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Buying Your Own Supercar: What You Need to Know

By: Kevin Dowling BA (IMC) - Updated: 5 Sep 2012 | comments*Discuss
Buying Supercar Know Mercedes Car

All driving enthusiasts will have dreamed of what it would be like to get behind the wheel of a supercar, such as a Bugatti Veyron, a Lamborghini Murcielago or a Mercedes SLR McLaren.

Unfortunately not many people ever find themselves in the position to ever own one. If, however, you are lucky enough to win the lottery or happen to be left a large sum of money from a relative’s will, then you may decide to invest in your own supercar. So before you buy your car of a lifetime, what will you need to know?

First, as you will no doubt be aware, the experience you will have of buying one of the most powerful cars in the world is nothing like buying a run-of-the-mill motor from your local dealer. Of course, as you would expect with such an expensive purchase, there are several pitfalls to be aware of and things to consider before you part with your money.

Conduct your own Supercar Research

First comes the fun part – researching your car. You should try to think of your car as not only an item of pleasure, but also an investment, and one that you may wish to cash in at a later day. Think about buying a supercar that will hold its value, or perhaps even increase its value over time.

The supercars that are the most highly sought after tend to be those that had a fairly limited production. This means that the car will be quite rare and will get increasingly rare in the future.

For example, a red Ferrari Enzo would have cost £450,000 from new, but Ferarri claim that only 400 Enzos were ever made. This means that a red Enzo in good condition with relatively low mileage would now be worth more than £700,000. Supercars that come in iconic colours, such as a red Enzo, also hold their value particularly well.

Running Costs

Before buying a supercar, you'll need to calculate not only the asking price, but also how much it will cost you to run on a yearly basis. Be warned, supercar maintenance is never cheap. You should be prepared to pay up to £56,000 in ownership costs every year.

Services are expensive but necessary, and you’ll want to make sure not only that the supercar you buy has a full service history, but also that you service the car regularly yourself after purchase. Service prices will vary depending on the make of the car and the model.

It costs £2,250 to annually service a Pagani Zonda S, whereas a service for a Bugatti Veyron can cost as much as £13,650 a year.

Replacement Parts

Replacements are also costly. A replacement wheel for a Porsche Carrera GT will set you back £5,500, while a new indicator stalk on a Bugatti Veyron can cost as much as £4,500. That’s before including labour fees, which can be extremely expensive with some of the top-end garages.

Insurance Costs

After spending so much on your new pride and joy you’ll no doubt want to make sure that you have comprehensive car insurance. As with most car insurance the price you pay will depend on your age and previous driving history.

As an example, a 30 year old trying to get insurance on an Audi R8 will pay £760 in insurance each year. That’s even with a 12 years no claims discount. A 22 year old driver without the no claims history will have to fork out closer to £5,000 in premiums each year.

Road Tax

Most supercars have high carbon dioxide emissions, which places them in the highest road tax bracket, meaning that owners will have to pay £405 tax a year.

Finding the Right Car for You

Many car enthusiasts have a fair idea of the supercar they want in the back of their mind, long before they have the money available to buy one. It pays, however, to keep an open mind and, if you can, test drive the car you’re after and a number of alternatives before you make any decision.

Unlike the ‘one size fits all’ mass market for cars, supercars are very much created for individual drivers, and you may find, perhaps, that the car you wanted is too small for you, or the driving position is uncomfortable. A test drive may also uncover other problems that you wouldn’t have been aware of previously.

If you have a particular car in mind, think about joining an owners club and talking to other owners. They will be able to give you advice and a more honest opinion than a car dealer on whether the car you want is worth the purchase price.

Arranging a Private Viewing

Once you have done your research and found the car you are looking for, you are ready to arrange a viewing. It is advisable to bring a friend or a relative along with you. They might be able to spot any potential problems and hopefully provide you with a more objective opinion.

You should both inspect the car thoroughly, keeping an eye open for repairwork or signs of any damage caused by previous owners. You should also take down the car’s Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) to make sure that the car isn’t a clone or stolen.

Ask the seller if they would be happy for you to take a test drive, with them accompanying you to answer any questions you may have. Make sure that you feel totally comfortable in the car and use your time to make sure that the gears and electrics – the two most common causes of supercar breakdown – are working properly.

If you are negotiating with a private seller feel free to try to haggle. When you reach an agreement try to hand over the cash in a bank or a location where you are not along. It makes good sense to get the seller to write a receipt for the car, containing information such as the date of sale, the total amount paid, the registration, make and model of the car and the names and addresses of both parties.

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