Home » All Things Hoon » Currently Reading:

True Cost of Owning a 1993 Ferrari 348 Series Speciale

Kamil Kaluski October 8, 2013 All Things Hoon 44 Comments


Every exotic car owner I ever spoke to always told me how fast their cars were, how amazing to drive they were, how much they loved them. None of them ever really talked about the elephant in the room, which is the cost of exotic (or exotic-ish) car ownership. Cost of insurance, gasoline, and speeding tickets aside, all of these cars need special TLC from a handful of people who have the required skills to properly perform service on these machines. Parts are never cheap either.

A friend send me a link to a Ferrari forum where one of the owners of a 1993 Ferrari 348 Series Speciale summed up his expanses over the six years and 14,387 miles of ownership. He included gas, insurance, maintenance, and even depreciation if he chose to sell the car now. The bottom line is – $57,026 or $3.96 per mile with depreciation, and $37,026 or $2.57 per mile not including depreciation. Click the jump for detailed explanation.

[Source: FerrariChat.com | Thanks for the tip, Mike!]

Ferrari rear

From the FerrariChat post:

As of today (Sept 7, 2013), I’ve owned my 1993 348ts Serie Speciale (#55/100) for six years. Back in 2008, I published my one-year ownership report, which was well-received. Over the years, I’ve continued to keep fairly detailed records on the car, and I recently had a major service done (the first under my watch), so I thought it would be a good time for an update…

Current mileage is 56,765. I’ve driven 14,387 miles over the course of the six years I’ve owned the car, for an average of just over 2,400 miles per year, or 200 miles per month. As shown in the graph, I’ve been pretty consistent with that, with just some seasonal variation, and the occasional up-tick due to a road trip. By far, the majority of the miles were accumulated during spirited drives on my local back roads, i.e., “trips” that both began and ended in my driveway. Overall, I’ve averaged 17.4 mpg – not bad for the type of driving I do.

Over the course of 6 years, I have spent a total of $37,026 (excluding purchase). That figure breaks down as follows:

  • Scheduled maintenance – $18,872. This includes yearly fluid changes, 2 sets of tires, 2 alignments, a clutch replacement, a battery replacement, and of course, the aforementioned major service. The major service alone was $9,465, but in addition to all the “usual” items, I also replaced all the bearings/tensioners/chains for the oil pump and timing drive (a significant additional expense).
  • Unscheduled maintenance – $5,687. This most significant items in this category were replacement of the aircon compressor, replacement of the throwout bearing, replacement of CV boots (one side only), and replacement of the heater control valve. There were also other less significant items that were typically performed during one of the yearly services.
  • Operating costs – $8,893. This comprises an estimated $2,983 for gas, plus an estimated $1000/yr for insurance and registration.
  • Miscellaneous costs — $3,484. These are discretionary appearance/accessory items, with the bigger hitters being a set of OEM wheels, Yoshi shields, a replacement tool bag, a canvas folding targa top, plus a set of aluminum cam covers that I had installed during the major (I consider the cam covers discretionary because the original plastic set was still in fine shape).

 I have had most of my maintenance work done at the two reputable independent shops that are local to me. Looking back over the receipts, it looks to be approximately 50/50 parts vs labor. So if you were a dedicated do-it-yourself-er, you could cut the maintenance costs I cited above in half.

On a per-mile basis:

  • Maintenance costs – $1.71 per mile
  • Operating costs – $0.62 per mile
  • Miscellaneous – $0.24 per mile

… for a total cost of $2.57 per mile.

One thing I didn’t touch on in my one-year report was depreciation. But as we know, the market dropped out from under these cars in 2009, and it’s only now just starting to climb back. If I’m honest, I have to believe I’d be facing at least ~$20k in depreciation if I were to sell the car today. That would jack up my total ownership cost to $57,026, or $3.96 per mile.

But fortunately, I’m not considering selling this car today, or anytime soon for that matter. Even after six years, I still am not bored with it. The raw, visceral feel you get with a 348 means that every drive is an event, and it’s never boring. My BMW daily driver outperforms the 348 in every objective measure, but I certainly don’t get a thrill from driving it like I do from driving the Ferrari.

So my plan is to hang on the Ferrari indefinitely, fix it when it breaks, and (as they say) keep driving it like I stole it.


Sounds like Eric is true enthusiasts, if a bit OCD, and seems to love his Italian toy. Here is many more years and miles to driving it like it’s stolen.


  • I can only hope that all exotic car owners are that fastidious/anal about maintenance.

  • Jay_Ramey

    "Back in 2008, I published my one-year ownership report, which was well-received."


    • Ol' Shel'

      Because in 2008, the rich got less rich?!

      No, the rich had as much as ever. There was nothing preventing them from buying these cars, but they sat on their wallets.

      Those who really couldn't afford them, yes, they stopped buying.

