456M GT - finally
good things come to those who wait (I hope). After a Europe-wide search for a 456M GT for over a year, I finally closed the deal on 111524 on Tuesday (after reaching agreement just before Xmas). The car is currently located in Pistoia, Italy, and due to bad weather, will remain there for another 1-2 months before it gets ready for a massive Tour of Europe. The entire process of finding and acquiring the car has been so absurd at times that it'll be difficult to do it justice in one post. Suffice to note that the negotiations and hick ups over a period of 6 months (first testdrove the car in August 2012) have let me age for a couple of years and made the transaction unforgettable....as it should be for a Ferrari.
First of all I wanted to thank all of you for equipping me with fantastic info on these cars. I first started reading this forum in late 2011 and it has been invaluable. Thanks also to Taz for responding on a number of basic questions, and particularly to Fabio (550 Maranello) with whom I've had some great conversations since, and who pointed me to a trusted expert technician who travelled 200kms to check out the car with another fresh pair of eyes. It is a welcome coincidence that Fabio and I closed the deal on our new rides in the same week. It is my first F car after having owned old 911s and an Alfa GTV 2000 Bertone for nearly two decades.
But now to the car which I intend to use for Grand Touring in Europe with my wife and two small kids: It's a stunning 1998 M GT finished in Grigio Titanio with charcoal interior. Some info suggests (thanks to Lars T) that less than 20 cars have been produced in this colour combination, although I'd welcome any info on this from the registry experts. I bought it from the original owner who bought the car at Motor Spa in Modena in Oct 98. The car has 38k kms on the clock and is in immaculate cosmetic condition (with the exception of tiny bubbles on the sticky). It was driven regularly for the first 6-7 years, then occasionally for the following 5 years, and essentially sat for the last 2-3 years covering only 1000km in this period). It has been serviced by the same mechanic (first dealer now indie) over the last 12 years, although the documented service history is not fully available (in written form) - partly due to the fact that the offical F dealer in the area went into receivership. Service history tends to be an issue with many Italian pre-2000 F cars (as many of you know). Combine this with some language problems (I'm dual German/Australian), and you had the perfect mix of false (?) alarm bells, toss ups, doubts, misunderstandings, suspicions, excitements etc etc - I couldnt have done it with the support of a number of Italian friends (with one living 5mins away coincidentally).
The car has been on sale for about 2 years, not very visibly (ie not on regular European sites like autoscout24 or mobile). The vendor was a tough cookie and the price of the car high for the Italian market. He was in no rush to sell which, eventually, I took as a good thing. But I think the reason why this car didn't sell quicker is the fact that very few 'standard' discerning British/German/French buyers would put up with the lack of detailed service history and communication/admin challenges at a price which is lower than in those countries, but not over-significantly so (on the other hand, in my search, I never came across a 1 owner car in these countries).
I leave the 'sorting out the car's gremlins' aspect of the transaction for later in the thread - I have to run now. And I will post more pics as they become available. I might be part of a niche, but for me the 456M is the most beautiful 2+2 since the 330 and the only 'modern' 2+2 I really love. It has been one of my dream cars ever since it was launched. So you can appreciate my excitement now. I hope she'll remain a manageable diva and will aim to keep you informed.