Why buy a vintage Ferrari?

Discussion in 'Vintage (thru 365 GTC4)' started by Texas Forever, May 10, 2004.

  1. Texas Forever

    Texas Forever Five Time F1 World Champ
    Rossa Subscribed

    Apr 28, 2003
    (Hopefully, I can sneak this one past Wayne. I'm really talking about vintage cars in general. But like the song sez, "Unless I lay it between the lines...")

    I know that some of you have probably grown very weary of my, uh, ***** footing around about a vintage car. But can you bear with me just one more time? I just had another fellow traveler privately express deep concerns about running off this cliff. So come on, Terry, Malcolm, Frank, Coach, and all the others, tell me why I should buy a 30-year old car versus a 6-year old car like my Maranello?

    Is driving a vintage car more fun? Is it the Zeitgeist thing? No 100-watt CD... no 500-horsepower motor... no traction control... no passengers... no thoughts... Instead of hurdling down the freeway at 150 mph, you are on a country road… hitting downshifts just right... getting a bit of over rev... trail braking... easing on the gas through the apex... punching out of the corner... up shifting, and doing it all over all again.

    Help me out here.

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  3. C. Losito

    C. Losito Formula Junior

    Dec 12, 2003
    Metro St. Louis
    Full Name:
    Chris Losito
    First, let me throw up the white flag by saying that I don't own a vintage Ferrari. What I do own is a 1970 Dodge that I drive every chance I get (except recently because it's getting an engine transplant).

    Now, why on earth would someone want to drive around in a noisy, thirsty, mostly featureless old rust magnet? I'll tell you why. It's because the car I drive every day is a quiet, electronic-everything, plain-vanilla, totally isolated padded cream puff.

    Don't get me wrong, the AMG is an absolute blast to drive, but so is the Dodge (in it's own way).

    I love the way people wave/honk/thumbs up the car. Everybody loves an old car.
    I love it when people ask me to pop the hood at a gas station.
    I love the way I get a noseful of vinyl every time I open the door.
    I love that great unburned fuel smell when it's on fast idle.
    I love the way the engine shakes the whole car when it runs (I'll fix that motor mount one day...)
    I love the way it sounds. Fuel injected cars just don't sound the same, be it on the intake side or through the exhaust. Open up the 4-barrel, listen to it suck all that air in.
    I love the way I can always tell what the car is going to do. I've scared myself a few times in the Benz, you just can't tell when it's going to lose grip. With my old car, it tells you early when it's had enough.

    Even all that doesn't do the car justice. It just feels so mechanical compared to my other cars, you know what everything is doing all the time. The car really feels alive compared to the Benz.

    Don't worry about traction control, stereos, cupholders, etc. That's why your old car is your second car. Get the classic, Dr. Tax. That way, when all you want to do is DRIVE, you'll have the perfect car. :)

    EDIT: I could really go on and on about why I like the old car. People asking me what it is, giving rides, working on it myself, etc. You're that much more involved with a classic. Take the plunge!
  4. PSk

    PSk F1 World Champ

    Nov 20, 2002
    Tauranga, NZ
    Full Name:
    Hmmm, often when people get interested in something they end up learning the history. In doing so they find out how it was and get interested.

    Quite simply to really find out what driving is all about I believe you have to wind back the clock. Nowadays so many things are done for you, or so much easier to do that in some ways you are a passenger. Now all the clever stuff is cool, but it is a lot of fun making something minus or this stuff work ... sort of a challenge.

    Just getting there, or making a perfect gear change becomes important, instead of how long it took ... the other bonus is that you have a little more time to look at the scenary!

    Some people think of cars as a means to get there, others like myself actual enjoy the mastering of the machine process and thus the driving. Naturally winding the clock back and driving a vintage car requires even more ability and thus even more satisfaction :)

  5. TestShoot

    TestShoot F1 World Champ
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    Sep 1, 2003
    Beverly Hills
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    as a vintage racer, loving supercharged and turbo'd Volvo p1800's old Aston DB2's and so on. I can say only one thing.

    It is all very real.

    You feel the road, listen to the car, no electronics to enhance your ability, it is all you. Everything is about all your senses, no little blinky lights, no thump thump thump of a 1200watt nakamichi system to take you out of the picture. In an older car it is easier to know when there is danger, active braking and cornering will never let you know you are in trouble until you are almost dead meat.

