Am I nuts to buy a used Ferrari? What should I look out for?
Am I nuts? I want to buy a Ferrari. No, not one of the new gazillion-dollar Testarossas or whatever, the car I want is a 330 GT 2+2 from around 1965. Now, this car
would be used for trips to the beach and other local trips, but would probably not be my daily ride. My question is, can the average guy maintain one of these, or do I
need to hire Luigi from Modena to do my oil changes? I hear all kinds of horror stories about how expensive Ferraris are to maintain, but if I don't race the thing, how
expensive can normal upkeep be? Or are they just lousy cars? I've lusted after this model ever since they could be had on the used market for about $17,000 or so. Now
that prices have come back to earth from the big, speculative run of a few years ago, I'm really itching again to get one. Should I, or am I nuts? -- Glenn
RAY: We know a lot about nuts, but we don't know much about Ferraris, Glenn. So we called Eugene Czachor of Northeast Exotics in Kittery Point, Maine. Not only
does Eugene buy and rebuild cars like these, but he's also Tom's brother-in-law, so we already had his phone number handy. I mention that in the interest of full
TOM: Eugene says that the 330 GT is actually one of the more reliable Ferraris (how's that for damning by faint praise!). Actually, it's a fairly heavy car, so it's not
"delicate" like some of the other high-end Ferraris.
RAY: Eugene says it's got a great motor, a sturdy suspension system, simple electronics (points), and a pretty good electrical system (Columnist's Note: For an Italian
car). It's made up of old technology, so if you're a good backyard mechanic, you should be able to work on this car. In fact, he says if he were going to buy a Ferrari to
drive every day, it would either be a 330 GT or a 365 GT.
TOM: Getting parts won't be easy. There are a few sources around, but you'd probably be well-advised to join a Ferrari club so you have people to ask. And some of the
parts are rebuildable, if you're capable of that.
RAY: The things to watch out for, that are difficult to fix, are rust and excessive oil burning. Don't let a little oil burning scare you away, says Eugene. (Columnist's
Note: After all, it's an Italian car!). But a Ferrari that burns oil excessively is one to watch out for.
TOM: So as far as Ferraris go, the 330 GT is a good choice, Glenn. And as long as you don't care if you get 12 miles per gallon (which you will), don't care if you'll
pay an astronomical sum for insurance (which you will), don't care if you have to get your parts mail-order (which you will) and you have time for a new "hobby"
(which this will be), this could be just the car for you.
RAY: So if it's any consolation, Glenn, at least Tom's brother-in-law Eugene doesn't think you're nuts.
TOM: Of course, in the interests of full disclosure, we should mention that Eugene is nuts. Good luck, Glenn.