Exotic Car Buying Guide

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Many of us grow to be successful and have the pleasure of buying exotic cars like Ferrari, Aston martin and Lamborghini, but we as entrepreneurs have learned to manage our money properly and usually have enough common sense to not buy our toys brand new but rather used. This way we protect ourselves from high taxes, insurance and depreciation; and allow ourselves to enjoy these vehicles without putting ourselves in financial risk. There are obstacles that come our way when it comes to finding the right car and many factors come to play; from the exotic car’s history to its internal condition. It can be a dream or can become quite a harsh nightmare if not researched properly.

Before you read further, make sure to understand the true cost of ownership of an exotic car and the insurance premiums related to the matter and our thoughts on the best exotic car under $100,000. Now you are equipped with the information you need and are ready to start looking for the right car.

Here is the reason why you need to read the rest of this article…

A friend of mine purchased a 1991 Lamborghini Diablo, it was white on red and drew serious attention from crowds everywhere. He had taken out a loan to purchase the car and slightly extended himself beyond his comfort zone to touch his dream. He spent months looking for the right car, until he found this one.  His emotions highly involved in finding the perfect car, made him purchase the car immediately with very brief inspections. A rash emotional decision indeed, one that cost him $40,000 extra in less than 6 months.  So what happened… he simply purchased his dream without having all the right check marks before purchasing it. 1 week of work or $40,000…You pick.

Since you however are smarter and have chosen to do some research, here are some tips and check marks from our friend Roy, owner of Cats Exotics, a name often thrown around when the word Lamborghini comes around. Roy has sold quite a number of exotic cars through his years and is highly respected for the quality and condition of the cars in his inventory. He takes a moment to share some wisdom about what to look for when picking up your next toy.

Each exotic car brand has its own shares of problem, recognizing which years, or problem areas are more commonly associated with issues is half the battle.

General tips for purchasing your next exotic car:

  1. Buy a clean car with no accident/paint work in its history.
  2. Buy an exotic with the least amount of owners.
  3. Buy a lower mileage car, rather than a newer higher mileage car.
  4. Buy a car with a clean and clear service history.
  5. Understand the previous use for the car (track, street, weekends)
  6. Check the reputation of the selling dealer (do they really know their exotics?)
  7. Over analyze all history reports (service, autocheck, carfax)
  8. Do not buy a car that has been just sitting and not driven in the past few years.
  9. Ask around car forums if anyone knows the story on the car you are looking at.

Here are some additional items to look for based on the brand you are looking at.

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– The most common problem is early year E-Gear cars, 2002-2003 on Murcielago, and 2004-2005 on Gallardo. Make sure the E-Gear car you select has had at least one clutch/bearing change in its life and has plenty of clutch life left. You can check this when you are getting a Private Purchase Inspection done by asking the dealer to test it. Make sure to have the car’s computer re-flashed by the Dealer for the updated E-Gear software as well. We do recommend a 6 Speed transmission as the clutch will be much cheaper to replace when needed and the control over the wear is based on your driving and not the on board computer.

– For the most part the Gallardo and Murcielago cars are pretty darn bullet proof. Should make sure tires are up to date and not past the 6 year date code. Since a lot of these cars are older, they do have good tread but the tire has been around too long and needs to be replaced regardless. Checking for brake pads and rotor wear is most important as brake pads can cost you almost a $1000 per axle. A cost that you can make sure is built in the car.

– Make sure to also inspect the underneath of the car for any wet spots, the car’s undercarriage should always be dry. Any leaks or wet spots need to be carefully examined and repaired as necessary prior to you taking ownership.

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– Like Lamborghini, try to stay away from 1st year cars with very low mileage as they simply haven’t been driven enough to know if something is going to naturally go wrong.  1999 for the Modena 360 and 1997 for the Maranello 550 should be avoided. Also stay away from all years of F355 cars or simply have enough reserve funds on hands as they are not cheap to maintain.

– The F1 Transmissions should be avoided in 1999-2000 Modena 360 cars and the 97-99 550 Maranello cars. Having the F1 wear read similar to the Lamborghini cars is a must here as well. Going for the conventional 6 speed once again proves safer.

– Belts, belts, and more belts. Make sure that the belts have all been changed as instructed by Ferrari. This service is usually done once every 3-4 years or 20K miles, whichever comes first and can be very costly in the 5 figures. Make sure to have documented receipts showing the belt work was completed and done by a reputable dealer or shop.

– Once again keep an eye for interior wear around edges as well as on the seats as the interiors are known to get worn very quickly due to the finer nature of the leather used.

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– Look for Audio/Navi issues, make sure all controls work properly and everything electronic works as new. Be careful of cars which requires you to press a command button extra hard or multiple times in order to create the result desired.

– The Vantage and DB9 are very well built cars mechanically, they rarely have problems when it comes to engine and transmissions. The DB9 does not have a clutch and is therefore an automatic with manual override, similar to the AMG cars. The Vantage is simply a  better car as a 6 speed but should you need to get a sportshift version, make sure to get the clutch wear read. The beauty of the clutch here is that it does not wear out prematurely when in Auto mode unlike the other exotics.

– Look for wear and tear on seats, suspension components on earlier DB9 2005-2006 and 2006 Vantage cars. The craftsmanship was sloppier and therefore does require a good look.
In conclusion, finding a 3rd year production model with low miles would be your best bet despite the slight price increase from 1st and 2nd year cars. It would also be wiser in terms of resale as no one really keeps their exotics longer than a year or two. Picking commonly enjoyed colors and options will make it easier for you to get rid of the car when you are ready to sell it. Just remember that it is very important to take the extra time and money to research the exotic car you are interested in as $500 might save you $10,000 in the few months of ownership, and allow you to enjoy your exotic to the fullest.

Make sure to check out Cats Exotics for all your pre-owned exotic car needs, and the best prices around.  They will be featured in the next few months as one of our secret to success story.

But yet…Keep in mind that there is always a way to “Drive a Luxury Car for FREE” That’s the real Secret to Success.