Ferrari 456 GTA
This four-seater Italian exotic has been driven sparingly but obviously cared for well, says Rob Scorah
It’s more usual to meet Ferrari’s Nineties two-plus-two in more subdued colours – blue or silver – but this mid-production 456 in Rosso Corsa over Crema leather makes a striking example. With fewer than 21,500 miles driven (and having been garaged properly), you’d expect the paintwork to retain all of its factory lustre and consistency, and it does.
Finish and colour hue do not vary across surfaces or different body materials and there are no signs of cracking or corrosion on aprons or leading edges. There are several very tiny stonechips to the nose. These have been touched up, though considering the calibre of the car they could maybe have been done a little better but you have to look hard to find them. The black windscreen surrounds show no sign of discolouration or corrosion.
Panel fit remains true. Doors and boot close to leave nicely-matched edges and the big clamshell bonnet rises and falls smoothly and fits precisely. Under that big lid the engine appears as (after reading the blue-chip specialist service history) you would expect. Everything looks factory fresh – wiring, clips, cam covers and general cleanliness. As well as a fully stamped book, with the most recent services by Migliore Cars of Bromsgrove, prospective buyers will also be pleased to find that the 456 has had a recent cambelt change. Interestingly there are also a couple of notes from previous owners outlining a little specialist lineage on the mechanics who have worked on the car.
The interior of the car mirrors the outside, with very light signs of use commensurate with the mileage. The worst that can be found is a little wear to the driver’s seat outer bolster. Otherwise, carpets and hides are clean; steering wheel, gearshift and switches are free of ring or fingernail scratches. There is also a set of fitted Ferrari luggage included, its condition not far behind the car itself.
Nineties Ferraris were more urbane than their forebears and the V12 fires up easily and settles into a refined idle without any oil-starved rattles. The automatic transmission slots easily into gear and the car is away without any thuds or shunts.
As with the car’s aesthetics the 456’s road manners emphasise refinement and you soon realise that this car is about swift progress from fairly gentle input. Steering is precise and the suspension sure-footed, handling bumps without clunks. The gear changes seem particularly smooth, even when the driver gets involved to hold/ drop the coupé into a lower gear for bends (there are no rattles or creaks in the turns). You have to provoke the Ferrari to really hear the engine and even then its tone has a silky, even quality. The 5.4-litre V12’s heft is felt low in the revs, accelerating smoothly through the range. The pressure and temperature gauges threw up no warning signals on our test.
Although prospective 456 owners may prefer different colour/transmission options, this 1997 car is hard to fault. It is a very clean, very usable and swift tourer. And an easier Ferrari to own than many.
Rosso Corsa with Crema leather is unusual on a 456
The interior iooks original but has very little wear of note
Recent cambelt change is good news for potential owners