If your car budget is sufficient for a new German sedan you can most likely afford a previously-owned supercar – but you need to know how to go about it. Join us as we explore the do's and don't s of acquiring, owning and maintaining a used exotic vehicle.
So lately you've been thinking about getting an exotic vehicle but have been hearing conflicting opinions about how the goods ones aren't exactly priced cheap, how expensive they are to maintain, how anything that breaks will cost you ridiculous money to fix, and so on. Besides, the world of supercars seems so unreachable that often times is difficult to know exactly where to begin. Most people who almost look like they know what they are talking about will say things like “there's nothing more expensive than a cheap <insert supercar manufacturer>!” or “a $200K car requires $200K car maintenance!”. By and large these are myths that are being repeated either by those who like to wrap themselves in the hearsay knowledge of internet forums or by car collectors. Needless to say, you have became discouraged and are close to giving up on your dream.
“Owning a supercar isn't just for the ultra-rich: you'll be surprised to find out how normal people like The Rest of Us can buy and maintain a pre-owned exotic vehicle - without straining one's budget to the limit.”
If the above describes you, then think again! In short, and as we will describe extensively in this set of guides, if your car budget is sufficient for a new BMW or a Mercedes-Benz then you can most likely afford a previously-owned supercar – but you need to know how to go about it. Join us as we explore the do's and don't s of acquiring, owning and maintaining a used exotic vehicle.
Can You Afford It?
The very first thing to do when thinking about owning an exotic car is to be candid with yourself about your own financial standing: could you walk into a BMW dealership today and buy or finance a new car without straining your budget to the limit? Would an occasional and sporadic multi-hundred dollar unexpected repair prevent you from meeting other financial obligations in your life? Would the added cost of gasoline – these cars are thirsty! - put an unwelcome dent in your monthly budget?
You get the gist: the first item that one needs to tackle is affordability. Don't worry about needing to have a mountain of cash at the ready to buy your exotic: contrary to what you may have heard used supercars can be easily financed through reputable financial institutions, whether you buy from a dealer or from a private party. We will talk a lot more about all this later but for now keep in mind that the rule of thumb is: if you can comfortably afford to buy/finance a new German sedan, then you may have just cleared the first step and could consider acquiring the right supercar for you.
Does It Fit Your Lifestyle?
The second set of questions you need to ask yourself has to do with your own lifestyle. For instance: where will you keep your newly-acquired supercar? These cars can be fairly vulnerable to adverse weather conditions and keeping them in an enclosed space is good insurance against future problems. Also leaving a supercar parked along the street or in an apartment lot can sometimes spark jealousy in the form of vandalism. Will you park it in an enclosed garage? If so, will it be your own or will you rent it? If the latter, how easily can you get to/from it?
On a different note: is your family (if you have one) on board with your decision to acquire a flashy vehicle? Maintaining harmony in the family goes a long way toward an overall happy car ownership experience. Talk to them, explain that you want to make this vehicle your hobby (or whatever makes sense to you) and make this search a joint effort. For instance, if you have kids who are into cars be sure to show them your daily finds once you are on the hunt and get them excited. If you are married or have a significant other make a field/road trip out of each time you go see a car in person and bring him/her along – don't forget to cater to their needs too and stop along the way at locations where they can have a good time too (shopping comes to mind).
Lastly, if you are at all interested in this aspect, how will you manage your friends' and neighbors' reaction? Acquiring a supercar can carry a bit of a stigma: surprise, jealousy, unanswered questions are a few of the emotions your friends, colleagues and neighbors will inevitably experience. Have a story or a plan to address them. All this will go a long way making sure this new supercar fits in with the rest of your life and doesn't stick out like a sore thumb.
Can You Live With a Measure of Imperfection?
Are you the perfectionist type or can you stand to live with an exotic car that exhibits some measure of imperfection? If you are looking to acquire a supercar you are probably passionate about cars and living with an imperfect vehicle can be more difficult than it seems for some. On the other hand if you are seeking to buy a previously-owned exotic on a budget it is possible that the car you end up acquiring will have at least some blemishes and imperfections which in some cases could be very expensive to restore and should be left as they are. For instance, most supercars have leather-wrapped dashboards that overtime can exhibit aesthetic issues such as leather shrinking, mild warping, and so on. Depending on the type of repairs these blemishes can cost several thousand dollars to remedy, but in the end they don't impede the correct operation of the vehicle. Obviously it would be another story if the leather on the dashboard is ripped apart and is an awful eyesore. In any case we will discuss in a separate article how to tackle these as well as other issues without spending a fortune, but in general you should expect your supercar to have, and keep, at least some small imperfections. Are you willing to leave with them?
If after reading these initial observations and giving them some thought you believe you have a sufficiently solid financial standing, appropriate character as well as lifestyle circumstances to own a previously-owned supercar then you should move on to the next stage: deciding which exotic vehicle type is the best for you.