    I said this once before and I will say it again, I enjoyed my p1800 more than my 550 on the twisties.

    With modern cars you drive technology, not the car. This is why I can not find a car I like anymore.
  6. TestShoot

    TestShoot F1 World Champ
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    Sep 1, 2003
    Beverly Hills
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    I want to add a little more to this as well, for some it is reliving a fantasy, others it is a collection thing.

    I was born after the last p1800 ran off the line and people ask me why would I spend $15k on a $2,500 car that is such an eyesore. I like the car, I just do.

    When I can buy pretty much anything out there I would want, I chose older cars. Back when production numbers were never really solid, parts from one car to the next were subject to whatever was available at the time, the love of turning a wrench and not having to use software, knowing anything I do can be undone. Either you get it or you don't. Something like this can't be taught.
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  8. 410SA

    410SA F1 Veteran

    Nov 2, 2003
    West Coast
    Full Name:
    I've been bitten by the old car bug...really badly!
    My wife asked the same question of me and my answer was no real answer at all. I guess I've done as many driving schools and track days and club events as anyone needs to in their life, to be able to say with some clarity that there are really no new "newer car" experiences left.

    I started relatively low on the totem pole several years ago with a 1600 Alfa GTV stripped to virtually nothing for club racing. It was not very fast, but it was very involving. Several years later I succumbed to the charms of a Dino for no other reason (apparently) than it was the first real Ferrari I had ever seen as a teenager in South Africa. But staring at it in the garage, quietly in dim light, looking at the sensuous curves of the front fenders I feel like I am staring a a piece of sculpture. I understand that the car was built by hand by a craftsman, and nearly 40 years later it still runs like the day it was built!

    It gets worse. Having time on my hands I started thinking back to my youth and remembering that E-types were simply the Acme back when I was 8. Nothing for it then... I had to have one. The example I finally bought was pristine and the fellow who made it that way educated me about the psychology of why we want to make old things beautiful again. Again no real discernible reason, just a faint trembling of excitement in my gut whenever I looked at a beautiful old car.

    Several Pebble Beach Shows and various concours and concorsos and simple "let's hang out with our cars" gatherings later it was done. The virus was fully implanted.

    I have now progressed deeper into the abyss with a restorable 365 GT 2+2, another Jag (XK120) a 308 GTB and just last week a lovely 300SL. Am I happy? Deliriously, but I also feel like I have just begun.

    Some of my best moments are when the Dino fires up and belches smoke for few seconds and then settles down to a deep thrumm. The feeling as it accelerates away from my driveway is simply thrilling, even 'though getting it past 70 MPH is an effort. The XKE is like driving liquid butter - smooth and without any edges.

    I still enjoy the modern cars, but there is really no place to drive them to the point where you feel challenged. Maybe that's the real point. Older cars fit me better. They need me to make them do what they were designed to do. My 575 just goes about its business of getting me where I'm going, rapidly and without any fuss.

    If I had to choose one or the other I'd ditch the new car in a heartbeat!
  9. Brian C. Stradale

    Brian C. Stradale F1 Rookie
    Lifetime Rossa

    Mar 17, 2002
    Dallas, TX, USA
    Dale, the answer to your question is a question...

    What do you want to do with your car???

    If you want to restore it or clean it up immaculately and then compete for honors at Concorso events... then a modern car is darn near useless... they aren't even welcome at many events.

    If you want to enter vintage races for either the historical charm or the more traditional driving skills... then same issue, modern cars don't qualify.

    If you like the idea of preserving a piece of history... then you have to be very very long-term minded to think of your modern car that way... vintage is clearly the way to go.

    If you just love the 60's styling or the 60's engine sound over the classic and modern Ferraris, then vintage may be your preference.

    OTOH, if you want to make lots of cross-country trips driving the car (rather than trailering it), then a more modern and more reliable car may make more sense. Or if you want to do a track day once a week, then modern reliability may be preferable. If you want to get really fast at the track, obviously the modern cars offer an advantage.

    It all just depends mostly upon you, what do you want to do with the car?

