What is the Cheapest Ferrari, and Are You Crazy to Buy it?

I grew up dreaming of owning a Ferrari, as I’m sure many of you can relate to. I wouldn’t consider myself to be “wealthy” but have been fortunate to have owned 5 Ferraris over the years.

The cheapest new Ferrari you can buy today

So, how did I do it? I never bought the most expensive models and often looked at the cheapest models available. You might be thinking what is the cheapest new Ferrari you can buy today?

The cheapest new Ferrari you can buy today is the Ferrari Portofino, the “entry-level” model to Maranello’s current range. The UK list price is £164,480 ($206,000).

A Grand Tourer in traditional Ferrari style, the Portofino replaced the Ferrari California. With a 3.9litre twin-turbocharged engine mounted in the middle, it’s been praised for its excellent handling and performance, reaching the magic 62mph in 3.5 seconds and boasting a top speed of 199mph (320km/h).

If you want a two-seat Ferrari – the ultimate aim for any Ferrari lover – the Ferrari F8 Tributo is listed at £203,476 (around $255,000). The F8 Tributo is the replacement for the venerable Ferrari 488 GTB. The new car sets the standards for future models, with a 211mph (340km/h) top speed and reaching 62mph in just 2.9 seconds.

It’s also exceptionally beautiful and will be a timeless design classic. Also bear in mind the quoted prices are the list price and before you add any extras. If you want carbon fibre extras then keep your chequebook out!

The cheapest used Ferrari you can buy today

The cheapest used Ferrari you can buy is the Mondial and made its debut in 1980. Prices start at around £25,000 ($30,000). Any cars cheaper than this will be project cars, requiring considerable expense to make them roadworthy.

But the Ferrari Mondial has a few problems. It suffers the stigma of being that era’s entry-level model. Early cars were also underpowered and are criticised for their lacklustre performance.

But the Mondial in all forms is powered by one of the most revered engines of all time, the magnificent V8 3-litre that had debuted in the 308GT4 back in 1974. Ferrari continued to build the Mondial in various forms – including a rather neat convertible – until the model was withdrawn in 1993.

Brand snobbery means the Ferrari Mondial is looked down upon as the ‘poor man’s Ferrari’. We don’t think that’s fair. The design, viewed as rather staid at the time, has aged well and the drophead in particular looks every bit a Ferrari.

It may not be the fastest Ferrari – the original Mondial took 8.2 seconds to reach 62mph, an age for a Ferrari – but it earned accolades galore from the motoring press for its finely balanced handling.

It is, then, a much better car than its given credit for. Looking around, we found a 1988 Mondial 3.2 – that’s one of the best iterations of the engine to have – for a shade under £29,000. Sold fully serviced, it is described as being in good condition and has done 62,000 kms.

That’s a very good price as you should expect to pay around £35,000 ($44,000) for a decent usable example and add around 15% more for the convertible. The best advice we can give is to spend the most you can afford and always look for a full-service history.

Should you buy a salvage Ferrari?

Repaid costs for salvage Ferraris can be very expensive. Cars can be purchased for a considerable discount and appear attractive. However, new part prices are expensive, and the availability of used parts can be challenging. In addition, specialist materials make it expensive to repair.

It is true that you will need to have deep pockets, and the experience will require a lot of self-research. You cannot simply pick up a Haynes Manual to figure out the repair. Repairing carbon fibre is not cheap either, and the Aluminium structure is often replaced and not repaired.

Yet there is more to consider. If you can figure out the repair and know the right people to put the car right, there are some bargains to be had.

For example, this 2012 Ferrari FF. For sale at auction with US salvage specialists Copart, the car is described as having ‘miscellaneous damage and missing parts’. Bidding stands at $51,000 (approx. £42k) and it is likely to be sold by the time you read this. But this is a good example.

Should you buy a similar salvage Ferrari? We would expect a good, full-service history Ferrari FF of this vintage to sell for around £130,000 in the UK, or $165,000. Depending on the damage that needs repairing, our $51k example is looking like a bargain.

But beware: a Ferrari is a complex beast and needs specialist knowledge to work on. Why buy salvage when, as we have shown above, you can buy a good, usable, serviced Ferrari Mondial 8 for even less than this? The choice is yours.

Are cheap Ferraris expensive to maintain?

