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Old vs New Ferrari Build Quality

Discussion in 'Ferrari Discussion (not model specific)' started by Booker, Apr 8, 2020.

  1. AlfistaPortoghese

    AlfistaPortoghese Moderator
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    One good question is: analog instruments/speedos are, for now, easy to repair and obtain. Digital ones I think not, as independents haven’t kept up in terms of stock parts I fear. This may change dramatically in the future, as almost no one is making analog cockpits any more and the tables may turn over time.

    Kind regards,

    Nuno.
     
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  2. rob lay

    rob lay Administrator
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    your first few posts seemed to be a good critique of the article. now your latest few posts seem to support the hypothesis. :)

    keep in mind this is one of our external facing original articles. I think Jack did a good job, but the target audience is more people to bring into FerrariChat a little “click bait”. Not as much for our regular users, but have fun with it anyway. I’m enjoying all the perspectives and opinions.
     
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  3. anunakki

    anunakki Five Time F1 World Champ
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    Ive never owned a Ferrari older than 97 so I cant really compare. I think the 90s were not a good time for Ferrari quality. Even the first ~7 years of the 00s werent very good for quality. But since then I think theyve become much better. The interiors in the 90s were horrific...now quite nice.
     
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  4. tbakowsky

    tbakowsky F1 World Champ
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    Ferrari quality was very apparent in the 308qv/328 cars. Very well built machines. The 348 showed us how cheap a "supercar" could be built. Substandard materials, an HVAC panel that Fisher price could have built better, super crappy electrics, and a gearbox that liked to eat itself. Yes the quality of the cars went down. The upturn started with the 360. The 430 is a great car over all..although there are some cheap ass parts about it..but still a great machine. 458..awsome car..perhaps the best of the bunch..too early to tell.about the 488. Early California..junk.
     
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  5. vroom

    vroom Karting

    Sep 9, 2007
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    This is probably one of the most interesting posts in a while. My 88 328 was built ok, Fiat switches, fun. My CS is really fun, dash fade a little, some sticky parts but fixed. But the sound is Amazing. I’m interested in a 12 cylinder car, which would be the wisest choice to drive weekly and plan to keep for at least a decade? I vaguely remember reading an article in one of the FCA journals about TR or 512 TRs by Mr. Crall, regarding maintenance? I like the 512TR, 550 Maranello (like Barchetta more but not worth price), 599 or F12. Any wise insight is appreciated!
     
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  6. versamil

    versamil Formula Junior
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    Interesting post. I worked on Ferrari's from the late 70's until 2000. I've owned one or more since 1980, and right now have six. I have two Testarossas , three 328's and a 2013 458 Spider. I LOVE the 458. With only 12,000 miles on the car, I'd like to say I don't have any idea how well it's built, but unfortunately I HAVE been intimate with the car at too early a mileage. I think the car is built MUCH better than the older 80's cars, You take a door panel off a 308, and you'd swear the car was welded as a high school welding project. It's crude. Look inside a door of a 458, after taking off the very well thought out design of securing it, and I was impressed by the high quality of all the parts and build. BUT- why am I looking inside the door of my car that only has 8000 miles on it? Well my window mechanism completely ate itself. The cables were shredded. Is it because every time the door opens, the window has to lower, and then raise again when the door shuts?
    A year later I'm BACK inside the same door because my mirrors are running continuously with the key not even in the ignition. A computer glitch? I ended up disconnecting the battery, which probably had the affect of rebooting the computers in the car.

    The 458 and all the other modern Ferraris, have gotten incredibly computer reliant. My gut feeling is in ten or fifteen years, this is going to be the death of the cars. While the 328's and Testarossa's are simple in their own way, they have CIS fuel injection systems in them,that are now 35 years old. I've taken a vacation from working on my older cars, but have three of them slated for some major work. I have a feeling because of age, and the inability to source Bosch parts for the CIS injection system, that these cars could be challenging. Back in the eighties I had the luck of doing extensive work on several Daytonas, 330 GTS's, even a 250SWB California spider. At the time these cars SEEMED stunning, but in retrospect, the 458 blows ALL of them away. The amount of skill and time it took to set up a carbureted V-12 engine with twin distributors with four set of points, and get them running correctly was mindboggling. Getting these cars to PASS emissions control tests, and still have them drive could take days. Now, we take it for granted our cars, which are computer controlled, just run great virtually for YEARS!
    Even the carbureted 308's and the Dinos, were a challenging car to get running right. Can't imagine not having a distributor machine back them. Setting up the weber carbs was painstaking. The 328 was a vast leap forward in simplicity, with the advent of fuel injection and electronic ignition.

