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Life is a Highway

By MARC SOONG

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Having just graduated from college in 2002, I found myself working the floor as a car salesman in our family business. I quickly discovered that as much as I liked cars, I did not know anything about them. To like cars is one thing, to know cars by heart is a different story.

Then there is the sportscar—a deeper dive into the realm of automotive enthusiasts.

Here are some of my thoughts on sportscar ownership.

Everyone has to start somewhere

People always ask, what is your favorite car? I always answer: It’s the car that I can afford. You don’t need a lot of money to buy a car that you can really enjoy. Passion does not have to come with a high price. I started out with preowned cars, cars that I could afford. If it is your first sportscar, the second hand market is a great place to start. Many dealers have certified preowned units as well that can bring years of motoring pleasure.

Patience, patience, patience

It can be frustrating to not be able to find “the one”—until you do. Do your research when buying a used car and take your time. When buying a new car, try to get an extended test drive to see if it matches you and your lifestyle.

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Impatience, impatience, impatience

When you find “the one” and everything checks out, you should not hesitate as there are many people looking for great vehicles to purchase especially with used cars. With the advent of all this technology, there are so many ways now to find your dream car. We once passed on a classic Maserati at a very good deal because of an internal misunderstanding and I still regret it to this day.

Buying cars can be an investment

Over the years, I have bought many cars on impulse. Little did I know that I have accidentally been investing and I eventually sold the vehicles with a profit. I bought old sportscars at premium prices at the time and eventually sold them over the years at even higher prices. There is now a softening of classic sportscars in the world but I believe it is a cycle that you can also take advantage of.

You don’t need a lot of money to buy a car that you can really enjoy. Passion does not have to come with a high price.

Car clubs

Car clubs are a great source of information, guidance, and camaraderie. We now have a Ferrari Owners Club Philippines, which is on its fifth year, recognized by Ferrari Italy. The Maserati club is also starting now and we will be accredited soon. There is also the prestigious Manila Sports Car Club, which has been meeting every first Sunday for the last 50 years. I learn so much from these car clubs. I am able to keep a pulse on the automotive enthusiast and there is a wealth of information shared.

Buy something you like

More than all the automotive reviews and what people say, at the end of the day, it’s what makes your heart beat.

History

When buying a brand, you are also buying into the heritage and history of the company. It is always interesting to look into the rich and colorful past of the automotive brand when deciding when to buy a vehicle.

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Owning a sportscar is not for everyone

There is something about sportscars and the human race that evokes passion, emotion, joy, and fanaticism in general. This though does not mean it is for everyone. It is a purpose built vehicle made for driving and are mostly impractical and illogical at times. This is the romance of the sportscar. And like real romance, many times, it does not make sense. Before you buy a sportscar, make sure it is for you.

Your first true Sportscar can be cheaper than you think

There are many sportscars that are within the reach of most people that can scratch the itch of even the most discerning enthusiast. For instance, you don’t need to be a multimillionaire to buy a first generation Miata at ₱400,000 and a new Mx5 will set you back maybe ₱2 million or so. There are many entry points into the sportscar world while you are saving up for your dream sportscar. I am still able to find as much joy in small affordable sportscars.

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The racetrack

We have two great racetracks where you can learn the basics of driving on track, namely Batangas Racing Circuit and Clark International Speedway. With a good coach, you can see your sportscar’s potential in a safe environment. And bringing your car to the track does not mean you will destroy your vehicle. It can be done safely and with minimal stress to the vehicle.

Ferrari, of course, would be at the pinnacle of the sportscar realm. With its great racing history and heritage, it is one of the most powerful brands in the world. Having had the privilege of representing this brand as well as having driven many models has been life changing to say the least. You never forget your first experience with a Ferrari.



Source: Manila Bulletin

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