October 25, 2012 6:01 AM |
Posted By: Secret Supercar Owner
Rated 4.0 out of 5.0 by 4 members
Since we have recently made some progress on the Garage Clear out, discussions at home on possible additions have started again. These I always find far more engaging than the agonizing soul destroying decisions on letting a car go. The process we usually use has some logic to it in terms of discussions on intended use, rough budget, and residuals. This time around we sorted through the list fairly quickly and agreed that the intended use would mostly be for road trips on the continent. Hence left hand drive would be mandatory. It would need to be a modern car and not a classic. The budget was semi flexible based on the assumption that the model would have very strong residuals or be nearly fully depreciated as it is likely that we will keep it for 2-3 years.
I had run across a well-priced LHD Porsche 997 GT3 when peaking at the classifieds a few days ago. It seemed to tick a lot of the right boxes but as we started sorting through the different potential brands in more detail, the consensus opinion was that for crushing long distances on the continent, it’s hard to beat a Ferrari V12. Having owned both a Ferrari 550 & a 575, I would back this as a fairly well, long established fact. So off the list went the GT3. Not wanting to cover the same ground again eliminated both of the fore mentioned Ferraris. While the new Ferrari F12 is tempting and all the reviews have been gushing, if I placed an order today it would be at least 8-12 months before delivery. Being able to use the F12 much next year would therefore be unlikely and the depreciation over 3 years not at all pretty.
After crossing all the other modern Ferrari V12s off the list, the 599 was left. A bit of research and a quick look at the classifieds indicated that not only are their plenty of good spec 599s available and prices have dropped quite a bit. In terms of criteria, the 599 covered all the key ones off nicely. Decision made then. Well not quite. Problem is that the 599 comes in several different versions. These are base 599 GTB, the 599 GTB HGTE, 599 GTO, and the SA Aperta. Ignoring the last on the list as it is well outside the budget, it then becomes quite a tough decision. I really like the stripped down rawness and focus of the 430 Scuderia. Hence the instant appeal of the 599 GTO. Talking to a friend who has one and has driven it back and forth to Italy a few times, he indicated that it was the perfect balance of comfortable well manner cruiser that also has the ability to turn mental as soon as you ask it too. This put it right at the top of my 599 list.
Going back to the intended use, long continental trips, I was then reminded by my co-pilot how much the luxury and comforts of the 612 were appreciated during the long hours on the road by the other side of the cabin. Clearly the choice here was for a heavily optioned base 599 GTB. Comfort wise I would put the 599 GTB on par with both the 612 Scaglietti and the best of the Germans. The fact that prices on GTBs are only 30%-40% of GTO’s certainly does not help the case for the GTO. While I can always use man math to close the gap, it does not work so well on others. With comfort now a key criteria, it was back to looking at the different GTBs. On paper it does seem that the HGTE package might offer a good compromise between the road racer GTO and civilized GTB with the lowered ride height, stiffer set up, and faster gear changes. The premium for the GTBs with the HGTE pack is fairly minor so not a major factor in the final decision.
Next step is a bit more research, a few phone calls to different dealers, and then a few test drives. Heart says GTO and the head says GTB. Goal is to have the car in the garage by the spring.
Finding a few promising 599 GTOs has been quite easy. As I am looking for a LHD car, I have been searching solely on the continent. The market is quite saturated with over 30 cars for sale publically across Europe right now. So far I have found two great ones with the right color/spec. However before taking the time to fly out for a test drive, I have been in discussions on what a deal would look like if I did decide to go ahead. This is where things have been getting quite interesting. While supply is far out weighing demand right now, most sellers don’t seem to be willing to move much, if at all, on price. Through a couple of well placed contacts, I know that on a few 599 GTOs that have changed hands recently, the deals were done at £50k less than where most of the asking prices are right now. Gravity normally wins so a bit of patience would seem to be the best strategy here.
On the 599 GTB, there are a huge number of cars available across a wide price range. A few have quite high mileage and mileage seems to be much less of a concern in Germany than it is in the UK market. Great to see the V12 GTs being used as Enzo intended. Again I have located two cars that on paper tick all the right boxes. Before setting up test drives though, I want to get a bit closer to the framework on a potential deal on the GTO. The plan would be to test drive all in one trip and then decide. Target is still spring.
I have finally decided to park the idea of a 599 GTB or GTO for this year. Nothing to do with the car itself, just concerns on the 599 market in general. There are simply far too many 599s for sale all across Europe and many have been on the market for an extended period of time. This raises concerns on both residuals and the exit plan. As supply and demand will equalize at some point values will take a hit. In terms of an exit strategy, as in my case I would buy a 599 to own and enjoy for 1-2 years before moving on to something else, knowing what the other end of the market looks like is important.. Once I decide to sell, patience isn't a strong point, and right now many 599 sellers seem to need an abundance of patience.
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