Ferrari 456 GT Manual
The Ferrari 456, the first front-engine Ferrari for 20 years, offered true performance touring for four very lucky occupants. The 456 GT was announced in September 1992, making its public show debut in Paris the following month. This was a positive and brave move by the company, as the prestige sports car markets were in deep recession, after all the speculation and hype of the late eighties. However, they showed their commitment to broadening their range, and to maintaining their position at the head of the list of the world's most desirable automobiles. The Pininfarina styled Aluminium bodywork made for a pleasing if not spectacular design, particularly the modernised reflection of the fabled 365 GTB/4 "Daytona" with the long bonnet, featuring retractable headlight pods. Also inspired by the "Daytona" was the design treatment of the rear of the cabin envelope and tail. Thus although the shape was thoroughly modern, it contained retro trace elements to associate it with the company's history.
Electronically adjustable self levelling suspension gave positive handling and a comfortable ride, while the 442bhp V12 made sure that performance had not been overlooked. The 456 set the scene for a return to front engine layout in the new Ferrari flagship, the 550 Maranello.
Following a day in the West Country while
writing an article comparing a Aston Martin V8 Vantage and a Ferrari 456 GT Mr.
Rowan Atkinson made a life changing discussion, after 14 years of almost
continual Aston Martin ownership, it was time for a change.
On the 11 November 1994 Mr. Atkinson walked
into the Maranello showroom at Egham and ordered a Ferrari 456 GT. Following a
trip to Ferrari and many colour swatches the decision was made on the colour.
It was also ordered with a full size spare
wheel and driver’s air bag removed, it was also ordered with a set of fitted
luggage, but this has been lost.
The purchase price for the car with all the
extras was £156,445.
On 14 November 1995 Mr Atkinson took
delivery of the Ferrari 456 GT and remember quite clearly it turning up at
Aston Martin in the owners car park, not looking out of place.
Mr Atkinson wrote an article about his
ownership experience of the 456 GT in July 1996 issue of Car magazine where he
states “Climbing out of the Aston and into the Ferrari was like going from an
armoured car to a go-kart. It was time to turn my back on Aston”
After some 19,000 mile Mr. Atkinson passed
the car on to Nicholas Mee in 1998 and used briefly by Mr. Victor Gauntlett,
The Ferrari was then sold to Mr. Nigel Dawes. It was then sold to two further
owners and now with the total recorded mileage of 42,000 miles, it is back on
The car comes with all its service books,
spare keys, the full size spare wheel and tool kit. There are piles of service history (many from
Maranello) right up to the present date. The cam belt has been changed and has
a current MOT.