RE: Ferrari California: Generation Game

RE: Ferrari California: Generation Game

Friday 9th February

Ferrari California: Generation Game

Maranello's open-top Grand Tourer is about to be replaced with a new model. We take a look at its ten-year legacy



With the introduction of the new Portofino - a car we'll talk about at length next week - Ferrari has opted to retire the California name that distinguished the firm's convertible grand tourer for the past decade. The 2+2 model was something of a departure for Maranello in 2008: its rear seats, folding metal roof and front-mounted V8 were intended to deliver the versatility that might attract new customers to the brand, with a lower price point sealing the deal.

There are currently 122 for sale in the classifieds; in chronological order, we walk you through the second-hand possibilities - just in case the £166,180 starting price for a 2018 Portofino seems a little steep...


Ferrari 250 GT California Spyder - £1,260,000
Well, so much for second-hand savings. But to tell the California's story, it's necessary to tip the hat at its heritage. The model name harks back to what is (handily) one of Ferrari's most sought after cars: the 250 GT California Spyder. Of course, at the time (i.e. the late 50s) the badging was a fairly transparent marketing ploy designed to help shift the new open-top GT in America. The fact that it ended up being plastered to one of the most evocative - and rare - models that Maranello ever made has meant that history has treated it rather kindly. It's strictly a movie star and magnate car, meaning that there isn't even a factory-built version (short or long-wheelbase) on PH, but rather this spectacularly pretty 1962 example which was converted from a GT/E by a Modena coachbuilder in the 80s. Yours for £1.26m.


2009 Ferrari California - £74,950
Production of the modern California kicked off in 2008. Among many novelties was the seven-speed dual-clutch gearbox which was set to become a Ferrari mainstay. The transmission was an immediate hit: despite being offered with a six-speed manual, just three cars globally were ordered with a third pedal (including one in the UK, obviously). Maranello built a new production line to manufacture the new model, although its engine was familiar, being a wet-sump, 4.3-litre derivative of the same naturally-aspirated V8 that powered the F430. The earliest versions of the car - not unexpectedly - are among the most affordable modern Ferraris: the cheapest we found, in Tour de France blue and with 37k on the clock, is available for a smidge less than £75k - significantly less than half the price of its eventual follow-up.


2012 Ferrari California 30 - £102,989
The comparatively lower price of older Californias is partly driven by the greater appeal of what immediately followed it. The facelifted car, introduced in 2012, was both 30kg lighter and 30hp more powerful - hence the name. The far-reaching updates were chiefly driven by customer feedback which identified cleaner poise and a little more outright speed as desirable upgrades even in a four-seater. The resulting dynamic improvements - particularly a reduction in body roll - helped make the California an easier car to drive, and a marginally quicker one, too. Consequently, you'll pay a little more for the privilege of ownership: the classifieds delivering this metallic Rosso Fiorano example, with contrasting tan leather and 17k, for £102,989.


2015 Ferrari California T - £129,850
The second major facelift of the California, introduced in 2014 and rolled out in 2015, swapped out the 490hp atmospheric V8 for a 560hp twin-turbocharged one. The power advantage though was less critical to Ferrari than the efficiency gains made by the switch to forced induction. CO2 was significantly reduced - and the availability of peak twist hugely increased, although Maranello instigated its now standard practice of restricting its delivery in lower gears to help preserve the high-revving character of the new 3.9-litre unit. The body was completely overhauled too and the chassis retuned; alterations which helped to make the T a more rounded car than the model it replaced. Combine that with its newer appeal, and the California's used values go up an additional £30k, a 2015 example with 12k and two previous owners costing £129,850.


2016 Ferrari Callifornia T HS Pack - £159,995
The most recent versions of the outgoing T - many with trifling mileage - are inevitably knocking on the door of the new Portofino's starting price. Among the available choices, it's worth seeking out those equipped with the Handling Speciale pack, a cost option which added firmer springs, retuned magnetorheological dampers, a sports exhaust and a tweaked F1-Trac stability control system. While the car produced no more power, its sharper chassis and quicker shifting gearbox (thanks to a software mod) made it seem faster - with only a mild reduction in rolling refinement. Broadly speaking, it is the HS version that the Portofino has to beat - not least because you can have one right now. The 2016 example we found, with just 3k completed and plenty of options, is typical of the breed at £159,995.

Author
Discussion

DegsyE39

Original Poster:

540 posts

62 months

Friday 9th February
quotequote all
Fugly for a ferrari IMHO redface

dunnoreally

208 posts

43 months

Friday 9th February
quotequote all
They call it the California but, in 15 years, I'd expect values to be a bit more, well, Mondial.

Don't get me wrong, I'm sure they're absolutely lovely in their own right, as well they should be for the price, but they never seemed fire the collective imagination quite like the 458 or 599 did.

RamboLambo

4,843 posts

105 months

Friday 9th February
quotequote all
Never a classic. Good all rounder 2 + 2 but hardly a SUPERcar

herebebeasties

367 posts

154 months

Saturday 10th February
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Every time I've seen one of these in the metal my overriding impression has been one of bulk and slight dumpiness. They're just a bit lacking in class, somehow. The stacked exhaust pipes definitely did the original examples no favours. Too much chintz and bling and not enough elegance. I've always fancied a 599 but never one of these.

MikeGalos

225 posts

219 months

Saturday 10th February
quotequote all
I had the chance to test drive a California T at a Ferrari event a few years ago. Frankly, it felt, at best, ordinary. But I drive a Lotus Elise as a daily driver so I guess after that everything feels like a 20 year old minivan. (Plus, whoever thought up putting the turn signals on the steering wheel should be banned from ever being allowed to design anything more critical than a bottle opener)
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suffolk009

3,884 posts

100 months

Saturday 10th February
quotequote all
You might think in such an article, the author might mention that the 250 is a roof-chop. Minor detail.

