Friday, December 7, 2007

RC Planes, Aston Martins,and Old Trucks

I am meeting interesting people as I go about buying this car. Joe at Gran Prix is an interesting person. The folks I have talked to who have Ferraris for sale are interesting people. Generally, boring people do not buy Ferraris.
On Thursday I went to Gran Prix to drop off a check. When I arrived the car had just left. Gran Prix trailered it to ATD, the Ferrari shop I had called for the pre purchase inspection. I showed Joe this blog and talked about what I wanted to do with the car over the course of the year. Gran Prix hosts events at their location and a few track days giving me good excuses to get the car out and talk cars with other similarly obsessed people.
I wrote a check for the car. The purchase is still contingent on the results of the inspection but I have a feeling that this is a good car. Parked in front of Joe’s office is a black Lamborghini Gallardo. I ask Joe how it is to drive and about depreciation on the Gallardo.
“Come back on a day with better weather and we will drive it.” is Joe’s response. I am going to hold him to that. I am interested to compare Ferrari to the Lamborghini.
Later that day I received an email from Joe. Dick Guthrie of ATD gave the car a thumbs up so Gran Prix is going to pick it up and send it to a paint shop to spray the front bumper cover which has several rock chips. I want to know a bit more about Dick’s opinion so I gave him a call. He told me the car is in great shape and needs nothing. That is good news. What is better is that this 355 has the best compression Dick has seen in a 355. The only thing he noticed was some scrapes on the undercarriage. I felt good about the car after my test drive last Friday. This news makes me feel even better. This is a good car. I ask Dick if Gran Prix pays him and bills me or if I pay him. I am supposed to pay and tell him I will drop by tomorrow and give him a check.
I have a theory about 355s and possibly Ferraris in general. There are distinct opportunities, in the life of the car, to buy one. The first opportunity is when the car is new or nearly new. In a regular car nearly new means fewer than twenty thousand miles. In a Ferrari nearly new means fewer than three or four thousand miles. As I have researched 355s I noticed that cars with mileage between ten and twenty thousand are selling at a premium. This does not make sense. I can understand a car with fewer than ten thousand miles selling at a premium but cars in the ten to twenty thousand mile range come with a fairly large liability. There is a good chance the valves and manifold covers will need to be replaced in the next few thousand miles. Cars with over twenty thousand miles often have this work done but sell at a discount when compared to their less driven peers. I think a buying opportunity exists in the mid twenty thousand mile range for cars which have been well taken care of and had major service items, valves and manifolds, completed. If my math is right a car with lower miles and lacking the service sell at a fifteen thousand dollar premium over a higher mileage car but may require over twenty thousand in service. That is spread of over thirty five thousand dollars for a car with ten thousand fewer miles.
Friday afternoon I had some free time and headed over to pay Dick for checking over the car. I could not find ATD right away. I parked my truck in an industrial and warehouse district in east Portland and started walking. It did not take long to find Dick’s shop. While there was no sign all the Ferraris parked inside gave it away.
I will try to give you a description of what I saw and heard after walking in. First, there is stuff everywhere. Interesting stuff. Ferraris in various states of disassembly. Classic motorcycles. An old Aston Martin being restored and remote control airplanes, mostly models of World War II fighters. There was classical music playing loudly from speakers mounted atop the office space carved out of one corner and a rather heavy gentleman dressed in shorts and a tee shirt arguing that the complexity of the universe and the difficulty of understanding nothingness is compelling evidence for the existence of a higher power. If I misstated his argument or the intent I apologize.
A woman comes out of the office and introduces herself and Linda Guthrie.
“Are you David?” she asks.
“I had expected someone shorter. Tall people are disadvantaged when it comes to Ferrari ownership.” Linda replies.
“Well I slouch a bit when I drive” is all I can come back with.
“Are you going to buy the car?” Linda asks.
“Yes, I bought it.”
“Congratulations, want a beautiful car. I like the contrast between the silver exterior and red interior. And 355s are such nice performing cars. Have you owned an exotic car before?”
“No, I have a 911.” I say hopefully, but can see from Linda’s expression that my 911 does not count as an exotic. She is right.
The fellow talking metaphysics decides it is time for him to leave, says good bye and wanders out. Dick emerges from the office. Dick and I are similarly disadvantaged when it comes to driving Ferraris. Dick asks if I bought the car and reassures me it is a good car.
Linda and Dick are fun, interesting people. Linda looks like she could be a friend of my mom’s but knows more about Ferraris than I ever will. After talking about the Aston, whose restoration has stalled for years as the owner tries to decide on paint and the old red truck whose dash has come in and out I ask Dick how much I owe.
“One hundred eighty dollars.” He replies.
“You said two hundred fifty when we talked.”
“Well my memory is not what it was.” is his reply. “One eighty will be fine.”
While I hope my car does not have to visit them I look forward to the chance to talking with Linda and Dick again. I think the timing of the car being checked out by ATD then going to paint will give me just enough time to have my financing in place and not have to pay for the car myself. Scott and Jake at Summit are fast tracking my request and with luck I will have the money early next week. If possible I would like to pick the car up on Wednesday. First, it should be sunny that day so I can drive the Lamborghini, second I have client appointments out of Portland on Thursday. The clients are located near Mt Hood so might try to get in half a day of skiing.

1 comment:

JMP said...

I know I'm a bit late, but congrats on the purchase of your Ferrari, lol. I'm a ex-pro cyclist and spent my final season living and racing in Italy and had the chance to see and drive enough Ferrari goodness to feel very bad indeed about getting caught doping and having to stop bike racing.

I've only just started reading your blog posts but hopefully will move through them quickly - I want to know how things worked-out!