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FCA membership worth it

Discussion in 'Ferrari Discussion (not model specific)' started by osuav8r, Feb 16, 2020.

  1. osuav8r

    osuav8r Karting
    Rossa Subscribed

    Feb 16, 2005
    125
    Houston, TX
    Full Name:
    Alan
    Hi guys, I've been a lurker here for a long time. I've wanted a Ferrari since I was 15 and I'm finally in a position where I can fit one into my life. I have probably the most common problem that comes up here, which is which one to buy. The 458 really speaks to me, but is at the top range of what I'd want to spend on one. F1 430's are well within budget and of course 360s as well. A stick shift 360 seems like it might be a smart play because I don't think they're going to get any cheaper, so even though the buy in is sort of high for being an older modern era car, I'm thinking it might make sense to cough up the money for a nice one since the resale will likely remain strong. The 355 is the one that started it all for me and I love the looks and obviously the sound, but the wife doesn't care for the looks at all, they're small inside, and from years of forum research, they seem to require a LOT of care and feeding to keep happy and I don't want something that's always got a long list of ongoing problems.

    Another issue I have in making a decision is that I've never been in a 360 at all. I've rented a couple 430's, a 458, a 488 and a few mclarens and got a very brief ride (passenger) in a F1 355 at a car show in st louis like 15 years ago, but have never experienced a 360. They seem to have completely disappeared from the rental market (I checked turo as well) so I don't seem to have the option of paying to get a ride in one to see if it is something I'd want to own. I was thinking it might be nice to meet some local Ferrari club members and talk to them first hand about their experiences and maybe get a ride in a 360. I probably wouldn't even need to drive it to know if it was for me or not, but I'd hate to buy one and find out there are things about it that are off putting enough to sour the experience.

    Theres a Continental GTC in my driveway right now that I rented on Turo and its a nice car, but the image of what I had of it in my mind is kind of far off of what it is actually like to drive and I don't want to buy a ferrari and wind up being unsatisfied with it. I have reservations about the F1 gearboxes as well (jerkiness at low speed kind of irritates me) but the 430's I've driven were smooth enough to satisfy me.

    TLDR
    On to the main point............I'm looking for a local club and when I search for Ferrari club of Houston, the link that comes up is for Ferrari club of America. It sounds like you sign up for FCA and they then hook you up with the local chapter, but this is all new to me. Is it worth it to join FCA to become part of the local Houston chapter or is there another owners group I should be looking to hook up with?
     
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  2. ixlr8

    ixlr8 Karting

    Aug 24, 2015
    224
    Mid-Coast Maine
    Full Name:
    Jim
    I live in Maine, about 7 hrs from most of the Ferrari action and I didn't find it worthwhile to join FCA or the local chapter. 98% of the events/activities were just too far away to get involved with. I would recommend showing up at a few local events and get a feel for the group before making your decision.
     
  3. jm2

    jm2 F1 World Champ
    Rossa Subscribed Owner Lifetime Rossa

    Aug 19, 2002
    12,471
    michigan
    Full Name:
    john
    Been an FCA member since 1976 :eek: ! Long before I actually owned a Ferrari. If you are in close proximity to a local chapter, depending on that chapter, it's a great opportunity to meet like minded Ferrari enthusiasts. Our local chapter in SE Michigan is always having events, driving, social dinners, visiting automotive shops, etc. Have met some great people. However if you're in a remote location, probably the only advantage is the Prancing Horse magazine. I think it's pretty cool, you may think otherwise. But whats the big deal? Join for 1 year and see if you like it. If not ,don't sign up again. It's not that big of an investment.
     
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  4. EastMemphis

    EastMemphis Formula Junior
    Silver Subscribed Owner

    May 25, 2019
    503
    Memphis, TN
    Full Name:
    John
    You are in the same boat as me about a year ago. I spent three months reading and investigating the various models, talking to the wife and daughter about which models appealed to them and finally decided on a gated 360 Spider. Took me another three months to actually buy one and now I am the owner of a cherry car.

    The first 360, actually, the first Ferrari I drove is the one I bought. I sat in a couple of 360's and they fit me like a glove. I'm 6'0", 185 lbs., so not a small guy. The car is very nice to drive, looks great, sounds great and is fairly easy to work on. My wife thought I was insane to settle on a car without ever driving it. I didn't feel it was necessary. It wasn't.

