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550 inspected, need coaching

Discussion in '456/550/575' started by dozzina, Sep 26, 2005.

  1. dozzina

    dozzina F1 Veteran
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    Aug 14, 2005
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    Dave
    OK, well I blew back and forth across the country to look at a 550 that I'm interested in. I had a PPI done, and a couple of things came back in it that I wanted to check into personally.

    Here's the majors:

    The dash leather has shrunk to the point it will need to be recovered (about 1/2 to 3/4 inch across the front.)
    The tools are missing.
    A key and the two black remotes are missing (can you say security issue!!! Can the existing remotes be disabled and replaced with new ones?)
    There are no records, other than the service book being signed off on everything up to the 15K. It's more than 3 years, but there is no paperwork to back up the belts being changed.

    There are some other things (minor paint, wheel chips, bent rear wheel vent panel underneath,) but they are not big in the grand scheme of things. Overall, the car is very good, never wrecked, but obviously not perfect. It's a 2001, with 20K miles.

    Everything is going through the salesman to the owner's "representitive" so information flow is very limited. The current owner has had the car maybe 6 months, 1200 miles, and is the second owner.

    The PPI and my drive of the car indicate that the engine, drivetrain, and suspension all work well. (It hauls ass and the tubi sounds great.) No CEL or issues with the shocks.

    Most anything can be fixed, but I doubt if I can replace the records. Maybe if I got a hold of the original owner or original dealer?

    We were talking at what I think the high end of the current 550 market is (at least with 20K miles) so what are standard "f-car community practice" to these issues? (I doubt the current owner is an enthusiest, but standard practices may have some weight in settling pricing at this point.)

    In spite of starting this post off somewhat negative, the car shows pretty darn well. I stopped off at another dealer with a 550 that I just happened across on my way, and that car was beat by comparison, with fewer miles. Of course, it was priced considerably lower as well.

    Thoughts anyone? Thanks!
     
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  3. darth550

    darth550 Five Time F1 World Champ
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    Jul 14, 2003
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    You have the red remote, yes? That's the biggie. Tools can be found. Did you have the dealer run the vin? The major is 4,500. Don't let anyone BS you. Have them discount it accordingly.

    1,500 dash
    1,000 tools
    4,500 major

    See how far they'll go.

    It sounds like a good driver.
     
  4. darth550

    darth550 Five Time F1 World Champ
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    PS....

    Don't get emotional about it even though you flew out there. If it turns out you can't make the deal you want, there are others out there, trust me! :D
     
  5. tritone

    tritone F1 Veteran
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    Dec 8, 2003
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    Dozzina-
    First; don't be seduced by that Tubi sound!!
    Second, for upper end pricing they would have to fix/replace everything! You can check for the belt svc. by calling the dealer that did it (get the name from the 'owners rep'). If not verified, get it included or walk.
    ??How do you lose the tools!!?
    New remotes are costly; must be included.
    All of those little issues may suggest a careless owner/s....
    For your own peace of mind, get all those items done as part of the selling price, or get a seriously big discount, then do them yourself.
    There are plenty of 550's available.....
    (so easy for me to say after I got the one I lusted after in one try.....).
    Be very assertive on pricing/discounts vs. work required!
    And again, don't succumb too easily to Tubi-lust!
    Best of luck,
    James
     
  6. Gary48

    Gary48 Guest

    Dec 30, 2003
    940
    Bought mine sight unseen with 4,500 miles and a belt service but no one wanted to put me in touch with the previous owner, great car.
     
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  8. djantlive

    djantlive Formula 3

    Jun 30, 2005
    1,008
    A car not driven by an enthusiast is usually not a good sign. The person will be more likely to forego maint and repair as needed. What's the price? If you look up carfax, you should see where the car was registered/smogged. Call nearest dealers in the area to look for service records.
     
  9. Doody

    Doody F1 Veteran

    Nov 16, 2001
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    there are plenty of 550s on the market at reasonable (or better) prices.

    only you can decide if this car is a good deal for you.

    if it were me, i'd walk and find another one. the lack of history, and lack of effort to get it wigs me out.

    doody.
     
