x Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 27 July 2017

Keeping used supercars super is less costly online

The dream of affording and maintaining an exotic car may not be so far away, thanks to the internet creating new ways to buy cheaper parts.

Parts from Porsche 930s can be used to repair Ferraris and are far less costly.
Parts from Porsche 930s can be used to repair Ferraris and are far less costly.

Many of us dream of one day owning an exotic or high-end car, but for many it will always remain just that: a dream. But what a lot of people often don't consider is buying an older car to realise our goals.

If you're planning on going down this route, then buyer beware. Many old exotics have sent their owners to both the poor house and the mad house, in no particular order.

The problem stems from the fact that parts don't depreciate the same way cars do. The AC compressor for a Porsche 911 isn't a great deal different in price regardless of the age of the car but, while the owner of a brand new model may not baulk at the cost, someone stretching themselves to own a used model of the car in the first place may not be in a position to shell out that sort of cash.

But help is at hand. The internet has enabled car owners, garages, suppliers and experts to exchange information like never before. What this has done is give us the tools to own the older cars and often repair them within a sensible budget.

Sites such as Ferrarichat.com (which boasts almost 115,000 Ferrari-owning members) and forums.rennlist.com (which covers almost every Porsche model ever made) are a mine of information and can lead to huge savings on parts, manuals and general advice.

Naturally, if you buy a 2003 Ferrari 360 Modena and the engine blows up, you'll be facing a rather hefty repair bill regardless of good advice from the internet. But one of the key things this information gathering has done is to tell us that many cars share parts from common manufacturers and, importantly, which ones.

On Ferrarichat.com, a large number of owners have contributed a list of interchangeable parts that owners can use on their Ferraris. The perfect case in point is an owner who discovered that Bosch manufactured an electrical part for his mid-90s Ferrari. That same part had been used on various Volvos, Renaults, Kias and even an Iveco truck. By shopping around, he reduced the dealer's price of Dh2,515 down to a staggering Dh44, by simply buying it from Kia instead. The customer is basically paying for the name on the packaging.

Axle boots are a similar product. Porsche, Ferrari and Lamborghini share many of these parts from various suppliers. Therefore, by shopping between the dealers, you can substantially lower your parts cost. For example, Porsche parts tend to be cheaper than Ferrari parts, so a Porsche 930's boot fits a number of Ferrari models and costs far less. Another example is the ignition barrel for early Porsche Boxsters, which was also fitted to certain Audis - you can probably imagine which company gives you the better deal.

There are more savings to be had as well, as the internet has also allowed online stores to sell previously uneconomical or low volume/specialist products without the cost of renting a store or setting up a full-scale business.

Sites such as www.nineapart.com or www.eurospares.co.uk break up damaged Porsches, Ferraris, Maseratis and Lamborghinis, so you can buy used parts for a fraction of the cost of new ones.

Plus, the final part of the supercar puzzle is that, within the UAE, there are now a number of reputable garages that specialise in these higher-end cars, allowing you to get the work done to dealer-quality levels (and often better) and again avoid the costly dealer labour rates.

So the message is, don't ignore the older, used car route. The UAE has a glut of used supercars, and if you buy carefully and with your eyes open, you can find extraordinary deals. But learn to use the tools available to you. If you don't like trawling the internet and aren't at all mechanically minded, then this probably isn't for you. If you do and you are, however, then you might just be able to get yourself behind the wheel of the car of your dreams without it becoming a nightmare.

weekend@thenational.ae

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