Reflections on 456GT ownership

Discussion in '456/550/575' started by Mr. V, Jan 28, 2020.

  1. Mr. V

    Mr. V Formula 3

    Oct 23, 2004
    Portland, Oregon
    I sold my 456GT, and it caused me some mixed emotions due to the inherent pros and cons of ownership.


    Beautiful styling: like rolling sculpture. Often I'd just gaze at it and feel lucky for owning something so nice.

    Brisk performance, at least for its era.



    Too difficult for me to repair and maintain. As a competent shade tree mechanic I assumed I could "up my game" a bit with this exotic car but I soon found out I was over my head and I had to turn it over to specialist repair facilities. Paying professionals buckets full of money to maintain a hobby car just didn't cut it for me.

    Fear: the fear of something going wrong with it (often happened) coupled to the reality of stratospheric repair costs curbed my zeal to drive it as much as I would have liked.

    Disappointing resale value: I lost money on the deal, after factoring in repair / maintenance costs.

    flat_plane_eddie and Joey4420 like this.
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  3. killer58

    killer58 Formula 3

    Jun 30, 2010
    CA & DC
    Mr. V,

    It's always disappointing to hear owners who had a negative experience with a 456.
    I advise people considering one that if they can't afford an unexpected $10K repair bill, it's probably not the right car for them. After all, most are over 20 yrs old now. That said, once sorted, they seem to be fairly reliable.
    And they're not like California real estate, the only investment return these cars provide is that of enjoyment.

    Owning a modern Ferrari is definitely a pay-to-play sport. Else, they'd be as common as a Prius.
  4. Mr. V

    Mr. V Formula 3

    Oct 23, 2004
    Portland, Oregon
    Killer 58:

    I agree with your points.

    In my case I bought the car anticipating that I'd be able to service and maintain it: I enjoy that aspect of car ownership as much as or perhaps even more than driving.

    I sold it when it became apparent that the car's needs exceeded my ability to meet by myself.

    My ability to pay others for repairs was never the real issue; my inability to work on and maintain the car the way I'd hoped to when I bought it was the crux.

    For example, I tried to install the SRI gold pin connector kit to correct electrical gremlins and gave up: too difficult for me, so I shipped it to SRI for them to install and otherwise sort the car out.

    Nothing but praise for Dave and his crew, but I'd hoped to do it all by myself and was pissed / frustrated that I could not rise to the task.

    A local repair specialist in Portland did several other things, things I couldn't do, like rebuilding a bad turn signal or wiper stalk mechanism: were it not a Ferrari I could have gotten a replacement part at a youpullit wrecking yard.

    I recall working on the engine and a small nut came out of my hand and bounced behind the engine: I couldn't find it and noticed there was a slot, an opening, on the top of what I would call the bell housing and I feared the nut had fallen in there. What the hell kind of design / engineering led to a slot being there?

    Scared the hell out of me.

    I enjoyed many aspects of the car, it was not all negative, but it just wasn't a good fit for me.

    Had I gone into it not expecting or wanting to service it then I'd probably still own it.
  5. ferraridriver

    ferraridriver F1 Rookie
    Rossa Subscribed

    Aug 8, 2002
    Bay Area Calif.
    Full Name:
    Reminded me of the old days peering over the back of the engine to see the flywheel markings while turning the distributor to set the timing :)
  6. Colebrook328

    Colebrook328 Rookie

    Nov 7, 2019
    Thanks for sharing your perspectives on ownership. I’m a rookie here and close to taking the plunge on 456 ownership so your pros/cons are very helpful. I will definitely be one of those owners who (at least initially) sends the car out for service but hopefully I can learn as I go and start to take on some repairs myself over time.

    My main concern isn’t as much the cost as the fear that the car will be stuck in the shop on the rare occasions I would get to drive it (weekend car kept at a second home). In your experience with sending it out for service, does it typically take days or weeks to get the car back? I know there is a broad range of repairs that the cars may need but I don’t want to take it in for service in October and get it back in December when it’s too nasty out to drive (car will be in upstate CT).

    I love that most of the 456s I see listed for sale have been driven and aren’t garage queens and I don’t want to be stuck looking at an empty garage bay while it’s in the shop for weeks on end. Thanks in advance for any input and guidance.
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  8. F456M

    F456M F1 Rookie
    Silver Subscribed

    Jan 8, 2010
    Full Name:
    The 456M I had was the most reliable of all cars. The only problem I had were the headlight motors. I hated that. But except for that car felt more expencive with more equipment than my present 550.

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