MDL111

2,894 posts

112 months

Saturday 10th February
quotequote all
MikeGalos said:
I had the chance to test drive a California T at a Ferrari event a few years ago. Frankly, it felt, at best, ordinary. But I drive a Lotus Elise as a daily driver so I guess after that everything feels like a 20 year old minivan. (Plus, whoever thought up putting the turn signals on the steering wheel should be banned from ever being allowed to design anything more critical than a bottle opener)
I am of the opposite opinion - everybody should put the turn signals on the steering wheel, so much better

coppice

4,847 posts

79 months

Saturday 10th February
quotequote all
Except Audis , on the grounds of redundancy.some might say ?.

Tim bo

1,275 posts

75 months

Saturday 10th February
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One of my favourite modern Fezza's. Stunning!

Double gauche

224 posts

32 months

Saturday 10th February
quotequote all
MikeGalos said:
I had the chance to test drive a California T at a Ferrari event a few years ago. Frankly, it felt, at best, ordinary. But I drive a Lotus Elise as a daily driver so I guess after that everything feels like a 20 year old minivan. (Plus, whoever thought up putting the turn signals on the steering wheel should be banned from ever being allowed to design anything more critical than a bottle opener)
A decent bottle opener is a beautiful thing!!

Cali is a car that you buy if your other half chooses your cars for you.
So soft and compromised- but at least ive got a
Fezza is what the owners must say to themselves

nickfrog

9,142 posts

152 months

Saturday 10th February
quotequote all
Double gauche said:
A decent bottle opener is a beautiful thing!!

Cali is a car that you buy if your other half chooses your cars for you.
So soft and compromised- but at least ive got a
Fezza is what the owners must say to themselves
Or they simply chose it because it suits their needs better than other Ferraris in the range. Softer often means less compromised for a road car.

PH has become a very bitter place.


Oakman

149 posts

93 months

Saturday 10th February
quotequote all
suffolk009 said:
You might think in such an article, the author might mention that the 250 is a roof-chop. Minor detail.
In fairness to you, perhaps you didn't read the lead article on the classic California through

"but rather this spectacularly pretty 1962 example which was converted from a GT/E by a Modena coachbuilder in the 80s. Yours for £1.26m."

Having said that it wasn't very well stated, that all they could find for sale was a 1980's 'top chop' and it's still over a million pounds !

Vitorio

4,294 posts

78 months

Saturday 10th February
quotequote all
nickfrog said:
Or they simply chose it because it suits their needs better than other Ferraris in the range. Softer often means less compromised for a road car.
This, it just seems to be a far more practical and versatile car then a 430/458. You can plop the kids in the back, fold the top down on a summers day, yet on poor days you have a metal roof over your head. And while it obviously wont stick with a 430/458 on a track day, it still seems like a competent sporty GT to me, sort of like the 599s baby brother, and you will still be faster then anything on the road, save for the "real" supercars.

Ill probably never get to a point in life where putting a ferrari in the garage is a real option, but i wouldnt be bothered in the slightest if it were "only" a california (whereas im not sure if i could stomach a mondial)

200Plus Club

4,741 posts

213 months

Saturday 10th February
quotequote all
Ooh that front grille. My eyes bleed.
Might look better in other colours but that's pure ugly.

givablondabone

2,638 posts

90 months

Saturday 10th February
quotequote all
Always considered these the runt of the Ferrari family tbh. The styling makes them look dumpy and heavy.

Ares

7,343 posts

55 months

Saturday 10th February
quotequote all
nickfrog said:
Double gauche said:
A decent bottle opener is a beautiful thing!!

Cali is a car that you buy if your other half chooses your cars for you.
So soft and compromised- but at least ive got a
Fezza is what the owners must say to themselves
Or they simply chose it because it suits their needs better than other Ferraris in the range. Softer often means less compromised for a road car.

PH has become a very bitter place.
Exactly. I know three owners. Two normal Californias, one 'T'. All love it as they can actually drive it, use it, and do so 12 months a year.

It was billed as an everyday Ferrari...It is. It was never designed to stir the soul like a 488/F12 etc.

It's a bit like complaining about the Merc A160 being st because it doesn't perform like an C63s.

Talksteer

3,185 posts

168 months

Saturday 10th February
quotequote all
dunnoreally said:
They call it the California but, in 15 years, I'd expect values to be a bit more, well, Mondial.

Don't get me wrong, I'm sure they're absolutely lovely in their own right, as well they should be for the price, but they never seemed fire the collective imagination quite like the 458 or 599 did.
Well given that the top of Mondial's is only 20k less than the bottom of California's and increasing it would indicate that you won't lose much or possibly anything on depreciation.

dunnoreally

208 posts

43 months

Saturday 10th February
quotequote all
Talksteer said:
Well given that the top of Mondial's is only 20k less than the bottom of California's and increasing it would indicate that you won't lose much or possibly anything on depreciation.
Hey, if the market stays how it is, you might well not. Even a not-that-well-regarded Ferrari will be more than enough for lots of people and, like I say, they're probably very good. Thing is Ferrari has a reputation for making cars a bit more than just "very good", right?

ChasW

1,877 posts

137 months

Saturday 10th February
quotequote all
I imagine an apology will quickly follow

Sine Metu

278 posts

61 months

Saturday 10th February
quotequote all
The UGLY Ferrari