Considering a 456M GTA - any advice appreciated - Ferrari Life
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post #1 of 11 Old 05-06-2018, 11:17 AM Thread Starter
Join Date: Apr 2018
Location: Montreal
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Considering a 456M GTA - any advice appreciated

Hi all,
long time lurker - first time writer. Been desiring 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?
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post #2 of 11 Old 05-07-2018, 03:40 AM
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DJ, you shouldn't necessarily be fearful of a high mileage car, however if it's had 10 owners that put the 70K on it, that would raise alarm bells. A low number of owners, and high mileage, however, simply means to me that someone has driven the car and enjoyed it, and that's a good sign.

The GM based automatic has been fairly reliable in these cars, but recently a number of owners have been reporting issues, and there is little support for it, either from the dealers or the aftermarket. Best advice is to find yourself a top notch auto transmission man and befriend him.

Re: the PPI. To me, buying an exotic car is akin to buying a home. No one buys a home without running an inspection on it, and the same goes for an exotic. If a seller won't permit a PPI, then turn away.

Cam belts: If you're reasonably handy, have worked on foreign cars before, and understand automotive physics, you can probably do a cam belt change, after acquiring some special tools. However, if you have access to Rocco, I would pay him some extra $$$ or buy him a case of wine/beer just to let you watch or even "help" him do the cam belts. Nothing like working alongside a seasoned pro to learn what to do, and more importantly what NOT to do.

Good luck with it and hope it works out for you!

p.s. Welcome to Ferrari Life! Please fill out your profile a little more too.

'99 550, Rosso Corsa / Nero, S/N:114654, Assy: 31836, Engine: 52084

High mileage, low compression, and missing on a few cylinders.....just like my cars.

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post #3 of 11 Old 05-07-2018, 05:24 AM Thread Starter
Join Date: Apr 2018
Location: Montreal
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Thanks @cribbj - I don't know (yet) about the amount of previous owners, but it's (now) top of my list of questions;
as for the PPI - the dealership the car's being sold at welcomes any outside mechanic. I mentioned Rocco because it's my uncle's mechanic (and he's in the region); I would have him PPI, but after that - I'll need to find a Rocco of my own as I'm in Montreal, 6hr+ away from rocco.
Back in the days, there used to be Luigi, but since he passed I'm not too sure where I would turn to. I guess I need to figure that out before buying

thanks for taking the time to read & respond
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post #4 of 11 Old 05-07-2018, 01:20 PM Thread Starter
Join Date: Apr 2018
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Hi guys-

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 regulalry 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.

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'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.
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post #5 of 11 Old 05-08-2018, 04:14 AM
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I've become intrigued recently with wrapping a car in lieu of painting to change its color, but there doesn't seem to be a long term history on the results and whether there's significant damage to the original finish when the wrap is removed.

Silver is a great color for 456's - they're already an elegant looking car, and to me, the silver only enhances the elegance of it. Too bad they felt wrapping would enhance its saleability. I'm with you, that would be a detraction for me.

I would call the Ferrari dealer and see if they'll talk to you about the service work. The worst they can do is say "no".

'99 550, Rosso Corsa / Nero, S/N:114654, Assy: 31836, Engine: 52084

High mileage, low compression, and missing on a few cylinders.....just like my cars.

Maranello Skunkworks Team Member
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post #6 of 11 Old 05-08-2018, 07:59 AM
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It is rare though not unheard of F-cars being wrapped. The advantage of a wrap is you can remove it. Red Ferrari tend to sell more quickly and for a higher price and maybe that is why the dealership wrapped it. I would ask where it was wrapped and then talk to the wrappers about the cost or removing it and maybe why it was wrapped. Hiding something? On 456 model as well as the 550s and 575s I think silver is an very complimentary color.

2006 Ferrari F430 Coupť,
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post #7 of 11 Old 05-08-2018, 08:22 AM
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Let me add to what John has already said:

After two years of planning and searching, I purchased my M GTA about a year ago. Bottom line Ė I could not be happier.

I had been in the market for a GT and read all about them. Iíve always liked their shape and after driving 6 different 456s during my search, I knew I liked the way they drive. Both the shape and the auto transmission are personal choices, so I wouldnít put a lot of stock in any comments other people about them. If you like the design and an auto transmission GT, then this is certainly a car worth considering.

Now, let me address some of your questions in order:

The auto transmission is a modified GM box and fairly robust if taken care of. Some of the parts for it are becoming scarce, but that is true of the 456 in general. This fact alone shows why a thorough PPI is an absolute must. If you do not have deep deep pockets, you need to find a car thatís been both taken care of and in good shape mechanically.
I wouldnít be concerned about the high mileage provided they are WELL DOCUMENTED miles.

Although not as popular as the other models in the 456ís generation, good examples are sought after. If a car has been sitting for some time, thereís probably a reason.

Your friendís upkeep estimate sounds about right if slightly low. Again, if treated well and maintained, they seem to be relatively trouble free. That said, if you cannot afford a $10K unplanned repair, a 456 is probably not the car for you.

