Did you test drive your car?

Discussion in '308/328' started by Red 328 GTS, Jan 24, 2010.


Did you test drive your car before buying it?

  1. I extensively test drive all my cars well before making a final decision.

  2. I test drove my car and the way it drove determined whether I bought it or not.

  3. I test drove my car only as a formality, I was going to buy it anyway.

  4. The first time I drove my car was when I already purchased it.

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  1. Red 328 GTS

    Red 328 GTS Formula Junior

    Aug 27, 2007
    Sydney, Australia
    #1 Red 328 GTS, Jan 24, 2010
    Last edited: Jan 24, 2010
    Hi Guys,

    I find it interesting that with the vast majority of cars that I have bought over the last 15 years or so (9 cars in total) I bought without test driving them. Or, if I did take them for a drive it was after I had already convinced myself that I was going to buy it anyway.

    Am I nuts or is this pretty common? I guess this 31 day poll will give us an indication.

    I guess when a car ticks all the boxes you are looking for the final test drive is only a formality.

    Your thoughts?

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  3. gigaleff

    gigaleff Rookie

    Feb 27, 2008
    I test drove my car and had it even driven and inspected extensively by my mechanic but not to find out whether I like it (I already knew;-) but to find issues it may have.

  4. MBFerrari

    MBFerrari F1 Veteran

    Jul 2, 2008
    Full Name:
    Matt B
    Test drove the 348SS to ensure nothing sounded or felt fishy, but intended to buy if all was well.

    Bought the 308QV from Bobileff never having driven it, but had driven a few other 308's prior to the purchase, so I knew what I was getting for the most part.

  5. Udo J.

    Udo J. Karting

    Jan 22, 2010
    #4 Udo J., Jan 24, 2010
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 7, 2017
    I bought it from a friend who collects Alfa Romeo cars. A photo of my 328 GTB is in the book of SCHLEGELMILCH / LEHBRINK "FERRARI", Könemann / Tandem, pages 268 / 269.

    Best regards


    photo: my 328 GTB with a 348 tb
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  6. twright

    twright Karting

    May 15, 2005
    Indianapolis USA
    #5 twright, Jan 24, 2010
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 7, 2017
    I test drove two other 308's before I bought the one that I currently have. I didn't buy the other ones because I didn't like the way that they drove.

    This one felt great.
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  8. JV's89

    JV's89 F1 Rookie
    Rossa Subscribed Owner

    Jul 18, 2006
    Pittsburgh, PA
    Full Name:
    I always test drive when buying a car for personal use. Sometimes I will skip the test drive if I'm shopping for a company vehicle.
  9. GrayTA

    GrayTA F1 World Champ
    Rossa Subscribed Owner

    Jun 25, 2006
    Deep South
    Full Name:
    I have test driven every car I ever bought and plan to do so just to know if it is going to feel the way I think it should. Something about doing that just feels like its the right thing to do.

  10. Bullfighter

    Bullfighter Two Time F1 World Champ
    Lifetime Rossa Owner

    Jan 26, 2005
    Fullerton, California
    Full Name:
    I test drove a 328 before I bought mine, but bought mine from Sport Auto without driving it.
  11. flyingboa

    flyingboa Formula 3

    Nov 27, 2003
    Full Name:
    I never drove my 328 before buying it.
    I test drove my 348 before buying it. No special reasons in both cases.
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  13. Traveler

    Traveler Rookie

    Sep 30, 2009
    I had inspected my car thoroughly before the test drive. If it didn't drive right I'd have walked away, but based on my 2 hour inspection it was satisfactory.
  14. jsa330

    jsa330 F1 Veteran
    Silver Subscribed

    Oct 31, 2003
    Full Name:
    I'm in Dallas, bought the 330 2+2 from an individual in the SF bay area and the 308 from a dealer in CT.

    I got PPI's done on both. First drives were at the end of their respective 1500 mile transport journeys from opposite ends of the lower 48. Both turned out to be good cars.

