First off I would look into when they changed the clutch on Maserati, From what I have read they switched it after the original 2002's. Also by going with a 2003 you will get another year of warranty. I traded a "02 M3 SMG for an "04 Spyder GT and while yes that car is quick I did not find it very fun for sporty driving. It seems you are way to disconnected from the driving experience. Maserati gives you that drive by the seat of your pants feeling. I have not heard much about squeaks and rattles being a problem with the coups. I might have only put on 2,000 miles since getting car April 1st but have driven every single day. Even now I cannot wait to Finnish my Coffee and jump into for my ride to work. So now after driving the Spyder for 7 months I can easily say it is by the far the most fun I have had with a car. Also have not been back to dealership since picking up car so quality seems very good, Had an early Boxster S and that car had 3 trips in for problems in first driving season. Engine is pretty much a straight forward V8 so I would think with a proper manual you could continue to do much of your own work.