Buying a performance car can be a little different to buying a 'daily driver'. The process is essentially the same but the key point is the stakes are a great deal higher. Get into a car that has problems and you'll need deep pockets. The Pre-Purchase Inspection is a key safeguard against this.

What makes a good PPI, and who does it?


You should be getting someone independent to carry out a PPI for you. The cost can be around £250 for an afternoon's work but the expense is well worthwhile. Many people look upon having to walk away from a car that fails a PPI as a negative experience, but in reality the opposite is the case. You've not got yourself a car but you've avoided a whole bunch of grief and you've done the right thing.

Most often, PPI's are carried out by Ferrari specialists or Ferrari Main Dealers. It is not normal to have a non-Ferrari garage carry out a PPI because they may not have the experience that is required to distinguish a bad car from a good one.

PPI Checklist

As an example, the PPI on my own vehicle covered the following checks:

  • Side lights
  • Headlights dip
  • Headlings main
  • Foglights
  • Brake Lights
  • Hazard lights
  • Indicators
  • Panel Lights
  • Reverse Lights
  • Interior Lights
  • Door Lights
  • Aerial
  • Stereo System (and whether CD fitted)
  • Wipers
  • Screen Washers
  • Horns
  • Window Operation
  • Cigar Lighter
  • Air Conditioning
  • Heater Controls
  • Instruments
  • Petrol Cap (these sometimes stick)
  • Boot Light
  • Engine (includes a compression check)
  • Gearbox
  • Final Drive / Axle
  • Clutch
  • Steering
  • Suspension
  • Brakes
  • Handbrake
  • Cooling Fans
  • Coolant Leaks
  • Engine Oil Leaks
  • Exhaust System (including bypass valve)
  • Exhaust Emissions
  • Door Locks
  • Door Seals
  • Window Channels
  • Seats
  • Seatbelts
  • Interior Trim
  • Roof (Sipder / GTS)
  • Exterior Finish
  • Tyre Tread
  • Wheels
  • Underbody
  • Chassis

It is normal for a compression check to be offered as an optional part of a PPI. It is important that you get this as it gives key information about the state of the engine. You should get 8 readings from the compression check; one for each cylinder. Expect a good set of values to be around the 180-190 PSI mark. Anything much below 170 means the engine is beginning to wear a little too much. You are also looking for good balance across all cylinders. If one is low and the others are all roughly equivalent and much higher, there is clearly something wrong.

Don't forget also to consider having an HPI check carried out to determine whether the car has any finance outstanding. This is especially key if you are buying privately.

At the end of a well done PPI you should get a written report on the vehicle, with any recommendations as to work that should be carried out. This can in turn be used as a bargaining tool if the main mechanicals check out. As well as performing static checks they should also have driven the vehicle and should be able to tell you how it feels - whether it drives well or not in comparison to the other vehicles they have tested or driven. Every 355 feels different.