Buying a Maserati in Italy
Are they really that cheap?

It may look cheap, but if you buy the wrong car,
get ready to dig deep into your pockets!


Since starting Enrico's Maserati Pages back in October 1999, I have been asked many times about buying a Maserati in Italy so I thought it was about time I explained how it's done! I would like to thank Daniel from Germany for his input.

First you learn Italian or go over with someone who speaks Italian: that's not always possible. Thankfully there are many more Italians who speak English today than used to be the case so in most circumstances the language difference shouldn't be a problem.


If you see a car advertised by an Official Maserati dealer, there's a good chance somebody there speaks English. Not only that, but your car will in nearly all cases come with a full service history with an Official dealer. I cannot stress the importance of a full service history (with invoices if possible) as this will not only confirm the mileage but also help in its resale value at a later date. A car purchased from a Maserati dealer may cost you a little more but it will come with a guarantee and be serviced properly before it is put up for sale. You may not see many earlier Biturbos for sale from an official Maserati dealer but if you do see one for sale, it will almost certainly have been taken in part exchange from one of their customers and they will know its history.

If you buy from an ordinary dealer then you must check its history to see if has been serviced by an authorised agent and that the mileage is accurate (what the reading on the speedometer says, cannot always be taken as Gospel!).

If you buy privately, remember that if the seller is married you will need his or her partner's signature on the bill of sale as all assets within a marriage are communal in Italian law.


Whether you buy privately or from a dealer you should receive a registration document . You must have the original, a photocopy will NOT be acceptable back in England.

1 - An Italian car registration document.

You should also have an Official Declaration of Sale giving details of the parties involved and the sale price signed by a Notary. No other form of receipt or proof of ownership is legal ownership in Italy.

2 - A 'Declaration of Sale' document which must
be stamped and signed by a Notary (Notaio).

Before leaving Italy with your car you will need proof of valid insurance. This can be done in one of two ways:

1. You can contact your insurance broker in England and ask him to fax you the Certificate of Insurance. You may not be able to insure the car through the Italian registration number but you can quote the chassis number and this is acceptable for the journey back to England.

2. Some Italian insurance companies offer two, three or five day insurance cover at a reasonable price. The dealer will know of such companies and organise this for you.

An insurance cover note faxed to Italy from England
and insured through the chassis number.

An insurance cover note that is displayed in
the windscreen - this one has five day cover.

If your car has a valid road tax, it will obviously carry Italian number plates. Number plates in Italy are issued by the local authorities and not purchased from an auto accessory shop as in England. Some dealers will allow you to drive the car away with these plates, others may not be so keen to do so. The reason for their reluctance is that as number plates in Italy are issued by the local authorities, and the car is registered in their name, they will be responsible for the road tax on that vehicle year in and year out until those number plates are returned to the Council (Comune) as proof that the car is no longer in use on the road in Italy.

5 - The Italian road fund licence that
is displayed in the windscreen.

If the private seller or dealer does allow you to drive away with the plates on the car he will normally ask you for a deposit, returnable when the number plates are returned to him. If you are offered this option, take it, as it is the easiest way to drive home!

If the dealer chooses this option you should have the following documents:

1. The original registration document, LIbretto, (see image 1).

2. The Dichiarazione di Vendita, bill of sale, signed and stamped by a Notary.

If the private seller or dealer may insist on the other option and that is for the car to be technically 'demolished' (i.e. taken off the Italian roads) for export. That means that the license plates will be removed and in their place you will be given a temporary rear number plate valid for 48 hours and only valid up to the point of departure from Italian soil.

6 - Temporary rear number plate with point
    of exit from Italy written and stamped.

If the seller chooses this option the original registration document will be handed over to the Italian authorities and in its place you will be given two documents:

1. You should be given a photocopy of a document that gives all the details of the car's official type approval, Foglio di immatricolazione (see image 8 below).

2. An official document, the Certificato di Proprieta, that states that the car has been 'demolished' - taken of the Italian roads for export (see image 7 below).

Plus the temporary rear registration plate: they will not supply a front number plate (see image 6 above).

I recommend that you ask for a photocopy of the original registration document, Libretto, before you hand it over, as it will not be automatically given to you (see image 1 above). This is not necessary but it is nice to have and will always come in handy regards history.

7 - The official document that states that
the car has been 'demolished' for export.

8 - A photocopy of a document
giving the type approval details.


The car you are buying is probably a left-hand-drive car and as such its headlights dip to the right. This is illegal on English roads and you will need to purchase headlights for a right-hand-drive car. It is not OK to stick black tape on the headlights as this will not get you through an MOT (unless the MOT inpector is a very good friend of yours).

The speedometer will indicate the speed in KPH only, this is illegal in the UK (I have since been told that this is no longer the case, so it's worth checking it out!) and you will need a speedometer that reads in MPH. I found it very annoying to find that the MPH speedometer also has KPH indicated on the dial, but the KPH speedometers do not have MPH indicated (see fig 9).

9 - The KPH speedometer, no MPH reading!


Most car sellers in Italy (private or dealer) will contact a "Notario" to finish the deal. So you have to calculate a minimum of one full day (in most cases 2 days) to complete the deal.

Cancelling the registration of the car in Italy can take some time, Italian bureaucracy works in weird and wonderful ways, it can take a few hours, sometimes, in fact nearly always, it takes weeks (four days in the case of my Ghibli, four weeks in the case of Daniel's Ghibli).

When I brought my Ghibli back to England it was three years old so it only needed an MOT. A car under three years old needed to pass the more intensive SVA test.

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