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Help! Need 456M buying advice!

Discussion in '456/550/575' started by wencel, Dec 23, 2003.

  1. wencel

    wencel Rookie

    Dec 23, 2003
    4
    I'm a major Ferrari newbie. I have an opportunity to buy a 2001 456M GTA tomorrow from a Ferrari dealership. It's grey with burgundy interior with 6k miles. The same dealer that's selling it now sold it to the current buyer when it was new and can provide full service history. The dealership also installed a super upgraded sound system. I haven't actually seen the service history but the dealer assures me there's nothing wrong with the car and it looks in mint condition. The kicker is the price: $128k. Seems like a great deal, doesn't it?

    I stumbled upon this car by accident. I don't know anything about Ferraris ... I've always been a Porsche chick ;) Please help with any advice. Thanks!
     
  2. allanlambo

    allanlambo F1 Rookie

    Jun 9, 2002
    4,363
    Maui
    Full Name:
    Allan
    Sounds like a nice car, but 128K sounds way to high. 456's arent exactly jumping off showroom floors.
     
  3. abarre

    abarre Formula Junior

    Jul 9, 2003
    295
    Agreed - even with Allen! Sounds too high.

    Look around before taking the plunge.
     
  4. s420merc

    s420merc Rookie

    Dec 7, 2003
    43
    I am in about the same boat as you, need the back seat. I would sugest that you find a 6 speed car if you can, cause from what i read on these boards the Replacement of the Auto Trans can be very very expensive something in the area of $55k, Also it is my opinion that $128k is too much, You can get a 911 Auto Turbo for that new or a Z8 Alpina or if u need the back seat and AM DB7 GT slightly used.
     
  5. BrentC

    BrentC Formula Junior

    Aug 13, 2003
    278
    Please keep us posted on what you decide and what you find out about this car or another 456 if you pass this one up but get another. I'm (very casually, in the early stages) debating a 456 and have considered A-M as a possible alternative. Very interested to get your opinions and experience as you go through the decision making/purchase process.
     
  6. wax

    wax Four Time F1 World Champ
    Advising Moderator

    Jul 20, 2003
    41,763
    SFPD
    Full Name:
    Dirty Harry
    456M's are priced higher than 456
     
  7. Davidindallas

    Davidindallas Formula Junior

    Nov 5, 2003
    343
    Unless there's some kind of warranty attached, I'd push lower or keep looking. The 456M is an improved car and should be mariginally more reliable (I say that as if I know when I'm assuming that), but there are still earlier 456M's all the way back to '99 that are well maintained out there. Figure 10 to 15k per year going backwards in depreciation. Thus, I'd expect to find a low mileage 99 M with good service for well under a hundred (like 90-95). I'd lean that way. Of course, if you have the money and are willing to pay a premium for newer leather and aluminum, well, I'd like to date you....
     
  8. wencel

    wencel Rookie

    Dec 23, 2003
    4
    Firstly, many thanks for all the advice. Sorry for my extended silence. I've been working like crazy, trying to figure out this 456M buy and then there's the whole holiday thing. The full story goes like this...

    Car is in So. California and the first owner had it in Vegas. I'm not the buyer, it's my best friend - an impulse buyer, who's not prone to doing much research and is eternally (at times unjustifiably) optimistic about justifying his wants. He's always wanted a Ferrari and is particularly fond of the look/layout of the 456M. He can drive stick but really shouldn't and prefers the car in auto. Me, I don't think any performance cars should be made in auto (even Porsche's excellent Tiptronic is just wrong :D)! So my friend drops into the Ferrari dealership, sees this very pretty car, is told it's $220k+ new [is this true?] and now available at a low $149k and he decides ... "yes!" This was at the beginning of Dec. It's my responsibility to figure out if this is a fair/good deal, if the realities of Ferrari ownership is feasible (financially & practically) ... because he's not into that kind of legwork and because future hassles will probably fall on my shoulders anyway (yeah, I definitely go out of my way to watch out for him).

