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Kenny Lombino

Volume 43 Issue 14

Jul 7, 2018

What? A Ferrari for the everyday average person?  Are you crazy? Maybe so, maybe not.

    What? A Ferrari for the everyday average person?  Are you crazy? Maybe so, maybe not.

    I want to tell you a story, based on my experience as a Ferrari owner.

    It starts back in the 1960s.

    I grew up with my father taking me to the New York City Auto Show every year, starting around 1960. He loved cars, and passed that love on to me.

    He was a practical family man, so he always looked at the Cadillacs, Chryslers, etc. He would turn me loose at the show, and I would make a beeline to the sports cars, MGs, Triumphs, Lotus, Porsche, Maserati and, of course, Ferrari.

    He always told me that Ferrari was the best Italy made, and was for the rich man, not people like us. We are 100 percent Italian, so the seed was planted.

    As a kid, there was nothing I could do except buy a model of one, which I still have, a 1961/62 250 GTO.

    In 1972, now a teenager with my drivers license and a sports car, a 1964 MGB, I found myself taking a drive with a friend. I said, “Lets drive up to Nyack, New York, and go look at the Ferraris at the dealer.”

    Off we went; when we got there we saw many amazing cars including a 1972 Daytona Spyder.

    The dealer saw the excitement in my eyes, and offered me the driver’s seat, in the showroom of course. He let me run the gears through the gate, adjust the seat, and for about 30 minutes I dreamed of what it would be like to own such a car.

    I believe the sticker price was 25K, or about my father’s annual salary. Wow! How would I ever grow up to be able to buy something like this?

    The seed was replanted, put in the back of my mind, and I continued on my life’s journey, having goals, dealing with school, and trying to figure out how life works.

    I have been a sports car nut all my life, having owned many. I was also subscribing to all the important car magazines, reading all the reviews, and dreaming about owning some very interesting cars.

    The dreaming part was on the cars I thought were beyond my reach.

    The 1970s and 1980s were about finding myself in the world, way too many jobs that did not turn out to be a career, looking to find the “right girl”, etc.

    After the crash of 1987 I decided Wall Street was for me, not the best time to get into the business, but I thought it was filled with opportunity.

    So my work journey starts there.

    Now don’t get me wrong; yes, I have a good job, and life has been good to me so far, but I’m still just a working stiff.

    Success started to come to me, a wife (now divorced), a home, better cars, better vacations, but still a nine to five guy.

    I drove Jaguars during this time. When the price of a high performance Jaguar got to the point of being six figures, I went to look for something else.

    That was a 2004 Maserati.  Wow, what a car; I finally had a handmade Italian car.

    I leased it of course; I mean, who could afford to buy one? But now I thought I was at least in the club.

    One of my dreams was to drive the Alpine passes in a sports car, and in 2005 I made arrangements with a car travel agency to fly to Austria, and I rented a Mercedes 190SL.

    When I got to the location to pick up the car, I found that he was also an exotic car dealer and in his showroom was not only my 190SL, but every sports car you could imagine, including a 1977 308 GTS.

    The owner saw my expression, and said would you rather drive something else?  I asked if I could drive the 308; he said yes, and now I was about to embark on a 1,200 mile journey driving a Ferrari through the Alps!

    That story is for another time, but suffice to say, that was the most amazing trip.

    The car ran like a bat out of hell, handled like it was a go-kart, sounded unbelievable, and was the most fun I ever had.

    I came back from that trip and started my search for one. I didn’t think about any other Ferrari; I had to have a 308. Growing up with Magnum P.I., I thought a 308 was the same as a 250 GTO; I mean it was a Ferrari!

    I called a friend who was in the Jaguar club, who also owned a Ferrari, and asked him about the 308. He told me if I was going to get one it should be a 1985 QV, as they ran the best.  Off I went looking.

    Now this brings me to the part of the story that my title states. Can an average working man/woman afford to buy and maintain a Ferrari…my answer? Yes.

    I thought a Ferrari was beyond my reach. They always seemed to cost hundreds of thousands of dollars, and with bills to pay, a mortgage, and all else that goes on, not being a millionaire, how could I possibly afford that.

    I hadn’t really looked into what a used one might cost. Then there were the stories of high maintenance costs.

    Now, I’m an average guy, I have a good job, been doing it for some time now, have good credit, savings in the bank, and I take care of my responsibilities.

    When I came back from Europe and started looking at prices of 308s I was surprised to see they were in the high $30s to mid-40s; not too bad, way less than a Lexus, or a nice Mercedes or Jaguar.

    So, before you shout out and say, yeah, but that was then, now they cost six figures, let’s look at the issue of the Ferrari Market Letter dated June 9, 2018.  Then we can talk about Ferrari ownership.

    Of the thirty seven 308s I see listed, I see ten for fewer than $60K, and four for under $70K. Not too bad.

    I also see four Mondial Cabriolets for fewer than $60K, 355s fewer than $70K, and if you shop, 360s for around $70K, 308 GT4s can be had in the $50s.

    If one financed, the purchase a Ferrari can be around a $700 to $1,000 monthly payment, and one can lease for about half that.

    I’m not saying it’s inexpensive, but it is within reach for an average person with a good job.

    Now, let me talk about the Ferrari ownership experience, or why you should have one.

    Owning a Ferrari is all about the driving experience. I’m not talking about trailer queens, or the concours crowd.

    I’m talking about what happens when you take a Ferrari out on a back road.

    The sound, the style, the handling, the feeling you get shifting the car through the gears, winding through a corner, the tingle you get through your body that you are driving an icon of a car, you and the road, you become one!

    There is nothing like it, and every Italian car fan should experience it.

    It is a state of mind and body, and let us not forget, Ferrari is the benchmark by which all others are judged.

    If you’re a driver, you should have one. Don’t buy it for status, ego, or to be cool, buy it because you worked hard to get where you are and you deserve it. Buy it to have fun with your mate on a Sunday drive or a weekend away, buy it to appreciate what the car is, and what it can do for the enjoyment of your life.

    There is nothing like it, and it is within your reach.

    My mechanic says a well-maintained Ferrari can go two hundred-fifty thousand miles before a major engine rebuild, I know quite a few friends who have over a hundred thousand miles on theirs, and still drive them every weekend.

    Now it goes without saying, any Ferrari you might consider has to have a pre-purchase inspection.  You need to start a relationship with a mechanic or a shop, but that’s easy to do.

    It does require yearly maintenance of about a $1,000, and new tires every couple of years, but that’s about it.

    I haven’t even mentioned the friends you will make. Join the Ferrari Club of America, a great group all across the country where you meet like-minded people who are a wealth of knowledge, and have amazing events and trips. Relationships start that will last a lifetime.

    If you take the plunge you will find yourself looking in your garage and pinching yourself to make sure you are not dreaming, saying… “I can’t believe I own a Ferrari!” Every work week you will be saying I can’t wait for the weekend to take her out.

    Life is short my friend, we can’t take our stuff with us, we only live once, be bold, live the dream, go get yourself a Ferrari, you will never regret that decision!

    Hope to see you on the back roads.


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