With all of the discussion about Exotic Car Financing this week, I hope that those of you out there who have been dreaming of purchasing an exotic car of your own have come to realize that exotic car ownership is a closer reality than you thought. If you meet the basic qualifications that we discussed Wednesday, these are some affordable exotics that you can own making far less than $75k per year.
Lamborghini Gallardo – 2004-2005 Lamborghini Gallardos like mine are available for around $90-100k. With a down payment of $15-20k you will have an extremely reasonable monthly note and you will have a car that will hold its value extremely well. They are easy to maintain, great to drive, and the values haven’t changed in the last 3 years.
Ferrari 360 – At this point, virtually any 360 is affordable at this level. 99-01 coupes (Modenas) are worth $65-75k now. You will pay $10-15k more for a convertible (Spider). I have owned 3 of these cars and they have been a blast. They are not as modern as some of the other options here in terms of materials, electronics, etc. but they are fun to drive and absolutely beautiful.
Bentley Continental GT – The 04-05 Continental GT has been at $65-80k for the last 4 years. They don’t seem to be getting cheaper any time soon and they are great cars that you can put 4 adults in and use as much as you want. There is a lot of VW engineering in them and they are fairly easy to maintain. There is almost no price elasticity to mileage so you won’t pay much (if any) more for a 30k mile car than a 60k mile one.
Aston Martin Vantage – The Vantage came out in 2006 and has not changed a whole lot since then. It is really the first modern and usable car that Aston has made. They are gorgeous, mechanically simple, and they seem to hold their values very well. Any purple, 80k mile, bad CARFAX 06 Vantage still retails for pretty much $59k so if you pay $60-70k close to that for a good car in a good color, you are doing very well.
Chevrolet Corvette Z06 – As you might imagine we are not crazy about American cars over here but the Z06 is a phenomenal performance bargain and a very reliable car to put a lot of miles on. They are cheap to maintain and easy to find. An 06-07 car is available in the high $30′s to mid $40′s. It is tough to go wrong there.
Dodge Viper – Same idea as the Vette here. Cool cars that I find to be fairly unpleasant to drive. They get a lot of looks and they are again reliable and easy to maintain. They hold their value well and are pretty easy to find in the $30′s-$40′s for an 04-06.
Lotus Elise/Exige – The demographic for a Lotus is fairly limited but they are a very enthusiastic bunch. Pretty much any 05-06 Elise is worth at least $29k. They are light, tight, loud, rattly cars that invite a bit of a martyrdom complex to drive regularly but there is nothing out there that offers the handling and driving experience that a Lotus does.
BMW M5/M6 – These are obviously not as exotic as the other options but they are a lot of fun and they still feel like the $120k cars they were originally. You can pick up 06-08 models in the high $30′s and $40′s without any trouble and they are a blast with the 5 liter V10 screaming.
Porsche 911 Turbo – I love 911′s. They are great cars and have a very solid feel. They seem like appliances for speed. Not as emotionally satisfying as the Italian or British cars but great fun and easy to rack up a lot of miles on. There are dealers everywhere and they are easy to maintain. The 01-03 cars are great deals in the $30′s-40′s and the 07-08 cars are similarly valuable in the $60′s-$70′s.
Maserati Anything – Maseratis are known for expensive maintenance and catastrophic depreciation. That means that you can get some really cheap ones. 02-04 Coupes and Spyders are sometimes as cheap as $18-22k. 04-06 Quattroportes are available in the $20′s-$30′s. They are gorgeous cars and can be a lot of fun. Service history is important.
What are some commonalities among these cars? They are produced in fairly low volumes and have long model runs. Cars that get re-invented every 3 years are bad candidates for inexpensive ownership. These are all cars that you can buy now and expect to hold a lot of value 2-3 years from now. They will obviously be out of warranty and may carry some higher maintenance costs. You need to keep in mind that even if you have an occasional $1,500-$3,000 maintenance bill, you are more than making up for it in the residual value at the end of your ownership period.
When looking at any of these cars, you need to check them out. Since they are capable of having expensive service needs, records and inspections are very important. Each model will have its own issues so research is important as is buying from a reputable source. You will want to look around and find a good buyer’s checklist like this one that I wrote for the Gallardo that pertains to the car that you are interested in.