Want to buy 550M - Advice on higher mileage car

Discussion in '456/550/575' started by Geoff_kg, Sep 4, 2019.

  1. Geoff_kg

    Geoff_kg Rookie

    Jun 23, 2019
    Full Name:
    Geoffrey Svensson
    Hey everybody,

    Ive been scratching around for a 550M to buy as my first Ferrari. After a couple months, this particularly high mileage example popped up:

    It happens to be the perfect color/interior combo im looking for, but at 90,000 miles, im naturally dubious its worth 80k, especially given that the market has cooled on these cars since the 2016 highs. For all the 550 experts out there, if you have any advice on the following questions id really appreciate it:

    1: Are there critical maintenance issues that manifest on very high mileage 550s to be aware of? All my searches so far havent yielded anything conclusive

    2: Did you buy your car privately or from a dealer? What are the pitfalls for both avenues of purchase?

    Of course, if you have one to sell or know somebody who does, particularly a drivers example but in great condition, shoot me a PM


  2. Qavion

    Qavion F1 Rookie

    Feb 20, 2015
    Full Name:
    Ian Riddell
    They were not so rigorous with their spelling :p
    bergxu likes this.
  3. someguy

    someguy Rookie

    Nov 3, 2012
    Since there aren't many high mileage 550s out there (not this high) you won't really find a list of necessary stuff. The obvious part is the timing belt services as well as the rest of the service history being available. At this mileage most of the suspension components should have been refreshed/changed at least once so check for that. Then there's the basic stuff like brakes, tires, clutch etc. I'd definitely get a PPI from a third party before negotiating. The price is not so high but the car definitely needs a lot of love, especially in the exterior. getting this for 70K flat and throwing 20K on to get it in good shape would be what I'd do.
    Geoff_kg likes this.
  4. F11

    F11 Karting

    Aug 2, 2005
    It’s definitely a beautiful spec. I would try to get really aggressive on price if it checks out (PPI, service records, and an in person look/drive). Shoot for under $70k and see what happens.
    Geoff_kg likes this.
  5. tazandjan

    tazandjan Three Time F1 World Champ
    Owner Lifetime Rossa

    Jul 19, 2008
    Albuquerque, NM
    Full Name:
    Terry H Phillips
    Make sure to get a compression and bleed-down check done to make sure the valve guides are in good shape. Replacing the guides is a 5 figure job.
    Jon Von Bon, Geoff_kg and Qavion like this.
  6. F456M

    F456M Formula 3

    Jan 8, 2010
    Full Name:
    I would jump on it and buy it If it is as good as it looks. «Very high miles» is in my opinion crazyness. These cars run the double of that If driven correctly and maintained and stored well. The car looks outstanding. No one look at your odometer. They look at its condition!!!!
    bergxu likes this.
  7. Chupacabra

    Chupacabra F1 Rookie
    Rossa Subscribed Owner

    Sep 30, 2005
    Behind a drum kit
    Full Name:
    Mr. Chupacabra
    You can have a lot of fun with a car with that kind of mileage. You'll likely be more inclined to drive it and enjoy it than cover it in bubble wrap and sweat every time someone sneezes near it. :) While it's a different beast (though 993s can have pricey valve guide wear as well), I bought my 993 at 99,xxx miles and have enjoyed the hell out of it with NO issues for six years. The PO had taken great care of it, which is reflected in the service history. Also, as Terry mentions, I had a compression/leakdown and a thorough inspection.
  8. henryr

    henryr F1 World Champ
    Silver Subscribed

    Nov 10, 2003
    Full Name:
    Juan Sánchez Villa-L
    looks good for a LS swap
  9. flat_plane_eddie

    flat_plane_eddie F1 Rookie
    Silver Subscribed Owner

    Mar 30, 2013
    Los Angeles
    Full Name:
    With such high mileage you'd be a "pioneer" of things to fix and when it comes time to sell, you'll be hit hard. I'd honestly pass on it and buy one with much lower mileage.
  10. Geoff_kg