      There was no reason for the high end to drop. It was the blue collar guys who aspire to a muscle car who could no longer afford that dream.

      • Jay_Ramey

        Aksherlyyy….. I was wondering who the one year ownership report was "well-received" by: the UN General Assembly, the Southeast Asia Business Review, or the standing committee of the Harvard Journal of Mechanical Engineering.

        But relating to your point, you believe the rich buy a (what is this again?) 1993 Ferrari 348 and then make pie charts of every receipt?

  • skitter

    I… I think I need to go lie down.

  • This is why I prefer to buy cars that don't depreciate. I'm actually pretty surprised it's that bad on a 348…figured they were about done losing value…but I guess that depends on what he (over)paid originally.

    Whenever I start to consider the math of ditching my Falcon for a more normal DD, it's really the depreciation that's the biggest cost in the deal.

    • Scandinavian Flick ★

      Sounds like a case of bad timing, if what he says about the 2009 hit is true.

      That's the main thing that keeps me from being seriously interested in any brand new car. You can avoid the biggest depreciation hit by buying a car that's 2-3 years old. Often manufacturers will still offer a warranty anyway, so I see that as a sweet spot of purchasing if you're looking for a newer car.

      • That's true for cars, but it doesn't apply to pickup trucks. I bought my 2011 Silverado extended cab WT new in Feb. 2011. I refinanced it a few months back. The LOAN value was still more than I originally paid for the truck. (I bought when there were some big rebates and with a GM family discount.) I've looked at how long trucks last and how many miles a year I drive. This could very well be the last truck I buy. I'm 40. I might end up giving it to my daughter as her first vehicle, she's 2 now.

    • Nuclearspork

      I think it was more with when he bought it. A year later he would have paid significantly less and if he keeps it long enough he'll probably be able to sell it for more than he paid, especially with all that paperwork to prove it has been properly taken care of.

    • jeepjeff

      It sounds like he bought into the vehicle right before the crash. The used exotic market went in the toilet along with everything else. If he holds onto it, he may make most of that loss back over the years. That's not counting his operating costs; purely financially speaking, he's still going to take a bath on his Italian Stallion. But it sounds like that's all outweighed by his enjoyment of it.

  • Scandinavian Flick ★

    That may sound like a lot, and frankly, it is. But as an example, since he's including depreciation, take a look at a more common luxury car; the 2007 BMW 335i. Great car, sure. But they originally sold for ~$45K. According to KBB, they go for ~$20K private party in good condition. That's already a $25K loss on the same 6 years of ownership, without even factoring in any of the other costs that this Ferrari owner did. I can tell you from experience, BMW maintenance isn't cheap once you get outside that first couple year free maintenance period.

    Yeah, laid out like this, it sounds like a lot, but it's not that far of a stretch from typical luxury car ownership…

    • jeepjeff

      Yep. That's how I learned to stop worrying and love used American cars.

      • Scandinavian Flick ★

        I tried that too. It's not working out so well for me at the moment…

        • jeepjeff

          What's broken on the Goat now? (Just look at it this way. You could be paying Ferrari prices for your parts…)

          • Scandinavian Flick ★

            Blew a head gasket a bit over a month ago… The top end of the motor is currently dismantled in my driveway, the heads are at a well trusted machinist, and my first order of parts just came in yesterday. It's a pain in the ass right now, but it's a great learning experience, and it will be going back together with some upgrades and a bit more power. The parts aren't as cheap as I was expecting/hoping, but yeah, definitely not Ferrari level…

            • jeepjeff

              Ouch. Although, fixing my cracked cylinder head was a great learning experience. And considerable [over]confidence booster. (That was really fun and came with a great sense of accomplishment.)

              • Scandinavian Flick ★

                I'm hoping mine works out that way as well. I've been involved with engine swaps before, but this is the most I've ever had an engine dismantled. Just doing research on parts, I learned so much about pushrod motors… Fortunately everything is [possibly over]documented for these things.

                Got my fingers crossed for over 400whp…

                • CABEZAGRANDE

                  That sucks, it's very uncommon to have head gasket issues on a stock LS, especially a Gen IV engine. But, you could go to the LS3 top end while it's apart. New heads are only about $700-$800 from GMPP depending on where you buy them, and you can pick up 5th gen Camaro intake manifolds for next to nothing. With a moderately aggressive cam and stock heads most LS2.3 guys are seeing around 420-450 whp. With a .015 decking on the heads to bump compression some and a more aggressive cam, some guys are seeing 460-500 whp, all for a total outlay of less than $2000.

                  • Scandinavian Flick ★

                    Yeah, I kinda overheated it a few times… My mistake and an expensive lesson in paying more attention to my car's issues.

