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    Long-term test: Zaz's Ferrari 599 GTB Fiorano


    Zaz

    The Ferrari 599 GTB appeared in 2006 and was a great success, thanks to its line signed Pininfarina, its engine from the Ferrari Enzo and the magnificent sound produced by its V12! Highly sought after today, it represents the still modern, reliable and "reasonably priced" V12-powered Ferrari. What do you need to know to acquire a good copy? what is the feedback from its owners? Zaz has had decades of experience with Ferrari V12s and has referenced all the existing Ferrari 599s! He gives you his very interesting feedback with his Ferrari 599 GTB Fiorano
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    @Franck : What is your automotive background?

     

    @Zaz I have a little trouble remembering my first vehicles, apart from my mother's Fiat 500 which I mistreated a little. I had to start strong because I think my first was a Triumph TR5. My grandmother, where I lived, didn't want me to buy a moped, she thought it was dangerous, so she gave me a TR5 that was lying around in an underground car park. 8,000 francs I remember, but in exchange I had to take her in a convertible to play her bridge games!

     

    I have always loved sports cars and I had the chance to work with Antoine Prunet and Serge Bellu, within Automobiles Classiques. I was doing freelance work, specializing in auctions.

     

    After or before, one, two Mini Coopers and then expatriation which allowed me to drive first in a Ferrari 330 GT, not kept for long, then a Ferrari 250 GTE, bought with the engine tight, redone and driven in VEC, what she had been doing for several years.

     

    And then at the same time, to drive on the road, a Ferrari 365 GT, bought at Osenat in Fontainebleau. I did 100 meters with it, coming out of the sale, no more clutch! At the time, there was no technical inspection that said (almost) everything.
     

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    Then infidelity with the other prancing horse, a Porsche 3.2 G50 cabrio bought new, followed by a narrow 3.2 Porsche Speedster.

     

    And I accumulated: De Tomaso Pantera, I regret his line, Iso Rivolta IR 340, I do not regret, and other less prestigious like a Golf GTI 16S Oettinger. I stored everything in a public housing car park in Rueil-Malmaison!

     

    Then followed family life and nice family station wagons, Volvo T5R or Chrysler 300C. I sold everything except the Ferrari 250 GTE which I kept for 32 years. A history of succession forced me to sell it and as soon as I could, two years later, I bought a Ferrari 599 GTB Fiorano.


    My best memory of those years, a race in Monthléry during the Golden Age Cups with only Ferraris. I finished third, but bad mouths say that all the others had mechanical problems… 1st Jean Sage with his Ferrari 250 SWB, 2nd, the famous and awful 250 Breadvan, I don't remember who was driving.

     

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    @Franck : What were your purchase criteria for this Ferrari and why did you choose this Ferrari?

     

    @Zaz I wanted to be able to ride without worry, I was fed up with the towing trays... and I've always been attracted to the V12s. It was the 4th and it had to be blue like the previous three.


    And this Pininfarina line is of a purity that the following ones do not have anymore. That rear window, with the arched pillars in a "buttress" style that channel air around the rear section, is a work of art (and avoids a spoiler).

     

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    @Franck : How did you find this copy? What is your use of it? Since when ?

     

    @Zaz I found it in Switzerland, at a known dealer, who stores nearly 800 cars, seen with my eyes! Full of Bugattis, Lamborghinis and almost a hundred Ferraris. Why in Switzerland? Because I wanted it Blu Pozzi and none was for sale except in Switzerland and one in Germany.

    Bought it in April 2017, I have already done more than 20,000 kilometers and I only drive 6 months a year, no longer living in France. Including long trips like Paris-Maranello with Ferrarista. 

     

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    @Franck : Immediately after the purchase, what struck you the most at the wheel of this Ferrari?

     

    @Zaz The breakdown! What I wanted to avoid! I did Zurich-Paris-Brittany to get back and she didn't go any further, blocking the bridge. I sent it to the nearest Ferrari dealership (Le Mans) on the advice of the seller who NEVER wanted to pay a penny for the repairs. Lawyer, threats, nothing... The cause was never very clear, but they took the opportunity to do a complete overhaul, a clutch for safety... and the famous COC, result €9,000 more.


