevin
    I'm interested too - not in the market but will need one eventually.

    Cheers
    Kevin
     
  6. scycle2020

    scycle2020 F1 Rookie

    Jan 26, 2004
    3,458
    potomac
    actually, i prefer driving convertibles in the summer in so cal, as there are more sunny days, less rain, and great convertible nights...........and if a winter is like this past winter and spring, the barchetta wouldnt come close to making out of the garage for weeks on end....as far as structural rigidity goes, there is not a convertible in the world that is as rigid as the coupe version, even with structural reinforcements..i would be interested to hear comments from people who have driven the 550b, as i have not....i love convertibles but i hate noodly cars, and i even though the 360 spider could have been stiffer....but then again, the 550 is more a gt cruiser than a car you do high gs with like the 360...
     
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  8. Sfumato

    Sfumato F1 Veteran
    Rossa Subscribed

    Nov 1, 2003
    9,737
    Llanfairpwllgwyngyll, Anglesey, Wales
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    Angus Podgorney
    The 550 b is not as stiff as the coupe, but it is OK. Top is useless and fiddly.
    You'd be surprised the G's a shark can pull, it just requires more work...and utter suspension of fear. Car feels much slower than a 360, but it really isn't. Just bigger and more isolated, less raw. Both great cars, I'm just old and like isolation and discretion ;)
     
  9. WCH

    WCH F1 Veteran
    Rossa Subscribed Owner

    Mar 16, 2003
    5,179
    Not an owner, but seriously considered one recently. Beautiful cars, at least to my eye, and available in several colors (does FoA still have the blue one?).

    As someone else observed, and as I'm sure you already know, there are a ton of garage queens out there. When I was looking, the highest mileage car I found had roughly 2000, and there were several cars under 1000! Didn't really mind the low mileage, personally.

    Would you really use it? That's what I couldn't get past: the thought that I wouldn't like the look of the car with a hardtop, wouldn't bother with the soft top and would worry about parking and leaving it with no top.

    Good luck.

    Edit: I take it you don;t like the SuperA?
     
  10. ross

    ross Three Time F1 World Champ
    Silver Subscribed Owner

    Mar 25, 2002
    32,418
    houston/geneva
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    Ross
    if i recall there is a member here who is selling his 550 convertible, supposedly one of two by straman. he is in miami. dont know if its sold already. it just seems a better deal than the barchetta coz the roof actually works.

    found it
    http://www.ferrarichat.com/forum/showthread.php?t=57416
     
  11. whart

    whart F1 Veteran
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    Dec 5, 2001
    6,485
    Grandview NY
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    Herr Prof.
    OK, here's my take, from somebody that had one when they first came out:

    There were very few options, racing seats- but make sure they are the large size, anything smaller is for chimps and old-school Italians; Fiorano handling package- i didn't have it, not sure about it, on balance; may stiffen the ride, but given the GT nature of the car, that may not be a total plus; fire extinguisher-was truly overpriced; couldn't get the 4 point harness set up here in the states, don't know if the backboard was different in the Euro models, allowing for predrilled attachments; no HID lamps (stupid, imo); the interior synthetic stuff came in one color, gray; so, it makes sense to pick a color combo that works with that; i believe leather wrapped roll bars were an option, but i never saw one without them; the radio sucks (what's new?); other accessories- the US cars were supposed to come with helmets, but came with caps, the helmets didn't meet DOT or some bull****. I guess you could consider the top an accessory, cause in my book, it wasn't meant to come with the car, as such.

    fit and finish- pretty high- some of the cars had quirks on entry; mine has a paint defect on the left rear that was inherent in the paint; another one came in looking like it had been wrecked and put back together, so, like any of these cars, don't assume anything; your individual model should be subject to full PPI and inspection of painted surfaces under intense light.

    trunk- large enough for a couple bodies, actually huge, save for the reinforcing beam that transects it about 2/3's of the way in;

    mechanical quirks- i had almost none, at least compared to the 97 Maranello which had: delaminating windows, bad ecus, a blown water hose under the plenum. The only issue i had with the Barchetta was the modular wheels, which leaked, and which Ferrari replaced at no charge. (Not sure if it was ever a 'formal campaign').

    Driving experience- the barchetta was a far better car than the 97 Maranello- it powered up smoother, it shifted nicer, and overall felt better. Why? Individual car to car variability? Perhaps. Running changes on the 550- undoubtedly? A brand new car, fresh from the factory vs a used car, perhaps, but the out of the box car is not always best as you know.

