2000 Ferrari 550 Maranello: Blue Sky Theater
In the movie The Family Man, Nicholas Cage is a successful, wealthy mergers and acquisitions wonk. During a Christmas season he is magically transported – with the help (?) of Don Cheadle – from his cushy Manhattan penthouse lifestyle of $2500.00 suits, hostile takeovers and tawdry call girls to a suburban New Jersey world of kids, minivans and bowling. The one bright spot is he’s married to Téa Leoni.
These particulars are not important. What is important is that before and after his little side trip, when he’s rich and powerful Nicholas Cage, he’s driving a Ferrari 550 Maranello. And since the movie has a large element of Christmas “what-if?” dreams, it seems appropriate to include a latter-day 365 GTB/4 Daytona to the TTS Blue-Sky Garage.
There really isn’t anything I don’t like about these cars. While not classically beautiful, the styling is purposeful and handsome. The interior fitting is lovely. The driveline is as God and Enzo dictated; 12 cylinders pushing the rear wheels through a manual gearbox and a clutch controlled by your left foot, not black magic and trickery.
Maintenance is the killer on any exotic, and these cars are no different. I’m delusional confident enough to think I could perform the timing belt service and most of the other mechanical updates as they arose. The electronics are somewhat scary but, having done exactly no research on the subject, I’ll wager there are resources out there to troubleshoot and fix whatever comes up.
I’ve read that the beautifully fitted interior, specifically the dashboard and some of the switchgear, is prone to unravel if looked at sideways. Indeed, a few cars I’ve looked at mention the dashboard leather has been recovered. Also, the seat bolsters wear where large American butts slide in and out. So what? I don’t have to look at the bolsters when I’m driving.
This 2000 Grigio Titanio Metallic on tan leather example, for sale in posh Beverly Hills, has just under 53,000 miles on it. Based on other ads, the 50k mark is where prices sink like a concrete-laden Titanic hit by a meteor decline sharply on these cars; Examples with half the miles cost half again as much. The ad claims the maintenance is up to date, and the car comes with books, tools and ownership history. There isn’t a lot of information but at least the pictures are plentiful.
Detail shots show the aforementioned seat bolster wear, especially on the driver’s seat. The dash leather looks good but the center console, gauge cluster face, and various other interior surfaces are covered in carbon fiber. Not sure if that’s a factory option, but it looks out of place to me. Ditto the aftermarket stereo.
The paint and much of the exterior are gorgeous. The headlight lenses look like they’re hazing, which isn’t surprising since this car seems to have lived in sunny places. The engine looks clean but not Armor All’ed to death. Leaks and dents to the undercarriage are unknowns.
I would drive this car – weather permitting in sunny, warm Minnesota – as much as possible. The value is lower than others anyway, and it would be further decimated by me working on it rather than a Ferrari workshop. I don’t care. Ferraris are made to be driven, rather than merely rubbed with a diaper. Do I have 50-Large to spend on a car, or anything else for that matter? Certainly not.
But holiday dreams at the Blue-Sky Garage don’t care.
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