I've owned my Ferrari for 329 days. In that time, it's travelled 5,022 miles in five U.S. states. It's been the subject of 24 Jalopnik columns, totaling 2,082,131 views, and 17 YouTube videos, reaching 4,424,998 plays. And now it's time for one last number: exactly how much has this car cost to own?
I'm writing this column as the final farewell to the Ferrari, because it addresses the question I get more often than any other: what does it cost to own an exotic car? (That, and: "Is that the new Mustang?!")
My whole life, I've heard stories about Italian car ownership: "Five thousand dollar oil changes," people say. "You gotta take out the engine out for every service." But just how much of that is true? Well, it's time to find out – so here's my one-year Ferrari total cost breakdown:
Depreciation was my single greatest expense: I paid $86,500 for the car in January, and I sold it last week for $78,000, for a total loss of $8,500. While that may seem like a lot of depreciation for a 10-year-old car in one 12-month period, there are a few key factors that accelerated my depreciation curve a bit more than normal.
Number one: I was in a hurry to buy and sell. Most Ferrari owners take months, or even years to find the right car — but because I was eager to get the car and write about it, I only took weeks. As a result, I probably paid a bit more than I should've — but I got a low-mileage car with no issues.
Likewise, when it came time to sell, I wanted out before the snow started falling — and before the end of the year. And since I tax deduct my depreciation expenses, I wasn't eager to nickel-and-dime the buyer out of every single penny. So I probably rushed through the sales process a little more than usual.
If I had stubbornly held out when buying and selling, I think I could've bought the car for $85,000 and sold it for $80,000. Not bad for 12 months and 5,000 miles in a Ferrari.
And the CarMax Offer?
You'd already know it if you followed me on Twitter, since I posted it a few hours ago – but the famous CarMax offer was just $64,000, or fourteen grand less than what I later sold it for. But before you get too angry about this, just remember: they've got to pay for those Range Rover warranties somehow.
Maintenance and Repairs
The five-thousand dollar oil change? The ten-thousand dollar annual service? Pulling out the engine for every little thing? Fires? Failed starts? Rampant check engine lights? Parts falling off?
It's all bullshit.
The truth is, this was the single most reliable car I've ever owned. It didn't break down, it didn't catch on fire, it didn't strand me once, and the biggest unexpected issue I had was a screw in the tire. Over my year of ownership, I only visited the dealer three times — and that included a trip for the tire. In other words: it really wasn't so bad.
But that doesn't mean it was cheap: in the last twelve months, I spent a total of $4,629.81 on repairs and maintenance.
Here's how it breaks down: immediately after driving the car home from Florida in January, I replaced the tires and did an oil change at 17,941 miles for $2,333.75. The car then went seven months and 3,238 miles without issue. At that point, it was due for another oil change, and the dealer recommended changing the front brake pads and rotors — for a total cost of $1,754.45. My final dealer visit came 36 days and 707 miles later in early November, when I patched the tire and replaced the battery for $541.61.
OK, you might be thinking, but what about all those expensive services I've always heard of? Maybe you just didn't do them?
The simple truth is this: on the 360, they just don't exist.
A clutch replacement is just over $5,000, which is exactly what it cost on my 2001 Porsche 911 Turbo. I paid more for front brakes on my 2007 Mercedes E63 AMG station wagon than I did for front brakes on my Ferrari. There's no annual belt service — it's every four years. And it doesn't cost ten grand, but rather more like four or five.
And the five thousand dollar oil change? I got two different oil changes from two different dealers during the last year, and I never paid more than $400. Yes, that's still big money — but it's not ridiculous, when you consider that this car cost more than $150,000 new.
Overall, here's what I've learned about the Ferrari 360: when it comes to repairs and maintenance, it just isn't as expensive as everyone thinks. Yes, you'll pay $2,000 for tires and $3,000 for brakes. Yes, you'll pay $400 for oil changes and $5,000 for once-every-Olympics major services. So if you buy a 360 and you're expecting Camry maintenance costs, you'll be disappointed.
But if you go in thinking high-dollar luxury car, you'll find the 360's running costs aren't dramatically out of line with other high-end vehicles — and not just exotic brands like Lamborghini or Aston-Martin, but even top-line models from Mercedes, Audi, BMW, and others.
Of course, there were a few other extraneous costs associated with my time in the Ferrari. Insurance was about $3,000 for the year. I paid $384.25 for the pre-purchase inspection, $1,195 to ship the car to Philadelphia, and $347.98 for a one-way flight to Florida, where I picked up the car with one of my best friends. Storage in Atlanta totaled to $1,085 for eight months, and I had to repair a rock chip in the windshield for $59.95. These costs are hardly Ferrari-specific — but they're still worth mentioning in the interest of transparency.
And The Total Is…
For those of you who scrolled down to the bottom looking for one final number, here it is: $8,500 in depreciation plus $4,629.81 in maintenance repairs for a grand total of $13,129.81. In other words: I paid about $1,100 per month to drive this car, or $39.90 per day, or $2.61 per mile.
Now, here's where it gets interesting: if you figure that all cars depreciate, and you drop the $8,500, I only spent $4,629.81 for the year. And if you get really crazy, and you take out "unusual" repair items — namely the tires, brakes, and battery, which will last several years without another replacement — my total cost was limited to two oil changes and a tire patch – or approximately $835.75. Not so bad for a year with a Ferrari.
Not so bad, indeed. But I'd still rather have a Porsche.
@DougDeMuro is the author of Plays With Cars. He owned an E63 AMG wagon and once tried to evade police at the Tail of the Dragon using a pontoon boat. (It didn't work.) He worked as a manager for Porsche Cars North America before quitting to become a writer, largely because it meant he no longer had to wear pants. Also, he wrote this entire bio himself in the third person.