    As for me, I mostly need the modern track-oriented car for my uses. But I'd love to add a matching Titanium Dino 246GTS for concorso events and for cruising around on beautiful sunny spring and autumn days. Maybe someday.
  10. lukek

    lukek Formula 3

    May 2, 2003
    San Francisco
    Full Name:
    grass is greener kind of a thing....i have it bad for a 550 and I own a 1963 V12. (let's trade for 6 months?)
    Here is why I keep getting vintage ones:

    1. Much more smell, feel, and experience the inner (fuel) and outer (exhaust) workings of the car.
    2. That old italian car leather smell (nowadays it gets obliterated by modern plastics smell)
    3. A classic seldom gets the "did you buy it a prop" comment.
    4. Imagining the stories of the previous owners and circumstances (one of mine was involved in arson)
    5. The hunt for parts, the challenge of finding the right info ( and a handful of experts for me)
    6. All the breakdowns keep life interesting
    7. The continuity. It is like being in an old cathedral. You sense the history, experience what other before you felt and loved. Youa re part of a bigger whole, not just the "now"
    8. Handmade and different from the mass produced and generic
    9. As good as the 360 sounds with Tubi, you will be blown away by an unmuffled 60s V12. A cacophony of aural delights, a spine tigling shower of emotions, an orgasmic symphony for the soul....(sorry, I was trying to make up for NNO's less frequent posts).
    10. And lastly.....? A police officer cannot "zap" your car to shut down the electronics.

    Try it will never go back.
  11. jsa330

    jsa330 F1 Veteran
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    Oct 31, 2003
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    Most everything I could think of to say about vintage V12 Ferrari ownership has been said here. I just want to add that for me, every drive in my early-edition 1964 330 2+2 is an Event. On a nice day, with everything working right-which seems to be almost always now, since all major stuff is fixed and I have a relationship with an excellent and convenienty located mechanic - it is just plain fun. It's a 1960's Italian muscle car, a real street beast. The hot rod folks at the local at the local drive in love it.

    If you go into owning one of these with realistic expectations you will be fine.
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  13. TestShoot

    TestShoot F1 World Champ
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    Sep 1, 2003
    Beverly Hills
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    Really, another point well made mu lucek (#7) is when you buy it you are not in the moment of owning what is on the cover of every magazine, you buy it to please yourself.
  14. atheyg

    atheyg Guest

    A Vintage Ferrari offers much more than just a driving experience.

    History,uniqueness,old world craftsmanship,nostalgia and many other qualities.While you are driving your Daytona you will remember what it was like when they came out and how you wished for one and then fullfilling the dream today, the car will mean much more to you.

    Get the Daytona but keep your Maranello.
  15. thecarreaper

    thecarreaper F1 World Champ
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    Sep 30, 2003
    vintage cars:......... carbs, lots of them. and the sounds and smells that go with carbs, the machine must wake up, warm up and then its ready to scream!!! the sounds of chains, manual steering, fuel/oil/hot leather smell on a nice spring or summer day. to me , all the new stuff is stale, too modern, like a wild horse thats been broken. lots of chrome, round lights, curves on the body that catch the light in an most erotic way. there are some nice newer cars and designs, , but those are the new classics for a future generation to just after. long live carbs , chrome and curves!!!!
  16. wax

    wax Four Time F1 World Champ
    Advising Moderator

    Jul 20, 2003
    Full Name:
    Dirty Harry
    "Older women are best, because they always think they may be doing it for the last time." - Ian Fleming
  17. Erik330

    Erik330 Formula Junior

    May 8, 2004
    Nice comments. I've been attracted to cars all of my life and older cars since I was a teenager. Older cars are organic things and seem more alive than modern cars.