    Driving these old Ferraris was a joy, but it was work, and they felt somewhat crude. I loved everything about the Daytonas, but if i had one now I think it would be parked while my 458 would be getting driven. With the value of a Daytona Coupe today, at double a 458, it's a no brainer as to which one I'd want to drive. BUT, I'd bet if a person could find a competent mechanic, that understands carburetors and distributors, the Daytona could probably run forever, where the computer driven 458 will be dead. Nothing is mysterious about a sixties or seventies car- Ferrari I think is doing us a disservice by hiding information on diagnostics on newer cars. I frankly think it's disgusting I can't even get a complete wiring diagram for a 330K car.
     
  7. ross

    ross Three Time F1 World Champ
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    i certainly dont have the experience of brian, but i have owned and driven a fair number of ferraris from all the eras.
    but i will only compare the ones i have owned since you only really know a car when you have lived with it for some time and a few adventures.

    the oldest ferrari i own is the bbi. i bought it in switzerland, but it had been imported to the usa in 1983 and homologated by amerispec, but now has been returned to euro spec. it was supposedly in good shape.... so i immediately had the drive train, and every other important component, gasket, hose, wire etc reviewed, taken apart, restored, renovated, replaced. and then i took it on the targa florio/giro di sicilia. it had to work without fail, and it did. and i learned to love the car, not just the shape that attracted me in the first place. it is an honest car with a tremendous amount of visceral feeling - it is loud, hot, heavy at low speed, balky gearbox when cold, with only a nod to creature comforts. but warmed up at speed, it is glorious.
    now about build quality.....it sucks. or more precisely, it sucked when i bought it. in the renovation of it, we went through everything and straightened out what Luigi and Paolo screwed up when they first built it in 1983. and that was a lot. many of the fiat parts bin pieces were replaced if possible with better - all the latches for example that were originally made of pot metal and would break off in your hand, are now replaced with stainless steel replicas that are identical. now everything works, and works well and reliably. which makes maintenance not such a big deal. the engine, transmission and suspension were made well, they are tough, and if properly maintained and used correctly will not fail. all the plastic crap from fiat is as bad and worse than it was in 1983. the body is hand made, and did not always fit right at the start and required some fettling, but now fits perfectly. as said, i drove it on the targa and the giro, but it has been all over with me - must have seen at least 5 different countries. wonderful machine.

    the next oldest is the 1990 f40, but thats a different topic altogether so i wont include it in this discussion.

    i owned a 1992 348ts, and it was the worst car i have ever called my own. it was cursed by the devil. it broke down all the time, had a hot start problem, the targa roof leaked, 2nd gear was impossible for the first 30 miles, and the build quality and tech was just ****, and the maintenance costs (just to keep it running and on the road) were just stupid. i felt insulted by this car - every time i drove it.

    the next oldest after that is the 1992 512tr. i bought this car in rome from the main dealer there. i was the second owner. it had 16k km on it and now has 46k km. i have driven this car everywhere, including the track. it has been to 7 or 8 countries. i have the luggage for it and it is one of my wife's preferred cars to travel in. and Luigi and Paolo must have built this car on a wednesday because it has been bullet proof all its life. absolutely vault like at v max. the build quality is a gargantuan step forward from the bbi. they are 9 years apart in birth dates, but feel like 30 years apart in technology, build quality and comfort. whereas the bbi is a NO tech car, the 512tr is at least a low tech car. but it all still works. some sticky buttons, but i have cleaned off the gunk and they all still function.
    this car is not as nimble or ferocious as the bbi, but it replaces that with solidity. the car has never let me down and i have been in some crazy situations with it. maintenance costs have been minimal even though i have taken care of everything to keep it running well. i drive it as much as i can, and i enjoy it every time. it is my favorite car of all that i have owned in my life, and if it were human it would be my best friend.

    i owned a 2001 456mgt. i bought it from a dead man with 1600km on the clock, and i used it as my daily driver for 9 years. i liked the car and its subtle but elegant design. the manual gearbox gave the car character (that is definitely missing from the 456mgta i bought my mother and drove cross country for her). it had kind of jekyl/hyde aspect to it where if you kicked and pushed it, it really got going, but you could also just cruise all day at 120mph across europe and feel very comfortable and cossetted. this was also a favorite of my wife for road trips, and it must have also seen 8 different countries.
    the build quality was better than the 512tr, as expected, but not by the same leap forward as the 512tr to bbi, despite their age difference being the same 9 years. the ergonomics and logic of the design made sense - except for the battery.
    but here is the kicker - i spent an incredible amount on maintenance over those 9 years. i must have replaced everything except the engine and transmission- the list is endless, radiator, shocks, distributor, fuel pump, water pump, hood, etc etc etc. after i sold it, i grimly did the calc in my head and stopped when i realized i had spent more on this car than all the other ferraris in my life combined (altho this was before i got the latest bill on the f40, but that is another thread).
    so altho the build quality that i could touch and feel felt like a modern sports car, the engineering and build quality of the motive components was a disaster, but perhaps Luigi and Paolo built it on a friday....

