February 25, 2012 11:23 PM |
Posted By: Markcoopers
Rated 5.0 out of 5.0 by 2 members
I'm no mechanical numpty, spannering ever faster westfields for nearly 20years has given me the bloody knuckles and swearing vocab to prove that. However doesn't matter how many over tourqued nuts you have gritted your teeth over, or differentials you have let swing into your face while lying under a car, buying a used car is a different game.
Now i should also come clean here and admit that my used car purchasing track record is not what you would call sparkling. A few years back i was convinced i needed an older Mk1 VW golf Clipper for some summer fun, so with the determination akin to a mating salmon, off i swam to view cars. Cars plural was the key word for for the first one i saw, a kind of BOGOF that you didn't want. The next was only described as a rear green but in reality was only 85% green and 15% holes. The third was much better, giving the warm comforting feeling like home, only it was not my home but that of a family of mice. I gave up then.
More recently though i took the plunge on an E36 M3 EVO vert. OK not the most EVO of cars, but perfect for "cool dad" trips with the kids stowed in the back and that straight six to play tunes on up front. I was rather more determined here though, looking at some 10 or more cars before choosing. While no mice were found this time plenty were no where near as described and only served to highlight the skills needed to find the right car.
So having decided on a Ferrari Mondial 3.4T, a close eye on all the auction/classified sites and the determination of an Adult Salmon, stepped again back into the used car game. My first foray proved to be the best bit of luck i could of asked for, unwittingly the first car i called about was offered by a company that are well known in Ferrari cycles for servicing and repairs. I have never met a company owner so passionate about his job, willing to spend time on the phone and in person just to talk me through what to look out for. A true Gent and if anyone whats to know who they are then PM/email me.
Eventually i found my way to a used Ferrari specialist who it has to be said was again a true gent and opened my eyes to a totally new buying experience. Naively i had assumed any used car was "as seen" and as such any issues were my problem to resolve, turns out buying a used Ferrari, even a "cheap" Mondial is not the case.
On the day, "my car" was squeezed in the middle of a school boys wet dream warehouse, completely overshadowed by the other exotics and to be honest i felt a bit of a fraud being there due to the relatively low price compared to all the others. The car looked good, but it had some issues and again i found myself feeling that wave of disappointment creeping over me, dragging me back to Golf of M3 viewings and disappointment. I guess this is the mark of a good sales man as he spotted that in my and quickly moved to reassure me on all accounts. Assured that what ever i wanted changing would be put into the deal that we agreed, he then proceeded to help me find the faults and dutifully noted them down for later.
I've never had the privilege of starting or even being close to one when starting before, so Mr Larini thank you, your work is a pleasure to behold...well hear at least. Mind you not two minuets later i was firmly reminded that it does not matter how big your toys are there is always someone with a bigger one. In this case the starting of a Lambo, after which not much else was or could be hear for the rest of the day.
The dealer drove initially which was fine by me, not least as it needed fuel and this was a test too far for this Ferrari virgin. To say i was apprehensive.. er no if we are honest i was as excited as a dog with two dicks and apprehensive, but both were misplaced. Within two gear-changes i was as excited as a dog with three dicks and at 8000rpm four dicks. Today was a good day.
Back at his ranch we started to discuss a deal and good as his word he produced the list of "niggles" and ten minuets later we were shaking hands. Paperwork has never been my strong suit and today was no exception, but i did get signatures and printed names in the right boxes, so feeling qualifying as a grown up, produced a credit car for a deposit. As i typed the four numbers of fate into the key pad i was hit by just how reckless my actions had been, sure the wife knew were i was and what i was thinking of doing, but as we all know that is not the same as agreeing. It was while picturing how much space the spare room had and if i could eek more out by moving the chest of draws that a delivery date was discussed. So distracted i simply gave a Gallic shrug and told him i was not desperate for it next week and to take his time. Subsequent conversations have revealed that he was impressed at just how cool i played it...I have corrected that, assuring him i was simply in a state of excitement, nerves, shock and high blood pressure.....cool was not deliberate.
Mr Ben was a childhood favorite of mine, and just like at the end of each show, it was all too soon to return to my normal sales rep life and depart. Upon reaching my front door i too like Mr Ben put my hand out only this time finding a visa slip for my deposit and an order form scribbled on. A little memento i thought to myself, of the day i purchased a Ferrari.