How to buy a secondhand Ferrari for Mondeo money

Published: 10 April 2009

Warning! Buying a used Ferrari can seriously damage your wealth. Let’s make that clear even if the Surgeon General doesn’t attach government health warnings to secondhand Ferraris. Expect to run an exotic, no matter how old, on a shoestring and you’re going to get burned.

Though expensive when new, Ferraris are often no better built than anything else and can eat you out of house and home in no time. ‘These are low-volume used cars,’ says Mike Wheeler of Rardley Motors ( ‘Expect them to go wrong and then you’ll be pleasantly surprised when they don’t.’ The advice, as ever, is to buy the very best you can and walk away from anything with less than a cast-iron history.

So while you can buy a raggedy Ferrari for less than the price of a Korean supermini, CAR wouldn’t advise it. Not unless you want to spend the same again in the first six months keeping the thing running. Buy a Ferrari banger and you’re in for the sort of POW-style torture that would make WW2 Japanese soldiers look like Florence Nightingale.

And while you can buy a better Ferrari for £15,000, we’d probably steer you away from that too. Sift through the dross and you might get lucky and find something presentable. But even then, you’ll still be dealing with the less-loved early-’80s cars, models like the Mondial or an equally unfashionable, and potentially financially ruinous, 400, and run the risk of buying a well disguised dog.

All sounds a bit doom and gloom, doesn’t it? But there is hope. Scrape the barrel harder and stump up some proper money, nothing ridiculous, but the sort that buys a new VW Golf GTI, and you could be on your way to driving a bona fide secondhand supercar – a used Ferrari for Mondeo money.

Click on the links below for our full guide how to pick up a secondhand Ferrari 355, 308 GTB and 456. It'll cost you less than you might expect...

>> How to buy a used Ferrari 355
>> How to buy a used Ferrari 308 GTB
>> How to buy a used Ferrari 456

>> This article originally appeared in CAR Magazine June 2007 (all prices have been updated for 2009)

>> Thanks to CLUBGT for the loan of the Ferrari 355

By Chris Chilton

Contributing editor, ace driver, wit supplier, mischief maker