Why do people care so much about the number of owners that a car has had?
It’s an interesting question because in the exotic world, it is not uncommon for people to buy and sell their exotic cars regularly. That Ferrari F430 Spider that was the must have in August might just not be quite right for Fall. Many of our clients trade often, buy a car for six months, keep it, get tired of it, and get rid of it. As a result, there’s nothing to say that there is anything wrong with that car. However, the car that’s had three or four owners in its life–is there reason to explore? Yes, absolutely. But is there reason to stay away from that car entirely? Does multiple owners mean the car is in bad shape? No.
Here’s why it can be scary, or here is the risk involved: We all know that maintaining a Ferrari or any exotic is different than maintaining your Honda Accord. What often happens in these instances is people tend to trade their cars when they find out their car needs something in service, or is close to needing something done service-wise. No different than when people trade their car right before its about to run out of warranty because they do not want to be the ones hit with the big expense. Take a Ferrari 360 that has ten owners, for example. That car could have gone through the ownership of ten different people, none of whom did any kind of preventative maintenance on that car, other than oil changes, brakes, etc., and every one of whom kept the car for a short period of time and got rid of it because they did not want to do whatever major service was necessary. In an instance like that, the car is probably going to be cheap on the market; however, it has ten (or however many) years worth of deferred maintenance, which will then cost the new owner a fortune to get the car to a point where they can then drive it, enjoy it, and keep it. In our experience, this seems to be the biggest obstacle, or thing to observe when talking about the number of owners a car has. If a car has five owners with extensive service records from each owner, you look at the car and determine that everything is up to date, the car doesn’t have any deferred maintenance, and the pedigree is fantastic, who cares if it’s had five owners?
We get really excited about one-owner cars because you have a better understanding of where the car has been, who has maintained it, the level to which it has been maintained–that’s where the value comes. The fear comes with the multiple-owner cars if you dont have the information as to how the car has been maintained, and deferred maintenance on an exotic car can be more costly than the actual purchase price of the car.
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