Courtesy of Cars & Bids
Introduced in 1992, the 456 was Ferrari’s replacement for the 412 as the company’s 4-seater V12 grand tourer. It features a composite hood and aluminum body panels and was the last V12 Ferrari model to be equipped with pop-up headlights. The GT models were fitted with a manual transmission, while the GTA cars came with an automatic gearbox. According to Ferrari, the 3,726-pound GT can sprint to 60 mph in just under five seconds on its way to a top speed of 192 mph. Power comes from a “Tipo F116C” 5.5-liter V12, which produces 436 horsepower and 406 foot-pounds of torque. The engine spins the rear wheels via a 6-speed manual transmission and limited-slip differential. Doug’s Take: The 456 is a truly beautiful car — the most beautiful 4-seater V12-powered Ferrari in recent memory, and quite possibly in history. It’s also powerful and thrilling to drive, especially with a gated 6-speed manual like in this car — and this one also touts a gorgeous color combination that wonderfully serves a car like this. This 456 also touts some great service history and an accident-free history report, and it should be a prized possession of the next owner.

SCM Analysis


Vehicle:1997 Ferrari 456 GT
Years Produced:1992–98
Number Produced:1,548
SCM Valuation:$49,500
Tune Up Cost:$6,500
Chassis Number Location:ID plate on the firewall
Engine Number Location:Stamped on a lug on the right side of the block near the rear
Club Info:Ferrari Club of America
Alternatives:1985–87 Aston Martin Lagonda, 2004–10 Ferrari 612 Scaglietti, 2005–12 Maserati Quattroporte V
Investment Grade:C

This car sold for $86,735, including buyer’s premium, on Cars & Bids on April 13, 2021.

The early 1990s was a tough time for Ferrari. An incredible run-up of collector-car values had just collapsed, and at the same time, Ferrari’s once-exciting lineup had turned stale.

The Testarossa series was aging out, as was the Mondial. The popular 328 had been replaced by a poorly received 348. Ferrari was in a slump. Luca di Montezemolo, Ferrari’s then-chief, recognized it and made a plan to get the company back on track.

New World Order

Montezemolo’s solution was to use Ferrari’s experience in Formula One racing to once again make Ferrari a technological leader in the design of exotic sports cars. During the decade, he would introduce the F355, 456 GT and 550 Maranello. These cars would be a new departure both in design and performance and cement Ferrari’s position at the pinnacle of the automobile business.

The first of the new models was the 456 GT, the re-entry of a 2+2 model to the Ferrari lineup. The new Pininfarina design was a major departure from the 365/400/412 models it replaced. Lighter weight was a central theme, and due in part to an aluminum body and composite hood, the 456 weighed in at 250 pounds less than its predecessor. Complementing the diet, Ferrari contributed a new 5.5-liter engine. At 436 hp, it was nearly 100 hp more powerful than the model it replaced.

The 456 was not only higher performing than the car it replaced, but it was also superior in styling. Pininfarina’s four-place design looked only slightly larger than a coupe. Ferrari credited the 456 as being inspired by the Daytona. Not content to just restyle the exterior, Pininfarina also performed its magic on the interior, making it look both sporting and luxurious.

Get to know your mechanic

Ownership of a 456 is not for the faint of heart. Service and repair costs can make a yacht owner shudder.

Many of the issues these cars experience will eventually infect most 456s, and this car is no exception. In the unexpected-repair category, the auction copy states that in the past four years, this car has been to the shop for new engine mounts, window-regulator adjustment and then a window-regulator rebuild.

Additionally, it has needed an alternator rebuild, a new clutch and throw-out bearing, brake pads and rotors, radiator work, intake-manifold hoses and gaskets, and power-steering pump replacement. The ball joints were replaced, the a/c compressor rebuilt, the radio repaired, fuel-sending unit rebuilt, rear shocks rebuilt and the rear suspension accumulators replaced.

Apparently, they also chased an ignition issue. The crankshaft sensor was replaced, ignition wires replaced, spark plugs replaced, cam sensor replaced, ignition coil replaced, crankshaft sensor replaced and replaced again.

Cosmetically, the rear parcel shelf needed reupholstering, as did the instrument binnacle.

In the routine-maintenance category, a major service was completed with new tensioners, a couple of oil and filter services were done, and four new tires and a battery were installed.

And just for fun, the car got the obligatory Tubi mufflers, because hearing your passenger is such a bore.

From the peanut gallery

The incredible success of Bring a Trailer has hatched multiple competitors, including Cars & Bids. Launched by Doug DeMuro, a YouTube sensation with over 4 million subscribers to his channel, this online auction site seems to be a hit after its first year.

Cars & Bids follows a now-common format, with a description of the car and dozens of photos, followed with bids interspersed with audience comments. Plus it adds “Doug’s Take,” a section wherein an exuberant DeMuro explains why he likes the consignment.

Judging from the comments on the 456 auction, the audience is the youthful group that you would expect to follow an internet star. The first comment noted, “Very hard to find cars with 12 cylinders and a manual.” That’s certainly news for an older Ferrari enthusiast.

The commenters seemed to have a fixation on the 456’s 6-speed gated transmission. Apparently, the audience is young enough that seeing a stick-shift Ferrari is a treat. Given that most Ferraris built in the last 20 years are F1 models, manual-transmission cars are growing increasingly novel.

Yacht rock

The final bid of $83,000 plus the 4.5% buyers commission is well on the high side of 456 values. There is renewed interest in the model, but this car was not a peach. It was a 50,000-mile car with a service history that should have scared away anyone paying attention. The color was a plus, and maybe all the money spent on service was too, but it looks like the siren song of a gated shifter may have closed the deal.

The seller scored on this one, while the buyer’s spending has likely just begun.

It’s said a yacht is a hole in the water into which you throw money. A 456 may just be the same hole in your garage. However, cost doesn’t stop a yacht owner from enjoying their toy and it won’t stop the 456 buyer from enjoying theirs either. Sometimes, you just have to pay to play, and this is one of those times. ♦

(Introductory description courtesy of Cars & Bids.)

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