    i owned a 2004 360 cs. one of my favorite cars of all time. visceral, raw, skittish, temperamental, and thrilling. i was the second owner, and bought it in order to have a weapons grade track car. i used it for 2 seasons of track dates all over europe, and it taught me a lot. i was usually scared, but eventually got comfortable with it. on the road it was like billy idol, spitting and snarling and daring all comers to a fight. i drove that car on the mille miglie tribute and it was epic. faultless.
    build quality was irreproachable - nothing failed that i did not break myself- and enzo knows i was trying ! sure the gearbox was not as smooth as a 458 - so what, it did the job. after the track seasons i realized that it was an imperfect tool or that purpose - if i wanted to do better on track, better to buy a challenge race car and not care about the paint etc. so i brought it back to stock and up to snuff, which cost a fair bit, but i dont consider that maintenance since the slight damage was self inflicted. very very good car.

    the youngest ferrari i own is the 430. this particular car has had a rough life. i bought it as marketing tool for a company that i have since closed, and my partner got the bentley and i got the 430. it came to me as the 2nd owner, but i was user number 999...it had led a rough life of being ridden hard and put away wet. there was some deferred maintenance that i took care of upon receipt, and then started to drive it. despite the abuse the car is strong in all respects. it runs fast, it stops well, it sounds great and turns heads - what more can you ask for? maintenance since rehab has been more than i would have liked but some of that i blame directly on ferrari spa- my fuel system had to be replaced because the ethanol ate through some hoses, and was replace with oem equipment from modena that supposedly was resistant to ethanol degradation ......ok, then why not put that into a car destined for the usa market in the first place?? the headliner came off but thats because while the dealer was waiting for those (ridiculously expensive) fuel system parts they left my car outside in the houston summer sun for 2 months - thanks a bunch guys (and then they offered to stick it back up for a grand!!) ! but other than that the car seems bullet proof. i change the oil and filters, pads etc - normal consumables. it is now my beater ferrari - i can take it anywhere and it functions, and i dont need to care if the worst happens. altho i must say, i am not emotionally attached to this car. it is the only ferrari i have not had a love or hate relationship with. maybe the much higher build quality has removed some of the character?

    sorry for the long essay - i had not intended to do that but got started and wanted to give you a proper feeling for the cars, and the evolution of build quality and maintenance issues over the decades of products out of maranello.

    in summary, i think ferrari still makes trustworthy drive trains, but has now gotten absorbed on adding the high tech that some of its target market is looking for - which i am not one of. and this will add to 'maintenance' issues, that really should not have anything to do with a motorcar, but are now present in the computers on wheels that they have become.
     
  8. ralfabco

    ralfabco Two Time F1 World Champ
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    #33 ralfabco, Apr 9, 2020
    Last edited: Apr 9, 2020
    The owners of old and new F cars probably have different ownership expectations and experiences. I would guess the entire eclectic culture is different between owners of the old and new F cars.

    The buyer for the old crap is probably interested in striving for an original mount and is willing to put up with the traditional issues. Some of the new buyers will expect the same ownership experience - just like when they owned a Corvette, BMW, and Porsche. These type of buyers expect the radio and ac to function and want all those gee-wiz electronic toys. It’s interesting that my oldest exotic was as reliable as my Corolla.
     
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  9. versamil

    versamil Formula Junior
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    Wow Ross, that was an informative and GREAT piece of writing. After your recent experience, probably NICE to talk about cars!
     
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  10. Shark01

    Shark01 F1 Rookie

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    #35 Shark01, Apr 9, 2020
    Last edited: Apr 9, 2020
    I don’t know how any comparisons between old and new cars on a maintanence cost basis can rationally be made without looking at depreciation.....that’s like a $10k service bill or more every freaking year....and unlike non-scheduled maintenance, depreciation doesn’t care if you drive the car or not....depreciation doesn’t sleep, doesn’t take holidays, doesn’t care if you are out of work.
     
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  11. Rifledriver

    Rifledriver Two Time F1 World Champ

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    Not true at all we have excellent resources for repair of them. As for a Ferrari dealer all they are allowed to do by Ferrari is replacement with new. I on the other hand have the option of repairing them.

    Sorry, this is just one more example of someone outside the business making statements on a topic he knows nothing about.
     
  12. Rifledriver

    Rifledriver Two Time F1 World Champ

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    One of the most highly regarded Ferraris ever, the F40 was a product of the 90's. The 360, a product of the early 2000's was also considered not far behind the 328 in being a trouble free car. Still highly respected 20 years later.
     
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  13. ralfabco

    ralfabco Two Time F1 World Champ
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    You can mitigate the depreciation curve to some degree by choosing the bottom feeder option. Look for cars that are ten + years old and have been taken care of.

