Sports Car Market—November 1998 issue
by Michael Sheehan
In today’s market there are good buys on Ferraris that are undervalued for the performance they provide. They may not be the most successful of Ferrari’s styling exercises or the model currently “en vogue,” but for Ford Taurus money you can own a real car with heritage that will get you onto the lawn at Concorso Italiano, if not Pebble Beach.
The Mondial 8 coupe and the 400 are certainly among the lowest-priced Ferraris today. The Mondial has air conditioning that really works and is, for a Ferrari, a low-maintenance car. They are new enough that it’s possible to find a low-mileage, U.S. example with service records that should require minimal maintenance in the future for an asking price of approximately $25,000, and with a buy price that’s certainly less. The 400 offers the same low price range, the panache of a V12, more interior space, and more attractive styling. They have higher maintenance costs simply because of their 12-cylinder engines.
For those willing to spend up to $50,000, the best buy on the market has to be the 365 GTC/4. It’s almost as good looking as a Daytona and almost as fast. Maintenance is high but it is a Ferrari, and for $50,000 you should get a very, very nice car. Don’t waste your time on a rat with needs—you’ll just bury yourself.
Crossing the $50,000 barrier, the best buy on a 12-cylinder Ferrari is the 512 BB or Testarossa, with excellent examples available between $65,000 and $75,000. The Boxer may offer more exclusivity and may increase with value in time, but the Testarossa is a far more user-friendly and practical to drive on a daily basis Ferrari.
For those lucky few with unlimited budgets and garage space to spare, the best Ferrari buy on the planet today is probably the 250 LM. With 250 TRs and 250 GTOs trading in the $4 to $5 million dollar range, 250 LMs at $2.5 million or less are certainly a bargain. Only 32 cars were built and fewer than 25 survive with minimal clouds over their heads. They certainly are rarer than either the 250 GTO or the 250 TR, and are equally user-friendly, as long as you’re under six feet tall and aren’t shaped like a beach ball.
Sadly, those well over six feet tall and/or who weigh more than 220 pounds, and who have more than $2 million to spend must look elsewhere for their Ferrari thrills, and will be forced to suffer through ownership of a more-fully-priced 250 GTO or 250 TR. My condolences. But they probably weren’t shopping for a bargain in the first place.
MICHAEL SHEEHAN has been a Ferrari dealer for 30 years as well as a race car driver and exotic car broker.