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First buy - 456 - should I ?

Discussion in '456/550/575' started by djbono, May 6, 2018.

  1. djbono

    djbono Rookie
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    May 6, 2018
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    Full Name:
    Pierre-Marc Bonneau
    Hi all,
    long time lurker - first time writer.

    Been a 456 since the last 10 years; finally seems they are within my reach (both to buy but foremost to maintain) - however, since around here the 6-speeds go for twice as much as the GTAs... it will have to be a GTA.

    I still can't wrap my mind around that fact, but hey - lets see this is as a first Ferrari, naively hoping to (up?)sell and switch in XX years time.

    Planning to do 4000 km on it yearly; will be garaged at all times.

    After test driving two in the US, I found one here more closer to me.
    It's currently being sold by a dealership; apparently it's a "well maintained, superb example" - hoping they will have all the cars history;

    > is it OK to send a mechanic in a dealership for a PPI (I'm being told to trust Rocco, and perhaps no one else) - or would that be frawned upon ?

    > Besides perhaps a lack of driving pleasure, and the obvious worth difference, are there any drawbacks at considering an automatic ? Some papers I read mentioned its a GM-manufactured transmission, some even claim it is a good thing.

    > it currently has 70k km - is it something I should worry about? Any thing major coming up at 80k, 100k?

    > If it hasnt moved in the last year or so (sitting at dealership) - are there any considerations to take ?

    > A friend owns a 1994 GT (tdf blue if it matters...) - he spends around 1.5k year, + 3k every 3 years on service - does that concur with any of your experience ?

    > Anyone has done their cam belts on their own ? My uncle does his on his 308; encourages me to pursue it... however... I have doubts on my own skills (He's a heart surgeon, I guess he trusts his hands!)

    It will be my first exotic; I hope/plan to keep it a long time - I'm not realistically thinking this will value in time (vs cost of ownership) - but I do think it won't DEvalue in time either. (I.e., as a toy car, its prolly a better investment than a slightly used M4)

    Again - thanks to whomever takes the time to read & add to this, even just comments/thoughts, etc - I welcome every bit of interaction possible.


    Pushing my luck:
    Its currently at a dealership in Ontario, and I live in Quebec. Seems like my best shot is to have it delivered, wait 7 days, then get it inspected+licensed in QC (that way I pay 5% tax at the purchase, and 9% at license time); anything else would mean either pay up the full 13% ontario taxes + getting it OMVIC certified just so I could drive it myself home. Seems to make more sene to have it delivered ...any thoughts?
     
  2. Laserguru

    Laserguru Formula Junior
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    Aug 7, 2016
    787
    New Hampshire
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    Eric

    I'll answer what I can and you can take it for what it may be worth. My car is an 03 456M GT (6sp) but I test drove and researched the autos for all of your reasons....bit the bullet when a 6sp became available which they seldom do. I found the auto to be more than satisfying. I traffic, there are times I wish my manual was the auto. And yes, the auto was based off a GM box but was modified rather straightforwardly. Horror tales of auto repair appear to be greatly exaggerated.

    My car is low mileage at about 11,500 miles but almost everyone with sufficient experience says the cars get better with about 20k miles on them. I wouldn't worry about your ~45k miles if the car has been reasonably well maintained. Now for the PPI, any dealership that isn't good with an independent PPI should be your clue to run like hell. PPIs are a given for Ferraris. A dealership expressing hesitation is one likely to be hiding something. These cars aren't Camrys and someone independent and knowledgeable should take a careful look at the car. The 456/456Ms, like any other car, have a known range of things that should be looked at. Suspension bombs, fuel pump seals, last major service including timing belts, condition of the coolant hoses under the air intake plenum...all of these things are well discusssed on this forum buy your PPI representative should know what he should look for. Pillage about here for some time so you know as well. This thread should be a great jump start on knowing the issues....

    https://www.ferrarichat.com/forum/threads/just-456-cars-site.218347/

    Most of the issues with sitting for a while are covered in all this other stuff. I'd ask for a new battery and full fluid service (oil, coolant, brake fluid, gear oil). The cars are a bit touchy about their batteries. Buy a trickle charger.

    Those maintenance costs seem about right. The better you keep her, the easier and less costly it will be. Preventive maintenance is seriously less expensive on these cars than repair!!! Please seventy four more exclamation points. See all the maintenance threads on this forum. Read them three times.

    Keep this car up and you are unlikely to lose money on it. Maybe you won't make a fortune on it, but I bet it covers its cost of ownership. And in the meantime, you get to enjoy driving this car like none other you've experience. Gentleman's luxury with 440 hp and all the torque you can handle. An amazing beast.