    Otherwise from the beginning I appreciated its smooth driving, admittedly it is a GT and heavier than a V8, but it corresponds perfectly to what I was looking for. And the torque is fabulous. It is true that having never owned a V8 Ferrari, I may have it all wrong but, with 41 years of V12 Ferrari, I am happy.

     

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    @Franck : Can you tell us about the costs incurred for normal use of this Ferrari (insurance, annual maintenance, major overhaul, contingencies, etc.)

     

    @Zaz Just over €1,000 insurance, a service at a Ferrari dealership every two years costs €1,700, with additional items depending on the maintenance schedule, auxiliary drive belts are changed every three years, per example, (a V12 is solid).

     

    The unexpected: a disease of the Ferrari 599, I will talk about it later, and an accident on the track. I have a brand new bumper now! I don't do anything myself, I can't. The car, in winter, stays in a garage run by the son of a Ferrarista member, so it is looked after!

     

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    @Franck: What advice would you give to someone looking for this Ferrari?

    @Zaz Not to do like me, too focused on a blue Pozzi, I bought the one that seemed interesting to me, 24,000 km, second hand but I should never have bought a vehicle that had probably not been driven for two years or had no service for three. Does the failure I had come from this lack?


    Buy a car that drives regularly and has been serviced properly, and this consideration is valid for all models. We always repeat it, better a car having traveled 30,000 km and maintained regularly rather than an ex. of 10,000 kilometers with big holes in the driving and maintenance.

    An aside on the types of Ferrari 599 GTB Fiorano


    There have only been two versions of the Ferrari 599 GTB, no Schumacher, no 60th Anniversary Edition or other editions as some sellers claim. Apart from a "China Edition" reserved for the Chinese market, 12 units! With Chinese characters on it, among other things, and a beautiful Rosso Fuoco.

    Regarding the HGTE version, it does not exist. This is a factory-fitted kit on a Ferrari 599 GTB, which mainly included: modular rims, a grille with 2 bars instead of 3, a different exhaust outlet in look and sound, an F1 box slightly faster, lowered suspension, anti-roll bar, HGTE embroidered leather/alcantara mixed seats, white tachometer, a little more carbon, especially around the center console buttons, etc. Many GTBs have mounted part of this kit, rarely the complete kit. For me, a real Ferrari 599 HGTE is a factory GTB with the line "Pack HGTE" on the invoice.


    The second version is the 60F1 at the end of production, probably to sell the last chassis. It is mainly an HGTE, with the addition of stickers all over the place..., harnesses, specific rims and 3 finishes to choose from: Alonso with or without stickers, most Rosso Scuderia and Gonzales, a dark red Rosso Storico. Officially there have been 40. I found 64 selling for a ridiculous price for the difference.

     

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    @Franck : What are its flaws? What to pay attention to?


    @Zaz No major defect, I found the notes of a dealership, presented below, embellished with my remarks.

    Maintenance is relatively simple in supercar terms, with timing chains rather than belts.

     

    The water radiator should be checked before buying, if it starts to ooze, you will have to think about changing it or having it redone soon. (or to do like me, put a product that clogs, very effective but perhaps not appreciated by the hoses).

    PS: I personally think that the 3-bar Ferrari 599 GTB's front grille, and even more so the 2-bar HGTE's, leaves a lot of space for small projectiles to damage the radiator. This is not the case with the “honeycomb” grille, which was an option on the HGTEs, and standard on the Ferrari 599 GTOs.

    The F1 gearbox (there have only been 50 manual gearbox versions which costed less than the F1s) is also fundamentally robust and reliable, but it is important that the oil is changed in time - at most at 50,000 km, but rather recommended every two years. Beware of the complex procedure for checking the engine oil level, too much oil leads to significant damage.

