A new thread seeking advice about buying a used 360 seems to pop up several times a week so perhaps some of that can be consolidated here for a while. I recently bought a wonderful ’02 F1 coupe after gathering information and shopping for over a year. The following reflects some of what I discovered and concluded during my adventure plus some observations made since. I’m sure others will add differing observations and conclusions over time. Right up front I must admit a significant prejudice which permeates all my conclusions. I believe these cars are meant to be driven – hard and often according to Enzo and the people who create them. My favorite analogy for not driving your Ferrari is that it’s like having a supermodel girlfriend but refusing to do her so she is saved for the next guy. If your main concerns are prestige and resale value and you’re not going to enjoy driving your 360 regularly, some of my conclusions may not apply. A lot of detailed information was omitted for brevity (and it’s still too long!). Therefore, serious prospective buyers should continue digging and asking questions and drawing their own conclusions. Any advice offered here (including mine) should be regarded skeptically and applied only in light of individual situation and taste. 1. What’s the best 360 to get? Some 360 model years better than others? It appears all 360s were NOT created equal but can be made so with some effort. As with all Ferrari street cars, there were problems with earlier models that were corrected over time through factory campaigns and upgrades. Some issues are quite serious because failure involves very significant damage and repair costs, such as the cam variator shaft, cracking of the rear frame, cracking motor & transmission mounts, starter ring gear, and transmission throwout bearing & seal. Some of the lesser issues are suspension bushings, several fluid leaks, major ABS and F1 transmission ECU & software upgrades. All major issues and most minor ones were corrected by the ’02 model year. Upgrading the ’99-’01 cars was covered by factory warranty but only IF the early owner(s) used an authorized maintenance facility and/or cared enough to make sure all campaigns and upgrades were performed. I looked at several ’99-’01 cars whose owners claimed certain upgrades but had no documentation to back it up. I also found several instances where documentation appeared to indicate upgrades but careful examination of the car seemed otherwise. There are no pre-cats in the ’99 cars and some claim this adds a few HP but I found no empirical evidence of that. Then there are the so-called “Euro cars” built for the European market but imported and modified for sale in the U.S. (identified by “B” instead of “A” in the 8th character of the VIN). These seem to be perfectly good cars assuming they have all the EPA and DOT paperwork to prove the “federalization” was done properly and legally. Without complete paperwork there can be real problems selling and registering these cars in some states. Because of the potential problem(s) these cars are typically priced noticeably lower than U.S. built cars. I concluded that buying a Euro or a ’99-‘01 must be accompanied by significantly more work to determine what (if any) paperwork, upgrades and campaigns are still required and what the additional cost(s) might be. However, if (and it’s a big “IF” everything has truly been upgraded to latest factory standards, there is little or no real difference. My personal choice was to stick with ’02-’05 U.S. built cars and simply bypass the extra work and worry. 2. Should I insist on low miles to get a good 360? If you’re main concerns are prestige, aesthetics and resale value, then yes. There appears to be an unspoken line at 9,999 miles. Below that is considered “low” while above is “high”. This obsession with low mileage used Ferraris is common and typically results in a premium at resale time. However, if you’re going to enjoy the car like Enzo intended, it may be that low miles is more problematic than high miles. The 360 is way over-engineered for street driving so it takes a lot of miles (WAY more than 10K) to wear anything out. It appears the worst thing for a 360 is parking it and/or improper maintenance -- not high miles. Sitting undriven for long periods results in dry bearings and bushing surfaces, stiff & cracked hoses, dry & leaking seals, condensation corrosion inside and out, sedimentary deposits in the fluids, etc. A 6 year old car with 600 miles is likely to be nothing but trouble fixing all that stuff as soon as it’s driven much. My personal choice was a car which averaged over 2500 miles a year (still pretty low) before I got it, and it’s running better and better the more I drive it. 3. What color combinations and options are best on a 360? This is (or should be) pure personal preference. If your main concerns are prestige and resale value, then red, yellow and several shades of grigio (silver/grey) are the most popular exterior colors along with natural (tan) and black interiors. If you’re getting the car for YOU instead of the next guy and these colors are not for you, there are many other wonderful combinations available but you’ll have fewer cars to choose from. There were lots of other options available to individualize these cars as well. There are 6-way adjustable power seats; the Daytona seats (great looking & more comfortable for most people); Scuderia fender shields (the original and quintessential Ferrari symbol); front & rear challenge grills (better engine cooling and much nicer rear look); contrasting color stripes, stitching and piping on the leather seats; leather door sills, rear shelf and headliner for the most elegant interior; a 6-disk CD changer; modular wheels and more. I observed relatively few heavily optioned 360s so it’s important to decide early which options are deal breakers for you. Lightly optioned cars are much more plentiful and always noticeably cheaper. 