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Entering production on 26th August 1997 and completed 20 days later 15th September 1997.Finished in Blue Le Mans 516/C with crema 3997 hide and blue carpets 168. Additionally, the dashboard (DSH 1), windscreen surround (DSH 2) and steering wheel (STW1) were finished with blue hide. Upon completion the car was transported to Ferrari UK in Surrey -one of 141, of which 112 remain taxed or SORN’d with just 49 in one of the shades of blue-and in turn to the Essex Ferrari agents Lancasters, where it was first registered on 7th October 1997, by the official Ferrari agents Lancasters for Essex, to the first owner,51-year-old merchant banker Mr P of Essex. The then list price (1st March 1997) was £166,009.88 plus delivery, number plates and road fund licence. This being a 1997 model the car benefits from the later Bosch 5.2 injection/ignition system which incorporates the alarm/immobiliser, as well as twin air bags.
Purchased by the second and last owner 50-year-old, company director, Mr S E of Tyne & Wear in October 2009 with 29,800 recorded miles.
The car is complete as new with two factory original service book-with 19 stamped services,15 MOt's, handbooks wallet, tools and two of the four pieces of luggage. The service invoices from new are with still with the car and have been laminated to preserve them! Both sets of factory keys and two immobilisers are also present as well as the red master unit.
The 456 GT took the luxury 2+2 coupé theme to new heights and saw Ferrari return to the front-engine concept for the first time since the 1968 365 GTB4. The all-new 65° V12 provided unprecedented flexibility and power.
The aluminium bodywork designed by Pininfarina was aerodynamic, efficient and indisputably elegant, unequivocally conveying the model’s identity as a Ferrari. Cockpit ergonomics meant passengers enjoyed high levels of comfort: the 456 GT set the standard for its class.
After a three year period without a V12 engine 2+2 model in the range, the 456 GT was announced on the occasion of Ferrari’s then Belgian concessionaire’s fortieth anniversary in September 1992, making its public show debut in Paris the following month.
As part of the Garage Francorchamps anniversary celebrations, the new model was launched at a gala dinner in the Palais de Cinquantenaire in the centre of Brussels. This was a positive and brave move by the company, as the classic, luxury, and 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 smooth rounded lines from the pen of Pininfarina drew praise from all sides, particularly the modernised reflection of the fabled 365 GTB/4 “Daytona” with the long bonnet, featuring retractable headlight pods, running into a set back cabin. 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.
One aerodynamic element that was almost imperceptible was the electronically activated spoiler below and within a cut-out in the rear valance, whose angle changed relative to road speed to increase downforce. As with all the other models in the range at the time, it was designed as a world market car from the outset, and perhaps most importantly there was an USA market model.
However, where the preceding 2+2 models had been offered with automatic transmission, the 456 GT was initially only available with a manual gearbox. Here there was another analogy with the “Daytona”, as it had the gearbox mounted in unit with the differential and final drive assembly, forming a transaxle.
The bodies were mounted on a 2600mm wheelbase chassis, which was 100mm less than the 412 2+2 model, with a front track of 1585mm and rear track of 1606mm. It was constructed in the traditional steel tube fashion, incorporating substructures to support mechanical and body components, bearing factory type reference F 116 CL.
All were numbered in the continuous chassis number road car sequence in the range 96157 to 111376, and the production period spanned 1992 to 1998, during which time 1548 examples were produced.
The model was available in right- or left-hand drive form, with power assisted steering as standard.
Most of the body panels were aluminium, welded to the steel frame via a specially formulated sandwich material called Feran, which was chemically treated to permit the welding of the two dissimilar metals, whilst the front and rear valances were composite mouldings.
The standard road wheels were stylised renditions of the traditional five spoke “star” alloy design, featuring elegant convex spokes and five bolt fixing. Independent suspension was provided all round, with front and rear anti roll bars, and electronically operated driver controlled variable shock absorber settings, plus hydraulic self-levelling rear suspension.
The adjustable dampers were provided with an electronic “brain” that monitored various factors, like steering angle, road speed and acceleration, to optimise the settings for the driving conditions. The steering was power assisted, the degree of assistance varying with road speed, being greatest at parking speeds and diminishing with an increase in velocity.
Four-wheel ventilated disc brakes were provided, and equipped with an ATE Mark IV Antiskid system, to minimise loss of traction under extreme conditions.
The engine was completely new, the first brand new 12-cylinder unit since the flat twelve “Boxer” unit some two decades earlier, with factory type reference 116 B, and then 116 C. It also marked a return to the old tradition of the model designation number (456), relating to the approximate swept volume of a single cylinder in cubic centimetres.
Previous production V12 engines had a 60-degree angle between the cylinder banks, unless you think of the flat twelve “Boxer” engine as an 180 degree V12, whereas the new motor had an angle of 65 degrees. The total cubic capacity was 5474cc, with a bore and stroke of 88mm x 75mm, four valves per cylinder, twin overhead camshafts per bank, and dry sump lubrication.
The block, cylinder heads, sump, and sundry castings were constructed from light alloy, featuring Nicasil treated alloy cylinder liners. A Bosch Motronic 2.7 combined fuel injection/ignition engine management system was fitted initially fitted, superseded by a Motronic 5.2 unit in 1996, which fed the air/petrol mixture to the engine through beautifully sculpted cast alloy intake boxes and manifolds atop the engine, to provide a claimed power output of 442bhp at 6200rpm.