    If the gearbox comes back to neutral at some point, costly problems are looming. But sometimes a reset of the gearbox actuators via the Ferrari suitcase solves the problem. (lived)

    Clutch wear obviously depends on use. A clutch change is a work of €4,000 workforce included. When I started, it was in a difficult Parisian underground car park and it rarely went out without an "excessive clutch temperature" display. To avoid.

     

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    Suspension, steering and brakes


    The ball joints are a weak point and replacement costs around €600 per side. So listen for knocking noises during the test drive. Also check for leaky shock absorbers, especially on cars that have been standing still for a very long time. Delphi MagneticRide units cost over $1,800 each and can only be purchased in pairs. This is a weakness that we encounter much more in the United States where cars drive much less.

    It is important that the car is fitted with the right tyres: original Pirelli P Zero or Michelin Pilot Super Sport. I haven't tried these yet but they seem superior in all behaviors. Available on PS5? We'll see.


    A word on braking, in my quest for a Blu Pozzi I overlooked the brake choices and got a steel braked version. This poses no problem in everyday use, but anyone who does a bit of track, or who does some spirited drinving, must prefer CCMs. Imperative.

     

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    Bodywork, interior and electrical


    No serious corrosion issues, but check for the usual signs of accident damage. Also, take the car up onto a bridge to inspect the undercarriage, while any steering and suspension vibration could suggest a previous off-road run.

    The leather on the board tends to retire after 10/15 years and must eventually be repaired, especially if the car is left in the sun for a long time. I think I will be quiet in the North. But mine starts to shrink.

    The TFT screen is one the appears on a lot of car. Verify that the vehicle has no electric micro-coupling that will transform the screen into a blackboard. This is the beginning of more important problems and one-day, no more screen, which doesn't prevent from driving. The screen change can only be done as a standard exchange from the factory a fortune OR restored by a screen specialist (less than 2 000 € for me).

    Like many Ferrari of this period, the buttons become sticky all at once. To be treated before buying otherwise… to be changed by pieces sold mainly in the USA or Czech Republic, or clean them with the good product. I have not yet found the good one and my buttons have been sticking for a while.

    Some owners have reported cracks in the plexiglass rear lights (€ 600 per side to replace), so verify their condition. (never seen).

    Error messages are current, but can often be deleted by slowing down the car (or deactivating the battery, with the switch in the trunk, for 10 minutes). If they remain, read the error codes to avoid gross invoices later.


    @Franck: What improvements can be made?

    @Zaz I don't see any apart from the change of these buttons a good time for all. The Ferrari 599 GTB Fiorano is often accused of being silent. It is true with closed glass at a stabilized speed. Personally, I recently replaced the secondary catalysts by a direct secondary bypass, purchased in the US. The sound of the car is transfigured. Others have installed a switch opening of the valves from the interior, there is a plethora of brands proposing that change.

     

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    @Franck: How do you use your Ferrarista for your experience with your Ferrari? What does the Ferrarista community bring to you?

     

    @ZazI regret not having known Ferrarista before. I would certainly have read to have buying a Ferrari without a review before the sale was a mistake. Now I try to help the future buyers with advices on this or that chassis. I'm given the objective of registering all the chassis in the world. I think I have finished and I add more info every day.

     

    The Ferrarista lecture, one of the two active forums in the world, the others alive, is a constant discovery of the world of our passion. And of course, all the encounters, outings, and factory visits allow me to create friendships I have never imagined. I'm been part of the Ferrari UK club for a long time and it was more a club of retirees dining in tuxedo on a regular basis. I also attended an event of the French Ferrari club. Nothing to do with Ferrarista where all the worlds meet for the greatest pleasure of all.

     

    @Franck: And if you could do it again, what would you change?

     

    @Zaz: NOTHING, I will continue to use this fantastic car.

    NB: Of course, I'd like to change it for a Ferrari 599 GTO !

     

    What have you appreciated in this return of experience on the Ferrari 599 GTB Fiorano? What other elements would you like to know? If you own a Ferrari 599 GTB, what other tips would you give to a future owner?

     

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