Perhaps it was Ferrari's own doing that the 456, a luxurious grand tourer with gorgeous Pininfarina looks and V12 power, would end up being one of the cheapest modern Ferraris you could buy. It was only at the start of the last decade that prices had slumped below the £30k mark, with many cars saddled with much higher than average mileage for a Maranello-built model. But then Luca di Montezemolo had intended the gran tourer to be Ferrari's most usable car in 1992, and despite its fairly exotic setup, it arguably succeeded with flying colours. Albeit with negative effects on values.
Obviously it's hard to blame any owners; who wouldn't want to put a V12 Ferrari GT (with pop-up headlights, let's not forget) into regular use? The 456 had 442hp and hit 62mph in five seconds, but first and foremost it was a comfortable, refined 2+2 capable of carrying the family on long distance drives. It was fairly long legged, with a 185mph top speed, and despite its softened focus and a 1,770kg kerbweight, it possessed good handling and was rewarding at speed.
Things got even better when the 456M - or Modificata - arrived with updates in 1998, where the performance remained but comfort and refinement were improved. The six-speed manual gearbox was changed from a dog-leg gate to a more familiar H-pattern layout just before that, so as the 456 survived into the new millennium it felt like a well-rounded (if expensive) proposition in the GT segment. Ferrari never felt pressured into extracting more power from the V12, which produced its best at 6,250rpm. It was just lovely from the off.
Thanks to its less sporting bent, buyers who opted for the four-speed torque-converter automatic in the GTA (A being for auto) were not making the sacrilegious choice, either. The auto is considered to be tough and well-matched to the rest of the car, so for those who pointed their 456 at the horizon with a boot full of luggage and the family aboard, it made perfect sense. Even if the manual cars are more desirable now; a three-pedal, manual V12 car is, after all, something normally restricted to the upper echelons of the automotive world these days.
Today's Spotted is not desirable variant then, but it does have exceptionally low mileage. Montezemolo's usable Ferrari has not really been driven all that much, with just 3,000 miles on the clock. As you'd hope, this barely believable (for a 22-year-old car) figure is backed by automatic car's condition, with the paintwork, interior and even engine bay appearing showroom fresh. The leather doesn't look like it's ever been sat on.
Most importantly, it's all said to be correct according to the extensive service history, maintained by the car's one owner. So while £70k is pricey for a 456 (a patch normally reserved for three pedal cars) this immaculate GTA has plenty going for it. Could the lack of mileage encourage the next custodian to fill up the odometer? Probably not given the rarity of low mile cars. But here's hoping it finds someone happy to rack up the miles the 456 was always intended to do...
SPECIFICATION | FERRARI 456 GTA
Engine: 5,474cc, V12
Transmission: 4-speed automatic, rear-wheel drive
Power (hp): 442@6,250rpm
Torque (lb ft): 406@4,500rpm
Year registered: 1998
Recorded mileage: 3,000
Price new: N/A
Yours for: £69,995
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