Ferrari’s Perpetual Parts Problem

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We continually have older Ferraris in pre-sale or pre-purchase inspection and stay involved in the follow-up work or additional work requested by clients. There isn’t a day that goes by without hearing of ongoing parts problems from the many shops we deal with.

Federal law requires all manufacturers to supply replacement parts for 10 years after production ends, but when those 10 years are up, look out. Long lists of computer and electrical components, injection-molded rubber, and plastic body trim parts have already become unobtainable.

Modern Ferraris have Bosch engine management and ABS computers with TRW-built airbags, all cross-managing a hoard of Digitek computers and ECUs that talk to the Bosch computers while controlling a/c, heat, door locks, windows, power tops, dash modules, seat controls and so on.

On the emissions front, every manufacturer is required to supply engine and emission system diagnostic computers “at a reasonable cost” to independent shops.

A plug-in computer for a GM or Japanese car starts at $250 and goes to $5,000 for the best model, but the SD2 or SD3 box for the 10-years-or-older Ferrari is out of production.

A used SD2 or SD3 will cost $20k plus — if you can find one. A more modern Leonardo unit is available, but even at $25k, it doesn’t like to communicate with the earlier cars. Want to use a non-Ferrari diagnostic computer? Sorry, Ferrari uses non-standard codes that don’t translate to standard OBD2 boxes. Simply knowing what to repair or replace can be a nightmare.

Michael Sheehan

SCM Contributor

Michael is a Ferrari historian and broker with over three decades in the business. He operated a 30-man Ferrari crash repair and restoration shop for over two decades. He has a passion for racing and has competed in the Mazda Pro Series, Trans-Am, IMSA GTO, and IMSA Camel Lite, and has three drives in the 24 Hours of Daytona and 12 Hours of Sebring. His regular column, “Sheehan Speaks,” has been a part of SCM since 1993, and this month, on p. 38, he takes us to a Brunei prince’s compound that holds hundreds of decaying, melting exotic sports cars.

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