    I recently found and bought back the Ferrari that my father owned in the 1960s. I have fond memories of the car as a young boy and indeed it is the first car I ever drove (up and down our driveway at the age of about 12). I'm just recreating a little of my own past and living by the maxim that it's never too late to have a happy childhood, or in my case, to have second one. :)
  18. mikewestrick

    mikewestrick Rookie

    Apr 21, 2004
    Fort Wayne, IN
    Forgive me while I wax philosophical. (by the way WAX's Ian Flemming quote was quite good). As a fellow product of the 60's, I look back on my baby boomer upbringing without contempt as it was all I knew. I rise in the morning with the same disdain as my 60's 250's, 330's and 365's first start. A hard cough, sputter, valve induced back-fire, then nothing. Another crank, ruhh-ruhh-ruhh-ruhh-ruhh-ruhhhnch-ch-ch-ch-ch. wuuuu. wuuuu. wuuuu. Gently coaxing the throttle as each rotation gains further life and more resistance to dying. The smell of unburned hydrocarbon is somewhat intoxicating (no analogy here for those that haven't had breakfast).

    Each drive is an adventure. Somewhat challenging, but at the end of the day, still satisfying. And people do love old cars. They honk, they wave, and they even overlook minor traffic transgressions out of respect. And Lord knows there just are just not that many of us, I mean er er them. Few made, and even fewer left. Each day gaining value and each body line growing more unique as newer, faster, more refined autos increasingly clog the freeway. There will never be any more vintage Ferraris made! Own a part of sports car history.
  19. dm_n_stuff

    dm_n_stuff Global Moderator
    Global Moderator Lifetime Rossa Owner

    Dec 10, 2003
    Babcock Ranch, FL
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    I waited a long time to buy my '72 Dino. First time I saw one was probably about 1972 or '73. I wanted one ever since. I've owned several older Brit cars, still have a '74 TR6 to go with the Dino. I've also owned new performance cars, not a Ferrari, but a Porsche or three along the way. Which do I love the most?

    The Dino, hands down. The smells, the sounds, the way it drives, the comments and questions, all lend a mystique to the car that a new car will never have, (well, at least not for 20 years or more.)

    It is work to drive. Gotta shift it, baby the tranny in second, fiddle with it now and then, but, when you crank it up on a winding road early on a weekend morning, nothing can touch it.

    There's also the exclusivity of owning one. I see hot cars on the road every day, tons of them, but in my active memory, I've only seen one Dino, never seen a 250 or 275, and the occasional real Shelby Cobra. '64 Vettes and U.S. made muscle cars are a dime a dozen compared to an older Italian car.

    And, there's the appreciation. I've only had the car on the road for about a month but kids, moms, construction workers, and even bearded old guys driving Taurus station wagons universally love the car. I have yet to meet anyone who treats me, in the car, with anything but respect and interest, bordering on awe. Even the Ferrari mechanics stopped to watch when I drove away from the dealer with it after some extensive rebuild work.

    Oh, and finally, on a more personal note for you; my brother in law is 6'5" and about 280 lbs. He fit in it, drove it, fell in love with the car, and is now actively looking to add one to his collection. He's a lifelong British car guy, now converted to Ferrari.

    So, you should drive one, too. I know you love the car!!!
  20. Texas Forever

    Texas Forever Five Time F1 World Champ
    Rossa Subscribed

    Apr 28, 2003
    Wow! Great responses. You guys are a bunch of poets, and you didn't even know it.

    Mostly what I'm hearing is about the driving experience. I guessing that very early on a Sunday or after work traffic has died down on a week day is the best time for a back roads romp? And yes, I understand the visceral part of the vintage experience. As some may recall, I have riden old brit POS motorcycles for many years. The smell of burnt oil, high test, and the ticking sound as the motor cools are great memories.

    But why Ferrari versus, say, a Porsche? I used to have a 1973.5 911T that had visceral out the whazoo. Just driving to the store was almost more fun than the law allows. But the Porsche was a $20k car. Even the cheapest decent vintage Ferrari is two to three times this price. And the rest are many times this amount.

    What about the show boats? Are none of you into the concours experience?

    Keep em coming. You guys are doing great. You're gonna make Carbon regret that he got a real job!

    Dr "Long and windy road" Tax
  21. Tspringer

    Tspringer F1 Veteran

    Apr 11, 2002
    Do you remember the movie with Nick Cage, "Gone in 60 Seconds" ?

    There is a scene when he is scounting cars to steal and is in a Ferrari dealership talking to the salesman, acting like a rich, hot prospect. At one point during the salesguys pitch, Cages character stops him and says (and I paraphrase) "If I buy a new 360 spider, I'll be showing up at the party as just another nuevo rich transparent wanna-be, but if I show up in a 275GTB.... well, then Im a Connoisseur....."