The complete transmission system was also entirely new, featuring the provision of an all synchromesh six speed transaxle gearbox for the first time on a Ferrari road car. However, the principle of the transaxle, with its benefit to weight distribution was not new to Ferrari, as it had been used successfully on the 275 GTB and “Daytona” models some twenty five plus years earlier.
The interior was sumptuously upholstered in leather as standard, with electronic adjustment facilities for the front seats, which slid forward automatically when the catch was released to afford access to the rear.
The rear seats provided adequate space for adults in comfort, with good headroom, and adequate legroom for most people. Because of their location relative to the side windows, rear seat passengers were provided with good visibility, without feeling confined by the rear pillars.
A range of fitted leather luggage was provided as standard to maximise the boot space.
Electric windows and door mirrors, a stereo system with CD player and eight speakers, plus air conditioning, were further standard features of the model. In mid 1996 twin airbags became a standard fitment, with a redesigned steering wheel to incorporate the driver’s unit.
Taken from Ferraris own website
Brussels, Belgium: Skilfully blending styling and engineering cues from its past, Ferrari unveiled a handsome, powerful and precedent-setting 2+2 just prior to the Paris Auto Show, in conjunction with the 40th Anniversary of their Belgian distributor and racing team, Garage Francorchamps. According to Ferrari NA President Gian-Luigi Buitoni: "This is the second model of this car. We started four years ago. First, Pininfarina presented a three-volume design, but it was rejected as not being aggressive enough. We wanted something different from the 412i - distinguished, with much more personality."
The result resembles a born-again 365 GTB/4 Daytona, especially from the rear. Ferrari historians will note the intention was not to update the old 365 GTC/4, a sporty, but undistinguished-looking four-seater loosely based on the Daytona, but instead to move closer to a sportier definition. "We have clients today who don't want to give up the performance of a Testarossa, but they must have more room," said Buitoni. "You can sit in the back of this car and not be an infant."
Even with the kids along, 456 GT 2+2 owners sacrifice very little. Under the lightweight, composite bonnet is a new all-alloy 4-cam, 48-valve, 5.5-litre V-12 developing a league-leading 442 bhp at 6250 rpm. Historians will note that the 456 designation makes a return to Ferrari's traditional model nomenclature. (Each cylinder displaces 456cc; multiply by twelve for 5473.9cc.) The valve covers are grey crackle finished, and the round-oil breathers are reminiscent of those on the old 250/275-series cars.
In order to achieve a low, pancaked bonnet line, the V-12 is dry-sumped. Three separate oil pumps ensure maximum pressure right to its 7250 rpm redline. Special ducting sprays oil to the underside of the alloy pistons for added cooling. The latest Bosch Motronic M2.7 digital injection is lower, and more efficient than a sextet of classic twin-choke Webers, even if its gray, crackle-finished plenum chambers aren't as pretty as the line-up of twelve chromed velocity stacks.
To optimise weight distribution (it is 53:47) in a front-engined car, the motor is set back considerably in the tubular steel frame. A flywheel-mounted, single-plate clutch transmits power through a propshaft that's supported with three bearings. The propshaft runs through an elliptically shaped steel torque-tube that is rigidly connected from the clutch to a new six-speed transaxle, then to a ZF mechanical limited-slip differential with plates calibrated to distinguish between drive mode and overrun. To reduce frictional losses when the car is in top gear, sixth is direct drive. A 250 GTO-like polished shifter travels in a traditional Ferrari webbed gate. It is mechanically linked to the transaxle for positive shifting - and in keeping with Ferrari tradition, it probably hates to shift into second until thoroughly warmed up.
Suspension is all independent with parallel wishbones, and coil springs in each corner. Fat stabiliser bars at either end help keep the suspension thoroughly planted. Electronically controlled shock absorbers (like the Mondial T's) offer sport, intermediate and touring settings, but they return immediately to the "hard" setting in an emergency thanks to an ECU and sensors that measure steering angle, shock "bounce" and acceleration. A self-levelling device compensates for the weight of rear seat passengers while maintaining body height and ensuring constant rear suspension geometry.
A chunky, three-spoke, leather-wrapped steering wheel gives orders to ZF "Servotronic" power-assisted, speed sensitive rack and pinion steering. Pressure for the self-levelling system comes from the steering pump. Braking is handled by four huge, ventilated discs with aluminium callipers; ATE Mark IV ABS brakes are standard. The five-spoke alloy wheels are Daytona-like, and the fat, unequally sized Pirelli P-Zeros artfully fill the 2+2's neatly radiused fenderwells.
The 456 is somewhat lighter and shorter (186.2 in) than the old 412i, thanks to its extensive use of aluminium and initial venture into composites (the bonnet is the first composite part).
Pininfarina's subtle styling will last for years. There's a hint of aggressiveness, yet the overall effect is one of veiled strength and function. A flat, sloping bonnet line aids visibility. A bold cut line on each side defines the top edge of a rearward-facing scoop that exhausts engine heat, then gracefully encircles the 456's meaty rear quarters. A moving spoiler, integrated into the rear bumper, is lowered electronically at speeds above 60 mph, to reduce axle lift.
The result is a pleasing C-pillar curvature that is far more coupe-like than is usually achieved with a car that can realistically hold four adults. Shoulder harnesses extend from the front seatbacks. Deep bucket seats front and rear feel very supportive. Bold, readable dials are well located. The crossed Pininfarina flags on the console are reminiscent of the old SuperAmerica.
Taken from Ferrari Market Letter Vol.17 No.22 (October 1994)
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