A choice many petrol head has considered but probably not many has undertaken; considering the lower end of the Ferrari and Porsche 911 range to be used as a daily driver and transport a family around..
Having been firmly in the Fast German car camp since I was 20 with a VW Corrado VR6 and moving up the ladder to various BMW M3’s and Porsche’s, I decided on a change.
During lockdown I found my way to Collecting Cars and landed on a Ferrari 456, which as a child, remembered for it being the most expensive Ferrari and fastest 4 seater in the world. Cue my surprise that a black v12 Ferrari with 4 seats was looking to sell for comfortably under £30k, I set on convincing my family that this was a sensible purchase. Well, the good thing is they weren’t really listening, so I bought it!
2 years in, what do I think and would I do it again – YES I would and it has been an emotional rollercoaster of a car – you might argue this is part of the appeal.
I took an old school friend with me who has built a number of performance cars and worked for Mercedes and McLaren so better than an Independent Specialist I figure as he only needed a KFC as payment. On arriving at the car storage company and before seeing the car, I remember saying ‘mate, if it’s not on fire, I’m buying it’. He laughed and probably wondered why he’d come all this way.
The car had to be trailered, naturally having been sat in storage for 3-4 years with bits of rubber floating around the fuel tank. The last big service was with a company called Rardley, who are based near to me and that was really my only deciding factor at the time. Some 3 months after I bought the car and £7k later, I had a fully serviced and MOT’d (with no advisories) Italian Supercar ready for Christmas! It was used daily whether it was just for a blast by myself, to see the Christmas lights with the kids or to the shops. Every time felt special, more special than a Porsche 911.
A few weeks later and it wouldn’t start – flat battery, doors couldn’t be opened and neither could the boot or bonnet. Quick call to Rardley and Martin is over within the hour to get me started. Can’t recommend a good local specialist any higher.
2 days later and the car won’t start again, turns out to be the very expensive Ferrari branded Sony hi-fi drawing current, so I simply disconnected it.
Nearly 1 year of trouble free and very enjoyable motoring later it’s time for the 2nd service and MOT under my ownership. Leaving Rardley with a £2.5k bill doesn’t seem so bad, however quickly followed by a number of electrical sensors a week later adding another £1k.
I’m now around 2 years in on my first Ferrari ownership experience and yes it is special and I do feel very lucky, however I am starting to look at Porsche again. Here are the reasons why; I miss the sound when the doors open and close with a wonderful mechanical clink and no interior parts rattling. I miss looking in the wing mirror and seeing the curves of the rear wheel arches. I miss the sound of the engine behind me but still having 4 seats. I miss getting in the car for a long journey with the family and not having to worry about calling the AA. Now, the real bit if you are a Porsche 911 fan; the feeling of loading up the front wheels with all the weight still at the back for the corner – the slow in, fast out that only a 911 can do. Hydraulic or electric steering, they still beat everyone else.
For me, with a busy life and 2 young kids, the Ferrari experience was a bit too early, albeit wonderful still. This will be my last year as a Ferrari owner and it’s off to Goodwood Members Meeting to start off the events.