    Rob. Going forward a good 328 will only trend in one direction. You really will be paid to drive the car for free. Sounds like a cult car.

    I have no interest in any sports car without a manual transmission. Lots of fun to drive an old car fast. Lots of work with an old car to keep up with the modern vehicles on a fun run.
     
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  14. Rifledriver

    Rifledriver Two Time F1 World Champ

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    I worked at the time in a dealer that had the award from Ferrari for selling more new 512BB/BBi than any world wide. That car as much as many of us like them still has the reputation for the worst build quality of any Ferrari built. It was embarrassing. As for the 348. It was designed by a near entirely new design team at Ferrari. Lamborghini had recently hired away a lot of key and experienced people. The results speak for themselves. The warranty costs nearly bankrupted FNA. Your experience is not at all a surprise. I agree on the 430 too. Great car.
     
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  15. Rifledriver

    Rifledriver Two Time F1 World Champ

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    Not at all. You cherry picked the 328 and it is not representative of the make as a whole and nothing I have said contradicts that.
     
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  16. vroom

    vroom Karting

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    Ross-Great essay, sounds like I need a 512 TR and a beater F430.
     
  17. ralfabco

    ralfabco Two Time F1 World Champ
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    I understand the interior does not fall under the mechanical discussion. The interior of the 512 BB, is impressive if you consider the effort required, to fit it out. The factory spent a considerable amount of time fabricating and sewing all the pieces to finish the interior. Yes some of the other areas of the car seem crude. Some owners may appreciate the hand built feel ‘fabrication’ you have with this car. The modern cars lack these characteristics and come across as too perfect and make it easy for the driver to live with. Yawn.
     
  18. anunakki

    anunakki Five Time F1 World Champ
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    Yeah but the majority of the 90s product was not what we could call 'high quality' was it? As for the F40, i didnt think we were talking about performance. Maybe as you are a mechanic we view it from a different perspective.
     
  19. Rifledriver

    Rifledriver Two Time F1 World Champ

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    #44 Rifledriver, Apr 9, 2020
    Last edited: Apr 9, 2020
    The interior was nice but we did have a lot of build quality issues even with it. Leather coming unglued poor fit of some parts. How they are today is not 100% indicative of what we received in 1982. . And of course the leather shrunk like a wet sponge left in the sun. From a build quality standpoint the rest of the car was a turd.
     
  20. Rifledriver

    Rifledriver Two Time F1 World Champ

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    #45 Rifledriver, Apr 9, 2020
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    And just how is it that this is at odds with my original point? Did you read it? At no point really am I defending product quality. I have been telling people for 40 years if they want a high quality car buy a Toyota. No hand made car is ever going to reach that level of quality.
     
  21. anunakki

    anunakki Five Time F1 World Champ
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    Im not looking for an argument Brian. Its a very subjective discussion as we will all use our own metrics as to what is important when judging. You use different ones than I use
     
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  22. Rifledriver

    Rifledriver Two Time F1 World Champ

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    Then don't ask me to defend that which I didn't say.
     
  23. AlfistaPortoghese

    AlfistaPortoghese Moderator
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    Yes, “we”. Sorry to break it to you, but there’s a whole world out there besides “we”, and I was talking in general. Owning a classic Ferrari and/or a modern one in the US, southern Europe, Singapore, the UAE, Brazil or South Africa isn’t the same when the time comes and you need spare parts.

    You’re absolutely right. I’m just an owner. I’m just 35 and I’ve owned just 4 Ferraris so far.

    But:

    1) I never said I was “inside the business”.

    2) Are Jack and Rob looking for professionals only when they started this thread? I thought it was open for general discussion.

    It seems no one is allowed to be right in this thread except Mr. Brian Crall. Everything he does not agree with, doesn’t go. He is the final and ultimate authority.

    And that ladies and gentlemen is why I won’t return to this thread again. Spent most of my life avoiding these kinds of “debates” with these kind of “experts”. You can’t have a debate with someone who knows it all, has learned it all and is only interested in being right.

    That’s not what I’m about. I’m about reaching out to people, hearing them and learning. I’m clearly out of place in this thread. So I’ll happily leave you guys to it.

    Kind regards,

    Nuno.
     
  24. anunakki

    anunakki Five Time F1 World Champ
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    um you must have read someone elses post as i didnt ask you to defend anything. In fact I was very respectful to your position in the community and your knowledge. I even phrased my post as question.
     
  25. Ananda

    Ananda Rookie

    Mar 19, 2011
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    In general, I support your views, but let's remember that the building quality of 308 (I have one of those) and still, 328 and other FIAT controlled models was not that great, and quality of material was not a strong point.... I have a 1956 250 GT, on the other hand, and am always impressed by the quality of the construction, simplicity and material. And they have the great advantage that many parts are interchangeable with other brands. I do not think any modern Ferrari has that advantage, probably on purpose....
     
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