Restoring a Ferrari

Ferrari car models are considered one of the most expensive restoration projects to take on. They are also the most difficult, so it is not recommended to start a Ferrari project if you are a novice at restoring classic cars.

Restoring a Ferrari requires a thorough knowledge, not just of cars in general but in the Ferrari brand and history. Depending on what model of Ferrari you are restoring, you may need special tools and parts that can be difficult to acquire. Repairing and maintaining Ferraris is a highly specialized and intricate process. If a restoration is botched, it could cost thousands more to correct and repair mistakes, ultimately hurting the value of what could be a lucrative investment. It is so complex that only select garages have the skills, tools, expertise and certification to undertake it.

When restored and maintained properly and professionally, Ferraris can sell for a huge return on investment. In fact, the most expensive collector car ever sold at auction was a Ferrari. In 2014, a 1962 Ferrari 250 GTO was sold at Bonham's Quail Auction for a record-breaking 38 million dollars. Of course, Ferraris are luxury cars. If you are going to restore them to as close to their original glory as possible, you probably aren’t in it for the money--restoration costs can reach the millions. A more realistic example of a profitable restoration can be found in GQ’s Ferrari Testarossa, which was sold for £148,000 ($188,589 USD) after restoration, with a profit around £32,000 ($40, 776 USD).

Many that choose to fix up a vintage Ferrari are often fans and in it for the thrill and experience of driving the car around--and all that entails. Also, not every model of Ferrari is going to go for that price. It depends on the model as well as the condition. Some of the most notable cars (besides the 250 GTO) produced by the legendary Enzo Ferrari include: 275 GTB, F40, 330 GTC, Dino 246, and 288 GTO.

Things to Look Out For

When looking for a Ferrari to restore, there are many factors to consider, but these are the some of the most important:

●      The condition of its bodywork

●      The shape of the engine

●      Number of miles

●      Interior

It is also important to check the paperwork for authenticity verification, accident reports, and maintenance records.

Challenges may arise if you need to replace the head gaskets. These can be very difficult to replace, especially if the model has the signature V-12 engine. Since the late 1940s, the V-12 engine has been reserved for their most high-end luxury sports coupes.

In modern cars, V12 engines are not common, mainly because of their complexity and high cost. For this reason, they are almost exclusive to sports cars and luxury vehicles. Many Ferrari models as well as other luxury sports cars have used V12 power, including the 250 GTO, the Ferrari Enzo and the 365 GT 2+2.

The cylinder heads of Ferrari V-12 engines also have a well-known reputation for being extremely difficult to remove. Over the years, the steel head studs corrode the aluminum head, which causes the two to begin to bond together, making removal extra challenging.

Over the years, many Ferrari underside hood pads have altered in their design and appearance. Earlier models featured black vinyl. The vinyl switched to silver in later years. Both designs have the same fiberglass insulation. It has a quilted texture and is held securely with aluminum strips. Depending on the condition and age of the Ferrari, these strips may have been susceptible to corrosion or need to be polished.

If you are restoring a model from the 1950’s to 1960’s, there may be some difficulty with the inner tube valve stem sleeves. At that time, Ferrari used Pirelli tires, which were fitted with a metal sleeve in the inner tube and a knurled nut to secure it. In most U.S. restoration garages, Michelin tubes are the go-to choice. In order to fit the tubes on without originals parts, you may need to order specially made parts.

Other Issues

The center console of the car can be especially tricky. Early models weren’t well labeled, so it may take some time to figure out their functions, unless you are a seasoned Ferrari owner, driver or restorer. Replacement parts for the Italian car can be hard to find, especially if you are working with a rarer model.

In some cases, you may not even find them on your own and hire a professional that specializes in finding authentic Ferrari parts. Another option is to buy the replacement from a company that remanufactures based on the originals.


Part of what makes Ferrari restoration so challenging is the pressure to preserve the aesthetic of the Italian car maker. Everything from the signature vibrant red or Rosso Cina color to the prancing stallion emblem may be key parts of the appearance.

Another consideration is the interior. Ferraris are fitted with the signature leather seating and interior. Unlike later models that use webbing and springs, Ferraris from the 1960s to 1970s had molded foam cushion seats. If seats are damaged, they may need to be refitted. The leather on the seats could likely need repaired or replaced completely. When replacing leather, you may want to invest in kinds that have been vat dyed. This means that the entire hides are colored by being submerged in a vat of dye, which allows the color to seep through. It is usually more expensive than spray dyed leather but is of a higher quality and is more durable.

Another issue with the interior that you may face is a warped like appearance, due to heat exposure and years of wear and tear. It may even be sticky to touch. No amount of cleaning can get the sticky quality out of it. In this case, the only option is to replace it. Doing so often requires that they be sent to a special factory that can reproduce them with their original markings.

If you are interested in restoring a Ferrari you should contact expert, Giovanni D’Avola at Autosprint today!