    Good luck and hope it works out for you.
     
  3. Temple

    Temple Formula Junior

    Jun 13, 2015
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    Temple
    Excellent suggestions Eric!! Off hand I can’t think of anything you left out.

    Temple
     
  4. asgor

    asgor Formula Junior
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    Sep 8, 2016
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    Virginia, USA
    Words of wisdom here: buy what you REALLY want - don't settle.

    If you buy a GTA and you REALLY want a GT (6MT) you'll second-guess yourself as long as you own it and will eventually (sooner than later) buy a GT - or other 6MT. Doing so you'll get hit with both having to sell the GTA lower than you bought it, and buying a GT whose price has now climbed higher than it was when you bought the first car.
     
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  5. Temple

    Temple Formula Junior

    Jun 13, 2015
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    Temple
    If a manual is your “true” desire I would look at the “pre-M” models which, other than one year (‘97) all came with 3 pedals. Currently there is quite a Delta, at least here in the US (N.A.), between asking prices for the pre-M series and the M series. The problem is that the pre-Ms don’t come up on the market often. And personally I fear that that Delta b/n the pre-M and M series cars will soon disappear.

    Temple
     
  6. djbono

    djbono Rookie
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    May 6, 2018
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    Pierre-Marc Bonneau
    Thanks all-
    @Laserguru - thanks for the thorough response; i've read (and will re-read, :) ) all the threads I could find; seen horror stories indeed, but seen comforting info as well. Spoke to the dealership, they actually welcome any mechanic to come and inspect/run a PPI.

    I've got my list of questions ready... thinking of driving the 6hrs to go and see it by the end of this week.
    ----
    @Temple , @asgor - thanks... I know I may regret it; I'm really have a hard time sleeping at night because of the GTA vs GT question.
    Though I test drove one GTA and I didnt feel bad. I could get a 5MT 308, 348 or even a 355 (though in which condition...) for the same money; but I truly want a 456, for many reasons (plus I',m not keen of the engine-out services ;) I do hear loud and clear your thoughts & recommendations; I'm not pulling the trigger yet.
    Its just I fear the GTs will always remain out of reach
     
  7. Laserguru

    Laserguru Formula Junior
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    Aug 7, 2016
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    Eric
    You're welcome. This has been an exceptionally supportive community and I'm just giving back a bit for all the support and help I have received in my relatively short ownership.

    If you really want a 456, I wouldn't let the auto vs manual question bedevil you too much. The driving experience of these cars with their power, torque, ride, and frankly, elegance, is untouched in either format. Mostly depends, IMHO, if you are planning on cruising and covering distance, or looking to carve up back roads and really want to stir your own pot. YMMV.

    I have been putting together a data base of all the cars sent to the North American market. I've pretty much got the Ms put together and have attached a summary chart of the auto vs. man question for each year of the model's import. Presently working on the pre-Ms. As you can see, for the Ms, the manuals were 25% of the cars sent so the 3:1 rarity plus the desirability of a manual for some folks explains the price differential. For the pre-Ms, the auto was introduced until late in the model production so you will find many more manuals.

    Image Unavailable, Please Login
     
  8. scowman

    scowman Formula 3

    Mar 25, 2014
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    Stu Boogie
    Bunch of things you may need to fix regardless of ppi results.

    Rear shocks/accumulators

    Suspension bushings

    Motor/transmission mounts

    Radiator replacement/repair

    Cooling hoses.

    And the dreaded valve guides.
     
  9. ttforcefed

    ttforcefed F1 World Champ
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    Aug 22, 2002
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    GTMA is a great way to get into the f life. congrats and enjoy every minute of it!
     
  10. Temple

    Temple Formula Junior

    Jun 13, 2015
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    Temple
    Pierre;

    M-GTA’s can be had for $60-70 grand, even for a well-sorted one with a good history. M-GTs don’t come on the market a lot. And if sold by a dealer they come w/ (beyond) crazy prices (125-150 grand USD). But recent auction results have been in the 100-120 grand range, so they can be had (even with 3 pedals). Patience is key (again they don’t come on the market very frequently at all).

    There are a couple of 456 people here in this forum who share your love of the 456 and that can/will help you with any questions you may have (eg Eric/Laserguru). Keep in mind too that the 456 essentially shares the same engine as the 550/575 so some of your answers may be found in those threads too.

    Temple
     
  11. Temple

    Temple Formula Junior

    Jun 13, 2015
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    Temple
    Like Laserguru Scowman is not only very knowledgeable about these cars but “plays it forward” as well, particularly on the technical side of things.

