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    Long-term test: 20 months and 14,000 kilometers in a Ferrari 550 Maranello


    The Ferrari 550 Maranello had been voted best sportscar of the decade in its time by the very famous English magazine EVO! Its price has never been so affordable, for a beautiful V12 in the purest tradition of the GT Ferrari. But what should you expect if you buy it? How will you find a beautiful example? What are the things you need to look at specifically before signing your check? What costs should you anticipate? Ideally, a Ferrari 550 Maranello owner will tell you about it. Precisely Bernard, owner of a Ferrari 550 Maranello for almost 2 years, agreed to answer my questions. Read his answers and you will learn a lot if you would like to purchase a Ferrari 550 Maranello.




    Franck : "Hello Bernard, what is your history with cars and why did you choose the Ferrari 550 Maranello?"


    Bernard : "When I was young, I had the chance to participate in various car races and to rub shoulders with Ferraris. Later, when the Ferrari 456 was released, I was impressed by its line and character. I thought that if one day I had to own a Ferrari, it would be this one!


    I was reading your blog, I had to change my car, and given the budget of a new Volvo C70, I said to myself why not keep my old one and devote this budget to a Ferrari? The hardest part was convincing my wife.


    At the start of my research, I saw some Ferrari 456! And I had to see that a 456 in good condition greatly exceeded my budget. By browsing the forums, I realized that the Ferrari 550 Maranello presented, for a lower budget, a great opportunity to acquire a Ferrari. With the manual gearbox, its legendary grille and its V12, it was just missing the two rear seats ... Too bad! "


    Franck : "What were your criteria for buying a Ferrari 550 Maranello and how did you find your copy?"


    Bernard : "The first Ferrari 550 Maranello I saw at a Volvo dealership impressed me and I took the necessary steps. I did not want a red because I felt that this color was reserved for sportscar. A fortnight later I was going down with my Ferrari 550 Maranello to Aix en Provence for a Ferrari concentration."




    Franck : "Immediately after the purchase, what impressed you the most about your Ferrari 550 Maranello?"


    Bernard : "From the start, at the wheel I was amazed by its comfort, precise steering and a very good driving position, even for tall people.


    The torque and flexibility of the V12 engine allow sporty driving without surprise, with an ideal weight distribution. I used to start in second, and if the highway is his favorite terrain, it is also comfortable in small mountain bends. The city is not his favorite territory. With its original exhaust and its "Grigio Nurburgring" color, it is discreet. "


    Franck : "Looking back, what are the good sides of your Ferrari 550 Maranello and the possible problems encountered?"


    Bernard : "First small concern, it is in June in Provence, the air conditioning does not work. We take advantage of good weather to rediscover the Cévennes and the Causse. No time to enjoy the scenery, but I discovered a real GT, as comfortable on small winding roads as on the highway.


    On the return I have the air conditioning repaired at the Ferrari dealer in Waterloo. Verdict: a new air conditioner. In my opinion the problem is specific to cars that stay a long time without driving, and first invoice. After that, I decided to have the bodywork detailed at Swissvax in Arlon. The investment is worth it, the Ferrari 550 Maranello found a new youth.

    Then I take advantage of a trip to Maranello with Ferrarista.club to visit Maranello, the Ferrari factory and especially the garage of Toni and its treasures. For me, these are unforgettable moments for any Ferrari lover. Before winter I have the maintenance of the 50,000 kilometers carried out and we notice a faulty distribution bearing.


    The Ferrari 550 Maranello will remain immobilized for more than a month while waiting for the bearings. The work is done by a former mechanic from the workshop of Jacques Swaters. This is my opportunity to discover the exposed Ferrari 550 Maranello. There are a few small problems: a servo brake hose to replace and a repaired radiator which will have to be monitored.


    After winter, a year already, 13,000 more kilometers and a passage to technical control without any problem! I replace the four tires, with a date of manufacture (DOT07) with new, more recent Michelin!


    A brief stay at Lake Como to discover the Villa d'Este and its wonders during the annual competition. A getaway to Deauville for baptisms in favor of Make A Wish, with visit to Etretat. I accumulate the kilometers with the Club Ferrari Belgio and decide to do an annual maintenance, engine and gearbox change! The Ferrari displays 60,000 kilometers on the odometer, it had 48,000 when I acquired it!


    During maintenance, it is noticed that one of the shock absorber sensors is defective. At Ferrari I am offered the replacement of the whole shock absorber (around 850 €). You can find a much cheaper solution, thanks to the American forums, by replacing only the defective part, a small gear, costing $ 31.

    We take this opportunity to check the four shock absorbers and we discover a fitting tinkered with glue on the radiator of the gearbox, which forces us to replace it (380 € + VAT).


    I participate in a final concentration with the Club Ferrari Belgio and I note at the end that the clutch stop has decided to manifest. Upon my acquisition, I anticipated this problem. This will be the biggest intervention, in parts alone, almost 3000 €. We replace the clutch thrust bearing and the complete mechanism, about 10 hours of labor. "




    Franck : "
    Can you tell us about the costs of using a Ferrari 550 Maranello?"


    Bernard : "My Italian car, born in 1997, had 48,000 kilometers on the odometer and two previous owners. The notebook was up to date. After my acquisition in May 2011, we had to replace the air conditioner and during the maintenance of the 50,000 kilometers in September 2011, we detected a defective bearing in the distribution.


    In June 2012 I replaced the 4 Michelin tires, more for safety reasons than for wear (at 50%). Cost of the operation: € 1,420. In September 2012, I drained the 60,000 kilometers and detected a faulty suspension actuator. Normally at Ferrari we replace the complete shock absorber. But it is possible to replace only the defective part.


    When I last went out, the clutch release bearing started to show signs of fatigue. I took the opportunity to replace the complete clutch (€ 3,000 of parts). The odometer now shows 62,000 kilometers. I plan to change the belts at the end of next year and take the opportunity to replace the rear brake discs, which were probably corrected by the previous owner. The registration fees and the traffic taxes in Belgium condemn the Ferrari 550 Maranello to migrate to other skies. Despite everything I plan to keep it for a long time, and I was lucky to find the mechanic that allows me to keep it healthy without too much cost!"


    Franck : "What advice would you give to someone looking to buy a Ferrari 550 Maranello?"


    Bernard : "For those who would be tempted to acquire a Ferrari 550 Maranello, it is not easy to check certain organs because the flat bottom prevents having a view of the state of the car. The elements which can cause problems are the suspensions, check the actuators, the clutch and the engine supports, as well as the drain plug of the radiator on the models before 2000. The air conditioning also must be well checked."




    Thank you Bernard for all your advice and information! I don't know about you, but I learned a lot about the Ferrari 550 Maranello. And you, what struck you the most when reading this discussion? What other questions would you like to ask Bernard? Do you own a Ferrari 550 Maranello and what additional advice could you give us?


    You might also like reading:

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    Long term test: Guillaume84's Ferrari F430

    Long term test: Matmatlr's Ferrari 348

    Ferrari 308 and 328 buying guide : the various versions (1/3)

    Edited by Franck

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