    As far as picking a car, a lot of the decision should center around how you are going to maintain it.

    Are you working on it yourself? If so, be sure you know what you are getting into. Each model has its own problems and peculiarities. If the normal things that go wrong are within your capabilities, then great!

    If you're going to use professional services to keep your car going, be sure you know who, what and where you are going to be plunking down a lot of money on a regular basis. Check them out carefully. Be sure they are reliable and have a good record. Visit the place now. They may have a couple 360's lying about that you can look at and maybe if you're lucky, sit in. It's critical that you can trust your maintainer. Critical.

    Here's my journey as a blog post: https://www.ferrari360.org/2019/09/my-pursuit-of-ferrari.html

    As far as FCA goes, I didn't join until after I owned a Ferrari. I don't see a lot of point to it except that we have a small local group of owners here that meet occasionally. That's fun. It's cheap enough though so why not?

    Good luck with your purchase. It's worth the journey.

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  5. tomc

    tomc F1 World Champ

    Apr 13, 2014
    19,388
    DFW, Texas
    Full Name:
    Tom C
    FCA discount at Boardwalk Ferrari can more than make up for the membership fee depending on how grumpy your car is service- wise over the course of the year. Additionally, we've met some interesting fellow tifosi and participated in a lot of fun drives and events...T
     
  6. Nospinzone

    Nospinzone F1 Rookie

    Jul 1, 2013
    4,893
    Weston, MA
    Full Name:
    Paul
    I had my Ferrari for 3 years before I joined our local chapter. One day at a non-FCA event my wife was speaking with the woman who was the Regional Director at the time. She came back and told me to join the club. The best decision my wife ever made for me! :D

    I've met some great people in the New England chapters, and attended some really fun local events. Additionally since joining I've driven my Ferrari to all 3 annual events and had a blast.

    I say join. It's only $135 per year. You can always quit, but if if Tom C (post #5) is a member of your chapter, I know you won't.
     
  7. osuav8r

    osuav8r Karting
    Rossa Subscribed

    Feb 16, 2005
    125
    Houston, TX
    Full Name:
    Alan
    #7 osuav8r, Feb 16, 2020
    Last edited: Feb 16, 2020
    Thanks for the replies. I generally fix my own cars to the point that I have a low level pro scanner to bleed brakes, pull codes from specific modules etc on the common cars I currently own. I might change fluids and things like brakes on a ferrari, but I would hire out things like the major service where you're changing out cam belts etc because the cost of screwing up is high and even if you get it back together, the cam timing might not be perfect if you don't have the skills and knowledge. I've changed timing belts and chains on hondas and fords, but these things are so highly tuned, I would want it perfect so I would plan on using Sphere motorsports here in Houston who seems to have a good reputation and charge reasonable rates based on reviews and forum posts from happy customers. I'm used to light airplanes so the idea of $7k clutches and the like don't bother me. I've been in a few flappy paddle cars where they were almost chattery when the clutch engaged. I assume they had been abused and I know the PIS etc has to be set correctly for an f1 car to operate correctly. The 355 I rode in seemed pretty crude shifting wise. How does the 360 F1 system compare to the one on the 430? About the same or much worse?

    PS: I went ahead and joined since some people seem to find value in being a member. I'm in the Houston area if anyone has any input as to what kind of events the local chapter puts on.
     
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  8. Rifledriver

    Rifledriver Two Time F1 World Champ

    Apr 29, 2004
    26,949
    Austin TX
    Full Name:
    Brian Crall
    You will get out of FCA membership whatever you want to. I have been involved for many years and have made a lot of friends all over the country because of it. I know a number of people in the Houston chapter and I think you will have as much fun as you can stand.
     
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  9. Rifledriver

    Rifledriver Two Time F1 World Champ

    Apr 29, 2004
    26,949
    Austin TX
    Full Name:
    Brian Crall
    Every generation of F1 system was a big improvement over the prior. 430 was 2 generations newer than 360 so big difference. I am sorry they quit using it in favor of the double clutch trans. Pretty much assured the death of manual transmission cars. It is difficult to compare different generations from just a few experiences because so few work to their potential for a variety of reasons.
     