    Temple
     
  12. bergxu

    bergxu Formula 3

    Aug 16, 2005
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    OnTheSerpentMound
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    Aaron
    Pierre,

    PM'ed you. Let me know if you want to chat.

    Aaron
     
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  13. Canuck550

    Canuck550 Formula Junior
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    Sep 8, 2015
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    RJA
    Since you are in Canada, may want to try the Europe import route...I did this with my 550
    I see one located in Europe with 29k kms on it, VAT tax rebate 21%
    You can land it in Canada damn near the price of this local car you are viewing, with half the mileage and a 6 speed
    PM me if you want to chat further
     
  14. tazandjan

    tazandjan Three Time F1 World Champ
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    Jul 19, 2008
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    Terry H Phillips
    The good news about the GTAs is that the transmission is really well suited to the characteristics of the V12 engine. The earlier GM 3 speeds fitted to the 400-412 series were not.
     
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  15. southnc

    southnc Formula 3
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    Unless you can get a 6-speed MT, I would definitely consider a 612 instead if you can afford the jump. Much more powerful and flexible, and probably easier to maintain. The 612 looks much better in person than it does in pics, but probably not quite as good as the 456. Regardless, the 550, 456, 575, and 612 all share the same engine type, with the 612 getting the final version. The F1-A paddle system in the F1 612 is light years better than the AUTO in the 456. Manual 612 are out there, but very expensive.

    Good luck in your choice.
     
  16. Houston F430

    Houston F430 Rookie

    Mar 22, 2018
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    Franco Gangeri
    Don’t buy, belt cost is 5,000$ each 3 years! Buy a F430
     
  17. djbono

    djbono Rookie
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    May 6, 2018
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    Pierre-Marc Bonneau
    Hi guys- tks for all the feedback (an IMs);
    I never suspected I would raise that many responses - I'm glad I did post ;)

    I do have more questions...
    ---
    The 456 I was looking at here, locally, at a dealership - I spent some time on the phone with a salesman - seems the 'original colour was Silver, but we decided to wrap it in 'red' to make it more appealing' .... I don't know for you, but to me this raises a big red flag... (not the fact he said red instead of rosso corsa) why would one wrap a Ferrari ? I asked to see pictures of the car before the wrap, not sure I'll ever get those. Salesman was adamant there was nothing wrong - they just decided to do it. Not sure if its because the car had been sitting, unnoticed, for so long and they wanted to get some motion on it. Granted, the wrap seems like a good way of 'protecting' it... but again, I would have preferred the original paint- or at least, be able to judge of its state; and perhaps deduce more from it.

    The other issue I have; currently they can't find service bills for the kilometers 47000 to (its current) 69000 km... While they assure me 'its in perfect condition, everything works, always regularly maintained at Ferrari of Ontario, etc' - I still feel like I'd need to do a full service on it after buying it, just for peace of mind.... which , again, makes it not that much of a deal anymore.

    The dealership absolutely welcomes the idea of having an outside, Ferrari certified, mechanic review it thoroughly at their place; He even seemed to know the 'Rocco' guy my uncle raves about; so that brought back a bit of confidence.

    Do you think its acceptable to call Ferrari of Ontario and request info on a car, which I'm not even the owner ? (would they give any?)
    ====
    I don't like the idea of having to import a car (I hate processes, foremost ones involving govermentS) .... but seems to me that it.ll be my only logical route if I want to pursue this life-long dream of mine.

    ======
    Thanks for all your (excellent) suggestions, I'm currently looking at US-based 456m;
    I don't think a 612 is feasible within my budget (I budget a good +20% of the purchase cost to make sure I can maintain it); and I kinda have an issue with its looks (the behind)... mind you its because I'm accustomed to the looks of the 456.

    I'm not dropping the gloves just yet, but I just got a cold shower. Not sure its worth driving the 5hr to go see the 'local' red-wrapped 456m anymore.
     
  18. virendra

    virendra Karting
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    virendra anand
    Found it to be quite a boring car when I had mine for less than 12 months in 2004. But then again it was a big adjustment from driving a 355 to this one. I eventually bought the 360 after it. My 456 had the usual issues like O2 sensors, Both fuel pumps needed replacement due to the gunk buildup and both Air flow Mass meters. ALL EXPENSIVE stuff but once done , you are sorted for a few years. It shares many parts with the 550 Maranello. From memory the shock absorber top rotors are also another expensive item that breaks down and you can get the upgrade from Hills . Other stuff you need to look out for is already mentioned by fellow readers.
     
