Gear: Book Review: One Year with a Ferrari

Book Review: One Year with a Ferrari

By Benjamin Shahrabani
April 30, 2014

The book: One Year with a Ferrari

Author: David Boxberger

Pages: 111

Purchase: Click here

Who doesn’t want to own a Ferrari? Mr. David Boxberger’s book One Year with a Ferrari is about a subject I’m sure most of us wish we could personally experience–about how, on a budget, one can buy a Ferrari, drive it for one year…and then sell it.

Derived from his blog (, now sadly defunct), David, a man with a regular job, convinces his wife (who is very understanding) that he can buy a used Ferrari, drive it for one year, and then sell it for a little bit less than what he originally paid. He also promises that she can drive it too, which probably helps seal the deal. Well, that and the promise to sell it after one year. With his wife onboard, David settles on three likely Ferrari models as candidates–the F355, 360, and 456–that would suffer the lowest depreciation (the book takes place in 2007), and satisfy the criteria that it look and sound like a Ferrari, be great to drive and evoke an emotional response while doing so, and fit within his budget that would be financed by a loan against his house (I need to point this out again that his wife is VERY understanding). After test-driving these models, and copious amounts of research, he decides to pursue an F355, ultimately purchasing a 1998 Ferrari F355 6-speed in Grigio, and so began David’s one year in a Ferrari.

The book encompasses his experiences finding, buying, driving, and finally selling his Ferrari F355. Oh! And for much of the book also replacing a healthy number of parts: whether performing the major–routine service on the car (almost $9000, ouch!), replacing the catalytic converter computers ($1372), through to the more minor–rejuvenating the interior (an ashtray is $275!). But his F355 is no garage queen, instead David drives it almost 6,000 miles during his year. No small feat when many Ferraris are driven mere hundreds of miles a year. David’s writing is humorous and full of experiences that any car enthusiast will instantly identify with.

While the book contains worthwhile and practical advice, it is perhaps just a bit lacking in scope. David never really goes into depth on some of the more practical aspects of Ferrari ownership. But perhaps that is because he doesn’t do much of his own wrenching. He leaves most of that to the professionals, instead focusing on driving it. No, this is the everyman’s journal of owning a Ferrari, and perhaps it is a more entertaining read due to that fact. At the end, he sums up his relationship with his F355 saying, “Ferrari did not build the 355 for me. They built it for the guy who bought it new. He drove it for a few years and sold it. He never dealt with a belt change, sticky interior bits or cat ECUs.” Accepting that statement, David’s One Year in a Ferrari will give you the feeling of owning a Ferrari F355 yourself, and everything that goes along with it…except the bills.

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7 years ago

I owned David’s F355 for a while, and just sold it recently to a great home. While it was in my care, it received a full engine-out belt service, the first one since the one detailed in the book. I kept it as my own for a while, simply because it was the best 355 that I’ve ever driven. Completely sorted, tight as a drum. The new owner bought it from me and drove it cross-country without incident. If well taken care of, the 355 is a fabulous car.

George Cummings
George Cummings(@vwwwv)
7 years ago

I did the Ferrari ownership experience, although lasting several years and about 4000 miles driven. It ended very well for me. 1972 Ferrari 246GT bought in 1981 for $21K. Sold it for $48K just before Enzo died. I’m sure the person that bought it from me doubled his money and the person after that doubled his. So the dream is possible albeit tougher in this economy. I was blessed with a well maintained vehicle when I bought it and only had to change the oil and replace a few minor parts. It helped to be an owner when emissions were not a big deal.

Sven Arens
Sven Arens(@ghibli608)
7 years ago

Yep, I’ve been there. I dreamt of owning a Ferrari since I was 12. I’ve seen it. I’ve done it as well. Bought a lovely black F355 (because for me it’s one of the prettiest Ferraris EVER). Drove it a lot (covered 30.000 km in 5 years); I had tons of fun driving this wonderfully beautiful lady… and ended up selling it because I was done (did I say done? I’ll repeat DONE!) with the huge bills.
If your pockets allow you the steep maintenance bills, just go for it. It’s an amazing machine.

7 years ago

Seems like this guy was willing to take a big financial risk to live his automotive dream so I salute him for that. Hope he fully enjoyed the F355 experience and that it lived up to his expectations. I know mine does. And to the so-called Ferrari experts that look down on anything with less than 12 cylinders I’d like to say : live and let live.

Phil A.
7 years ago

I just can’t help but be amused by the author’s statement that he wanted a car that “sounds like a Ferrari”, and “would suffer the lowest depreciation”, and then he went out and bought a 355 V8? Really?? What, if anything about the catalytic-supressed exhaust on those cars sounds ANYTHING like a Ferrari? And most any Ferrari ‘expert’ will tell you that the 355’s, 360’s, and yes, 456’s are just so much used-car mass-manufactured fodder that have little if any appreciation upside within any of our realistic lifetimes.

I love the classic Ferrari’s and owned an early 70’s vintage V12 for a number of years. Now THAT car looked, drove, and SOUNDED like the REAL Ferrari it was. Sure, 12 cylinders, 24 valves, essentially 12 carburetors required some time to tune, but there was nothing on that car so esoteric that the average home mechanic couldn’t accomplish given the time. In 5 years of ownership, I never once had to turn the car over to a “Ferrari specialist”… there were no timing belts to change every 15k miles, and no fancy ECUs to burn out. Just pure, raw, mechanical V12 Ferrari thrill that anyone could maintain (a command of Italian is helpful to interpret the native-language shop manuals).

I can see how a later Ferrari, one that sounds all the world like a Honda at acceleration, would have appeal for a guy with deep pockets who wants to wear a Ferrari logo belt buckle and cap, and brag to his buddies about how his last oil change cost $9,000. But for me, those models are just boring used cars, destined to continue down the long depreciation ladder.

I have no doubt that the book may be a good read, and will hopefully dissuade some glassy-eyed Ferrari wannabee from plunging into a world of never-ending outrageous maintenance expense, so I salute its appearance on the market.

Antony Ingram
Antony Ingram(@antony-ingram)
7 years ago
Reply to  Phil A.

It’s nice to know that, for those few who work hard enough to afford their dream vehicles, there are still those sitting further above them ready to belittle them for their choices. Good grief. Perhaps “Drive tastefully” only applies to those who can afford it?

joe brosseau
joe brosseau(@sloppyjoe)
7 years ago

being a Alfa, Ferrari, Ducati owner all I can advise is that if you can not work on your own car and you can not afford to pay a professional wrench, walk away 😉

Matthew Lange
Matthew Lange(@365daytonafan)
7 years ago

Sounds like an interesting read. a 355 was the first Ferrari I ever drove and it was fantastic. my mechanic has said that he would dis own me if I ever brought one as they are such a pain to work on due to access issues. The 360 is much better in this respect and the resulting cheaper labour bills make it the cheaper car to run.

Evan Bedford
7 years ago

$3 for the Kindle version (nothing in print).

Evan Bedford
7 years ago

The purchase link doesn’t work. But on amazon, it get 4.5 stars via 25 reviews, so it should be pretty interesting.