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  10. osuav8r

    osuav8r Karting
    Rossa Subscribed

    Feb 16, 2005
    125
    Houston, TX
    Full Name:
    Alan
    Brian, I've been reading your posts for years and you always seem to be the last word on fixing difficult issues. I see you are in Austin.... Do you have your own shop that people can bring their cars to. I've heard you talk about how the setup is often not done correctly on a new clutch and might bring one to you if it ever needed it. You can PM me if you prefer. Thanks.
     
  11. osuav8r

    osuav8r Karting
    Rossa Subscribed

    Feb 16, 2005
    125
    Houston, TX
    Full Name:
    Alan
    Nevermind, I just googled you and see that you're based out of Lakeway, TX. I'll file that information away for future reference.
     
  12. vrsurgeon

    vrsurgeon F1 World Champ
    Silver Subscribed

    Dec 13, 2009
    13,329
    Charleston, SC
    Full Name:
    Curt
    Haven't joined the FCA yet... alot of drives and lunches/dinner. I'm just not old enough to go with my trophy wife.. ;) hehehe

    When I started my 360 in the back of the car transporter back in 2010... my car was the first Ferrari I'd ever driven and the first one I'd ever sat in. I just knew. And everything worked out. I hope the same for you! Get the latest, best model you can afford that you find gorgeous.
     
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  13. spirot

    spirot F1 World Champ
    Rossa Subscribed BANNED

    Dec 12, 2005
    11,677
    Atlanta
    Full Name:
    Tom Spiro
    I highly recommend joining the FCA- the people will far out shine the car


    Sent from my iPad using FerrariChat
     
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  14. BillyD

    BillyD Formula 3
    Silver Subscribed

    Feb 28, 2004
    1,572
    Pacific Northwest
    Full Name:
    Bill
    I think you're on the right track with 360-430-458 cars. I didn't like the 360 F1 tranny. Though one with a 6 speed manual will always be in demand and I think would be considered a good Classic Car purchase. I like the 458 looks and DCT tranny but there's still some depreciation to come vs the 430 which is really close to its bottom.

    My .02 cents

    I'd join the club, has to be lots of member in Houston with these cars.

    So what don't you like about the Bentley?
     
  15. Penguin

    Penguin Rookie

    Oct 16, 2016
    32
    I bought my first Ferrari, a 458 spider without ever having sitting or driving a Ferrari before. I didn't see the point of flying out to Florida to test drive it, so I just called the dealer, mailed my down-payment check, and had the car delivered to my house. I absolutely love this car, and have no regrets. So it's not unheard of to buy a car without having driven it before.

    Regarding FCA, I joined only after I bought my Ferrari and had a couple good experiences. The membership isn't that much so not much to lose if it doesn't work out. Good luck with your new Ferrari!
     
  16. osuav8r

    osuav8r Karting
    Rossa Subscribed

    Feb 16, 2005
    125
    Houston, TX
    Full Name:
    Alan
    After taking my wife to dinner in it last night, I sort of warmed up to it because it was so smooth, quiet, and solid. I was initially disappointed because I though it would be a more athletic feeling car despite the weight. Ie, quicker handling, more of a surge of thrust with initial throttle application since it is a twin turbo 12 cylinder car. So I didn't initially get the sporty car experience, which is more my preference when I'm the only one in the car. I really warmed up to the car when I took my wife out shopping and to dinner though because it is the most solid feeling, smoothest car I've ever driven. My wife really loved it too because it was quiet and we could talk without raising our voices and I think she felt safe in it because it's bank vault solid. We're deep in the small children phase of life right now and the minivan is still kind of a necessity, but I told her we can look into getting her a used flying spur when the kids are out of car seats. I have an older Infiniti G35 that I still somewhat enjoy driving to and from the airport, but getting back in it after the Bentley made it feel like a Fisher Price toy. The Bentley didn't meet my expectations initially, but I learned to appreciate some of it's other qualities towards the end of my time with it.
     
  17. Texas Forever

    Texas Forever Four Time F1 World Champ
    Rossa Subscribed

    Apr 28, 2003
    42,289
    Texas!
    The Houston FCA is a good group. They cycle back and forth between driving and social events. I always liked the driving stuff, social events not so much, but that's just me.
     
  18. Robb

    Robb Moderator
    Moderator Owner Lifetime Rossa

    Feb 28, 2004
    11,578
    Mesa, Arizona
    Full Name:
    Robb Williamson
    The FCA is actually by their definition a “social” club.