I would have no reservations about doing my own cam belt service, but I do not have the space. Johnís advice about shadowing a pro the first time through is sound advice.
These cars are unlikely to appreciate during your ownership. Iíll go further and say you should never look at a modern-era Ferrari as an investment. The exotic car world is a pay-to-play sport. Period.

Most dealers will be a bit hesitant to provide prior records, it usually takes a bit of discussion and convincing them you are a serious customer. I stated upfront in my requests for records that the dealership redact all owner info.

Silver is a popular Ferrari color, but less so with the 456. Darker colors seem to be most in demand.

Now for my opinion of the car youíre considering - high mileage, lack of history, wrapped: Walk Away
Wait for the right one to come along.

Hope this helps.

PS Ė a search here will find a 456 PPI form I created with Johnís help and advice. Also, there have been recent threads on the 456, both here and on that other site. They are well worth your time to find. And finally, read the Buyers Guide found here.

Of all the narcissists I know, I love me the most.
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post #8 of 11 Old 05-08-2018, 01:11 PM
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Originally Posted by Killer58 View Post

Your friendís upkeep estimate sounds about right if slightly low. Again, if treated well and maintained, they seem to be relatively trouble free. That said, if you cannot afford a $10K unplanned repair, a 456 is probably not the car for you.
Shop owner and veteran Ferrari tech here; these are sage words of advice. I will concur that annual maintenance costs seem a bit light. Deferred maintenance, due to the " I don't use it, so why change fluids" excuse, if true, will cost you dearly. I have six 456Ms of various years and configurations that I maintain. All the owners love their cars, but are acutely aware that repairs can be expensive. I would not even remotely consider a 456 without have a shop that is familiar with the more common "issues" do a through inspection.

Good luck in your search.
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post #9 of 11 Old 05-09-2018, 12:17 AM
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Pretty much everything has already been said, and by people with more expertise than I, but a few further thoughts:

I am surprised by the idea of a red 456 selling better than a silver one. The 4-seaters generally look better if not in red and the 456 is no exception. I think the dealer may be spinning you a porky and I certainly wouldn't want to buy a car that had been wrapped, as it could be covering a multitude of sins.

While I accept that a high ownership number is not considered to be a good thing, there is an alternative view. Most high end cars will get a thorough inspection / preparation prior to sale, so the more times a car has been sold, the more frequently any faults have been identified and (probably) put right, something which may well not happen to a one owner car.

If the car has been regularly serviced (every year), there should be evidence - if not the invoice, a stamp in a service book.

If it hasn't been used for a year or more, it needs a very thorough check, including an proper road test, and a full service now.

My instinct is telling me this is not the car for you.
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Best wishes, John
Ferrari: 550 Maranello S/N 110995, Dino 246 GT S/N 6934
Other: 1990 Bentley Turbo R, 1989 Porsche 911 C2, 2004 Mercedes 500CLK, 2011 Mercedes E350 CDI, 1972 VW T2 Camper, 2014 Fiat 500C, 1963 Jaguar E-type 3.8 FHC, 2015 Maserati Granturismo Sport
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post #10 of 11 Old 05-18-2018, 10:32 PM
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DIY on 456GTA and regarding colors

Hi djbono!

I have been 456 GTA owner for 7 years here in Tokyo, Japan.

I did timing belt replacement last December by myself, but not alone. With full support of a pro Ferrari FR V12 expert "AkaiAkuma".

When 8 456 owners gathered last year, there was no Rosso Corsa.
But I saw at least 2 456s Rosso Corsa , and they were great! So, don't hesitate to ride on a red 456.

As mentioned in the second blog, window is a weak point of 456, 456M seems improved.

You may already know other fatal point of 456, that is in gas tank area. Plastic fuel pump cover breaks and gas leaks. That part is discontinued, so I asked AkaiAkuma, and he produced metal cover for us.

Also, fuse board might be damaged but I'm not sure it's caused only under Japanese high humid climate. AkaiAkuma also made fuse board for us in 21st century Japanese quality.

Other than that, of course, usual maintenance is required.
Such as oil, fluid, rubber for hose and suspensions, shocks, battery, some bearings, filters. As they are already 15 or 20 years old, and high temp under hood w/ V12, rubbers and other chemicals might be damaged including o-rings for A/C.

With parts, you can DIY almost everything, if you have a good adviser around you.

I hope these info will help your decision.
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post #11 of 11 Old 05-28-2018, 12:25 PM
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I was in the area and went and saw this car myself on May 18th. As I was waiting for the salesman I went into their warehouse area and looked at the car. At first I thought what a disaster! When the salesman came over he said "well what do you think?" I said it looks like my father painted this car in his she'd. He then explained that the car had a wrap. The original car is not silver buy more of a champaign color ( like a silver gold mix) . The salesman said the wrap could be removed and it was only done because they thought the Red was more desirable. I said maybe red is but to not disclose that in the ad is deceiving. Plus the wrap job itself is very bad and looks bad so what are they trying to hide? He said oh we can remove the wrap for you. I said let me know if you remove the wrap and I might drop back again for a look. I didn't have a good vibe with the place.
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