Doug DeMuro always has some cool stuff going on on his YouTube channel. Today, he’d like to show us why the Testarossa’s replacement, the 550 Maranello, has retained $150,000 in value.
Doug starts out by noting some relevant features of the aging Ferrari. Large overhang in over the front axle, motor in the front rather than the middle, and relatively mild styling for a Ferrari. The 550 is distinguishable from the 575 that came after it by its grill design. The 550’s only option for opening its trunk is via an electronic button on the dash. No pull cord exists for the trunk latch. Also on the dash are switches for stability control, sport mode, a blank switch, and fog lights. That makes three different areas to operate the lights of the 550. The door locks always work in tandem. The climate control features a “stop” button to fully turn it off.
The car’s interior is chock full of carbon fiber from the factory, which was rare for 20 years ago. Door panels, sills, parking brake boot, shift knob. They’ve all got carbon fiber. The seatbelts go through the seats rather than over the shoulder. To its downfall, the 550 features an immobilizer built into the key. If the car is not started within a certain amount of time after unlocking, the ignition will lock out and the car must be locked and unlocked again.
Doug nails it on the head with the primary reason the 550 is rising in value: its manual transmission. This Ferrari is the last V12 that came with a standard manual transmission. Also worth noting is that the car sports a gated shifter. Very few 575s and 599s exist with manual transmissions. This means buyers who want a V12 with a manual are looking to cars like the 550, causing values to climb. And they can’t be blamed for that either, since fewer and fewer performance cars are being released with manual transmission options.
Doug praises the car’s low speed drivability in contrast to a Testa Rossa. The feel of the gated shifter brings to his face. The car’s heavy clutch is manageable yet provides tactility and linearity. The ride created by the front-rear layout was more friendly than that of a mid-engined sports car.
It’s about time that manufacturers attempt to capture the segment of sports car buyers who want a manual transmission. Otherwise, they’re losing to the 550.