4. Which is best, Coupe or Spider? Purely personal preference. The convertible top mechanism is complex and can be problematic but it gets mostly decent reviews. The coupes are always a little faster since they are stiffer and lighter, but the difference is not enough to matter for street driving. You should already know if you’re a coupe guy or a convertible guy so get the one you like best. Unless, of course, your main concerns are prestige and resale in which case the spiders seem to have an edge. 5. Which is best, F1 transmission or 6-speed manual? Lots of opinions on this but it really boils down to personal preference. With all current factory upgrades in place, both manual and F1 seem to work exceedingly well in a 360. The F1 is more consistent and faster shifting and less effort in traffic (that’s why it’s used in Formula One). The manual guys don’t care about that and simply prefer to do their own shifting. Clutch wear has proven to be the same for both under similar circumstances – either can be abused into premature failure and both can be driven properly to the same high mileage. The big factor in clutch wear seems to be the driving style of each individual owner. The F1 clutch should be adjusted by a trained and experienced pro using the factory SD2 or SD3 (soon to be SD4) computer for proper function and wear. Having an F1 clutch installed and/or adjusted any other way is asking for trouble. FWIW, the F1 transmission is much more popular with nearly 80% of all 360s ordered that way. I found prices a little stronger for used F1 cars but some manual guys claim the opposite. Any prospective 360 owner should definitely drive both transmissions and decide for himself. Even as a life long 3-peddle guy, my personal choice was the F1 after experiencing its astonishing smoothness and effortless precision. There was a major TCU (Transmission Control Unit) and F1 software upgrade for the ’02 model year which is another reason I prefer the ’02 and later cars. 6. Is an inspection needed even if the car seems “right”? Abso-freakin-lootly! No matter who is peddling the car, a very thorough PPI (Pre-Purchase Inspection) should be undertaken by an experienced and knowledgeable professional who is independent of the seller and who works regularly on 360s. These are not normal cars with normal issues. The inspection should include a compression test (get a psi reading on each cylinder) and leak-down test if suggested by the compression numbers (e.g., one cyl significantly lower than the others). They should pull the wheels for measurement of brake rotors and pads. They should check the condition (not just the level) of all fluids. All body panels should be carefully inspected inside and out for evidence of previous damage/repair. Tires, all the gadgets, spirited test drive, and lots more should be included. If the car came with service records, give them to the PPI technician. Ideally you should receive back a detailed written report of everything they looked at and what they saw (the last one I got was 6 pages, single spaced). The cost for this typically runs between $350 and $500 which is dirt cheap compared to repair costs on these cars. Even if the car must be trucked to a competent shop independent of the seller, you should cheerfully thank the seller for allowing you to do that. If the seller will not allow an inspection, my only advice is “Run Forest, Run!”. If the seller is a dealer and will only permit his shop to perform a PPI, ask yourself why. Not all dealers can be trusted that way so check him out thoroughly (and independently) before agreeing. Finally, you should consider a personal inspection of any car you’re really serious about. Whether from a dealer or a private party, it just seems silly to buy a car like this without seeing it. The only exception might be a highly respected dealer who’s word you can absolutely trust. Again, there are few such dealers. 7. What other stuff should come with a 360? A new 360 came with an excellent owner’s manual, service record manual, security system manual and several other manuals for optional equipment (like the CD player) in a leather pouch stored in the boot. Also stored in the boot was a leather pouched tool kit and emergency tire inflation bottle (unless the car was ordered with spare tire in the boot). There should be 2 keys and 3 remote FOBs (two black, one red master) and original paperwork giving the 4 digit ignition and radio security codes. Also try to get as much documentation as possible from all previous servicing of the car. Apparently some people don’t care about this stuff and it often becomes separated from the car, but all of it can be replaced. The most important things are the owner’s manual (easy to replace) and the keys, FOBs & security codes (not so easy to replace). Service records are great and definitely help at resale time but a thorough PPI should be performed no matter what and will be more useful and telling anyway. 8. How/where do I find 360s for sale? Lots of due diligence is needed here but it’s not difficult. The first thing is deciding what colors, options, miles, etc., you will be happy with. This is important because it’s silly to go through all this trouble and spend all the money only to wind up with something that’s not what you really want. Think about it and be sure where your limits are. Then comb every source you can find to get an idea of what’s available and asking prices. Those would be places like Ebay, DuPont Registry, Hemmings, AutoTrader, FerrariAds, CollectorCarTraderOnline, Ferrari Market Letter, and many, many more. The internet is your friend on this and you should have no trouble finding lots of listings. If there’s a Ferrari dealer nearby, you should check out whatever he’s got and get acquainted with the service manager. Start making inquiries. The first thing you’ll notice is at least 75% of the cars you see advertised are not actually available. A lot less time is wasted if you stick with cars you might buy instead of wasting time chasing cars you don’t really want. For one thing, the experienced and reputable dealers (i.e., the ones you’d most like to deal with) can tell right away if you’re wasting their time (and hence your own). 