Car: 2005 Ferrari 612 Scaglietti with manual gearbox!
Owned since: "I have owned the car a little over a year."
Previously owned: "Audi RS4, Audi RS6, Porsche 997, TVR Griffith, Mercedes C63, Lotus Elise, Lotus 2-Eleven."
Why I bought it:
"I have always tried to buy interesting cars when I have the opportunity. I do many miles a year, and always want to enjoy the experience as much as possible. For me, and for many, Ferrari is the pinnacle. But four seats are a must, so this narrowed my choice considerably! I was lucky enough to test drive a Ferrari FF for the weekend, a generous offer by a friendly independent Ferrari specialist in the hope I would be hooked, and would endeavour to strangle myself with finance!
What I wish I'd known:
"How rare they are! It was proving difficult to find any. In the classifieds an ad would often state manual when what they actually meant was 'F1 paddles with manual override' so not a manual at all! When I did eventually find a car, I was in a pretty weak position. But after protracted negotiation she was mine. My first and only concern has been the size of the boot; for a car which can easily swallow four adults it is a shame that they have very little space for their luggage. Parking can be a squeeze; the car is large but doesn't feel it when you are on the move, so you really have to take care in car parks. But so far so good."
"Where do I start? The V12 steals the show. 5.7 litres of delicious creamy torque, made all the better by that manual transmission. It's an absolute joy to use, the clack-clack as the gearstick moves across the open gate is just so evocative of a time that is now firmly from another era. Ferrari no longer makes a manual car and I think this is a real shame, for driver involvement nothing can beat it. But for me, the thing that stands head and shoulders above everything else, even the gearbox, is the looks. I know this car has had mixed reviews back in the day, and, photographed badly, it can look a little disproportionate. But to see one in the flesh is quite something, it's ageing very gracefully indeed. I am still in awe of the shape, the side scallop is a work of genius. The same designer, Ken Okuyama, also penned the Ferrari Enzo and Maserati's 75th anniversary present to itself, the futuristic new 'Birdcage'."
Things I hate:
"I hate nothing about the car, but I would like a little more volume from the exhaust. An easy fix when my bank balance will allow. The fuel bill is large, but then I always knew this would be the case. The way it disguises speed is a little disconcerting, something that will get me into trouble one day!"
"I love taking trips into mainland Europe, my favourite destination being southern Spain. The road from Bilbao south taking in Salamanca, Caceres, Seville and ultimately Ronda has been my longest trip so far, and the most memorable as I had the opportunity to meet with the Ferrari Owners Club of Andalucia and join them for a drive into the mountains. This car was made for trips like this, and the lightly trafficked 'A' roads of Spain are a playground. When I'm driving in the UK they are all I can think about!
"So far very little. When I bought the car it came with a fresh service by a Ferrari main dealer, the tyres are wearing evenly across the tread and so are lasting well. One minor irritation was a rocker switch that operates the drivers window got broken by an over enthusiastic embarkation. I was given a replacement part by my friendly specialist, which I replaced myself! So far, so good!"
"Difficult question... Whilst researching manual 612s I discovered that very few were built. A friend at a main dealer told me there are as few as seven in the UK. So I really do have the last of an era in my possession. The last four-seat manual V12 Ferrari that Ferrari will ever make, I feel very lucky indeed."
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[Sources: Ferrari Owners Club of Andalucia]