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Insights: Indulgences

Fever Shopping for one of Enzo's creations? Don't let your heart rule your head
Matt Kramer
From the Print Edition:
The Cuba Issue, May/Jun 01

"You've got rocks in your head," says Dick Guthrie. It's one thing when your wife says so, but it really hurts when your mechanic points it out.

Guthrie is the owner of ATD, an independent repair shop in Portland, Oregon, with a large Ferrari clientele. He used to work on my beloved Lotus, doing it out of (expensive) charity and a love of automotive purity. First and foremost, however, he's a Ferrari specialist, one of a rare breed of independent mechanics who know the ins and outs of Ferraris from the 1950s on. (Most mechanics at Ferrari dealerships only service the newest models.)

I was thinking about buying an older Ferrari. You know what Dick said. Of course he's right. But who loves cars and doesn't lust after a Ferrari? I've never met a car lover who couldn't see himself tooling down the autostrada -- or just the local interstate -- in one of Enzo Ferrari's ineffably sleek, magical machines.

"Remember, it's just a car," cautions Gerald Roush, editor and publisher of Ferrari Market Letter, a 26-issues-a-year bible of Ferrari lust. I called him because when you're looking to buy or sell Ferraris, his newsletter (www.ferrarimarketletter.com) is where you look first.

Feeling the splash of cold water yet? Both Guthrie and Roush know Ferraris. And they also know that they're not your ordinary, quart-of-milk-down-the-block vehicles. Like plastic surgeons, they feel professionally obliged to tell you not to expect too much.

Still, you can't keep Ferrari lust hidden forever. I tell them my fantasy: an older, affordable Ferrari that's the real thing. "Not one of those Ferrari-for-the-masses that Tom Selleck drove on ¿Magnum, P.I.,'" I say snobbishly. (It was a Ferrari 308GTS.)

"Actually," says Roush, "a better choice would be the Ferrari 328, which was really the final glory of what began as the 308 series. It's quite a good car and is selling for a pretty reasonable price at the moment, typically around $60,000 or so."

As it happens, Guthrie also mentions (unprompted by me) the Ferrari 328. "As Ferraris go," he says, "the 328 is the pinnacle of the ratio between performance and low maintenance. It's about as maintenance-free as a Ferrari gets."

That's great, if you like the way the Ferrari 328 looks. Unfortunately, I don't.

"What about the old Ferrari 246 Dino?" I inquire. Now there's a car I always thought looked cool. When it first appeared in the early-'70s, Ferrari snobs (they abound) sniffed at the 246 Dino because it was only a six-cylinder.


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