    If you don't have wheel time behind a 550, then this may be insightful: it is a big, heavy, torquey car, very predictable and easy to drive, the steering is overassisted, the brakes are great, you can launch the car pretty well, but not as well as a Z06 Vette; once moving it can get fast pretty quick, not like the GT2 but alot more linearly; running at speed is very undramatic- at 150, very little wind noise, you could take your hands off the wheel; much body roll on tight corners, but the very fact that you can drive it hard in the twisties speaks highly of the suspension and balance of a car this large and heavy.
    The driver's space is very well laid out, instruments easy to read, no real gripes here; car looked and felt great in motion; no front end clearance problems to speak of.
    The top - just treat it like it's not there, cause it doesn't fit, won't work, won't seal, won't keep water out, and you'll have a devil of a time getting it on when you really need it. Thus, it is a fair weather car, and the main reason, living in the NorthEast, that i ultimately got rid of it. The aftermarket hardtop that came from Europe is, in my estimation, hideous, but worse than that, it leaves you with the proposition of running the car with the top, or leaving the top at home- doesn't really add to the useability of the car.

    I liked mine in black because it tended to reduce the sheer size of the rear end, which looks like a long, wide, unremitting deck, despite the nacelle/rollbar treatment. My car was reviewed in the January 2002 issue of R & T (i think you can still get the review online) and in the April 2002 issue of Forza. I enjoyed the car immensely, and would recommend it highly, subject to a thorough running out and fettling- again most of these cars have been sitting, collecting dust, these past four years, and will need belts, rubber, etc.

    I drove mine 8,000 miles in less than two years, keeping in mind that the cars typically go into hibernation in New York in November, and don't see light again until March or April. It was, at the time I sold it, the highest mileage one anybody knew of, at least here in the States.

    I can also go thru all the tire testing i did on these cars, both the Maranello and the Barchetta, if you like: bottom line I liked the Goodyear Fiorano tire the best, after having run p-Zeros, Michelin Pilot Sports, and the Bridgestone tires on them.
    Good luck!
     
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  13. amenasce

    amenasce Two Time F1 World Champ
    Silver Subscribed

    Oct 17, 2001
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    Joe Mansion

    That car was a beauty !

    I love Barchettas, they remind me of Ferraris from the 60's .
     
  14. scycle2020

    scycle2020 F1 Rookie

    Jan 26, 2004
    3,458
    potomac
    it is a beautiful car, no doubt....and has a great presence....if it wasnt for that stupid top-none top....in the mid atlantic, in the summer, afternoon thunderstorms can pop at anytime... i image getting caught with you pants down, i mean top down could ruin the interior of the car...a very costly rain storm indeed................therefore, i decided to bag the idea of getting one, even though it is the cheapest low production, ferrari available............
     
  15. Willis360

    Willis360 F1 Rookie

    Aug 4, 2001
    3,928
    Redmond, WA
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    Willis H
    Here's an idea: Replace the leather with a wetsuit material. Waterproof the dash electronics and cabin mechanicals. Keep motorcycle rainsuits, goggles, hardhats, etc. in the trunk for those rainy days. No need to fiddle with the top and drive it in all weather. :)
     
  16. watt

    watt Formula 3

    Jun 17, 2004
    1,312
    Way Back In, NZ
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    Giuseppe T Hemingway
    many thanks to truth b wicked,

    i have yet to see one on the market >2000 mi and less than 232 [yellow at FOH] ask right now. my target is a 4k+ blk/blk at 200.


    the key problem for a neophytus maximus like myself is how does one convince a queen owner his queen is worth less than a driver?

    i assume one PPI's the car and when my service mgr says all belts and rubber replaced, just deduct it from their price??? my uneducated geuss it $35-40 k repairs due to lack of use, is this correct?

    and the roof truly is irrelevant in malibu.
     
  17. FarmerDave

    FarmerDave F1 World Champ
    Consultant

    Jul 26, 2004
    15,167
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    IgnoranteWest
    Wow Bill! Reading your post made me feel like I was riding shotgun! :D
     
  18. 575Mike

    575Mike Formula 3

    Mar 11, 2004
    1,698
    Midwest
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    Michael
    Lake Forest has a stunning Titanium/black 550 Barchetta that recently entered the marketplace. It has 2200 miles, larger seats and, I think, the Fiorano package. Wow, what a car!!

