Welcome to the latest round of “Ask Doug,” your favorite weekly column here on Autotrader, because it involves getting some information about the inner workings of Doug’s soul.
The way this works is simple: You email me with a question, and I may answer it. If you want to appear in Ask Doug, you can! Just email me at OversteerDoug@gmail.com, and I will carefully consider your question, unless of course you use the word “Anyways,” in which case you will be blocked from ever emailing me again.
Today’s question comes to me from a reader in San Diego who I’ve named Chet. Chet writes:
I’ve been a huge fan for many years. Have been reading and following you ever since your Cadillac CTS-V wagon days. Congrats on all of your success and for tremendously expanding your viewership.
I’ve been tempted to finally upgrade to an exotic brand, but a huge factor stopping me is that adding any sort of modest miles pretty much KILLS the re-sale value. Other than the Acura NSX (many of which have racked up 150-200k miles on the odometer) are there any sort of exotic or semi-exotic cars that you can drive around 6,000 miles a year without taking a major hit on value? For example, would it be impossible to sell a Ferrari 458 Italia Spider with 80k miles?
Yes, I could always have 2 cars, but why own something if you can’t drive it on a daily basis?
Keep up the excellent work!
First off, Chet, thanks for following me for such a long time. Occasionally, people bump into me on the street and they tell me they’ve been following me since the CTS-V days, which was nearly 5 years ago. That’s insane. Haven’t you got anything better to do than read the crap I write?
Anyway, on to your question, which is: Is there any sort of exotic car you can drive a lot without taking a hit on value?
The answer, Chet, is simple: no.
To be clear, that isn’t the full answer, but it basically is. The simple reality is that exotic car owners almost always take mileage into account, sometimes obsessively so, and there will always be a premium paid for cars with lower mileage. Maybe your only potential way around this would be if you purchased some one-of-one ultra-exotic, like a Ferrari Enzo in a tremendously rare color scheme, whose value will always be ridiculously high. But even then, the car will be worth more if you don’t drive it than if you do.
With that said, there’s a brand dedicated to this exact thing: It’s called Porsche. No, nobody considers a Porsche 911 to be an “exotic,” but there are a lot of people who drive Porsche 911s daily, or semi-daily (certainly more than your stated number of 6,000 miles a year), and they still get decent money when they sell.
Once again, obviously, they don’t get as much when they sell as they would if they hadn’t driven it — but low mileage isn’t quite as much of a given in the Porsche world as the exotic car world. It’s not uncommon, for instance, to see a 2006 911 with 50,000 miles on it, whereas that figure would be considered truly crazy mileage for a Ferrari. The result is a 2006 911 with 50,000 miles doesn’t carry anywhere near the financial penalty (or the difficulty in selling) that a similarly miled Ferrari would.
Still, Chet, my general rule is this: If you want to drive the car, you have to be prepared for the depreciation. If you can afford to lose $50,000 a year in a vehicle, then you can probably drive that Ferrari 488 every day. If you can’t, you have to consider something else — something whose depreciation you can afford. And if you can’t afford any sort of high-mileage sports car depreciation, you may simply have to consider another vehicle — or consider buying a sports car as a second vehicle and keeping it in the garage most of the time. Find a car for sale
Doug DeMuro is an automotive journalist who has written for many online and magazine publications. He once owned a Nissan Cube and a Ferrari 360 Modena. At the same time.
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