Better investment: 550M early / vs late production | FerrariChat

Better investment: 550M early / vs late production

Discussion in '456/550/575' started by carzilike, Nov 17, 2021.

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  1. carzilike

    carzilike Karting

    Mar 3, 2016
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    North America
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    MMG
    Hi all, I have been wondering if its better to purchase an early production car or later production car? Does anyone know how many cars were built over the years? And how many in particular sold in the US? I have started searching and found more later production 550s on the market than early production. Wondering if that is indicative of the earlier cars being rarer? Did Ferrari revise any major downfalls with these cars in later years?
     
  2. flash32

    flash32 F1 Veteran

    Aug 22, 2008
    5,862
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    Dominick
    Not sure about investments but later models are usually better since most of the small issues (sometimes larger) are worked out .. this doesn't seem to be with the 488 forward but older cars for sure

    Sent from my moto g power using Tapatalk
     
  3. Ferrari55whoa

    Ferrari55whoa F1 Rookie
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    Dec 21, 2005
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    I have these notes saved on my phone from my hunting….I believe this to be correct but others can opine…


    550 numbers 3080 total
    USA total = 940?
    1997 = 102
    1998 = 173
    1999 = 259
    2000 = 269
    2001 = 137

    575 numbers 2064 total
    USA total = 580?
    2002 = 208
    2003 = 167
    2004 = 127
    2005 = 78
    First US = 126969
    Last US = 141817
     
  4. fatbillybob

    fatbillybob Two Time F1 World Champ
    Consultant Owner

    Aug 10, 2002
    26,758
    socal
    From a running standpoint best of breed are always the newest examples because if there were any upgrades they would have them. So 3000 total 550's were made while annually about 20,000 vettes and 20,000 911's are made.
     
  5. Ferrari55whoa

    Ferrari55whoa F1 Rookie
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    My research also made it feel like “higher optioned” 550’s were 2000 and 2001 MY
     
  6. tazandjan

    tazandjan Three Time F1 World Champ
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    Jul 19, 2008
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    There is actually not much difference in early and late except the late models often come with more options, as mentioned above. Go through the parts catalog to confirm this lack of changes for yourself. The Scaglietti options were not available until the 97/98 timeframe. There was a fuel cooling system on late model US 550s, but not sure if that is a good or bad deal.
     
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  7. pkl03

    pkl03 Formula Junior
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    Nov 29, 2004
    477
    Sydney, Australia
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    Peter
    From an investment perspective I doubt there would be any difference between early and late construction. When the time comes to sell best price (investment) will be based on condition, mileage and other factors such as colour etc.
     
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  8. Bluebottle

    Bluebottle F1 Veteran
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    Oct 15, 2012
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    They are not investments, they are cars. Find the best one you can, in colours that you like, with as many desirable options as possible and enjoy driving it. If it proves to be a good investment, that's a bonus. I sold mine for about twice what I paid for it. If I had sold it a few years earlier, I would have got about three times, but then I would have missed out on several years of driving enjoyment - you can't put a price on that.
     
  9. henryr

    henryr Two Time F1 World Champ
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    Nov 10, 2003
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    i've been following 550/575 since 2003...

    this is the first that i have ever seen
     
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  10. henryr

    henryr Two Time F1 World Champ
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    Nov 10, 2003
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    the topic
     
  11. bruzzifumi

    bruzzifumi Karting

    Mar 27, 2015
    64
    During 550 production, no visual changes were introduced, as it happened with the Daytona (plexi vs pop-up) or the Testarossa (monospecchio-monodado vs twin mirrors-5 lugs) so I don't believe that in future somebody may care about the production year.
    Early ones had Ferrari typical Connolly leather, later ones had Poltrona Frau leather, some available "Scaglietti" options and surely a lot of small improvements that Ferrari always introduces during a model life...

    I agree with Bluebottle, buy the one you like the most and enjoy it, they are very nice cars which bring a smile on your face anytime you prod the right pedal...
     
  12. Themaven

    Themaven F1 Rookie

    Nov 2, 2014
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    But John, haven't you just said they are investments? If an investment is an item acquired with the goal of gaining appreciation, and someone had bought and sold a 550 at the same time as you with that end, that is the definition of an investment.

    People buy houses to live in and hope they gain in value, they buy art to enjoy with the hope it gains in value, both can be seen as investments. Being a car and being an investment is, similarly, not mutually exclusive.

    Just because you can enjoy it, doesn't mean it's not an investment.

    Many of the owners here would not have bought their Maranellos if their value was guaranteed to be zero next year, however much they enjoy them. We are all aware of value, and driving enjoyment, and it's a matter of the mix. I have no issue with the OP's question. And I agree it doesn't matter much early or late, whether for values or enjoyment. Just get a nice one.
     
