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Advice for potential 550 buyer

Discussion in '456/550/575' started by Metzger, Jan 15, 2004.

  1. Metzger

    Metzger Rookie

    Jan 15, 2004
    1
    Bloomington, Indiana
    Full Name:
    Mike Metzger
    I'm a BMW driver (M5 & M3 cab), but also a long time tifoso. I've been to Maranello & Fiorano, and have lately been getting Ferrari Fever again. One the one hand, I think every car nut ought to own a Ferrari at one time or another - on the other, I fear nightmarish maintenance and repair bills. What's your experience been? Thanks for any help you can provide.

    Mike
     
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  3. ze_shark

    ze_shark Formula 3

    Jul 13, 2003
    1,273
    Switzerland (NW)
    I'd recommend you search the forum by topic, or search the member area by car model and then search the forum for posts by them.
    There have been several threads on 550 maintenance costs, gremlins & reliability issues, etc ...

    I don't think that there is an easy & universal answer to your question.
    A 550 will have to be a 2nd hand car, with all the opportunities and uncertainties this implies.
    Maintenance is not nightmarish but not cheap either (this is a V12 485hp supercar), but, as with any performance car, things can get pretty ugly if you do not choose (or maintain) your car carefully.

    I don't think anyone on this board will tell you that 550s are unreliable, there are several secondary annoyances, but if you are careful with what you buy and how you take care of it, then it pretty much comes down to the costs of owning a supercar.
     
  4. nerd

    nerd F1 Rookie

    Oct 12, 2003
    2,506
    Southwest Airlines
    Full Name:
    RSK
    Howdy Mike,

    Welcome to FerrariChat!

    It all comes down to financial risk tolerance, right? There is nothing practical about driving a high performance streetcar like a Ferrari, or a track driven racecar. That said, I’ve paid surprisingly large repair bills on BMWs too. (un-replaceable seals in a steering box requiring the replacement of the ENTIRE box on a 50K mile 325!) My brother-in-law just lost a starter motor on his 1998 40K mile Lexus LS400. There was triple bad news. 1. How could a low mileage, well maintained, 6 year old Lexus lose a starter? 2. There were no available starters new, or rebuilt! There were 15 LS400 lined up in Phoenix waiting for starters, and 3 waiting in Tucson. 3. Replacement of the starter required removal of the intake manifold, etc. If they found a rebuilt starter, the bill would be $950. If they located and installed a new starter, the bill would be $1250. I mentioned this to the local Ferrari service manger and he said he had sold his Lexus due to the repair costs!!!!!!!!! Go figure!

    I highly recommend the 550….it is absolutely the best car I have ever driven. By any measure it is a VERY well executed GT car.

    Good luck!
     
  5. enzomoon

    enzomoon Guest

    Mike:

    I purchased a 1999 Maranello last June. Since then I have put about 6,500 miles on it and use it as my daily commuter. It currently has 16,700 miles. So far, it has always been reliable and with the exception of routine(oil/filter) costs, the only other costs incurred have been my choice(i.e. I replaced the central resonator for crossover pipes to make it sound like a proper Ferrari V12). Absolutely no extra costs due to reliability issues. It will be due for a major soon with cam belts. However, It should only cost me about $2k with my mechanic(who is excellent and experienced with Fcars) versus the usual price gouging seen at the dealers. Good luck....you will be very impressed with the 550 if you pull the trigger.

    Mark
     
  6. coachi

    coachi Formula 3

    May 1, 2002
    2,108
    SC USA
    The 550 is a magnificent car. I have owned mine for a few months now, and I love driving it. It is comfortable, modern, very fast, and to this point very reliable. I drove it across my state a few days ago, put 500 plus miles on it in one day..and it was a dream. I own several other Ferraris and I love them all, but this is one special car. Buy one that has been sorted out and you won't regret it.

    Yes Ferraris are somewhat expensive to repair, but if you get a good one and maintain it properly, you won't have any nightmares.
     
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  8. Texas Forever

    Texas Forever Four Time F1 World Champ
    Rossa Subscribed

    Apr 28, 2003
    47,851
    Texas!
    Coach, now that you have a few miles under your belt, what's your current take on a 550 v a Daytona? I know that you have both, but I have to ask, if you had to choose, which one would you keep?

    DrTax

     
  9. Schatten

    Schatten F1 World Champ
    Rossa Subscribed Owner

    Apr 3, 2001
    11,237
    Austin, TX
    Full Name:
    Randy
    With the front mounted engine, is it that much easier to replace the cam belts? Or are you looking at similar costs with a mid-V8?
     
  10. rudy

    rudy Formula Junior

    Jan 13, 2004
    360
    Los Angeles California
    Full Name:
    Rudy Hassen
    I traded my 355 in for my 550. A LOT of people told me that the 550 was a boring car. I figured, well...if it's boring, I'll get rid of it.

    I can assure that whether driving around town or flat-out on the open road (not that I would do that), the car is magnificent. There are faster cars, even better looking cars to some people's eyes. A Porsche Turbo is way better on paper performance wise. But my Porsche Turbo driving buddies often say, "How come Ferraris just feel so right"? I don't know, but I think they do feel right. Maintenance can be expensive, things fail, the car needs to be maintained. On the other hand, it is SO much more reliable than my 740iL ever was. My new CLK500 with just 1800 miles on it is in the shop for a failed control module...8 day wait. I think I can say you will never regret buying a Maranello. Even if you end up getting rid of it...you won't regret buying it. Have fun. On the other hand... a 360 could be a lot of fun too.
     
