My short history with Ferraris hasn’t been good. There have been breakdowns, explosions, title issues and other scenarios that have kept me from enjoying Ferrari ownership for more than a brief periods of time — but I still kept shopping. Finally, though, it appears my Ferrari curse might finally be broken with the first Ferrari I ever tried to buy — a 1990 348 with nearly 100,000 miles.
In early 2017, I saw this exact Ferrari advertised on Autotrader for only $20,000! It was massively overdue for an engine-out major service, had numerous unflattering modifications from stock and 94,000 miles. Still, $20,000 was used Toyota Camry money for an operable Ferrari, and even though I had just emptied my bank account after purchasing an Acura NSX, I was willing to check under every couch cushion, pull inside-out all the pants pockets in my closet and go around begging to every bank in town for a loan so I could buy this car. Sadly, I didn’t get far, as the Ferrari had sold before I could even speak to the seller on the phone. Before the listing was taken down, though, Doug DeMuro wrote an article about the car, wishing me luck that I might still be able to snag it.
After missing out on the 348, I’ve owned a few Ferrari models with disastrous results. The first was a 1995 F355, which I traded my Acura NSX for after the disgusted previous owner of the Ferrari was left stranded for the last time. After fixing the issue that caused the engine to evacuate all of its coolant, I was able to put 1,000 trouble-free miles on this glorious F355. Never before was I more in love with a car, and it easily had the best-sounding exhaust note of anything I’ve ever owned. Then it burned to the ground in typical Ferrari fashion — but that left me with a large enough insurance check to afford a Testarossa. Unfortunately, a voided title eventually forced me to return it to the dealer I purchased it from.
Since then, my success in making horrible YouTube videos has enabled me to buy plenty of great cars and plenty of terrible ones as well, but there’s always been some obstacle that’s kept me from buying another Ferrari. Whether it be a seller going bankrupt and trying to scam the dealer brokering the sale or just being a day too late on a good deal, I felt like I was cursed. Still, I kept casually shopping, and for the first time in over a year, I decided to check the classifieds on an old Ferrari forum website. Coincidentally, the exact same 348 I had tried to purchase nearly three years ago had just been listed there not even two hours before.
A few years before this, the new owner, being an Oversteer fan, was kind enough to send a follow-up email to Doug after sorting out his new purchase. He ended up paying $24,000 for the 348, as the seller had posted the car on eBay not long after listing on Autotrader, and before he could seal the deal, the bidding had reached that figure. The seller agreed to sell the car for the current bid, and after purchasing, the new owner opted to use an independent shop to perform the long-deferred major service. After spending $9,000, the shop returned the car barely running and apparently gave poor excuses to justify their botched repair. This prompted the new owner to send the 348 to Ferrari of Atlanta to figure out what happened, and sadly, they recommended to start the major service over again from scratch and along the way found other issues. The total bill for this service visit was over $20,000, which meant the new owner had more than doubled his investment.
This nightmare ownership scenario sounds exactly like something that would happen to me, but thankfully, the owner got to enjoy over two years of mostly reliable Ferrari ownership afterwards. After he listed the car for sale for $39,000, I was finally at the right place at the right time and was able to secure the car for $35,000. For once, I was able to enjoy the fruits of someone else’s financial pain and suffering, but while this Ferrari was well-sorted, it still had 98,000 miles on the odometer, which is almost unheard-of in the Ferrari world. Also, I couldn’t make it too easy on myself, so I decided to fly out to the Georgia coast and attempt to drive this old Ferrari 1,500 miles back home to Kansas.
At $35,000, it was certainly the cheapest Ferrari 348 available in the country, but other than the high mileage, there were some other factors to justify the low price. The aftermarket, "Fast and the Furious"-style Sparco seats look out of place, as does the homemade wooden center console to house aftermarket window and mirror switches. The floor carpet had been replaced with a non-stock material better suited for Grandma’s living room, and the exhaust had been repaired using generic muffler parts easily found at Autozone. Still, it drove very well, and other than the stifled exhaust note, there’s not much else I would change. It’s the perfect driver Ferrari — a car I wouldn’t have to worry about driving or parking anywhere.
I learned a lot about my new 348 on the journey home and broke a few things along the way, but unlike other cross-country voyages I’ve attempted, this nearly 30-year-old Ferrari with nearly 100,000 miles made it home easily. There wasn’t a moment’s worry about it breaking down, and the large cabin space, smooth ride and comfortable aftermarket seats made the voyage downright easy. This model of Ferrari is mostly unloved by enthusiasts, but so far, I love mine. Find a Ferrari 348 for sale