    Not a collector, classic nor car club. They make a point to emphasize this.

    While I can get along in any social situation, it’s not my preferred thing to go to polo matches or insurance / investment dinners or just be in big groups with booze. I’m into the cars and the driving. I have met more Ferrari owners and seen them in person while on my business trips all because of F-chat... that is the real quality time to me. But $150 per year doesn’t really seem like a big deal for the occasional fun thing.

    Robb
     
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  19. Erwin Rusli

    Erwin Rusli Rookie

    Jan 25, 2020
    4
    Full Name:
    Whatupdoc
    I was in your position from what it sounds like a few months ago. Pulled the trigger because life is just too damn short and got a 458 spider. I Don’t regret for a second paying a bit more and getting the 458 over the 430. Just my .02

    can you get to a dealership near you that has a 360 for you to drive? My local dealership that I ultimately purchased the car from in Florida was EXTREMELY KIND, helpful and patient ... I drove a 360, then 430, then California, then a Cali T then a 458 and then a 488 and the 458 was A no brainer for me. When you know you know...

     
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  20. Texas Forever

    Texas Forever Four Time F1 World Champ
    Rossa Subscribed

    Apr 28, 2003
    42,289
    Texas!
    The Houston FCA does have a hard-core driving group, but you have to dig a bit to find it.
     
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  21. osuav8r

    osuav8r Karting
    Rossa Subscribed

    Feb 16, 2005
    125
    Houston, TX
    Full Name:
    Alan
    There are plenty of 360's around me for sale. I'm a little bit self conscious about approaching them for a test drive when I'm not absolutely sure I would want a 360 because I've sold motorcycles and performance cars before and it's super annoying to deal with tire kickers. I can show proof of funds, so I guess they might not mind, but I don't want anyone to feel like I just want a joyride.
     
  22. SAFE4NOW

    SAFE4NOW F1 Rookie
    Sponsor

    Aug 25, 2004
    3,660
    Dallas Texas
    Full Name:
    Steve F
    https://ferrariclubofamerica.org/page/MembershipMain

    In Short, Do It! ( Join )

    Every Chapter is different in that the members usually drive the type of events each chapter hosts.

    Locally, we do everything from Sunday Morning Drives, Fine Dining, Shop Events, shooting , travel, burgers / pizza events, F1 Watching parties, to Pre-Valentine day shopping events at the Dealership.

    There are some good guys in the Houston Chapter!

    Welcome to the family in advance,

    Steve
     
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  23. vrsurgeon

    vrsurgeon F1 World Champ
    Silver Subscribed

    Dec 13, 2009
    13,329
    Charleston, SC
    Full Name:
    Curt
    I wouldn't hesitate for a minute. If you have ACTUAL interest in buying a Ferrari then you'll be OK. If you're a 23 year old dude who wants to "drive a Ferrari" and pulls up in a pimped out Civic with no intention whatsoever of actually owning one.. thats another story.
     
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  24. VAF84

    VAF84 Formula Junior
    Rossa Subscribed

    I was all over the spectrum when seeking my first Ferrari. From 355 to 458. I eventually landed my F430 in Scottsdale. Flew in, quick test drive, and then drove it back to Texas. The F430 offers a great experience. While I still want to move into the 458, I'm very satisfied with my current car which is probably the reason I'm not in a rush to make the switch. I think that's the selling point over the 360. To me it has a great amount of useable power, and it's modern enough to feel confident it won't leave you stranded; it's a pretty straightforward car. My only qualm is that I know the 458 will end up being my true long time Ferrari, so I have been tempted to sell and get going on the 458.

    Regarding FCA chapters. I've really enjoyed the events I've been able to attend in Austin. However, I'm only there a small part of the year, so I've now expanded my membership to Houston. Hope to bring my car up here and participate in some of the Houston events. It's worth it if you have time to attend. I'm also solidly in the beginning part of the child rearing phase, so the hardest part if finding the time to meet up. Hopefully I run into you here in the Houston area!
     
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  25. Rifledriver

    Rifledriver Two Time F1 World Champ

    Apr 29, 2004
    26,949
    Austin TX
    Full Name:
    Brian Crall

    Exactly correct. Every chapter is different and you get out of it what you put in it.
     
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