  10. teachdna

    teachdna Formula Junior

    Sep 1, 2001
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    Cincinnati
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    Jeffrey Robbins
    Doody's right on the mark (as usual :)). There are a lot of great 550's out there for very fair prices. The lack of a history, papers, etc. is a warning sign that I wouldn't ignore. Issues on a 550 can bite you big time. I know how hard it is to pass a car up when you're in the buying mode but I'd keep looking.

    Of course, the nice thing about advice is that you can ignore it!
     
  11. garysp7

    garysp7 Formula Junior

    Mar 28, 2004
    436
    Florida
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    Gary
    I would pass on the car based on the service needed and lack of history.
    Like everyone is telling you, there are a lot of 550's out there to choose from and you don't have to do major work on them.
    I would rather pay more for a pristince car with a fully documented history.
    Good luck
    gary
     
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  13. Bart

    Bart Formula 3

    Nov 1, 2003
    1,488
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    My leather cost me $3,500 for the dash. I have 57,000 miles and have every service record. Be careful if you do not have the service records. It can be very costly. Have a body PPI since I have found out my sweet thing had a front end contact with something. This is no big deal since I plan to drive it into the ground but my car can never be in a show.

    Good luck.

    12 cylinders or walk.
     
  14. dozzina

    dozzina F1 Veteran
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    I had a PPI done, and the car has no indication of being hit, compression good, etc. It did locate several cosmetic issues (like the dash,) bent vented panel behind the RR wheel, some other stuff. Nothing that can't be fixed with a proper infusion of cash, but an indication that the car was not "excellent" all around as advertised. As a result, I decided to fly from AZ to FLA to follow up with the mechanic who inspected, and take a look at the car. It was there that I found out about the no records, missing remotes & keys, couldn't find the tools for sure, etc. (I also realized today it is missing the car cover as well.)

    The dealer called today and informed me the seller will not budge on price. If I cannot confirm that the belts were changed by calling the local Ferrari dealer, I'm ready to walk. It's a fairly nice car overall, but it just keeps turning into a worse deal. If you want top dollar, the car should back it up, and have the records to prove it.

    Without knowing what the current owner paid for the car in Feburary, he may very well feel that the price is too low. Unfortunately for him, he alone does not determine the market value for the car. It might be good for him to drive it and get more enjoyment for the depreciation he has encountered. On the other hand, the market may dictate that the car is worth another 20K less in 6 months. Who knows?

    Anyway, thanks for the guidence. I'll keep everyone posted.
     
  15. darth550

    darth550 Five Time F1 World Champ
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    Based on the conversations we have had, this one sounds like a pass. Don't worry, you'll find one. Talk to the service mgr at F of S. They (S mgrs) usually have their ears to the ground on newly and soon to be available cars.
     
  16. SrfCity

    SrfCity F1 Veteran

    Nov 1, 2003
    9,842
    Orange County, CA
    Alot of the FLA deals seem kinda shady. If some stuff is missing it usually means the car has been bounced around a bit. This stuff usually gets raided if it's been to auctions for example. I can tell you're somewhat emotional about this car and now taking a step back which is good. There are plenty of cars in CA, can't you find one here? A top buyer here said he never touches FLA or TX cars as it's too hot and hard on the leather and there are invariably too many stories. Hope this helps. Good luck.
     
  17. Frari

    Frari Formula 3

    Nov 5, 2003
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    tony
    My 2c worth, if its not all there ie. tools books service records and general history then I would not buy it as you just will never know. How someone can lose keys and not have all receipts beats me. I would run a mile. Better to spend a little more and get a pristine car than a doggy one. Most ferrari owners are so meticulous that the general condition of a loved car is usually like new.
     
  18. dozzina

    dozzina F1 Veteran
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    That's just it with this car. It appears to be a 2 owner car (per CARFAX.) How the heck do you lose that much stuff with only one private sale? The first owner held the car for 4 years, so we can pretty much assume he was an enthusiest or at least enjoyed the car (put 4K+ miles on it each year.) So some dork owns the car for 6 months, loses all the stuff, has no idea what the current market is, and is in for a rude awakening eventually.