    Contemplate that. More later ;)

  22. dm_n_stuff

    dm_n_stuff Global Moderator
    Global Moderator Lifetime Rossa Owner

    Dec 10, 2003
    Babcock Ranch, FL
    Full Name:

    As one Longfellow to another.

    I don't do the concours thing. If you wanna drive it, then concours is gonna make that tough.

    Besides, Q-Tips are for ears, not for air vents, tooth brush isn't designed to cleann small spots on wheels, etc.

    Trailer Queens are ok if it's a million dollar car, and you're into that, but a $60-125K (that's where you're aiming, right?) vintage Ferrari is gonna be a driver.

    I owned a '77 911 too. Didn't get a look, a question, an aaaaaaaaaaaah... nothing, in the 3 years I owned it. It was great to drive, but not a thrill. Same with the '74 TR6, the '64 TR4A, the '71 MGB, fun, but not a WOW!!! kind of car.
  23. dwhite

    dwhite F1 Rookie

    Much more exclusivity! The vintage cars had production #s in the hundreds to maybe a thousand and they have been going up in value, if you are concerned with depreciation. For me it is the lines on the vintage cars and I don't own any, but a 330 GTC would be nice.
  24. jsa330

    jsa330 F1 Veteran
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    Oct 31, 2003
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    What model did your father own?
  25. BigTex

    BigTex Seven Time F1 World Champ
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    Dec 6, 2002
    Houston, Texas
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    Dr. Tax,

    I'm surprised you don't seize upon the best reason of all: VALUE

    A new car has lost half it's value by the time you pay it off. On an older car, values are steady at worst, or maybe increasing, if you maintain it properly.

    At the end of the day this makes it a break even deal!

    I'd go get that carbed Boxer in Chicago! ;)
  26. Erik330

    Erik330 Formula Junior

    May 8, 2004
    Spook64 asked: What model did your father own?

    Nothing special, a 330 GT 2+2. It's the car that was in Forza in December. That article got me thinking about trying to find the car, and through the 330 GT registry, I found out that the car in the magazine was actually 6161, my father's old car. Strange, eh? The owner was willing to sell so I bought it. It's pretty sound, but needs the usual stuff. I will have fun with it.

    I have a perfect 66 E-type in BRG with tan. No one ever says a word about it except once in a while some guy will say "my mother's uncle's brother's boss had one of those." I've had umpty 911s of different vintages from 356 to 996. No one ever says a word. I was gassing up the Ferrari in my small town's Speedway station on Saturday and some guy walked up and said "WOW, is that a Ferrari? I've never seen one except in magazines and on TV."

    Next on my list to find: my father in law's former 275 GTB/4 alloy body with outside filler cap (the only one made). Now that was a special car.
  27. 67GTC

    67GTC Karting

    Dec 30, 2003
    Westchester, CA
    I'm relatively new as an owner of a vintage Ferrari - I got my 1967 330 GTC in December, but I agree with all of the observations posted in this terrific thread.

    Visually, the car still makes me smile every time the garage door opens. I get positive reactions - thumbs up, pointing, big smiles every time I take it out.

    My car came without a radio from the factory, and I can't imagine that I'll ever trade the sound of that 4 liter v-12 by adding one.

    Compared to more modern cars I own, the Ferrari took some getting used to on the road, particularly the in the twisties. But on a recent driving day with the Ferrari Driver's Club, I was amazed how well this 37 year old car hung with the 30+ more modern Ferraris on the trip.

    I also am enjoying the hunt for parts for a car for which they made only 598 examples. I'm also motivated to make repairs and conduct maintenance on this car. I hadn't picked up a wrench in the past 10 years.

    Perhaps the biggest fun is showing and sharing the car. I've met some really great people that I'd never likely have met if the car didn't attract them and start a conversation. I've gone to the Monterey weekend every August for the past 14 years as a spectator... Now I'm looking forward to being a participant in something that has become a growing part of my life.

    I have absolutely zero regrets not spending on other more modern cars that would have fallen into this price range - I'm having too much fun right now!

  28. Erik330

    Erik330 Formula Junior

    May 8, 2004

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