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Wednesday 8th August 2012

PH Fleet: Ferrari 599 GTB

Monkey does a bit of post-Porsche man maths, ends up buying a Ferrari...



I sold the GT3 RS 4.0 a while back. I was never going to be able to afford it for too long Ė as it was I spent eight blissful months owning the car of my dreams, and spent £10,000 on finance.

For the avoidance of doubt, I also made money on the deal, which should force me to identify those who said I had no idea what I was doing, and blow a big raspberry at them. But in the end, I no longer own the best car Iíve driven so thereís not much to brag about. It was a hell of a gamble, but it worked out well.

Better to have loved and lost and all that that.

Bye bye Porsche, hello man maths and a 599!
Bye bye Porsche, hello man maths and a 599!
Better to have loved and lost
I am a serial car-searcher though. Sometimes I wonder if the thrill of the chase is actually more addictive than owning and driving the car. I tweeted something about a Vanquish S about six weeks ago. A few weeks later I own a 599 GTB. You what?

It went something like this. Aston launched the new Vanquish and I thought, well, whatever. In fact I thought it looked bloody half-baked and reminded me how desirable the last Vanquish S models were becoming and, come to mention it, wouldnít one of those make a cracking low-depreciation smoke for a year or so. Maybe even turn a penny?

I scoured and investigated and what looked like the perfect carappeared at Nicholas Mee & Co: a Vanquish S, converted to manual by the Works Service, 45,000 miles, J Bond, etc. Predictably, the mileage scared me for the £74,000 asking price. I went and drove it and thought N Mee and pals were a terrific bunch. But it wasnít to be.

Lower miles would mean more money. Was a Vanquish worth nearly £90K? This inevitably led me to employ the man maths calculator to persuade myself that £90K pushed me into 599 territory. I know, the male brain is deeply confused. I set off to see my old pal Matthew Beard who is now running Ferrari Swindon. This is a strange situation given my current status with the Scuderia. Even so, they treat me like a human being Ė but I still bring along a caged rodent to taste all beverages for traces of Polonium. That last bit was a joke.

Monkey's taking a punt on prices rising...
Monkey's taking a punt on prices rising...
A moment of vulnerability
I know Iím biased because I like the Lovett group, but you have to go and see this new Ferrari/Maserati showroom by the M4. Itís the biggest in Europe, it feels like a kind of permanent motor show Ė oh, and itís about the most dangerous retail environment yet devised by Homo Sapiens. I drove a black 599 and loved it. The Aston was charming, the Ferrari felt 20 years more modern and looked good value at £106K. Good value is a term listed in the man maths lexicon of delusional car-purchasing phrases. It can apply to any car of any price.

The classifieds were not reassuring though. 599 prices appeared to be of the severed lift cable variety, with early cars under £100K and tanking. 10 days later Matthew phoned to say he had a Grigio Silverstone car with 20K miles for mid-90s. We haggled. I bought it. £40K in, rest on the dreaded drip. About £350 a month.

Is it madness? Suppose it could be. Thereís no shortage of 599s out there, and theyíre still depreciating fast. The Ferrari situation didnít come into it. Itís the car I want, not being pals with the company that builds it.

620hp 'enough' reckons our proud owner
620hp 'enough' reckons our proud owner
My reasoning went thus: I wanted another special car, I miss driving Ferraris because they are great cars even if the company is nuts. The F12 has already been announced, so the 599 is already, technically old-school. It is also a third of the price of a new F12. Is it really only a third as good? Iíve always liked the standard 599 without the harsh HGTE chassis pack.

A punt on a prancing horse
When the 458 was released, 430 prices plummeted, but then rallied when people thought they looked too cheap and the gap to the new car was so vast. Iím partly hedging that situation being repeated with the 599 and F12, even if Iím grown up enough to know that V12 Ferraris are far worse news than the V8 variety. A good 575 is still a £70K retail car, so even if I lose out, youíd have to hope it wasnít too tragic.

The clincher was a Porsche 911 test car I used for as week recently which listed at £92,947. Itís a great car, but the Ferrari has 620hp and will scare the shittle out of you in third gear.

I have one yearís Power Warranty on the 599, covering major mechanical failures, otherwise Iím on my own. Itís a flipping impressive machine. Big, endlessly powerful and, to my eyes, beautiful. I had a 575 a few years back, and even though I adored its manual gearbox and old-fashioned GT style, the 599 runs rings around it.

Chris and Ferrari make up, kind of
Chris and Ferrari make up, kind of
So how does it feel to have bought a Ferrari that became officially Ďoldí just a few weeks after I paid for it? Altogether good. Like you Iíve read the F12 drives, and it looks amazing, but itís so far out of my league it just doesnít figure. Iím sure it would blow my car into the weeds, but I canít use all 620hp of mine much of the time, so that part of its performance is probably lost on me. However, its smaller overall size really does appeal - the 599 feels massive on UK roads.

Deflating first outing
Sadly, I had to have the F1 gearbox. There were no manual 599s for the UK market and I didnít have the appetite for a LHD car. For me the paddles are the weakest part of the package, but on quick upshifts itís still pretty damn impressive. Given my partisan stance on these actuated manual íboxes, Iím very disappointed at how little I am hating using it.

The first 800 miles have been reasonably uneventful, bar a puncture during a video shoot, which showed the tyre pressure monitoring system to be rather handy. At gone 10pm in darkest Wales, using the computer to monitor the deflation, I had to stop every 20 miles to re-inflate the tyre. Next morning I found the compressor in the boot. Idiot.

599 style still delights, even if officially obsolete
599 style still delights, even if officially obsolete
A fellow 599 owner said his tyre valves had leaked, and I should check mine, but a large hole in the centre of the 305-section put paid to that theory. Two new Pirelli P-Zeros cost £600 plus VAT, plus fitting. Ouch.

