With my deadline of my 30th birthday rapidly approaching, and having surpassed my financial goal, the summer of 2014 was my time to buy. There were a handful of 360’s available that ticked all the boxes and so I arranged to view them all on a couple of weekends in the middle of September; I had two on Friday the 12th, one the next day, with more penciled in for the following Saturday. I was probably more nervous on that Friday morning than ever before or since—who knew that fulfilling dreams was so scary.

To keep me grounded and remember to ask the right questions, and because I had up to that point only ever bought one car, I had my dad join me. Armed with printouts of the cars’ details and lists of things to look for on secondhand 360’s, off we drove…

We arrived at Slade’s Garage at a little before 11 o’clock. We were greeted and then in fact allowed to just nose around their showroom at our own leisure. It’s one thing to browse their collection online, but wondering around dozens of supercars with the intent of buying one is totally different. And having a spider next to the coupé made me seriously consider ignoring my reasons for not heading down that road. Getting back on track, we were able to check the underside of the nose—notoriously low and always at risk of being scuffed on curbs and speed bumps. Nothing, which is obvious really, as nobody buys any showroom car that has visible cosmetic issues. The car was then rolled out, fired-up, and we were left to explore the interior while she warmed up. Only two things stood out to me, one was the Ferrari logo on the tyre dust caps (how’s that for attention to detail?), and the second, perhaps more relevant, was that the tan interior has aged better than the cream. (I think it’s more that the darker colour of the tan reduces the visibility of the age wrinkles.)

After giving the car a visual and audible going over, it was time to check the books. It was fascinating reading through the cars history; seeing where it was originally bought and how it moved around. There were a few things which were unexpected: that there had been panel repair work, and the advisories from its previous MOT had yet to be addressed. Obviously panel work isn’t a major headache provided it’s done with care and attention, and I was assured that as part of the preparation before the car changes hands it would have a complete service and MOT so that it’s up-to-date. There wasn’t much else of note, just a lot of receipts and expired tax discs.

At last it was time for a test drive. Having only ever driven a Ferrari once before, and that was on a track, this was a tense experience. After a brief sit in the passenger seat as we called by a local petrol station, I was given the opportunity to take the reins. The first thing that I found myself having to get to grips with was the gear changes, particularly the gate at the base of the gear stick. What it really pointed out was my sloppy style of changing diagonally, from 2nd to 3rd, 4th to 5th, and vice versa. The gate does guide you, and it’s spring loaded so moving out of 2nd it moves back to centre ready for 3rd, but there’s no lazy drifting between gear changes. (The sound it makes too, a satisfying clink as you make the change.) There were two other events during the test drive which have since made me scratch my head and think… The first was what was put down to my inexperience with Ferrari’s whereby coming off of a roundabout I misjudged the gearshift and clutch movement and ended up out of gear but my foot firmly on the gas, which resulted in (rather obviously) a lot of noise! And the second was the engine cover light flicking on because it had come unlatched. Having pulled over to secure the engine cover it was time to return to the showroom.

Back at Slade’s I relayed to my dad the discussions Daniel and I had had regarding the service it would have before collection, which now included not only the suspension bushes but also a squeaky brake pedal. The car would also come with six months warranty and another service after the first year; not a bad thing to be told. So after a brief back and forth, we walked into their office, and I said

“I’ll take it”

So that was it, the moment I was to become a Ferrari owner. There was then the business of form filling, receipt writing, and deposit paying. Now it may appear that I rushed into this but that isn’t the case, as this was at the top of my list. It has a roof, it’s a standard manual, and it has the challenge-style grill. The others that I had lined up may have had a Tubi Style Exhaust, were not standard manuals, or were noticeably less expensive than the others (without an obvious reason such as excessive milage, or worse). It just happened, by coincidence, that this was the first. Getting a service both before I collect the car, and after my first year were also factors in thinking that this was too good a deal to allow someone else to take. So with the paperwork complete, we agreed that I could collect my Ferrari the following Friday at 6pm. It was going to be a long week, but first I had some viewings to cancel…