The Poor Man’s Exotic: Ferrari F355

Ferrari F355
Chris Wevers via / CC BY-NC-SA

By no means is the Ferrari F355 a poor man’s car because it’s in fact an actual exotic, but due to depreciation, this beautiful car is within reach for some car enthusiasts. The first Ferrari to be put on the “Poor Man’s Exotic” list, the F355 hits the heart strings for many, also bringing back memories from its cameo in the First Fast & Furious movie. What is probably one of the more under-appreciated and sometimes forgotten Ferrari, the F355 was the predecessor to the 360 Modena and F430, which began the race with Lamborghini to build and create supercars that amaze us every time one passes us by.

Starting off with the prices that you can expect for an F355, you’re looking at a $50,000 starting point, and gradually work your way up to close to $90,000 for one in mint condition. You’ve got the choice between the spider, targa, or hard top, and manual or automatic. Best of all, the F355 was one of the last Ferraris with a pure manual and not the dual clutch transmissions which can now be found on all modern Ferraris. A car that brings you back to the late 90’s which still carried the tradition of driving in the 20th century, this Ferrari is one of the last cars that defines its era.

Most the F355’s that are listed within a 250 mile radius of Boston have very low mileage, even the cars that are priced around $50,000 come with 21,000 – 30,000 miles. These beautiful cars were definitely taken care of, as a car like the F355 would be driven on the weekends or taken to car events. That’s what’s great about Ferraris that are older; they’re more likely to have been treated very carefully as opposed to a 2010 Nissan GTR which, at least from what I’ve seen, is harder to find in great condition.

With performance you will receive 375 hp, and a 0-60 time of 4.6 seconds, which even with today’s standards is pretty fast. The F355 comes with the typical exotic MPG of 9 MPG in the city and 14 MPG on the highway, but the excitement, adrenaline, and fun you’ll have supersedes the amount of times you’re going to visit the pump.

In the two previous articles in the series, the Alfa Romeo 4C and Lotus Evora are much younger and newer, with more of that off the assembly line look and appeal. The F355 offers a retro alternative, but still turns heads, even those of younger car enthusiasts. It’s also an opportunity to own a Ferrari for less than $75,000. The 360 and F430 are still priced above $100,000, and until they begin to depreciate in value, the older ancestor of the Ferrari brand is great choice to go with.

The Poor Man’s Exotic: Lotus Evora

Lotus Evoras
DryHeatPanzer via / CC BY-NC-SA

Exotics are often very rare, high performance sports cars that grab the attention of fellow drivers and pedestrians. These cars often grab a lot of attention, with many people either taking photos or approaching the owners if they’re nearby, asking them how much the car cost and complementing them on their choice of a supercar. But there are often many sports cars that are below $100,000 that usually fly under the radar, some of which have a presence of being a six figure exotic, and to the average person on the street, the Lotus Evora is one of those cars.

A car manufacturer that in my opinion is extremely underrated, Lotus is often forgotten and left in the shadows behind Jaguar and Aston Martin. The small car brand is a diamond in the rough, and because of that, the Evora comes in at a great price, offering performance and an appearance of being exotic. Currently, Lotus hasn’t brought any new models to the United States, but plan to return near 2020. In the meantime, there are 2010-2014 models on the market that have either never been driven, or well taken car of by previous owners.

Starting with price, you can find a 2013 Evora for $54,500 and almost brand new 2014 models for just under $80,000. With those prices, that’s right in line with the Alfa Romeo 4C, Porsche Boxster and Cayman. In terms of rarity, the Evora is more like the 4C, and because of its scarcity, you’re going to turn heads when driving through the center of town. However, your car’s fans will not be seeing much of you at the gas station. Unlike exotics, the Evora receives a combined 30 mpg. To put that into perspective, you’re getting better gas mileage than a Volvo. So your car may be less safe, but it’s more fun to drive and less stress on your wallet.

Performance-wise, the Evora comes standard with 276 horsepower, powered by a Toyota 3.5 liter V-6. Most of the remaining Evoras on the market come with 345 horsepower, and are usually the S 2+2 trim. 0-60 times are around 4.4 seconds, which is similar to the Alfa Romeo 4C’s 4.1. The main reason why the Lotus is slower than others in its class is because it’s heavier, but that certainly doesn’t limit the Evora’s overall performance.

The Evora is one of the more under-appreciated cars on the market. However, on the road that’s a completely different story. While you’ll have to look around for a dealership that has one, and may have to travel 200+ miles, it’s well worth the trip. These cars will not break the bank, and ask any owner, the Evora was definitely worth the price.

The Poor Man’s Exotic: Alfa Romeo 4C

Alfa Romeo 4C
Alfa Romeo 4C

It’s 2016, and what better way to kick off the new year than to start a series about exotics, or rarer cars that you don’t see on the road that frequently, and that won’t break the bank if you decided to purchase one. This won’t be a series that starts out by saying, “Why pay $100,000+ on this exotic, when you should get this sports car for half the cost?”. With car season a few months away up here in New England, it will be a good time to look at alternatives that can offer the same amount of fun and exhilaration while you save up and work towards your dream supercar.

Since its arrival to US shores, the Alfa Romeo 4C has captivated the hearts and souls of many car enthusiasts across the country. An Italian masterpiece, made with a carbon fiber chassis, F1 inspired, super lightweight sports car that grips the road as if it were magnetized to the pavement, gives you the sense that it is in fact a supercar. With a 0-60 time of 4.1 seconds, this four cylinder packs a punch. While the 4C only has 237 hp, its lightness and torque makes up for its relatively low horsepower, statistically speaking.

However, what turns heads is the 4C’s appearance. An incredibly beautiful car, and one might goes as far as to call it sexy, is what’s drawing the attention of everyone on the streets. Alfa Romeo’s first car of hopefully many in the company’s return to America is still rare, as only 55 4C’s were sold per month on average in 2015.

A price tag of $65,000 for the base model and close to $80,000 for the top of the line trim and spider variant is about $20,000 – $35,000 cheaper than a 10 year old Lamborghini Gallardo that was well taken care of by the previous owner. The 4C will also be an alternative to a Porsche Carrera.

Now again, as I stated before, this isn’t an argument based on finding an exotic that makes more sense financially, and possibly in terms of enjoyment, but an article that’s bringing awareness to the fact that there are options out there where you can find an awesome car priced below $100,000.