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These Are the Insane Terms of the Ferrari F50 Leasing Program

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author photo by Doug DeMuro September 2016

In the world of the normal automobile, depreciation takes hold the second you buy a vehicle. Once a car has been titled and registered, it loses value, even if you've only driven it something like 14 miles to the local Wendy's to enjoy a nice post-car-purchase Baconator. It's just how things are.

Unless, of course, you're buying a Ferrari. In Ferrari world, cars tend to appreciate when they're purchased rather than depreciate, because demand is so high. And while this isn't true for all Ferrari models, it's certainly true for the brand's most limited-production vehicles, like the 599 GTO, the F12tdf and the supercars: the 288 GTO, the F40, the F50, the Enzo and the LaFerrari.

Although there are many stories out there about Ferrari values, it's generally accepted that the F40 -- which cost around $250,000 when it came out in the late 1980s -- was quickly selling for over $1 million as speculators got allocations and hiked up prices to drivers who couldn't buy the limited-production sports car new. So Ferrari came up with an idea: When it was time to roll out their next supercar, they would curb speculation by forcing drivers to lease it rather than buy it.

And so, the F50 lease program was born. And oh, was it crazy.

Here's the way it worked. If you lived in the U.S. and wanted one of the less-than-100 F50 models that came to our shores in 1995, you had to be well-known to Ferrari, as an owner of several of its previous vehicles. You couldn't just walk up off the street and get an F50, even if you had the money. And more importantly, you had to lease it.

These were the terms: The lucky few selected to get an F50 would make a down payment of $240,000. Yes, that's right: a down payment of $240,000... on a car. After that, monthly payments were $5,600. Five thousand. Six hundred. Per month. For 24 months. And then, at the end of the lease, you owned the car -- assuming you could come up with the final payment of $150,000. Total payments over the 2-year span: $534,400. Only then could you resell your F50 and make money off the wild speculation.

Interestingly, Ferrari's plan seemed to work, because the F50 didn't see the same crazy price bubble as the F40 -- at least not initially. These days, a nice F50 will easily sell between $1 and $2 million, suggesting that the $534,400 would've been a pretty nice investment, crazy down payment and all.

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This image is a stock photo and is not an exact representation of any vehicle offered for sale. Advertised vehicles of this model may have styling, trim levels, colors and optional equipment that differ from the stock photo.
These Are the Insane Terms of the Ferrari F50 Leasing Program - Autotrader