  13. Bluebottle

    Bluebottle F1 Veteran
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    Oct 15, 2012
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    While I take your point, Darius, I do not see cars as being "investments" in the same way as I view stocks, gilts, let property etc. (although I do realise that some people do indeed buy cars as purely financial investments), because, in order to maximise their investment performance, one has to forego the enjoyment of driving them, which, for me at least, would be irresistible.

    An investment, in my eyes, is something that I buy purely for financial gain. A car is something I buy because I want (or need, in the case of a DD) to drive it - that is the purpose for which cars are designed. When buying a car, I do of course have one eye to its potential for financial depreciation / appreciation, but it is only one consideration. With a DD, it is pretty much a given, which one has to accept in return for the utility of it. With a "toy" like a Ferrari, it is perhaps of more significance, but it is, or should be, still a secondary consideration - enjoyment should be the principal reason driving (pun intended!) any such purchase, and any financial gain should, IMO at least, be regarded as no more than a welcome bonus, if it happens. To view it otherwise is to mar the ownership experience by thinking "perhaps I shouldn't drive it - every mile I put on it is a £ lost" - pretty soon it can become a garage queen.
     
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  14. Qksilver

    Qksilver F1 Rookie
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    Feb 11, 2005
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    I think some of these cars are investments, albeit with opportunity cost of more lucrative alternatives. I see no reason a great 550 isn't $300K+ in a few years (unrelated to the current speculative market, and assuming a catastrophic event doesn't occur). So to buy one for $200K today is something I can get behind, provided the intent is to see some dollar appreciation with a portion of potential max dollar appreciation measured in lifestyle points.

    There will be investments that return more at the end of the day, but they won't provide what a car like this does for those of us who have the passion. And frankly, you'd have to ask yourself if the non-Ferrari investment ultimately be used to buy a 550 (in this example) after an exit... potentially at a time that incremental cost to purchase would eat into the incremental gain anyway? If that's the case and you aren't compromising your future, just buy it now and enjoy it knowing you're paying yourself forward with a financially responsible store of money that rewards you like no other.
     
  15. root

    root Formula Junior
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    Nov 28, 2012
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    Bay Area, Ca
    There are more than one investment style. According to Warren Buffett investing is "the transfer to others of purchasing power now with the reasoned expectation of receiving more purchasing power – after taxes have been paid on nominal gains – in the future. Also according to Buffett's school of investing there are three main investing categories:

    1- Currency based investments such as money-market funds, bonds, mortgages, bank deposits, and other currency based instruments. According to the definition above this is considered one of the riskiest categories despite the prevailing thinking.
    2- Investments that involve assets that will never produce anything, but that are purchased in the buyer’s hope that someone else – who also knows that the assets will be forever unproductive – will pay more for them in the future. Cars, art, tulips, etc. fall under this category.
    3- investment in productive assets, whether businesses, farms, or real estate that have the ability in inflationary times to deliver output that will retain its purchasing-power value while requiring a minimum of new capital investment. This category obviously is his (and my) investment style.

    Long way to say that cars could be considered in the "non productive" second investment category if the investor's chosen investment style is more speculative than analytical or value oriented.
     
  16. Themaven

    Themaven F1 Rookie

    Nov 2, 2014
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    Ok, I do understand the point about an investment being something bought purely for financial gain. If that's the definition, then cars are usually not a good idea. Although if you'd bought a GTO in 2005, cars would be a very good idea by that definition. Or a F50 in 2010. You could have bought either purely for financial gain, stuck them in a garage, and made a lot of money.

    Personally I also get your point about mileage and garage queens, but "garage queen" is a loaded and sexist term (why not a garage king?). There are some categories that are pure investments, like you will only buy shares in order to make money on them.

    We are passionate about cars and may get annoyed by people who buy them to make money like shares, but I think investments of passion are as legitimate as shares. Isn't it better to buy a Ferrari or an Oscar Murillo, enjoy it while not destroying it, and sell it at 100 per cent profit, than just to buy some shares, gain no experience from them, and sell them again for the same profit? I don't get why that's a problem and if people like the OP and others (and maybe you...!) can do that, fabulous. Makes the world more interesting.

    although to the OP's point, I'm not sure whether the 550 is properly investable. Too many. Which takes me back to your point John, maybe you are right that a 550 is to be enjoyed rather than invested in.
     
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  17. fatbillybob

    fatbillybob Two Time F1 World Champ
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    Aug 10, 2002
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    What will anything be worth in 20 years is anyone's guess. I'm surprised at the prices of aircooled 911's. There were a million of those made. Look at those once throw away VW buses! When I was kid used ones were in the $500 neighborhood. Some are pushing 100k today....go figure.
     
  18. Bas

    Bas Four Time F1 World Champ

    Mar 24, 2008
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    Very few difference between early and late cars.

    I say buy one in the spec you like and drive it. They're solid cars, they're unlikely to go down in value. If time comes to sell and it's same as you paid for it, great. If it goes up enough to have paid for fuel, servicing, upkeep, great. If it's gone up even more...fantastic.