    For Ferrar i# 3, though, I will personally inspect every prospect.
  15. Tony K

    Tony K Formula 3

    Jun 7, 2006
    Toledo, Ohio
    Full Name:
    Tony K.
    I knew every nuance of my car before buying it, and had the driving experience of several other 308s to compare it to, as well as the physical presence of another well-kept 308 in the shop for visual and mechanical comparison.

    Test drive was over half an hour and came last, after a few hours of inspection and a prior couple of hours of reading and making notes on every sheet of the 100+ pages of service history. Had the rest of the car not been satisfactory to me, I would not have test driven it. The test drive included:

    - driving around town - assess the car's general manner
    - in stop-and-go traffic - looking for tendency to overheat, brake fade, shifter action, general odd noises
    - a tight twisty section of road - how does the suspension feel, is the handling awkward
    - some faster, gentler sweeping turns - potential to uncover juddering in the steering from alignment or wear issues, etc.
    - climbing a hill - engine power and tune, clutch
    - several miles on the freeway - looking for vibration, overheating, overall smoothness
    - over a variety of road surfaces - paying close attention to the suspension for noises, uneven dampening, tracking grooves, as well as the overall movement of the car over different surfaces.
    - a couple of "panic" stops - are the brakes strong, and do they pull to either side
    - a couple of full-throttle acceleration runs -- health of engine, issues with motor mounts
    - enough time to get the car thoroughly warmed up (especially oil and coolant temp) -- because that's how it's going to be in real life use (and of course to check oil pressure)
    - I finished with the car sitting in front of the shop idling for an additional 15+ minutes (looking for overheating, fans turning on, coolant leaks, any other issues that may turn up)

    That's a test drive. Obviously the freeway run, full-on acceleration and braking are not done until general confidence in the car has been progressively built up from the around town stuff.

    Inspection of the car was very thorough and conducted on and off of a lift, took a couple of hours. Included putting the car under the "ugly light" -- one of the overhead lights (arc type) in the back of this particular shop is particularly bright and hard, and of a very unflattering color temperature -- it brings out every flaw in the body and paint, and makes blending easy to spot.

    When you buy an old car, it is not going to be perfect. And when you inspect a car this thoroughly, you have to be knowledgeable and realistic about your expectations, as well as what is the "norm" for examples of the same car at this age. But for every thing that is not the way it was when new, you have to ask yourself why. Why is this like that? What happened here? What does this say about the way the car was driven? worked on? stored? cared for? If you can answer your own questions to your satisfaction, then it's good . . . or it might point to a red flag.

    There are few things with a newly acquired classic that feel as good as driving it or looking at it in your garage with the comfort that there are no hidden surprises and that you know the car well. With the wonder and fear removed from the equation, you can enjoy the car freely. :)

    I've bought a few cars sight unseen, but they were either a very rare find of something very specific I was looking for, a deal too good to pass up, or financially inconsequential to me (i.e. real cheap).
  16. Brian Elliston

    Brian Elliston F1 Rookie
    Silver Subscribed

    Oct 9, 2009
    Clermont, FL
    Full Name:
    Brian Elliston
    It sounds a little embarrassing, but I bought my Ferrari w/o a test drive. I think if I would have been able to spend more time on F-chat meeting all you nice folks I would have been able to do lots of Ferrari test drives. But really, it's not easy to get seat time in these cars if you don't own one, especially driver's seat time. I have been a real enthusiast since I was 15 but I never had much exposure to the cars. There is a real mystique with Italian exotics. Four years ago I met an avid collector (1967 330 2+2, 1971 Dino GTB, 195? cool a** Alfa, old Porches, Mercedes, etc.) and started looking seriously, although I couldn't afford anything. After talking with him and weighing my goals and budget I settled on the venerable 308. In the past four years of trying pretty hard I only managed five rides total in F cars. 2 in the Dino, 1 in a 308 QV, 1 in a 550 at Foreign Cars Italia when my dad bought a Mercedes and 1 in a California before they were available to the public. Notice I didn't mention any drives, only rides. I never drove a Ferrari before I bought one but I knew I wanted one. How in the heck was I supposed to know what a 308 feels like when it drives good? Mine drives great, but it's the only one I've ever driven. That being said, I would have test driven if not for the horrible conditions of the weather when I went to inspect it (I did do that), and the reputation of the seller and the records.
  17. Brian Elliston