I usually judge the success of a purchase on how much I use it. So far, Iíve driven the 599 every day. Itís easy when you want it, insane when you need it.

Lord knows how long Iíll keep it. For now itís an effective, expedient but expensive method of making all those sodding F12 reviews written by other people a little more palatable.


FACT SHEET
Car:
†2007 Ferrari 599 GTB
Run by:†Chris Harris
Bought:†July 2012
Mileage: 20,000
Purchase price:†Move alongÖ
Last month at a glance:†Honeymoon period going well, puncture notwithstanding

Chris Harris
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Author Discussion

Luca Brasi

Original Poster:

812 posts

54 months

[news]
Wednesday 8th August 2012 quote quote all
Congrats Chris, utterly gorgeous.

Output Flange

13,879 posts

91 months

[news]
Wednesday 8th August 2012 quote quote all
Sounds like a very sensible purchase. Possibly bordering on compulsory.

By far my favourite Ferrari colour too.

I'm hoping the F12 pushes 599 prices down, which pushes 575 prices down, which pushes 550 prices down and into my garage. Fingers crossed on that one.

r1ch

2,367 posts

76 months

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Wednesday 8th August 2012 quote quote all
There are no words to describe my jealousy. Didn't know you'd sold the Porsche.

D200

183 posts

27 months

[news]
Wednesday 8th August 2012 quote quote all
Fair play. Very nice car, the Ferrari V12's are heard to beat for noise, nicer than the V8's even.

I am guessing Chris made 40k on the GT3? I understand if he doesnt want to say how much but 40k deposit payed on the 599 would lead me to believe he made that on the 911. Well done. There is logic to his madness of buying a £140k+ car on the drip smile Though I can't think of many cars this would apply to, so well done for getting the 4.0.

Looking forward to the vid

nonuts

15,761 posts

109 months

[news]
Wednesday 8th August 2012 quote quote all
A black 599 is a definite dream car for me, good effort on getting one bought and I look forward to seeing what videos emerge!
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GroundEffect

7,794 posts

36 months

[news]
Wednesday 8th August 2012 quote quote all
I was wondering if Monkey was going to be given the keys to an F12 any time soon hehe

Oh and for the record, the 599 GTO (despite the heretic name) is my favourite car in the world.

martyspain

58 posts

49 months

[news]
Wednesday 8th August 2012 quote quote all
Lovely car in one of my favourite Ferrari colours. Glad you opted for the 599 over the Vanquish, though I feel somewhat unpatriotic for saying that. Look forward to seeing it in vids.

SirSamuelBuca

1,120 posts

37 months

[news]
Wednesday 8th August 2012 quote quote all
chris harris you are mad! great looking car biggrin

mik_jg

71 posts

69 months

[news]
Wednesday 8th August 2012 quote quote all
Top work. Same price, roughly, as a lightly-specced new M6 Coupe and far more special. Oh, and not liable to lose £20k in the first 6 months like the M5's are doing.

DanDC5

8,244 posts

47 months

[news]
Wednesday 8th August 2012 quote quote all
You've bought an old Ferrari on finance? Who would do this!? hehe

German

197 posts

27 months

[news]
Wednesday 8th August 2012 quote quote all
Once again, fair play for having the balls to do it...all im missing is any money for the deposit, I doubt there will ever be a line of people offering me 100% finance for a supercar for some reason :P

British Beef

635 posts

45 months

[news]
Wednesday 8th August 2012 quote quote all
Surprised Chris was not tempted by an Aston DBS seing as he was tempted by a Vanquish; similar price, stunning looks and that nice to have Manual box, although not quite as performance orientated.

Anyhow 599 looks, goes and sounds awesome, nice buy!!

mat205125

14,770 posts

93 months

[news]
Wednesday 8th August 2012 quote quote all
Output Flange said:
I'm hoping the F12 pushes 599 prices down, which pushes 575 prices down, which pushes 550 prices down and into my garage. Fingers crossed on that one.
There might come a time when the 599 and 550 are similarly priced.

This car in grey looks fantastic.

pwrc

2,101 posts

32 months

[news]
Wednesday 8th August 2012 quote quote all
i'm not sure if the grey suits it actually, it's such an aggressive looking car that rosso corsa or black look best. in my opinion, which you can ignore because i can't afford one tongue out
Congratulations though, chris. do you see it as a bit more usable than the 4.0? i got the impression that you didn't take it out much

suffolk009

1,031 posts

45 months

[news]
Wednesday 8th August 2012 quote quote all
I think it's the best looking of the modern Ferraris.

Small Car

662 posts

79 months

[news]
Wednesday 8th August 2012 quote quote all
"Sometimes I wonder if the thrill of the chase is actually more addictive than owning and driving the car."

Too true...

doogz

22,254 posts

67 months

[news]
Wednesday 8th August 2012 quote quote all
You're not afraid to put your money where your mouth is. I like that.

Hope it works out for you, awesome machine.

shoestring7

4,661 posts

126 months

[news]
Wednesday 8th August 2012 quote quote all
I imagine any satisfaction the 'company' feel about Harris moving to the dark side are somewhat outweighed by his "lovely cars but the men who make them are nuts" comments!

SS7

davepoth

22,594 posts

79 months

[news]
Wednesday 8th August 2012 quote quote all
Did the 911 go back to Porsche? Pity really, I would have loved to see the advert.

"One careful owner, never raced."

wink

Blown2CV

9,923 posts

83 months

[news]
Wednesday 8th August 2012 quote quote all
i can understand the maths behind the buying an appreciating car on finance, but one that's falling? Hmm
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