    Tyler Dean is the consumate pro. He is quite capable of providing you with more information. If you decide to visit the dealership please let me know as I live close by, and may stop in to say "hello".

    http://www.lfsc.com/html/Ferari.cfm

    Good luck! :)
     
  19. whart

    whart F1 Veteran
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    Dec 5, 2001
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    Herr Prof.
    His prices are on drugs, though.
     
  20. 575Mike

    575Mike Formula 3

    Mar 11, 2004
    1,698
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    Michael
    Asking prices are always high. Selling prices may not be, in my experience buying cars there.
     
  21. synchro

    synchro F1 Veteran

    Feb 14, 2005
    9,211
    CHNDLR
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    Scott

    Wasn't the Barchetta suspension designed lower from the stock 550? I couldn't find it in the 550 Barchetta hardback book I bought, but am sure I read it (somewhere...)
     
  22. Ambassiatore

    Ambassiatore Formula Junior

    Jan 30, 2007
    926
    Full Name:
    David Figueredo T.
    I bought the Forza mag back then just because of the 550 barchetta article about your car and never really thought I´ll be talking to the very owner himself!!!...I love it´s shapes and I can only dream of that car, ...for the time being...

    I hope to have enough money to pay for it in some 8-10 years from now...
    ...then I´ll worry about the marketplace...thanks for such a detailed insight on the ownership.
     
  23. CornersWell

    CornersWell F1 Rookie

    Nov 24, 2004
    4,621
    Watt,

    Another original 550 BPF owner here, but still an owner. I'd add a few comments to Whart's. I ordered with the Fiorano package. Significantly improved from the standard package. I was told by someone who would know that the Barchetta was designed and engineered with the Fiorano package in mind. Cannot verify that, but I can verify a fair bit of chassis flex with or without. Not exceedingly bad, but I certainly wouldn't put this car on a track.

    The only other option I think Whart didn't mention was the fitted luggage. Have it. Haven't used it.

    Have had no issues with the car to date. Fun, impractical and irreverent. Just the kind of thing I want in the garage.

    What happens long term to BPF prices is anyone's guess, but there are a few being held by knowledgeable folks who believe they'll do well with them. Was offered 2x the sticker the day I picked it up. Will it ever go back to that level?

    My few issues with the car are the totally useless soft top, the fact that I run out of revs, and the very light steering. Other than that, it's a very enjoyable car.

    CW
     
  24. amenasce

    amenasce Two Time F1 World Champ
    Silver Subscribed

    Oct 17, 2001
    29,204
    Full Name:
    Joe Mansion


    How is your Barchetta ? Pics ??

    I think its one of the sexiest Ferrari since the 288 GTO.
     
  25. rpps

    rpps Formula 3

    Aug 20, 2005
    1,819
    Bergen County, NJ
    Full Name:
    Richard
    i'll never forget my first and only 550 barchetta sighting.

    alpine, nj yellow/black in 2002/03. chased her up a hill where she revved beautifully.
     
  26. WILLIAM H

    WILLIAM H Three Time F1 World Champ

    Nov 1, 2003
    34,891
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    HUBBSTER
    I dont have a 550 B but its a beauty especially in Azzurro Cali

    As for the top, my 512M Slutmobile has no top at all

    So I just pack a pair of Ferrari raincoats, watch the weather reports & pray I dont get stuck in rain in traffic

    I got caught in 2 storms, 1 was almost a squall :)

    You just get a little wet & look rather stupid at the time , but you'll get over it & laugh about it later :)
     
  27. CornersWell

    CornersWell F1 Rookie

    Nov 24, 2004
    4,621
    I just learned that a 550 BPF won People's Choice at Cavallino this year. Forgive me for being behind the times.

    However, this is quite a nice honor for the Barchetta and is especially unusual for a modern car to take home.

    This just reinforces my decision to hold onto the BPF for the long term. While it's premature to declare that the BPF is destined to be a classic, there are those who say it will be the next California Spyder!

    Hope so,

    CW
     
  28. open roads

    open roads F1 Rookie
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    Jan 28, 2007
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    Stan
    It was located all by itself at the far corner of the fairway. It was placed on a small hill so that it was above you as you approached it. It was perfect.

    The front engine cars make for classically beautiful Ferraris.

    They will age very well.
     

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