    Brian Elliston F1 Rookie
    Silver Subscribed

    Oct 9, 2009
    Clermont, FL
    Full Name:
    Brian Elliston
    Oh yeah, I also asked everyone on F-chat about it and even had an F-Chatter (MBFerrari) give it the ol' once over. So far so good. 1600 miles since October w/o major worry!!!
  18. Crazyhorse

    Crazyhorse Formula Junior

    Jul 23, 2007
    Mooresville,Nc (Race
    Full Name:
    Bill Long
    I test drove my 308 but i was turned on to the car by members of our local club and they recomended it.So, barring any real issues showing up on test drive,i pretty much decided i was buying her before i got there.Fwiw, i haven't regretted it yet!
  19. bill brooks

    bill brooks F1 Rookie
    Silver Subscribed

    Jul 30, 2007
    Full Name:
    bill brooks
    the last infiniti i bought in 1998, i bought without driving it.

    it was the absolute worst car i ever owned!!

    as i drove away from the dealership, something wasn't quite right with it. no more than
    10 miles from the dealership i wanted to turn around and drive it back. i hated the car!

    i didn't drive it back, and i regretted that decision for the next 3yrs.
  20. PittsS2APilot

    PittsS2APilot Formula Junior

    Jun 29, 2007
    Gulfport MS
    Full Name:
    #17 PittsS2APilot, Jan 24, 2010
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 7, 2017
    Other than a few photos, I never saw my car till it was delivered. It's my first Ferrari and I didn't know very much about them when I got it. Since then, I've got a pretty good education. :) I know I did everything wrong but was lucky to have bought it from an honest guy.
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  21. Weaselwee

    Weaselwee Formula Junior

    Dec 20, 2005
    Long Island
    Full Name:
    The PO would not let me drive it. In his defense, he didn't know me from a hole in the wall. He drove it for me. After I told him I would take it, I insisted that as part of the PPI, the mechanic drive it. He agreed. The first time I drove it was loading it onto the trailer.
  22. DGS

    DGS Four Time F1 World Champ

    May 27, 2003
    Full Name:
    I'd think a test drive would be a normal part of a PPI ... unless they check the frame on an alignment rack.

    I test drove my 328, as I did my own PPI.
  23. DavidDriver

    DavidDriver F1 Rookie

    May 9, 2006
    Full Name:
    David Driver
    #20 DavidDriver, Jan 24, 2010
    Last edited: Jan 24, 2010
    I was perhaps :eek: a little foolish, and also ;) very lucky :D.

    I flew to Medford Oregon, from Los Angeles and was picked-up at the airport by the person selling the Ferrari and he drove me to dinner and then to my hotel, which was located within walking distance of the dealership where he was the sales manager.

    The next morning, I walked over to his office, where he gave me the keys and let me take the car for a drive. I drove the car for about 30-45 minutes, and agreed to make the purchase.

    Although he claimed he had some receipts and some documentation on the car, he said it was all packed away and promised to send what he had to me in a week or so. Third gear was very difficult to shift up into and that put me off a bit. But other than that, the car ran perfectly - if not a little loud, for it only had 2 18" glass-packs instead of a decent muffler.

    After paying him a paultry sum for the vehicle, I drove it home to Los Angeles over the next two days.

    The trip was very hard on the ears. But it ran like the proverbial bat-outta-Hell, and was a blast to drive!

    That was the end (almost) of the foolish part. For the ramaineder you can read the "How not to pull a GT4 engine" thread! LOL!!

    But the lucky part was that after having the car for a few months and doing some research, (as the envelope that had conatined the vehicle history the sales mgr sent me was open and empty when it came in the mail, so I got nothing.) I was fortunate enough to find all but the very first owner of the vehicle. And from that I learned how lucky I truly was.