    At this point, we've negotiated a final sale price of $128k thinking that's a pretty darn good deal. Neither my friend nor I have test driven the car and we don't expect to. Neither of us have ever driven a Ferrari either. He's sat in the car in the showroom - didn't even listen to the sound system, doesn't know exactly what features the car has, size of wheels, nada! Unlike me, he doesn't bother with such details. We're both far out of town for the holidays and are dealing with this purchase long distance. Salesman sez he has full service records, there's never been a problem, everything great, blah blah blah. I haven't looked at the records, I just haven't had the time and I figure he can't really lie about such things since I will get the records when we pick up the car in mid-January.

    Judging by the advice you guys have generously shared, I no longer think the car is a steal. If it were up to me, I'd shop around more (esp. since this is basically the only Ferrari we've looked at). Unfortunately, my friend's an instant gratification kind of guy and not prone to fiscal responsibility about these things. Having said that, he can't afford to be spending $1000's on repairs, etc. He believes because the car's a 2001 model, has low mileage (question: is 6000 miles low for 2001?), it'll be ok. One major concern I have is that the warranty ends as I type this post. Salesman told me the car has had it's annual minor servicing and will need its first major service in about 2 years.

    I don't know if I can talk my friend out of this purchase. And I'm not trying to look for reasons for him to not buy it. He's super excited and happy and that's nice to see. In his head, he's owned the car for almost two weeks :) . But the fact is, he hasn't signed any agreement so if there are any serious considerations or warnings it's not too late. Are there servicing/mechanic issues we should look out for? Is $128k really kind of high for a 456M GTA? Will future re-sale be very difficult because it's an auto? Are autos more prone to problems? Since the money for the car has been set aside, we can act quickly if another, better option presents itself so we're in a good position to take advantage of opportunities. I really appreciate ANY advice PRO or CON on this deal. THANKS everyone!

    PS. Davidindallas ... sorry, my husband took me out of the market a year ago ... and yes he gets to drive my Porsche (6 speed of course) when we go out ;)
     
  9. zjpj

    zjpj F1 Veteran

    Nov 4, 2003
    5,938
    USA
    I actually think $128 K is pretty fair for that car. The 456 came in two models: first, the 456 GT and then the 456M GT. "M" stood for the modifications that were made from one model to the next. I'm not quite sure what these are, but the look didn't really change that much, except I think the nose got more attractive - a bit pointier.

    The dealer is correct, the original retail was over $200 K. 456 GTAs - the model that came before the 456 M GTA - have fallen below $100. Ferraris with back seats have never held their value as much. This doesn't mean that they aren't as good. Personally, I would love one - they now cost as much as a Mercedes CL, and in my opinion, they are just so much more desirable.

    So, to sum up, this isn't a steal, but I do think it's fair. You can expect over the next five years for the car to lose value to below $100, but I wouldn't think it would fall much below $75,000 ever. Especially with the 612 getting a lukewarm recpetion (that's the new 2 + 2), the 456 may retain its popularity. As I said, Ferraris with back seats and automatics haven't brought many buyers, but all that means is you can get them for cheap :)
     
  10. teachdna

    teachdna Formula Junior

    Sep 1, 2001
    374
    Cincinnati
    Full Name:
    Jeffrey Robbins
    If your friend is worried about spending "thousands" then you or he need to take a step back and do a little "due diligence."

    At the minimum, you need to find an independent Ferrari mechanic out there and arrange to have a pre-purchase inspection. Usually, there are local sports car clubs that have web sites and contact people and they can direct you.

