Happy to share my experience. On the positive side it is a very comfortable car to drive great distances in. I drove mine from one end of France to the other in a day and did not need an appointment with the chiropraticer afterwards. Engine is terrific; it is fast rather than quick due to the weight of the car. At 100 mph the 456 GT just sits on the highway eating up the miles. 2 adults and 2 kids fit comfortably and it has enough luggage room for a couple of decent size bags. You can even jam 2 adults in the back for short trips. For a 12 cylinder Ferrari, they are reasonable to buy. IMHO, definitely one of Pininfarinas best designs.
On the negative, I thought that they were full depreciated but turned out to be wrong. The window seals are crap and wind noise at high speed is just part of the cars charm. I understand that they more or less fixed this on the 456 M GT. I bought a car with a full service history that had been well cared for by both the prior owners. Despite this I still ended up spending alot more than planned in maintenance which included a clutch replacement, new horn, minor electrical problem rectifications, seat motor repairs, etc. All in, by far the most expensive Ferrari I have owned.
In the end however the decision to sell was as much based on the personal preference as it was cost. To drive, the 456 GT does a lot of things really well. Probably too well for my taste. It is the only Ferrari I have owned where I always had the stereo on vs the others where I find myself listening to the engine etc. Net net, it was a bit too civilized.
If you do decide to buy a 456 GTM, go through the car with a microscope yourself first. Make sure everything electrical works not only when the car is sitting on the driveway, but also when pushing it hard on the road. Wiring on these can be an issue and connections that seem OK when sitting, come loose the first bump you hit in the road. The rear shocks are another weak point and will need replacing at some point in the 1st decade. Make sure this has been done as it is a $$$$ job. The clutches are fairly strong but when they start to go, the end is quick. Make sure it is in good condition with a lot of life left. The engine mounts and steering rack also degrade over time. One telling sign is if the nose dives when you hit the brakes. Make sure the stereo works properly as they are near impossible to replace. They are no longer made. After you have done all this, then I would get a Ferrari trained mechanic you trust to do a full Pre Purchase Inspection. The cost of fixing anything on a 456 GT is more than the PPI cost.
Thanks for the info. I'm getting my car from DK Engineering in the UK who have a very good reputation and the car will come with fresh MOT and a full years warranty. The car has just had a full top end rebuild (the fan switch failed & the head gaskets blew....) and all the valve guides have been done. So I'm hoping it will be OK, the repair costs are scary.
I spoke to one of their mechanics who used to work for a main dealer and he said that the early 456's were a bit of a nightmare for warranty work but that the 456M's were very much better. He better be right!
It certainly goes but is a bit muted (too much sound proofing), so I'm thinking of getting a Tubi exhaust fitted to enjoy the music a bit more.
Thanks for the tip about the radio & shocks. I attach some photos.
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