    The biggest fix they needed for the 550 was the magnesium wheels issue in early cars. Pretty much all of them had their wheels replaced with aluminium ones.

    IMO It's a car and it should be driven. It's a wonderful GT that could still be daily driven today if you wish to do so. IMO that would be a far better ''investment'' (all the joy received from doing so) rather than a pile of cash from investing wisely. Especially with electric cars coming...who knows how long we can realistically enjoy this hobby still.
     
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  19. Texas Forever

    Texas Forever Seven Time F1 World Champ
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    Apr 28, 2003
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    These are old cars that were cheaply built to begin with. I understand Ferrari cannot afford the pre-production testing of bigger car companies. Still the quality of bits and pieces is appalling. Don’t ask how I know this to be true.

    How many of you remember the 1997 10k yellow 550 that sold on BaT for $170k? I could have brought that car for $125k. I asked Brian (Rifedriver) about the car, and he said it’s an old car. My guess is it would take at least $25k to make it street worthy. Then once the odometer rolled pass 10k, it would lose 10% of its value.

    But still, it looked really cool. Too bad I’m a driver not a lover.


    Sent from my iPhone using FerrariChat.com mobile app
     
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  20. Bluebottle

    Bluebottle F1 Veteran
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    Oct 15, 2012
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    I guess I interpreted the OP's question, perhaps incorrectly, to be about purely the financial return he would be likely to get by buying an early or late car (and like most here I don't think it makes an iota of difference to the value).

    If one is prepared to look at the return on one's "investment" in more than just financial terms, so that the return is a combination of financial gain and enjoyment, then yes, I would agree that a Maranello is an investment (and, on that basis, my Maranello was one of the best investments I ever made!). However, the two are usually mutually exclusive: the more you drive it, the more enjoyment you derive, but the more you detract from its value. So, from a financial viewpoint, it is not really an investment, unless you are prepared to keep it locked up in your garage, which for most of us here is not something we would consider. A bit like wine, which can be a great investment if you don't drink it!

    Incidentally, even if you are prepared to forego the pleasure of driving a Maranello, the prospect of financial gain is at best precarious. I seem to recall that a few years back there was a 550 with little more than delivery mileage (2,000 or so, IRRC) being touted around for a long time that never sold for more than its original purchase price.

    So I guess that, when it comes to classic cars - in which category, for the avoidance of doubt, I would place a Maranello - I look upon any purchase as primarily driven by my desire to enjoy owning and driving the car, but with the expectation that, unlike my DD, there is a reasonable prospect of getting my money back when I come to sell it.

    The influence of the investor and "investment thinking" in the classic car market is perhaps unfortunate, in that it drives up the price of old cars to the point where many that were once affordable are no longer so (the 250 GTO being an extreme example). On the other hand, however, if values were not as high as they have become, then many would have been lost to the scrapyard, due to the relationship between restoration cost and value.

    It has also produced many anomalies. One example with which I am familiar is that of the E-type Jaguar, where early "flat floor" cars, which are almost undriveable for anyone over 5'8", command a premium over later cars - one reason why I own a '63 model.;)
     
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  21. bruzzifumi

    bruzzifumi Karting

    Mar 27, 2015
    64
    "why not a garage king?"
    Oh no Sir...mine is a lady, I swear!:p;)
     
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  22. niftyfivefifty

    niftyfivefifty Formula Junior

    Mar 5, 2007
    366
    PacNW
    I honestly believe these cars will carry 275 GTB values someday, maybe as early as 2030, and key value points will be low miles, best condition, WSR cars, FHP cars, and other desirable spec cars. Even though values have increased in the past 12 months, in my mind they are still an absolute bargain.
     
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  23. Auraraptor

    Auraraptor F1 World Champ
    Lifetime Rossa Owner

    Sep 25, 2002
    13,325
    MO
    To OP's question, year mean less, options/condition/miles mean more. Just so happens later cars tend to have more options.
     
  24. white out

    white out Formula 3

    Mar 3, 2010
    1,231
    Any 911 GT3 will be a better investment. 550/575M have somehow missed the appreciation boat and are truly overlooked by collectors and result in the enjoyment of the owners.

    If you want to make money in the long run with this chassis, the top better come off or be a 575 with 3 pedals.
     
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  25. ralfabco

    ralfabco Two Time F1 World Champ
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    #25 ralfabco, Nov 21, 2021
    Last edited: Nov 21, 2021
    If you want a better investment drop the coin on a 365 GT/4 BB. The 'best' 550 [investment] will be a fully documented and serviced low-mile one owner car with a scarce (but tasteful) factory color combo. With Italian collector cars buyers often gravitate towards the vehicles at the end of production where the factory attempts to eliminate some of the bugs and flaws. The flying mirror TR is a different story.



    Two items will come up when you drive a queen.

    You will become aware of each and every new rock chip.
    If you drive a queen you will lose significant value.

    __

    If you do not drive the vehicle you become a caretaker.
     
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