    There is an alternative to having an independent do the PPI. You should be aware that Ferrari has JUST started a certified Ferrari program. This is essentially an extended warrantee period that might be very worthwhile-there is an additional cost but I’d try to get this negotiated down. Not every Ferrari is eligible but it sounds as if this car would be. If the dealer is being absolutely straight with you and knows the complete history of the car and all of the service was done at the dealership, there will be no hesitation on their part in selling you the warrantee. What’s more, their required inspection of the car (which dealers will charge a customer anywhere from $300-$1000) should be made a part of the purchase price-at no cost to you.

    If they hesitate on this point or agreeing to certify the car for the Ferrari extended warrantee, I'd run, not walk away from this deal. I'm a little suspicious of the situation because I would of thought that the dealer would have already have offered you this option.

    Good luck and try to get your friend to calm down!
     
  11. whart

    whart F1 Veteran
    Honorary

    Dec 5, 2001
    6,485
    Grandview NY
    Full Name:
    Herr Prof.
    If true, you are a better friend than yours deserves. Four seater ferraris have always taken a distant backseat (sorry) to their two seat cousins, and one with an automatic is only going to appeal to a even smaller segment of an already extremely limited audience. It is a thoroughbred, to be sure, but meant for the person who "needs" a larger GT car with ferrari attributes. I would suspect that many were owned, originally, by multi-ferrari owners.
    It will be difficult to unload and he will get hosed on the way out, if not on the way in. While none of these cars is an investment, it ranks even worse. If you are not buying from an authorized dealer, and do not care about the "details" like a PPI, learning a little about the car, and its position in the marketplace, your friend is getting what he deserves. That's why they call them used car dealers. And, why these guys make a living. (It may be a very nice car, but without due diligence, it is an expensive crapshoot.) Then again, and i think you'll find this to be true of alot of enthusiasts, folks tend to do their research. And enjoy doing that, as part of the process. Maybe, once he gets bored, you can buy it from him cheap.
     
  12. Texas Forever

    Texas Forever Three Time F1 World Champ
    Rossa Subscribed

    Apr 28, 2003
    38,914
    Texas!

    One other thing to consider in addition to the great advice you have received so far... Namely, only Ferrari dealers make a market in this car. Just about all the independent dealers shy away from 456s because, well, they have learned their lesson. The 465 market is very narrow in the US. (Apparently, they sell a lot better in Europe.) If your friend buys this car, tell him that he will be an owner for a while. Unloading a 465 is nothing like selling a Porsche or any other late model Ferrari. You need to buy well on the front end because you will surely take a haircut on the back end.

    Notice how none of this discussion relates to the car itself. I have never driven one; but in talking to people who have, it is a great car so long as you use it for its intended purpose, i.e., a crusier.

    The best advice for you friend is that he or she needs to make sure that they really like the car. If he buys it, odds are, he will be driving it for a while.

    DrTax
     
  13. MS250

    MS250 Two Time F1 World Champ
    Lifetime Rossa

    Dec 10, 2003
    23,071
    Full Name:
    Avvocato
    Good discussion...and I will agree with all thats said. My concern is you made reference to worrying about service costs on the car. Ferrari is not a car where you need to be concerned about service cost....if you are? Then you should run away from the Marque. Everyone on this site is fully aware that if there engines, or tranny's pooch.....well....25,000 to 50,000grand is a given.

    Sounds to me that money is not a concern in the purchase...if he is that implusive you might want to do some additional research. You will have to keep this car for awhile. Hope you guys love the car...because if you don;t.....you will be trying really hard to convince yourself how much you love it once its in the garage.

    GOOD LUCK !!!
     
  14. francisco j. quinones

    francisco j. quinones Formula Junior

    Aug 28, 2002
    264
    Panama City,FL
    Full Name:
    Francisco J. Quinones
    Probably one of the most important things to do is to at least DRIVE the car, make sure he likes the way it feels the way it handles and so on, because if he just buys it without having actually experienced it and then he finds out it's not for him he may well be stuck with a very expensive piece of machinery for quite a while as it depreciates,if that's a concern to your friend.
    try as many different cars of the same model as you can to get a feel for the model, get a PPI and see if it qualifies for the factory pre-owned service program as previously mentioned.
    GOOD LUCK!:)



    p.s.:if he buys it and doesn't like it he can always donate it to me.:)
    Frankie.
     
