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Why Is the Manual-Transmission Ferrari 575M so Expensive?

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author photo by Doug DeMuro April 2017

Right now in the world of used exotic car sales, there appears to be an enormous premium for stick-shift versions of the Ferrari 575M. Although I think things have died down a bit, recent sellers have been asking something like $50,000 to $100,000 over the price of a regular automatic-transmission 575M -- just for three pedals and a stick shift. Which leads to the question ... why?!?!

Now, I understand that the stick-shift Ferrari market is hot right now -- as it very well should be, considering that manual transmissions are more exciting than automatics to drive, and a lot cheaper to maintain. Pricing for stick-shift versions of many Ferrari models is shooting through the roof, and largely for good reason: I'd pay a big premium not to have to deal with Ferrari's old "F1" transmission, too.

But the 575 ... it makes no sense.

Allow me to explain. In 1997, Ferrari came out with the replacement for the long-running Testarossa, which was a front-engine, V12-powered model called the 550 Maranello. The 550 Maranello used a 5.5-liter V12 that made 480 hp, and all 550 Maranello models used a mandatory stick shift.

Five years later, in 2002, the 575 debuted. It looked virtually identical to the 550, save for a few tremendously small design details -- and performance was roughly the same, too: It had a 5.7-liter V12 instead of a 5.5-liter, but engine power was only up 28 horses. The major difference was that the vast majority of 575M models used an F1 automatic transmission, while only a few had a stick shift. But aside from the transmission change, for all intents and purposes, the 550 and 575 are largely the same -- relative to, for example, the Ford Fusion and the Ford Taurus. Those are two different cars. The 550 and 575 can't be distinguished unless you're looking at a guidebook.

Now, admittedly, the 575 sells for more than the 550 -- partially because of its extra power and additional refinements, and partially because it's simply newer. So I can understand paying a few thousand more for a newer car with a little more power. But then we get to the stick-shift thing.

Here's what makes no sense: A 550 Maranello, which came standard with a stick shift is, for example, $150,000. A 575M is maybe $180,000. But it's not uncommon to see a stick-shift 575M listed for $250,000 or more. How can this possibly make sense? Remember, while the manual was rare in the 575M, every single 550 -- a largely identical car -- had a manual transmission! This is THOUSANDS of cars! Is the extra 28 horsepower really that important to you?! You're paying $100,000 for 28 horsepower? And a different grille?! Just to have a stick shift in your 575M?!

It makes no sense -- and, hopefully, the market sees that. Unfortunately, based on the current asking-price situation, it doesn't appear to. Instead, it appears people really are paying $100,000 for 28 extra horsepower and a different grille. And so goes life in the strange world of used Ferraris.

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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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.
Why Is the Manual-Transmission Ferrari 575M so Expensive? - Autotrader