Inspections

September 15, 2019


I recently got a call to inspect a car for potential buyer. The market continues to loose traction on Vintage Ferraris, but considering I’ve now been involved with these cars for 20 years, it’s the usual ebb and flow of the market. For owners that have to sell, it’s not a good time, but I try to take another perspective. If you bought the car because you always wanted a Vintage Ferrari, and you can continue to hold onto it, the market will probably come back. Also, the enjoyment of ownership doesn’t diminish by 20-30% by following the market!

There is always a market for these cars,  and I am often asked to inspect a car for potential buyer. This particular car was recently at an auction in Monterey, but failed to sell. The potential buyer negotiated a price for the car after the sale with the auction company contingent on an inspection. Since the car was returned to NY where the car lives, it was easy for me to inspect the car. Although I was out in Monterey this year, I didn’t have time to see this car while I was out there, I had much more time to do a thorough inspection for the buyer in NY.

Personal inspections are always better than relying on pictures and descriptions from sellers. Most sellers are honest and auction houses try their best to show many pictures of the cars they sell, but sometimes I feel the photos in auction catalogs are more “art” than “description.” I give them credit for the level of aesthetic quality in their catalogs, but descriptive pictures and pretty pictures don’t often go hand in hand. I try my best to inspect a car a closely and track all the blemishes and imperfections as I can. As an example, this crack in the chrome may not have shown up in beauty shot of this car, but fixing this issue requires time and money to make right.

Just to show how pictures can be deceiving, this car was filthy. The parking lot for the auction in Carmel is very dusty, and after a week out in Monterey, it was covered in a brown dirt that was still on the car when it was unloaded in NY. It’s not so obvious in this picture compared to what I saw in person.

Larry Webster was in NY and came on a “ride along” to watch me inspect this car. Larry is the Editor in Chief of Hagerty Magazine and has a long history in automotive publication so it was fun the hear his perspective. He shared his insight on newer cars, and I showed him the world of Vintage Ferraris.

After our test drive, compression test, and visual inspection, I called the buyer to discuss what I found. Although my assessment was crucial in the process of this sale, I was unbiased in my inspection. I was paid by the buyer to look out for his best interest and wouldn’t make any money on the sale of this car, so my opinion was as objective as it could be.  I gave him a thumbs up.