Last week I picked my grigio Ferrari 308 GTS Quattrovalvole which I imported from the UK. I wanted to thank everyone on this forum for their advice and assistance in my quest for finding the perfect "first Italian exotic". I did muse over a Maserati 3200 as a compromise but I'm so glad I stuck to buying the Ferrari 308, again thanks to the members of this community. It may not be the fastest nor the most beautiful Ferrari ever made but it is one of my favourites and the first Ferrari that I ever fell in love with (as I spotty youth, I saw a Pino Verde vetroressina 308 GTB on Hindley Street and ever since, been captivated by the shapes of the 246 Dino, 308 and BB's).
In particular, I must give thanks to 4 people.
First, I must thank FF's dad from the Ferrari Centre in Kent, UK. I know used car salespeople get a bad rap but Arthur was a very genuine and professional person. The Ferrari I bought is in tremendous condition, especially for its age. It is in better condition then he described and EVERYTHING he said he would do, he did. He was patient with me as I made my decision (its hard to buy a car sight unseen and doubly so when its in a foreign country) but he delivered to me a great car with upmost professionalism. I paid an above average price for a Ferrari 308 but every time I go in the garage to look at the car, I think wow,I got a bargain, because the car is in such good condition. Seriously, the Ferrari Centre should be the first port of call when looking at importing a used Ferrari. Their cars really are first rate (OK, I only bought one car from them but they do get great reviews from UK classic/supercar car publications) and unless you can do the repairs yourself, its far cheaper to buy the best car and pay an above average price(as Nick Mason famously says).
Next I must FF. I've never this guy in my life and only know of him through this forum. When I saw my Ferrari 308 on Pistonheads, I emailed him through this website and asked if he could look at it for me IF he planning to go the UK. At the time, he was just completing work on the 458 GT3 in Italy and told me he would inspect it and that the car in question was at a dealership his father worked at. Again, like his father, EVERYTHING he said about the car was as it was. In fact, it was better then described. Nicely underplayed by them. At each and every step of the process on importing the car, he provided advice that proved to be 100% correct and made the whole process of buying the car as easy as humanly possible. I just don't understand why people argue with Mondi and FF regarding car importation. Go figure. Maybe its a dangerous combination of ignorance and arrogance from others.
Thirdly, I must thank Deborah from JAS, a site sponsor. Again, a very professional woman who provided first rate service and treated me the same way as her other customers who import Ferrari 599 GTO's and race exotics. I know there are cheaper shipping agents but is the one or two thousand dollars you save really worth the potential damage your car can sustain if not properly handled, let alone all the admin headaches. The car went in the container perfect and came out perfect. No dramas, no headaches.
Finally, I must thank Simon. We shared a shipping container in which he imported his Audi RS2 Avant from the UK. A beautiful car. This guy was a complete stranger but treated me like a good friend of his. I was working on the day of taking delivery of my Ferrari, so he suggested for the car to be dropped of to his business (car wash on the cnr of Hoddle Street and Swan Street) around the corner from where I live and to get temporary registration so i could drive it whilst it's getting its VASS. The following day when I went to pick it up, he had the battery charged and gave me tips on owning a Ferrari (of which he had previously owned). A super gent and as i discovered later, a friend of FF. Who doesn't FF know?
I've heard many horror stories about importing Ferraris and other exotics, and I've even seen a few but, touch wood, my experience has been a good one-a very good one. Was it cheaper then buying an Australian delivered car? Well the jury is still out on that one but when I look at the condition of my car, its specification and its performance over an Australian delivered car, well yes, I think I got a great deal. Everyone who sees the car think its brilliant and I've already had a few offers to buy it for more then I paid (again, talking is one thing, buying is another) but I don't intend to sell. However, the car is great because of the professionalism and integrity of the people I mentioned above. I believe people are bridges to your dreams but if you choose poorly, they can lead you to nightmares. In my case, I think I did OK.
Thankyou everybody for letting me share my thoughts.