  15. wencel

    wencel Rookie

    Dec 23, 2003
    4
    The dealer did mention warranty. But he implied it's not necessary because the car's in great shape and it's well-made, afterall it's a Ferrari isn't it? Info I got was: $3k to cover major stuff "but nothing major is likely to happen and the 'minor' stuff isn't covered" or $5k for everything. And these are only 1 yr warranties. Put like that it didn't seem to make sense to me to pay for extended warranty ... now I think I'll explore the option better.

    I understand F's are pricey to repair, but I assume a newish car in good shape should hold up and we shouldn't expect much more than routine maintenance. Given all the advice, I'm starting to think F's are much more delicate/temperamental after all?

    My friend can afford to buy this car and he can manage standard servicing, but if there're real possibilities of frequent repair bills... AND it would be very difficult to sell ... then I'll definitely try to get him to think much more carefully and logically.

    Also, this 456M will be his ONLY car. He'll be driving around the LA area and I expect he'd put on 8-10k miles/year. Oh and he's had a BMW 740 for a few years and it ALWAYS has minor (sometimes more than minor) body damage. Twice in 4 years I've had it totally done, it's lookin' cherry, then a few weeks later the dings/dents/scrapes are back. Actually I feel sorry for the 456M's future with him, poor thing's gonna have a hard life :(

    My friend's all eager to sign the contract & send off the check, but I want to be able to advise him on all the bad (and good!) of buying this car or buying a F in general ... to protect him from a bad purchase and save myself any future hassle of having to fix problems for him later. So please keep the advice/thoughts/opinions coming. Thanks!!!
     
  16. teachdna

    teachdna Formula Junior

    Sep 1, 2001
    374
    Cincinnati
    Full Name:
    Jeffrey Robbins
    Sorry to be such a downer (and on an enthusiast's Board) but everything you're saying leads me to believe that your friend should not purchase this car. Yes, of course modern Ferrari's are robust cars and easily capable of giving their owner 8-10k carefree miles in a year. But the odds of that happening are considerably less than with a BMW or Porsche, who build 10's of thousands of cars a year and have economies of scale that Ferrari doesn't aspire to.

    I can almost guarantee that within a year or two there WILL be a major repair that will run into the thousands. Why do you think the insurance cost for the warrantee is so high??!

    I've driven the 456; it's a lovely car that does exactly what it's supposed to. But this purchase, and the way your friend is going about it, is almost guaranteed to cause frustration in the future.

    The nice thing about advice is that you don't need to take it!!!! But this is the one of the clearest examples of a mismatch in owner expectation and car that I've seen, based upon the limited data in your posts.

    In other words, I’d counsel him to back off: if he doesn't then be unambiguous in your appraisal of the potential downsides as he'll hear what he wants to hear-and it's always going to be easier to blame someone else for a dumb decision than yourself. Hopefully that someone won't be you.
     
  17. wax

    wax Four Time F1 World Champ
    Advising Moderator

    Jul 20, 2003
    41,763
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    Full Name:
    Dirty Harry
    His ONLY car is going to have a much higher insurance premium than many F-Car owners here do. They pay less than I do on my current '88 Saab 900 (I have no shame ;)). Why? Because they "use the Ferrari for 'special events'." Can't get the coverage without sweating unless the car is parked in a garage, not used for commute, not parked in a lot, ALWAYS being dinged left and right. That's one reason why many of these individuals who are caretakers of Ferraris - not all - many have a daily driver - Short commute or not.

