Here’s a dilemma that doesn’t come up often: Would you get an old Ferrari or a new Ford?
An article on Top Gear raised that general question, and while things are a little different over in Europe, it applies here as well. The Ferrari in question is the 348, a midengine, rear-wheel-drive V8 2-seater built between 1988 and 1995. Fewer than 9,000 were built, which might make you think the car has appreciated in value over time.
Not so much.
It’s not cheap by any means, but here in the U.S. a 348 can be found for around $35,000. In the UK, prices are generally about 25,000 pounds, which is the number Top Gear used for comparison.
On our turf, we’ll stick with the $35K number. For that you’ll get a 25-year old car, a potential maintenance nightmare and a striking looker that’ll send your friends and neighbors head over heels. Is it worth getting one over a comparably priced new car like a Mustang GT?
The simple answer is: Yes, you fool. If a Ferrari is on any list compared with a high-end Volkswagen, a low-end BMW or a standard Mustang, why is there even a question?
Well, there’s a question because the 348 just wasn’t very good. Check this out:
Well aware of the Ferrari 348’s shortcomings was Ferrari’s new CEO, Luca Cordero di Montezemolo. “I had just bought a new 348,” he said in an interview with Automobile a decade after he took the helm at Ferrari, “and with the exception of its good looks I was utterly disappointed. This was clearly the worst product Ferrari had developed for some time.”
Ferrari claimed a 0-60 time of 5.6 seconds and a top speed of 171 mph, but testers couldn’t duplicate the numbers. Questionable build quality on early models also turned off potential buyers.
As a result, the 348 hasn’t withstood the test of time as well as other classic Ferraris. However, the car does have exotic looks and could very well begin to appreciate in value.
Any new car priced at $35,000 will obviously provide better reliability but will depreciate in value from day one. For the “wow” factor and the thrill alone, I’d buy the Ferrari as my fun car, drive it sparingly, and keep a small annual maintenance fund on hand while hoping my investment pays off in the future.
For $35,000, would you choose a used Ferrari or a new Ford?