Articles

Michael Sheehan's Ferraris-online.com Article

An $11,000 Ferrari Fender Bender

As appeared in:

Sports Car Market—August 2000 issue

Sheehan Speaks

by Michael Sheehan

Mike Sheehan

In the June issue of SCM we compared the cost of painting a Mercedes 450SL with a Ferrari 308 (“The $7,000 Paint Job,” page 61). Here, we take a look at the work involved and the cost differences for crash repairs to a 360 Ferrari versus a Porsche 996. Let’s assume both cars are near new, with non-metallic paint, and have had an accident that resulted in damage to the front bumper, right fender, nose panel, headlight area and inner structure. There is no damage to the hood on either car.

The parts and labor hour quotes for a Porsche are standardized throughout the US and average $35 per hour. There are, however, no standardized flat-rate labor hour manuals for the Ferrari, and Ferrari specialist body shop rates nationwide varied from $35 to $85 an hour. In calls to authorized Ferrari dealers, parts prices also varied considerably from dealer to dealer, and most parts would have to be flown from Italy for time-sensitive repairs, adding to the cost. For the purposes of this article, I have averaged Ferrari body shop labor at $55 an hour, and taken the average of the parts prices I received.

To begin with, both the 360 and the 996 must be set up on a frame machine, measured for damages and then “pulled.” They must be measured during the “pulls” to ensure the inner structure is stress relieved, square and back into place. This must be done before any parts are removed, because the car was crashed as a unit and must be pulled back into shape as a unit to “stress relieve” all attached body parts.

The Porsche has a conventional steel unibody. Steel has a “memory” and the inner structure and sheet metal that make up the frame can be pulled as a unit, for a total frame “pull” time of 6.0 hours at $35 per hour or $210. The Ferrari has an aluminum body and an aluminum race-car-like box and ladder frame, requiring careful measurement and alignment during the pulls. The inner structure is made of different size frame rails and tubes that often must be pulled as separate items. Total frame “pull” time is 9.0 hours at $55 per hour or $495.

With the frame pulled, we now remove parts for replacement. The Porsche is a precision-built, mass-production car designed to be assembled, and disassembled for later repairs, with relative ease. Replacement parts are interchangeable and the fit is near perfect. Labor time to remove and install (R&I) the front bumper-spoiler assembly is 3.8 hours; R&I the front fender, 3.5 hours; and the headlight assembly is 1.5 hours. To re-align the hood, latch and hinges is 1.5 hours. Total labor to R&I the Porsche sheet metal parts is 10.0 hours at $35 per hour or $350.

Parts needed to repair the Porsche sheet metal include a new fender at $343.65; a new bumper-spoiler assembly at $1,245; a retainer strip at $24.36; front grille at $11.70; and headlight assembly at $916.65; the total for the Porsche parts is $2,541.36.

360 Parts Diagram
Modena 360: It all adds up to big bucks.

The Ferrari is a hand-built car with most of the aluminum body panels welded in place. While the labor to R&I the bumper-spoiler assembly is similar to the Porsche at 3.0 hours, the Ferrari front fender is bolted to the inner structure and also welded at the front and bottom seams where it joins other sheet metal. The welds must be cut loose from the inner structure before the fender can be removed. The new fender is supplied slightly oversize and must be trimmed to fit into place, resulting in total fender R&I of 8.0 hours. Time to R&I the carbon fiber inner fender liner is 2.0 hours. The aluminum lower front nose panel between the hood and the front bumper assembly and its inner support panel, or apron, must be cut off, trimmed, custom fitted and welded into place at 6.0 hours. R&I the headlight assembly is 1.0 hour, while the brake ducting and air grille are 2.0 hours. R&I the carbon fiber front floor pan is 1.5 hours. To re-align the hood, latch and hinges is 1.5 hours. Total labor to R&I and overhaul the Ferrari body parts is 24.50 hours at an average rate of $55 for a total of $1,347.50.

The new Ferrari bumpe-spoiler assembly is $2,314; the brake duct, duct grille and seals total $231.29. The fender is $1,304.51 and the headlight assembly is $1,387.53. A new nose panel is $152.53 and the lower apron (under the nose panel) is $108.80. The carbon fiber lower nose panel is $428.56. Total for the Ferrari body parts is $5,927.23. On the Porsche, while the body parts are off, the damaged inner floor and spare-tire compartment must be replaced. The secondary frame and inner structure labor is 9.5 hours for a total of $332.50, while the new trunk floor part is $168.50.

The Ferrari’s aluminum inner secondary frame support structure, side cover panel and outer supports have absorbed most of the crash impact and must be replaced. The secondary frame labor is 12.0 hours for a total of $660, a new side panel is $476.97 and the new outer structure mounted below the fender is $418.95. Total for all new inner sub-frame structure parts is $1078.95.

The paint quote for the Porsche comes from the labor rate manual with minimal variation from dealer to dealer, and averaged 15.5 hours at $35 an hour for a total of $542.50. There are no “book time” paint quote rates for the Ferrari and estimates varied from dealer to dealer with an average of 28.5 hours at $55 an hour for a total of $997.50. Paint materials for all cars are generally paid at a rate of about $22 per hour estimated. The Porsche paint materials were $350 (15.5 hours) while the Ferrari paint materials, on a longer time estimate of 28.5 hours, were $625.

Summarizing the Porsche 996 repair, we have the following: frame pull labor at $210 plus secondary inner frame labor, $332.50, for a total of $542.50. Frame and inner structure parts are $168.50. Body labor is $350 and parts are $2,541.36. Paint labor is $542.50 and paint materials are $350. Sales tax added an average of 8% (with substantial variations from state to state) at $244.78. The total repair estimate is $4,739.64.

The labor for a near-identical crash to the labor-intensive and parts expensive Ferrari is substantially higher. Frame pull labor is $495 and secondary structure labor is $660, while sub-frame and inner structure parts added $1,078.95. Body labor is $1,347.50 while the lower volume and higher cost parts averaged $5,927.23. Paint labor charges are $997.50, and paint materials are $625. Add in sales tax (at 8%) for another $610.49 and the total repair estimate for our near-new Ferrari is $11,741.67.

Further, while your 996 can be repaired in a matter of weeks, your 360 may be off the road for months while parts are sourced and flown in. There’s no moral to this story, just a reaffirmation of what we already knew—Ferrari ownership is expensive. Just try to keep your 360 on the road, and your accountant and insurance agent will be much happier.

MICHAEL SHEEHAN has been a Ferrari dealer for 30 years as well as a race car driver and exotic car broker.