Maintenance costs do not reduce simply because the car has depreciated. An oil change service for a Ferrari F355 – one of Maranello’s most popular models – costs around $1,100 (approx £880). For a Ferrari F430, it is around $500 (£400).

That’s just two examples, and that’s just for an oil change. An oil change needs to be carried out every 5000miles, or annually, whichever comes soonest. Let’s have a look at servicing costs for these models. We found a UK specialist offering a full service for Ferrari F430 for £925 (around $1150). For a Ferrari 355, the cost would be a few pounds or dollars less. That looks pretty good on paper, yes? 

One owner at a Ferrari forum calculated the cost of owning a Ferrari F430, driven 4000km a year and over 5 years, at $84,000 (£67,000). This included parts that needed replacing across the years, on a car he paid $130,000 for. His figures include $50k for depreciation, so the total running costs of a Ferrari F430 amount to $34,000 or $6800 (£5400) per year. 

Are these figures believable? Find a reputable independent Ferrari specialist and check them out. Also, research the models you are interested in as some are considerably more expensive to maintain than others. Many people run Ferrari’s as classic or second cars, and if planned and budgeted carefully it is entirely possible.

Are cheap Ferraris a good investment?

Ferraris are not good investments int he short term. Prices appreciate over a longer period of time, and it is often years before any appreciation is seen. Appreciation should also be offset against inflation and other investment options.

Buying a Ferrari is often better as an emotional decision rather than a Financial one. Purchase and maintenance costs need to be considered, as well as unexpected costs that might jump out at you.

But it also depends on what you expect to get for your investment. Let’s simplify things: if you’re looking for a ‘cheap’ Ferrari it’s going to be a Mondial, an F355, or an F430, as these are the models that are at the affordable end of Ferraris.

The days when a Ferrari 308GT4 Dino could be found for a few thousand pounds – after all, they are not ‘real’ Ferraris in the eyes of some – are long gone. The problem with investing in, say, an F430 is that it is not going to rise in value rapidly. 

The plus side is that they are not going to get any cheaper. The money you lose in maintenance over the years might be recouped in ten years’ time. But it might not. We don’t have that crystal ball that sees into the future.

In short, don’t buy a cheap Ferrari expecting financial returns. Buy one to drive and enjoy.

Are old Ferraris cheap to buy?

Old Ferraris are not cheap to buy, and although prices may not be going up, they are not depreciating either. A Ferrari F355 is a 22 year old car, and still costs around £50,000 to purchase. This is more than the average cost of new car available today.

Go back even further beyond the 1980s, and you won’t find such thing as a cheap Ferrari. Remember the Ferrari 308/328 GTS, the Targa-top model driven by TV detective Magnum? You’ll pay at least £70,000 ($88,000) for a usable one, and much more for an example with a solid service history. Essential for a car that is more than 40 years old. 

Go back even further and you’re in Ferrari 365GTB/4 Daytona territory. Now we are looking at multiple six figures in dollars or sterling. You need a large surplus of ready money to buy, own and maintain any Ferrari that is older than the Ferrari Mondial.

Which Ferrari model would I recommend?

As mentioned, the cheapest new Ferrari is the Ferrari Portofino. Make no mistake this is not a car made on a budget, and as an owner, you will get 100% of the Ferrari experience. The car will not disappoint.

If a new car is out of price range, then consider cars in the back catalogue. The Ferrari 360 Modena is a great example and is available for around £50,000 ($65,000). The cars are modern, reliable, has reliable electrics, and can still out-perform most modern sports cars. Prices are creeping up too which is always handy when you come to sell it. 

If you really want a Ferrari – and who doesn’t – and you have the money available for the sort of models we’ve been talking about here, Then you have options. We say ignore the brand snobbery and look for a very good, well-maintained and fully serviced Mondial t. Preferably one of the later cars with the 3.4-litre engine, and a cabriolet if possible. 

These cars are finally becoming recognised as being much better than they were given credit for at the time, and if you are careful are the easiest way into Ferrari ownership. As we said, they may not be about to rocket in value, but they’re not going to get cheaper either. 

Andy Rasool

Founder - Although he has been a Certified Ferrari Tifosi since the age of 10, his fate was sealed when at the age of 14 he persuaded a Ferrari dealer in London that he wanted to buy a new Ferrari. A phone call to his dad the following day soon put an end to that! His therapist suggested that to overcome the addiction a healthy dose of Ferrari Blogging and Spotting will help, and with that SupercarTribe.com was born!

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