Hopefully it’s not too contentious to say that the automated manual gearbox spoilt - or at least drastically limited - a whole generation of cars. If only dual-clutch transmission technology had arrived earlier, the world would have been spared SMGs, R-Tronics, e-gears, Sportshifts, Selespeeds and the rest. Vastly better cars would have resulted, too, especially as the automated manual’s period of prevalence in the early 2000s coincided, sadly, with a glut of truly wonderful engines. Imagine all those Lamborghinis, Aston Martins, M cars and Maseratis tarnished by AMTs that could have been superb with DCTs.
The silver lining to this clutchless cloud is the aftermarket industry that has sprung up to convert cars with iffy gearboxes. It’s a simpler swap than most, too, because a manual gearbox was still being operated. Just by an actuator, rather than arm and leg. As widespread electrification and (in the fullness of time) automotive autonomy looms, so the dedicated enthusiast is craving the inimitable interaction of a manual gearbox. Despite the best intentions, the automated version tended to seem like the worst of both worlds.
Once upon a time, this Ferrari 612 Scaglietti had the F1 gearbox. The vast majority did, like so many Ferraris of the time, with only around 200 manual Scags for the whole planet. And while Ferrari’s F1 ‘box was better than most, it was made to look very old hat when the DCTs arrived. And there really is no joy quite like a gated Ferrari V12 manual, so the owner of this one had it converted. You only live once, eh?
‘Clunky and inept’ is how the seller describes it, which is quite kind. Having endured it for two years of ownership, the robotic selector mechanism was junked in 2019, with a clutch pedal and gearlever taking its place. Not only does it look brilliant in a pre-manettino, old-school Ferrari interior, the owner says it’s been driving perfectly ever since the swap. Almost like it was always meant to be there… In addition, this Scaglietti benefits from some upgraded intake parts of a 599, said to create something ‘significantly more urgent in character than a regular 612’. Don’t forget this is a car powered, as standard, by a 540hp, 5.7-litre V12, an evolution of the engine used in the 550 Maranello and 575. Now more urgent, and with a manual gearbox - sounds pretty great to us.
Then there’s the colour. Apparently, the second owner was intent on owning a white Ferrari (a Chris Evans wannabe, perhaps) and so commissioned Joe Macari to bare-metal respray their silver 612 into Bianca Avus. This certainly grabs the attention, as one of the rarer colours chosen, even if the big beast still isn’t Ferrari’s prettiest 2+2. The upgraded wheels, replacing the standard split rims, certainly help.
As admitted in the advert, this car isn’t one for the Ferrari purist - and won’t be getting its Classiche certificate anytime soon - but for those of us who just love driving the cars (rather than arguing about chassis numbers and options) it looks like a very exciting opportunity. The 612 has covered just over 40,000 miles, so a new owner needn’t worry about click-clacking their way to many more, and its modified status means they could continue tweaking to their heart’s content. If they really wanted to, all the F1 bits come with the car to convert the transmission back…
Moreover, the advert is crammed full of detail and enthusiasm, this Ferrari clearly adored for the past half a dozen years or so. There’s even a YouTube vid. Perhaps best of all, the 612 is priced - £72,999 - in the ballpark of F1-gearboxed cars; the only other manual (from the factory) 612 on PH has fewer miles, yes, but is also a private sale and £135,000. You don’t need us to remind you of the premium attached to manual 575s at the moment, either. This is only £10k more than the most affordable V12 Ferrari on PH, a 456 that’s 10 years older and 100hp less potent. For those willing to forgo some originality, this 612 Scag looks like being a very special Ferrari GT.
SPECIFICATION | FERRARI 612 SCAGLIETTI
Engine: 5,748cc, V12
Transmission: 6-speed manual, rear-wheel drive
Power (hp): 540@7,250rpm
Torque (lb ft): 434@5,250rpm
MPG: 13.6 (!)
First registered: 2005
Recorded mileage: 43,000
Price new: £182,700
Yours for: £72,999
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