Under the Radar (Ferrari 456)

Four seater Ferraris are hardly a secret but overshadowed by their two seater counterparts they seem to fade into the mists of time.  Sometimes this is for good reason, the awkward looking 308 GT4 or the 400i anyone?  However, Ferrari’s more recent four seaters offer Ferrari thrills but with refinement in equal measure.  The 456 is the perfect example, styled by Pininfarina, its classic GT shape looks sublime and is instantly recognisable as a Ferrari.  It has a detuned version of the magnificent V12 engine later found in the 550 which propels the 456 to sixty two miles per hour in 5.2 seconds and at the time of launch it was the most powerful road car Ferrari had ever made (excluding the F40).  This supercar performance is possible partly due to the construction of the body.  It has a steel spaceframe chassis with aluminium body panels bonded to it making the large 456 relatively light.  This lightweight construction has other advantages, the engine for example is fairly unstressed which has proven to be a very reliable unit.  This is where the 456 starts to make more sense, hideously expensive when new the 456 has dropped significantly in value and is now a very tempting second hand purchase.  Not only do you get Ferrari performance but you also get a very useable grand tourer.  The spacious cabin seats two adults in the front comfortably and two in the back not so much, however, the open gate gear shift and Connolly leather are interior touches to remind you that you are in something special.  On the move the 456 may not keep up with today’s supercars but the performance difference is slight and most owners will be satisfied with the brisk pace and V12 bark.  At around 30k for good examples the 456 represents fine GT exotica for mass produced coupe money!

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