9. How much should I pay for a good 360? As above, LOTS of due diligence is needed to be assured of getting a good car at a fair price, and NOT all opinions and advice on FerrariChat are useful (including mine). Buying one of these cars is not the same as buying a Honda, You should essentially be answering this question for yourself based on your own canvassing of the marketplace. Simply asking “How much should I pay?” on FerrariChat may be entertaining but results in limited useful information. Instead of listening to internet weenies like me, gather your own information by studying actual asking prices from actual sellers. Whatever anyone around here tells you today will likely change tomorrow anyway. There is a wide range of asking prices but you might observe some general trends to help sort them out. For example, spider prices are generally higher than coupe prices, all else being equal. You might notice there is less turnover in coupes (fewer available) since people tend to keep their coupes longer than spider owners. It appears more cars are available and prices a bit softer during 4th and 1st quarters (winter). A lot more lightly optioned cars are available and their prices are generally lower than fully optioned cars. The earlier model years usually have lower prices than later years. A happy trend for us drivers is that higher mileage cars are generally cheaper than low mileage cars. After making yourself an expert on asking prices and how they’re affected by colors, options, miles, condition, etc., you should carefully consider your budget. Be sure of the TOTAL you are actually willing to spend (incl. car, taxes, registration fees, inspections, shipping, etc.) and still have a minimum $10K cushion left for unexpected costs plus minimum $10K for the first year’s maintenance. If any of this seems excessive or is squeezing your budget, you might want to consider something besides a 360. 10. Should I pay cash, finance or lease? You should probably settle this question according to your own particular situation keeping in mind that you are acquiring a rapidly depreciating asset. The general consensus is that paying cash for such an asset costs much less than any financing or lease arrangements. The best case for financing is if you consider liquidity of the unspent principal to be worth the additional cost of financing. The best case for leasing is if you can write it off as a business expense. Most agree that if the reason for financing or leasing is that you can’t afford to pay cash, you will be placing yourself at significant financial risk. One way or another, if you can’t afford to pay cash for your 360 perhaps you should wait until you can. 11. Should I buy from a dealer or a private party? What about auction sites like eBay? After some digging I concluded eBay was not a serious option for me to buy a Ferrari. I found it an excellent source of information and leads to interesting cars, but not a secure and reliable way to actually buy one. As a matter of fact I located the car on eBay which I ultimately bought, but I went directly to the seller for the transaction. My observation was that many other sellers also considered eBay more of an advertising mechanism than a transaction mechanism. Perhaps others will chime in who see eBay as a more viable buying option. There are plenty of nice sounding (emphasize “sounding” 360s advertised by a variety of private sellers, unknown dealers and auction sites. There certainly are some nice cars at good prices among these sellers but remember the scammers and flakes reside here as well. There are also plenty of prominent and respected dealers scattered around the country who routinely sell Ferraris and other high end cars to out-of-state buyers. It’s pretty easy to identify these guys since there’s always plenty of feedback on them. The downside to high-end dealers is that their prices sometimes seem higher than private sellers and unknown dealers. Regardless of the type of seller, it seems wise to proceed carefully and take all normal business precautions. Basically that means putting everyone’s serious intentions in writing. Anything involving money should certainly be in writing as to what it’s for, refundable or not under what conditions, etc. Legitimate dealers will never object to written agreements. In fact, most will insist on it. If a private party does not want his intentions or yours recorded, you should ask yourself why. The key element is really time – the extra few minutes to write up an agreement can’t possibly be a deal breaker to a serious seller (dealer or private) over a $100k car. Any time a seller pushes a little too hard to hurry things along for any reason, some skepticism may be in order. As a buyer, you must be ready to pull as much weight as the seller. That means paying any expenses the seller did not have before you showed up (e.g., inspection, transportation, etc.). If you want the seller to “hold” a car (i.e., not sell it to someone else while you think about it or gather your finances or whatever), you should expect to pay a reasonable deposit (with a written agreement covering the details of course). This is where sticking to cars you’re serious about comes in handy – there’s nothing more aggravating to a serious seller than tire kickers who just want a free test drive in someone else’s Ferrari. You’ll have a lot more luck if you treat serious sellers the same way you would like to be treated. My personal experience was that private sellers and unknown dealers seemed acceptable but I kept finding more cars available at large well known dealers. It also appeared large well known dealers would be easier to deal with by long distance since the chances of finding the right car locally were remote. I ultimately found the best car for me and bought it from one such Sports Car Company. I had no trouble checking into the dealer’s reputation as well as the independent shop for the PPI Bob Ileff. These guys are both major league pros and made the entire transaction smooth and worry free. In retrospect I concluded the time and uncertainty I saved by dealing with people like that were worth a LOT more than any premium I might have paid.