    Geoff_kg Rookie

    Jun 23, 2019
    Full Name:
    Geoffrey Svensson
    This is a very good point. Are 550 engines known to experience valve guide issues at higher mileage? I know its a 355 problem and theyre both from the same era..
  11. Canuck550

    Canuck550 Formula Junior
    Silver Subscribed

    Sep 8, 2015
    Full Name:
    look at the adds in the EU, these cars a made to eat miles!
    bergxu likes this.
  12. Cribbj

    Cribbj Formula 3
    Rossa Subscribed

    Jan 1, 2011
    Full Name:
    Some 550's are known to have excessive guide wear at very LOW mileage :(. Mine were shot at 15,000. With this high mileage car, you can be pretty sure they're either OK or they've already been replaced at some point during the car's life. If at all possible, try to get a peek at the maintenance records on the car to see if most of the big ticket items have already been addressed. You can tell the seller they need to provide those in order to justify such an eye watering asking price for this high mileage example.
    bergxu likes this.
  13. wbklink

    wbklink F1 Rookie

    Sep 2, 2009
    Los Angeles
    Full Name:
    I have a 1998 with 87k miles no problems but it has always been serviced on or before recommend time ....if it has service records you should be ok.
    never hurts to get a ppi.
    good luck beautiful car :)
    bergxu likes this.
  14. Clyde Romero

    Clyde Romero Karting

    Sep 6, 2019
    Atlanta Georgia
    Full Name:
    Clarence Romero
    For what it worth go for it
    Prices are dropping on 575’s which in my opinion they have fixed all the small issues that the 550 has and it’s a better car
    Best of luck
  15. Patek

    Patek Formula 3
    Rossa Subscribed

    Mar 24, 2006
    Full Name:
    John Milton Denton
    Does it have all the keys with it, and Codes etc. the red key is important. Motor mounts , ECUs, Steering rack, just like any over 20+ year old car, things just new to be replaced. Hard choice, you could be replacing the next 4 years. Dash looks fine, seats look great for that mileage. Hard not to buy it as a fun car, and a smooth V12 will spoil you forever. But honestly the bills can get big very, very fast at dealership repairs.
    But they are smooth.
    let us all know what happens, you are in water we have never seen.... most of us anyway.
  16. Patek

    Patek Formula 3
    Rossa Subscribed

    Mar 24, 2006
    Full Name:
    John Milton Denton
    I had 50,000 on mine when I traded it for the 458. Spent about $31,000 in 4 years keeping it fresh and just changing out things that had gotten old and had to be changed. I do not want to be stranded. So this at 90,000 is very interesting to see what has been changed out for new pieces,, and have the new pieces run their course and need to be done again. Wish I was brave enough to do it. Just don't have the time, money or like the frustration of getting stuff worked on all the time, or every time I crank it , listening for "something" that does not sound right. It is not unusual for the windows to not want to work, or the car will unlock one side and not the other, just small Ferrari stuff.
    I do think that is one of the best colors you will find.
  17. Jon Von Bon

    Jon Von Bon Formula 3
    Rossa Subscribed

    Feb 8, 2015
    Toronto / Florida
    Full Name:
    That is a beautiful car. It has been on the market for a while so you should be able to get the right number, which in my opinion is $70-75K. If the leak down and compression numbers are good, this would be a great “keep it” driver car.

    Beautiful spec.
  18. cls

    cls Formula 3
    Silver Subscribed Rossa Subscribed

    Jun 12, 2007
    Los Angeles/Montreal
    Full Name:
    From what they posted: paintwork looks awful, dash pod looks shrunk, door panels delaminating, driver bolsters are worn and cracked, carpets are stained. Not necessarily a deal breaker, but indicitive of how the car was cared for.
    Themaven likes this.

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