    If and when an F-Car breaks down, your friend better hope Guido doesn't have anything better to do and all parts are available... And that he can pay for it without batting an eye. While any car is being repaired, one must still be able to get around. And sometimes, one needs to get around without their principal mode of transportation for a long, long time. That said, supposing he goes ahead and picks up any Italian vehicle... whatever he does, he should keep the Bavarian one he's already got for Plan B.

    How did it fall upon you to get the 740 cherried out twice in 4 years? No need to be Bashful. Math below:

    Low-maintenance driver
    +
    High-maintenance car
    =
    Bad news.

    Opposites attract, but this isn't a good match.
     
  18. AMA328

    AMA328 F1 Rookie

    Nov 12, 2002
    2,518
    ABQ-67me68-OKC :)
    your bud should probably pass on this deal, he's tooooo hot to trot...however, having
    said that, if he's hellbent to buy the damn thing:

    * be sure and drive it a bit, even if just around block (!)
    * $128k may/may not be 'fair' price, but can be damn sure the saleman's spotted your
    friend for a quick sale/mark..."what'll it take to put YOU in this car today?" kinda
    mentality.
    * play bit of hardball w/dealer on the warranty:
    - have dealer outline all details of the most comprehensive warranty they/Ferrari North
    America have to offer.
    - verify that by calling Ferrari NA, or check w/other dealer, saying you are potentially
    buying a 456M/Auto and wanta know details.
    - go back to dealer, put on a confused/hesitant look, and say that even tho the dealer
    SWEARS it's up to service, you've heard about maintenance costs and are maybe
    interested in warranty.
    - when dealer says you don't need the warranty cuz nuthin' ever breaks, THEN
    SPRING YOUR TRAP.
    - tell dealer that if this is the case, you'd consider buying the car for the full $128k,
    but can't do it without the SAME, comprehensive warranty, and if it's no problem,
    how about the dealer throwing in the warranty for free?

    * BE SURE and verify final warranty you're buying is, in fact, the comprehensive one, and
    is thru Ferrari North American, and usable at other dealers(do NOT take dealer's 'word').

    If the guy is gonna do an impulse buy like this and knows nothing about Ferrari's, then
    you'd better cover his butt...
     
  19. MS250

    MS250 Two Time F1 World Champ
    Lifetime Rossa

    Dec 10, 2003
    23,071
    Full Name:
    Avvocato
    I agree with Ama328,Wax,and Teachdna.
    Sounds like a oil and water match...just doesn't seem right. But if he's hell bent on this there is enough said on this topic to help you through this !!!
    Good luck and let us know ??
     
  20. wencel

    wencel Rookie

    Dec 23, 2003
    4
    Thanks guys!!! I'll keep you posted on our purchase progress and driving/ownership impressions (as applicable!).
     
  21. Davidindallas

    Davidindallas Formula Junior

    Nov 5, 2003
    343
    Wencel, sorry about the husband thing :) (I once dated a girl for six months after she told me she could change a timing belt on a 911--wlaking was hard). Anyway, I have also been shopping for 456s. I have driven the car and can share some thoughts. It is an unusual Ferrari in that it is essentially silent and subdued in its handling response. My 328 is a go kart with a very loud exhaust pipe. The 456 is more like a mercedes sedan with very high performance limits. Several times I was astonished that I had moved from like 20 to 80 in a matter of seconds. Only the speedo gave me that feedback. My ears and my backside didn't have that same sense. That said, the car (a 95) twice ground badly on a downshift (I was certain I had the clutch fully depressed). The seller assured me that it had recently received a full gearbox rebuild. Norwood told me to steer clear. A gearbox starts at 5k and goes to 20k. You don't know until it's open. That's a standard. The automatic your friend is looking at is far more complex and in fact is supposedly unique in that it is the fasting shifting full atuo ever. This translates to enormous rebuild expense that is more, not less, likely to need to be done at some point. Same for the motor. Same for the aluminum body panels. My point is this is likely to cost heavy in depreciation and repairs. To assume otherwise is folly. Still it's damn FAST! Yehoody!
     

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