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How long does it take to build a Ferrari?

        Auto | Exotic Cars

A Ferrari's Finishing Touches
A Ferrari California on display at the Los Angeles Auto Show.
A Ferrari California on display at the Los Angeles Auto Show.
AP Photo/Ric Francis

The Ferrari F430, a V-8-engined beauty able to top out at a little less than 200 miles per hour (322 kilometers per hour) when complete, scoots along at a much slower pace during its build. Workers unhurriedly snap, bolt and fit in pieces at more than 30 stations for about half an hour each.

Cars with larger V-12 engines make their way down a different line, yet still right next to the V-8-equipped vehicles. The V-12s require about an hour per station. After the major structural, mechanical and electronic systems have been put into place, finishing touches such as trim pieces and inserts make the car complete. Leather upholstery is measured and cut by machines for precision, but hand-stitched for craftsmanship.

From beginning to end, it takes about three weeks to build a Ferrari California, the closest thing to what could be called a mass-market Ferrari (about 2,500 are produced annually). While that may sound like a fairly sluggish pace, keep in mind that part of Ferrari's allure is its exclusivity. Of all its models, the company only produces a total of about 8,500 cars a year. Compare that to say, the Ford F-Series trucks, of which Ford produced more than 400,000 in 2009. You can get a Ford F-150 right away, as long as you can pay. For our Ferrari California example, however, the waiting list to get one is about two years long [source: Rufford].

Ever since company founder Enzo Ferrari began building cars, the company has cultivated a reputation of race-bred engineering combined with old-school dedication to craftsmanship. The company is committed to individualism and distinction, rather than conformity. That said, Ferrari has taken many steps to modernize, improve quality and to expand into markets such as China, where economic growth has been fueling a desire for upscale brands. Just don't expect to waltz into the dealership and get one fresh off the factory floor -- at least not right away.

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