    I suppose that the first owner might have died and the estate sold the car without knowing where the parts and records are. Unfortunately, that has not been communicated to me so I have no reason to believe that is the case.
     
  19. dozzina

    dozzina F1 Veteran
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    Aug 14, 2005
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    I want to thank all the folks that are PM'ing me with leads on other 550's. Obviously I am seriously in the market for one. I would like to proactively point out that due to some mental defect on my part, the only color combination that will fulfill my 15+ years of saving and fantasizing will be TDF blue with a light interior (creme, tan, maybe grey.)

    I know it does not pay to be picky, but in this case this is about a long term plan, and a hard won reward. Of course any leads on TDF cars are gladly accepted!!!

    For example, the one these guys have may be next to look into: http://www.montecitomotors.com/cur_inv.php

    Anyone near this dealership want to take a look at it for me before I get plane tickets?
     
  20. SrfCity

    SrfCity F1 Veteran

    Nov 1, 2003
    9,842
    Orange County, CA
    That one looks good. Plenty of F-chatters in Santa Barbara area that should be able to vouch for it.
     
  21. nerd

    nerd F1 Rookie

    Oct 12, 2003
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    In the searches I’ve done (328, 550, CS, F40), a surprising percentage of Ferrari have some checkered history. When I buy a car, I pay what the market demands and I pay for certainty of the car’s previous ownership, care and usage. If you found a car that showed evidence of being driven daily and occasional track use (brake pads, fluid changes, etc.) that would be great news. Your current target seems to fall into the, “just another used car” category without any certainty of it’s history and at least one transaction where neither buyer nor seller gave a damn about books, tools, records, etc. Even if you obtained a significant discount, you will have to explain the absence of these when you sell the car. Not my kind of Ferrari, but after seeing my cars you probably know that I’m a nut about having things perfect, or nearly so. Unlike F50’s, there are a bunch of 550’s available and new cars appear in the market every month. Don’t hesitate to call or PM if I can be of any further help!
     
  22. Gary48

    Gary48 Guest

    Dec 30, 2003
    940
    Nice thing about the 550 is that history will treat it very well, primarily because of its stellar race history and the fact that it is a front engined V-12 Berlinetta in the shadow of the 250 GTO, and the fact that only about 175 cars per year were brought into the U.S; The prices on 550's have tanked and will soon be climing back up, the very best time to buy. Gas prices being what they are, remember my 550 gets better milage than my Toyota Tundra pick-up. By now and hold on tight! Also, the six-speed manual will fetch a premium in the near future over the 575 with the F-1 trans, and no this is not a challenge to anyone, just a personal opinion where I see things going.
    Hope this helps your decision!
     
  23. TrojanHorse

    TrojanHorse Formula Junior

    Mar 1, 2005
    973
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    Paul
    Dozzina, I'll 2nd all the comments about looking until the deal is exactly what you want.

    I kept up a fairly diligent search for more than 6 months to find the perfect 550--not too many miles but not a garage queen either, excellent shape with no more than 1 or 2 "picks", full service records and absolute proof of TBelt work as advertised, no paint/body work, the keys/fobs, tools and other normal assessories all intact.

    There were many false starts and a few late nights of "maybe I can live with that" personal conversations, but in the end, I stuck it out and found what I'd wanted.

    It was worth it--the car came exactly as advertised and the PPI was clean. Yes, something can (and may) go wrong even with all this pre work--its a high performance car and Ferrari at that so it's going to have to be continuously maintained and it will likely break now and again. But, at least I sleep well knowing I started without a lot of built in hassles to dampen my enthusiasium for a fantastic machine.

    And, I'm enjoying the "heck" out of it every time I turn the key...

    So, my advice is: Don't settle; keep looking until its right. There is one out there that fits your desire.

    BTW: I completely agree with your choice of color combo. TdF over Creme or Tan is truly a wonderful look on a 550 and stops traffic every time I drive mine around town.
     

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