My first Ferrari

DSC06299_4d2cfaac808c0-lightboxWell ask yourself, what would stop you?

Say all your practical motoring needs have already been met (so no delusional daily driver proposals required), say you have traveled far and wide, say your business venture has started to reward all that hard work, say you had spent another evening on Autotrader wondering why 30K no longer buys anything that stirs you and say you had just watched Clarkson race the other two in a 2+2 V12 Ferrari across Europe?

So with nothing but  a commitment to drive the thing as it was designed for on long adventurous GT drives around the continent and a suggestion that that would be our family holiday next year, I set about it….

Yeah I committed all the First Ferrari cliches, well I had just turned 40 and so like so many others I vowed :

1) NO, I will DRIVE mine (not like all those garage queens)

2) NO, I will not buy a RED one (I am an individual)

3) YES, I will objectively shop around for the best I can find

4) YES, I will be told about the servicing cost but not hear them fully

5) I will drive it to Maranello

And so it was that I took a trip around the length and breath of the country looking for the best example of Drop Dead Gorgeous V12 Ferrari that, according to Classic Car Mag, could be had for the price of a Mondeo (as long as you allow around 1,000GBP per year for maintenance)

Each time, I saw the same thing. Either:

a) A slightly shabby but highly polished car with many issues stemming from the inherent 80’s Vauxhall build quality and the low volumes of production on which to ‘Kaizen’ them right.


b) A low mileage minter that conversely had lack-of-use issues such as cracked hoses, dried out leather (those damn de-humidifiers) and a soon-to-be-leaking oil drive train after I awoke it from its garage slumber.

The worst car I saw was the ex-UK press car and the second worst was actually the one with the lowest mileage and FFSH. Neither was a write-off, but they needed real work to be considered and this was never reflected in the price.

I did not even look at autobox versions as I could never get my head around one day having to tell my grand kids I had had the chance of an open gate but decided not to.

The first time I drove one I was hook-line-and sinkered. Underneath the skin lies a tubular framed, actively suspended masterpiece and the looks, oh the looks, has there ever been a more beautiful 2+2?

Thankfully by this time my quest had led me many many miles south to the spiritual home of all things 456 related: Rardley Motors. I was not sure why (yet) but these guys seemed to sell and service more of these cars than anyone in the UK, so imagine my frustration when my dithering lead to me missing the first “nailed-on I’m coming to buy it car”.

I was actually on my way down with cheque in hand when Mike from Rardley called me to say somebody had beat me to it – Damn

Never mind, a month later he called me with the details of a Tour de France Blue example complete with Crema Hide and just the right number of miles not too many, not too little and of course a manual box…………

I’m on my way Mike




Chris Cooper