    The PPO was a winemaker, (no less than the winemaker who put Wm Hill Winery on-the-map), and freely sent me all of the copies of maintenance that he'd had done on the vehicle. Including a receipt for a complete $16,000 rebuild on the motor that had been performed just before he'd sold it to the PO some 2yrs and 1800 miles previously and prior to his moving to Brazil for a better job. He sold the car for slightly more than the cost of the rebuild, I bought it for slightly less. It's little wonder it ran so great.

    Of course, since then there have been other expenses. I removed the engine/gearbox had the gearbox rebuilt, and have yet to have the engine/gearbox re-assembled, to be put back in a freshly stripped to the bone and repainted (orignial Blu-Dino-Met) car. But when it's all said and done, I'll have paid about what it costs to buy a freshly painted, well sorted out vehicle with decent paperwork and verifiable history. All of which I'll have for certs, for I've done it myself. :)

    But none of which :cool: I had that day I drove away from Medford, for the drive of my life! :p
  24. rdefabri

    rdefabri Three Time F1 World Champ
    Silver Subscribed

    Jun 4, 2008
    Full Name:
    I must say I have a lucky leprechaun on my shoulders. I bought my 240Z and my Jaguar E-Type without driving either of them.

    The 240Z turned out to be a fantastic car - I knew what to look for and the guy was desperate to sell. He was totally honest, and he checked out, so I was comfortable.

    The E-Type - the guy was fairly honest, but not totally. I lucked out in that most of what I was looking for he gave me pics and was upfront, but some things he wasn't clear on (e.g., car had been repainted, extent of rust on the floors).

    However, I did get the car at a good price and it's now running great. A fantastic mechanic was recommended to me by a fellow F-Chatter, and the guy put the car straight. I could sell it now for quite a bit more than I paid / put in.

    I'd still prefer a test drive. In both cases, I lucked out, but could have easily gotten hosed.
  25. CliffBeer

    CliffBeer Formula 3

    Apr 3, 2005
    Seattle, Washington
    Full Name:
    There are test drives, and then there are test drives...... A test drive to help determine if the car drives properly - a "mechanical drive" if you will is a wise and good step, but one that I don't always impose. A test drive to see if I enjoy driving a particular type of car - a "joy ride" if you will - is really something quite different. When I'm selling a ferrari I have no problem with a prospective buyer taking the car for a mechanical drive. I've frequently given a qualified buyer the keys and let them take it for as long as they want. But as a private party I'm against letting the car out for a joyride, even to a qualified buyer. In other words, if you're not sure if you really want a 308 then go drive somebody else's car. Similarly, if the prospective buyer can't demonstrate economic qualification to purchase the car then I'm not interested either.

    If I was a buyer I'd never ask a private party seller to allow a joyride. I'd only ask to run a mechanical ride if I had first determined the car met the threshold criteria in all other respects. In other words, I'm not a tire kicker as a buyer and I don't have time for tire kickers when I'm a seller either. Sounds a bit harsh I know, but I'm the seller so I determine the conditions for sale.

    I get a lot more out of a personal inspection than a test drive to be honest.
  26. zimm

    zimm Rookie

    May 6, 2009
    Hereford, UK.
    i drove a lot of poor 308 gt4's when i was looking ...

    didnt like any of them and bought a basket case in bits

    havent driven it yet..

    or heard it run
  27. jimshadow

    jimshadow F1 Rookie
    Lifetime Rossa Owner

    Feb 19, 2006
    Full Name:
    I answered that I drove it after I purchased it, however, I did ride in it for an hour right after the PPI. The PO could not let me drive it due to insurance reasons... We took a very spirited drive down HWY 1 in Pasadena. That was FUN!

  28. Red 328 GTS

    Red 328 GTS Formula Junior

    Aug 27, 2007
    Sydney, Australia
    Interesting stats so far...... Nearly 50% of the votes confirm peoples first drive was AFTER they purchased the car.


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