  11. ze_shark

    ze_shark Formula 3

    Jul 13, 2003
    1,273
    Switzerland (NW)
    V8s are not all comparable, I believe that all models prior to the 360 require the engine to be taken down.
    360&550 allow timing belt change with the engine in.
    Been quoted around 3x less than 355 for this operation (not talking about a full major service).

    I agree with all that's been said. The 550 is a fantastic car, except that the sound comes extra.
     
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  13. enzomoon

    enzomoon Guest


    I don't know what the current quotes for cam belt change are at the dealers, but, yes, the 550 is easier to service as the cambelt change does not require removing the engine as it does on the mid-engine V8s and V12s. My mechanic told me that the 30,000 mile service on my 550 should run about $2,000- $2,500.

    Mark
     
  14. Schatten

    Schatten F1 World Champ
    Rossa Subscribed Owner

    Apr 3, 2001
    11,237
    Austin, TX
    Full Name:
    Randy
    Thanks for the responses on the cambelts. Even though I'm not in the market (yet), I'm always eager to learn a bit more. Sounds definately like the best bang for the buck, when the dollars all come down to it. Especially with the current prices of the 550's, along with maintenance costs, just seems like it might actually be a bit cheaper in the long run. But of course, that is looking at a dollar for dollar comparison, which isn't taken into account when the fun factor for whatever car you prefer to drive.
     
  15. rudy

    rudy Formula Junior

    Jan 13, 2004
    360
    Los Angeles California
    Full Name:
    Rudy Hassen
    I just had the cambelts changed. The dealer quoted me $8K+. I had another guy do it, upgrade the tensioners, plus all the other 15/30k mile stuff for $4500. I heard Midas can do it for even less!
     
  16. Doody

    Doody F1 Veteran

    Nov 16, 2001
    6,099
    MA USA
    Full Name:
    Mr. Doody
    schatten - search the archives - i've been assembling a spreadsheet of 550 majors data from various shops, etc.

    it includes various parts info as well as what various folks are charging for labor (rate and hours).

    it's at least educational if not informative.

    doody.
     
  17. Schatten

    Schatten F1 World Champ
    Rossa Subscribed Owner

    Apr 3, 2001
    11,237
    Austin, TX
    Full Name:
    Randy
    Thanks Doody.
     
  18. CodeRed

    CodeRed Formula Junior

    Nov 8, 2003
    368
    LALA LAND
    I was in the market for a 550, but I just pulled the trigger on a GT2 instead. I will keep tracking the prices which are dropping fast. Perhaps by summer we will see around $100K for an early model. Great bang for the buck. Awesome car.
     
  19. Doody

    Doody F1 Veteran

    Nov 16, 2001
    6,099
    MA USA
    Full Name:
    Mr. Doody
    i have yet to drive a GT2, but i'd like to. i traded a 996TT on my 550. i grew tired of AWD, e-gas, and turbo lag.

    i got reamed on the 996TT. they so overproduced those. i hope they don't do likewise on the GT2.

    obviously AWD is gone in the GT2. is it e-gas as well?

    doody.
     
  20. CodeRed

    CodeRed Formula Junior

    Nov 8, 2003
    368
    LALA LAND
    The GT2 is an entirely different car from the Turbos. W/o the FWD the turn in is much sharper, it is 220 lbs less, throttle response is great, ceramic brakes are incredible and it is scary fast. They made less than 200 for NA. But...... I still want to have a 550 at some point.
     
  21. ze_shark

    ze_shark Formula 3

    Jul 13, 2003
    1,273
    Switzerland (NW)
    I never drove one, but I think that the GT2 is more positioned towards hardcore sports/track driving, while the 550, though fast, is still a GT.

    What kept me from buying a 996TT, aside from the fussy looks, is the fact that it's a bit of a super-Audi S4, very fast and competent, but not that fun to drive.

    As in bikes, I think cars get really interesting when torque imposes respect and excess of optimism on the throttle gets you sideways (or upwards on a bike), all this of course in a well sorted chassis.
    I then put on a par mid-engine V8s for their cocktail of hilarious agility and screaming engines.

    The 550 commands respect, as a GT2 probably does too. I was pedal to metal in the 996TT after a few dozen miles, impressed by speed, but the courting was over. Perhaps the Gallardo belongs to the same category (not driven yet): probably competent, but a zest too easy.
     
  22. abarre

    abarre Formula Junior

    Jul 9, 2003
    295
    Anyone want a 996TT? Black/Tan. Brand new '03 sitting on the P-car dealer's floor here in town. Any new 575 Maranellos languising anywhere?...
     
  23. abarre

    abarre Formula Junior

    Jul 9, 2003
    295
    I must admit, I was pedal to metal in a 550 the very first mile I ever drove one. Most awesome car I've ever drive. Period.

    The ONLY thing I was scared to open up was a Honda Hurricane 1000. Sickening how much power those little crotch rockets make...
     
  24. ze_shark

    ze_shark Formula 3

    Jul 13, 2003
    1,273
    Switzerland (NW)
    Perhaps you were in normal mode and with ASR still on ? ;-)
    Try playing with the switches.
     
  25. abarre

    abarre Formula Junior

    Jul 9, 2003
    295
    Did I say there was no smoke??? I didn't say there was no smoke...
     
  26. Doody

    Doody F1 Veteran

    Nov 16, 2001
    6,099
    MA USA
    Full Name:
    Mr. Doody
    i tend to agree. for it's various flaws, i really loved tossing my 996 C2 Cab around - that was a blast-o-rama.

    absolutely there are. you can apparently get them at decent discounts off MSRP too. of course the day one depreciation hit is a tad tough to swallow ;). call around.

    doody.
     

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