                    I looked into the LS3 heads long and hard. There's quite a bit more involved than I wanted to deal with. It also came out to significantly more than $2k if I wanted to do it right, whereas refinishing the stock heads was $160. I did order a mild cam, and it's one that should get me about 40whp on its own, plus it pairs well with boost when I eventually go that route.

  • Cole

    I've been shopping for a 328 GTS for a while now, it's kind of like a DeLorean to me, I just have to have one…

  • I like the idea of highlighting interesting posts from other websites' forums. It should be a series. How else would I ever be directed to a thread at ferrarichat.com?

    • Perhaps you should ask your gentleman's gentleman to keep an eye on that forum for you.

    • I agree! Please send stuff into tips when you see something cool. There is no way we can go searching for stuff in the million forums that are out there.

  • cruisintime

    Those among us that have owned large watercraft understand these numbers. The cost of doing business can be astronomical.

    • SSurfer321


  • Joe Btfsplk

    I would say that an after tax income of $300K per year would be in line with the ownership of such a vehicle. Kind of makes a Cobra kit car look very sane and reasonable.

    • Either that or not having children. Then the figure comes way down.

      • I have two little kids. I often wonder what color my 911 C2 would be if I didn't have them.

        • By the same token, I should have nicknamed all three of my kids "Dino".

          • Vairship

            Dino, Miura and Merak?

    • Maymar

      So by that measure, I'm just about financially qualified to drive a Fiero. Sounds about right.

  • $2.57 a mile doesn't sound so bad until you put that in monthly terms. That's over $500 a month to drive just 200 miles…assuming you already own the car free and clear!

    I can't relate. That's so far beyond my "economic horizon" it might as well be fiction.

    • Kogashiwa

      That's when the economic horizon becomes an event horizon.

    • C³-Cool Cadillac Cat

      Don't feel badly about your inability to accept this as even remotely possible.

      I'm and ex-finance guy, and I understand the maths perfectly, yet I still can't wrap my head around it.

      I keep pretty good records on the STS…I should break that down, just for grins (read: tears).

    • Vairship

      Actually, I'd imagine a LeMons car would be similar in cost per mile DRIVEN…

  • TheAnnM

    I met a guy at Cars and Coffee with a 1980s Ferrari (I'm blanking on which model) and I asked how maintenance was. He said it wasn't bad at all. I pestered him about that answer and it turns out he's a mechanical engineer who did all the work himself and was constantly rebuilding things. "Major-majors" and "minor-majors"… He clearly knew what he was doing and enjoyed it, but was definitely out of touch with what "not bad" maintenance was.

    • He's right. The rule of thumb I've heard for such things is 15% of the car's value per year, unless you do the work yourself. Then it comes way down.

      On the other hand, if you bottom feed (say buying an Alfa instead of a Ferrari, just for example), get creative about part sourcing and sell your spares, you can run a special interest vehicle nearly for free. Very time consuming, though.

  • BlackIce_GTS

    Just noticed the similar greenhouse:
    <img src="http://carphotos.cardomain.com/ride_images/1/2116/3901/5289450014_large.jpg"&gt;
    Both released in 1989.

    Ferrari names am dumb: 348= 3.4L V8. The replacement/update/second generation/facelift 355= 3.5L with five valves per cylinder.

    • BobWellington

      Put some Ferrari wheels on it, and no one will be the wiser. 😛

  • Preludacris

    Poor guy. The only reason my car has depreciated since I bought it almost two years ago is because I naively overpaid and nobody else is dumb enough to pay as much as I did. The extra 40,000 km makes not one whit of a difference at this point.

  • Van_Sarockin

    Nice piece and a fantastic bit of info. We should all aspire to have cars we're more than happy to pay $4/mi. to run. If I had one, I'd be grinning more. and it's also a healthy bit of reality. It helps to explain the non-insanity of Ferrari ownership. A bit.

  • Gator McClusky

    Hell, no wonder that Eyetalian thing is so expensive to run. Just yank out that old 348 and drop in a 409. Much better power and the muffler bearings last a lot longer, too.

  • Sjalabais

    OCD? – Total running cost per mile in dollar, incl depreciation of my cars:

    1971 Volvo 145: 0.77$
    1977 Volvo 242: 0.56$
    1993 Volvo 245: 1.05$
    1996 Nissan Primera: 0.82$
    2001 Citroën Xsara: -3.30$ (flipped the sh*t after two weeks)
    2002 Toyota Camry: 0.36$ (only gasoline so far, no depreciation included)

    …and that's in super-high-cost Norway. So now I feel highly enlightened, to say with scientific confidence: Damn expensive Ferrari!

  • This design is steller! You obviously know how to keep a reader
    amused. Between your wit and your videos, I was almost moved
    to start my own blog (well, almost…HaHa!) Excellent job.

    I really loved what you had to say, and more than that, how
    you presented it. Too cool!