It was February of 2012 that I announced to close family my intention to actually buy a Ferrari. I don’t remember whether they took me seriously at that point as it was late and we were about to depart (yet again) for Verbier, so my ramblings about a Ferrari were likely taken with a pinch of salt. But from that moment I started carefully planning and researching: how was the price of Ferrari’s fluctuating, who was constantly appearing on AutoTrader as a trade seller, what were my options for finance, did I want a berlinetta or spider, standard manual or F1-style gear shifter, et cetera. A lot of the mechanical and cosmetic decisions were able to be delayed, the biggest hurdle was the money. First I had to answer the question of how much could I afford each month, and after that there was some reverse engineering to figure out how much that meant I was looking to borrow.
Once I had an idea of how much I could afford to repay each month, I took a detailed look at the finance for my Cee’d to see how the interest was calculated. It would have been wrong to think that it’s possible—for example—to borrow £1,200 repaying £100 each month for a year. With a budget of £100 the original loan will only be for roughly £1,100 once interest is included. This then lead me on to settle on a figure for a deposit. (In the above example it would need to be £100 to get to the £1,200 mark.) My goal was at least £15,000 or roughly 30% of the cost of the car. Prices were between £40,000 and £60,000 depending on age, mileage, colour, and modifications (such as exhaust), so I knew I had my work cut out for me. Being single helped, likewise opting for a house share instead of renting my own place.
It didn’t take very long to reach this point in the planning; it was just a case of some simple mathematics. Now though, it become a waiting game. Waiting and saving. Waiting, saving, and watching. Watching 360’s come and go at many of the official Ferrari dealerships as well as the independent garages. I started my search at the AutoTrader website as it basically allowed me to just sit and watch. It also showed me which independent traders were popular as their adverts would come and go, time and again. Knowing who to trust when forking out such a large amount of money was important, and still is when considering storage, servicing, and maintenance.
So after more than two years of waiting patiently, as I neared my 30th birthday, it was time to get serious and start reaching out to sellers. All it took was a quick email with a couple of questions regarding the last service and when items such as the timing belt and clutch were last changed. It probably didn’t really need to be that complicated and could have just been along the lines of can I come and view the car this weekend, as obviously the cars history is easily checked as part of the viewing process. By this time I had reasoned that I wasn’t after a convertible (10–15 year old fabric roofs may be problematic even if they’re well looked after), wasn’t too fussed by a sports exhaust (nice to have, but even the stock exhaust sounds amazing), or the interior, but I did want the challenge-style rear grill (the black contrasts nicely), and a standard manual (as even though the 360 was the second road-going Ferrari with a semi-automatic, I felt the technology was still in its infancy). Oh, and it had to be red! Obviously.