1999 550 Maranello
Purchased in 2006 for $115,000 with
15,000 miles; currently has 42,000 miles
What do you use your Ferrari for?
I use it mainly for club events, track days and weekend jaunts to the Wine Country.
What do you like most about the 550?
I think the overall performance is balanced beautifully. I like the torque of the V12—you can pretty much drive the car in only third gear—and the fact that it just does everything flawlessly; it handles, it brakes and it accelerates beyond most people’s expectations. It’s also extremely comfortable, it’s got wonderful luggage space and, on the highway at a steady 65-70 mph, I get a solid 18 mpg. All in all, I love it.
The Maranello’s front overhang is something you always have to keep in mind. Whenever you’re entering or exiting driveways, you have to angle the car. And when you’re pulling up to curbs…well, I’ve driven into one, and it’s an expensive lesson.
Do you have the car serviced by a dealer or an
My first experience with the car was with an independent, and it was just a good fit. My current guy has all the latest equipment, is very knowledgeable about the car, knows me and what I want, is fair and reasonable with his pricing and is spot-on with how long he will need to have the car.
How reliable has your 550 been?
It’s had no reliability problems whatsoever, and the car always runs the same: strong and hard. I put brake pads on the car once. I do the services—fluid changes, belts—methodically, following the book.
How about wear and tear?
The outside bolster on the driver’s seat tends to take on a blue-ish tint from my getting in and out wearing Levis; I have that renewed every once in a while. I have a clear bra on the front and mirrors and sills, but driving the car 30,000 miles, you get nicks in the paint. The switches started to get sticky, so they were all fixed and they look new now.
Dashboard shrinkage is a real problem with these cars if they’re parked outside. If you don’t cover the dash, the sun coming in through the windshield shrinks the leather—I’ve seen them with a whole inch of the inner dash exposed—and it costs $5,000 to fix. I had a heat-reflective film applied to the inside of the windshield to prevent that.
Would you recommend this car to a friend?
Absolutely. I love the car, all aspects of it.
2003 575M Maranello
Purchased in 2005 for $175,000 with
11,000 miles; currently has 21,000 miles
How did you come to buy your 575M?
Before I bought this, I looked at a lot of cars; I almost bought a Challenge Stradale, but that fell through. I’ve got long legs, and when I sat in a 575M that had competition seats, I thought, These are much better than the stock seats. But they’re pretty scarce, so I thought I would buy a car and just put them in. Then the dealer told me the seats were $22,000 a pop; it wasn’t such a good idea after all.
I went in wanting a stick-shift, but after driving
a lot of cars I decided I liked the F1 gearbox more.
I can shift pretty fast, but I can’t shift near as fast
as that thing does. Plus, I like the way when you downshift it [blips the throttle and] matches it;
that’s pretty neat.
What do you use the car for?
It’s a touring car, a weekend car, but I don’t track it. I say “weekend car,” but I don’t really like to drive it on the weekends; the traffic’s bad and there are bicyclists all over the place. But I’m retired, so I just go out during the week whenever I want.
What do you like most about the 575M?
It goes like hell! It’s not the fastest car in the world, but it’s pretty damn fast. I wouldn’t change a thing on my car if I had ordered it new; the combination of the sport seats, the Fiorano handling package, the carbon fiber, the F1 gearbox—I’m really happy with the car. It handles well, it does everything it’s supposed to do, and it’s real good at it.
I drive it all the time in Sport mode; it handles
better, and it’s easier on the clutch. After driving a car without it, I knew the Fiorano package was a must. The car felt much better, and I like to get on it.
I just drove the Ferrari Club of America’s 50th Anniversary 599 GTB, and that car’s brakes were just phenomenal. That’s the biggest difference between the two cars; I’d like to have the carbon brakes, those things really stop.
Do you have your Ferrari serviced by a dealer or an independent shop?
I used to go to the dealer where I bought it, but
my mechanic there went to a new [independent] shop, so I go there now.
How reliable has the 575M been?
It’s been bulletproof. Nothing’s gone wrong on it, and maintenance has been really cheap. I couldn’t be happier. The clutch was replaced before I bought it, but I haven’t had to do anything with it.
How well has it held up?
There are no signs of wear that I can see. The dealer put on a clear bra when I bought it.
Would you recommend this car to a friend?
Oh yeah, absolutely. Well, not mine, but one like it! I couldn’t be more satisfied, to tell you the truth.