  19. virendra

    virendra Karting
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    virendra anand
    What about the 599?
     
  20. Laserguru

    Laserguru Formula Junior
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    Gentlemen, a number of these suggestions don't seem to take into account the budget constraints that our erstwhile 456 aficionado has expressed. And I was and continue to be constrained in much the same fashion. Making the jump from an auto to my 6MT was a big stretch for me. I'm not poor by anyone's definition, but neither am I so flush as to find price a mere side topic. Physics pays just fine but it surely isn't the path to wealth, fame, and the admiration of the editorial board at the Economist!!

    As for the 456M being boring, I think making comparisons to the 355, 360, or 430 misses the point of the 456. It isn't and was never intended to be the "sports car" of the product line. It doesn't drive like one or ride like one. Its altogether different. If you want a 2+2, and that is the kind of ride and presentation that you desire, then the sports cars just haven't the breeding, nor should they, to compete. We all have our favorite models and some have a model to fit every need, but if the man has fallen for the 456, lets indulge his desire. It was after all, the top of the line, the big Kahuna in its day and Enzo his very own self drove a 2+2 as his daily. It's still tough to find a 2+2 that is better, or more classically beautiful.
     
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  21. Temple

    Temple Formula Junior

    Jun 13, 2015
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    Temple
    If Taz says this is the case you can rest assured that this is true. I’ve spoken to a couple M-GTA owners about this and they say the same thing. Like you I wanted a M-GT but in the past couple of years the prices on M-GTs have skyrocketed so I’ve had to “expand” my search to include M-GTAs. Particularly in the US/North America this will broaden(!!) the horizon of available cars. I would add that if you can buy a 456 off of an f-chat member you more likely to get a sorted and maintained car as, generally speaking, f-chat members share the same love of the car as you do.
     
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  22. virendra

    virendra Karting
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    Agree to some extent. I bought the 456 when I had a kid. But having owned other sports cars I found better options for a 2 + 2 in terms of put the key and driving off. So I had the Porsche C4 manual convertible as a more reliable and less expensive to maintain car for that kick. First time buyers need to be aware of the running costs of these beasts. I paid USD 55000 for my car in 2004 in Hong Kong, spent 5000 on it , drove it for 300 kms in that year and sold it for 38000 a year later as no one wanted it here. It was in great shape but there was just no demand then. Hope things have changed in terms of their values. as prices are all over at the moment. The 456/355/550 I sold over the years have all skyrocketed in value while the 360 and 599 I have seem to be stagnant or going down. Its all about timing.
     
  23. Temple

    Temple Formula Junior

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    Temple
    One final comment: as Laserguru pointed out the “slush-box” in the 456 has proven itself to be a very reliable unit. I have been reading this forum pretty much daily for the past 3 years and I have not seen one(!!) post of an M-GTA tranny unit failing from a f-chatter here. A couple of “unconfirmed” reports maybe (“I heard that.....”). Also mileage should really not be a concern. I’d take a “high-mileage” (sic) example (+40k miles) over a “low-mileage” example (-20k miles) every day of the week. A “high-mileage” example usually means that the car has been maintained!! As well that it is more “sorted” (read: all the 456 “gremlins” have been addressed). And here’s the beauty (and the insanity) of the Ferrari world: a maintained car, a “sorted” car at substantial discount to a low-mileage example. Of course ymmv, but I would guess that others here will concur with this assessment.

    Temple
     
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  24. djbono

    djbono Rookie
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    Pierre-Marc Bonneau
    Thanks Laserguru, you seem to understand my constraints ;) I'm no physicist, just a 'lucky' young engineer that's quickly climbed a ladder; I've also always favoured (maybe because I'm a boring engineer) more 'reasonable' cars than my peers, thus making room (both in my garage and in my wallet) for a proper toy.

    You also succeed in 'explaining' my unreasonable love for the car, or at least why I'm looking for a 456 more than a 355 (Don't get me wrong, I adore & respect the 355, hell it was the first Ferrari I ever was allowed to drive; but I don't love it as much as I do a 456.)

    Having said that, everyone's input has been as useful so far; so thanks again - and please continue.
    As mentioned above, I'm slowly veering away from the local 456 here - the color-wrap, to me, is a red flag - I can't stop asking myself "what else has been done to this car' or rather, 'what hasn't been done...'.
    And thus... I will most likely have to conquer my fear of governmental processes - and source it from the US, where, yes indeed, there are very truly interesting candidates.
     
  25. scowman

    scowman Formula 3

    Mar 25, 2014
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    Stu Boogie
    The color wrap would be a deal killer form me. Especially a color change to "resale red."
     
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