You did it! You bought your very own supercar! Now it's time to bring it home.
In general, if you know for a fact that the car is reliable for however long the trip home is, the least expensive way to bring it home is usually to drive it yourself. Shipping the car is always possible but, depending on various circumstances such as open or enclosed transport, shipping a car from one coast to the other could set you back close to $2000. Shipping from, say, Texas to New England could easily cost around $800, and so on. There are many car transport companies out there and some have more solid reputation than others. Call around and obtain quotes before you make your choice. Remember that the lowest quote won't always deliver the best service – but that's the same with most things in life.
As an alternative, and if you have access to the right vehicle, you could transport the car yourself using a large pick-up truck and a trailer (enclosed or not).
Remember that you bought a driver car: the objective here isn't to make it perfect. Be smart about it and fix your driver supercar to a level that is a wise balance between reliability, good looks and money spent.
Once you get home or receive the car from the shipping company pat yourself on the back and spend a few days just looking at that beauty. The best way to get to know every square inch of a vehicle is to give it a wash and detail. Look carefully as you do so for any item that doesn't check out and start making a list of things that need to be tackled or repaired. Some of those items will be aesthetic in nature like, for instance, curbed rims or one or more dimples in the body of the car that hopefully can be taken out with paintless removal. Other items will have to do with electrics (blown light bulbs, inoperative horn, etc) or with the mechanical operation of the vehicle (brake pads, rotors, oil leaks, etc). Hopefully most of these items had been caught during the PPI or your own inspection and don't come to you as a surprise.
Make a list of all your findings and, once you think you have gone through the vehicle with sufficient accuracy, start prioritizing the repairs. Remember that you bought a driver car: the objective here isn't to make it perfect – well... the car is yours at this point and you can do whatever you want but beware that making a driver car into a perfect specimen will carry exorbitant costs, most of which you'll never get back when selling it. Be smart about it and fix your driver supercar to a level that is a wise balance between reliability, good looks and money spent.
This is where one truly needs to be smart about how to fix their supercar. Bringing it to an official brand dealer can hardly be discouraged in terms of quality, but in financial terms it is an unwise choice. Dealership repair bills can be jaw-dropping expensive. The best solution is to find a trusted independent shop (indy) in your area that deals with high-end vehicles. A Mercedes-Benz/ Porsche reputable indy will usually do just fine even though they have limited knowledge of your particular brand and model. In the end, truth be told, an engine is an engine and most skilled mechanics will be able to fix just about anything that is put under their nose. There, we said it! The keywords here are “trusted”, “reputable” and“skilled”: be sure to spend some quality time visiting various shops and talking to the service advisor(s) before you make your move and establish a good rapport before you bring the car to them.
Among other things you want to find out is whether they will allow you to bring in your own parts. This is the key to saving a ton of money on the repairs of your supercar. Some indy shops will let you do it while others won't: just be sure to clarify this important item ahead of time. We will explore with grater detail in a subsequent guide why this piece is so important: for now let's just say that being able to obtain your own parts is perhaps one of the most important pieces to the puzzle of affordable supercar ownership.
Independent specialist shop aside, many repairs are easy enough that can be tackled on one's own. Replacing light bulbs or a battery, or changing spark plugs and so on can be easily carried out by anyone with minimal tools and experience – the key is not to be intimidated by the vehicle. Again, a car in the end is just a car and an engine is just an engine: it doesn't take a $165/hour mechanic to change a light bulb or a battery. As for changing spark plugs, dealers will charge over $1000 (depending on many variables), indy shops maybe $500, while doing it yourself will cost you just the amount needed to buy the spark plugs, between $50 and $80 at most. You do the math. As you become more familiar with the vehicle you may want to tackle slightly more complicated repairs, but if your aren't mechanically inclined be sure to leave the hard stuff to the pros.
Great: you are one happy supercar owner now! As the honeymoon of the first few days/weeks of ownership comes to an end and as you get to know the car better it is likely that the list of fixes and repairs will grow longer. It's OK and, to a certain degree, it's expected. After all you found yourself a bit of a bargain supercar and like all bargains they are likely to come with a few strings attached. Next we are going to explore how you can make your supercar ownership affordable – hey, wasn't that the premise at the outset of this series of guides after all?