An elegant Prancing Horse: the Ferrari 456

Despite the elegant body, the 456 was a beast underneath

19w ago

After killing off the 412i in 1989, Ferrari was left with no front-engined car in their lineup. The company’s name wasn’t at stake, but the fact that they were missing a significant piece in their puzzle meant that they were behind the competition. At the same, their vintage models began breaking auction records, so the only logical thing to do was present a new model.

The 456 GT was a 2+2 coupe, which was a beauty on the outside and a beast on the inside. It was rather big car, but with a new 5.5-litre V12 engine, it could easily reach 302 km/h. The output was 442 HP, which was enough for 0-100 km/h time of 5.2 seconds. With this model, Ferrari set new standards for their GT range, and the 456 was made with great quality. The similar engine was used later in the 550, 575M and the 612 Scaglietti.

Interesting fact: the first 456 imported to UK was owned by none other than Rowan Atkinson.

Rowan Atkinson's former 456 GT. Credit: Petrolicious

Rowan Atkinson's former 456 GT. Credit: Petrolicious

Another interesting fact is that few custom units were commission by the Sultan of Brunei. Some of them were converted to convertibles, and some to shooting brakes (aka 456 Venice). Sadly, only one 456 Venice was spotted on the streets few times, meaning that others are probably rotting in the Sultan’s garage.

In 1998, Ferrari gave us a redesigned version called 456M, which was even better. Apart from manual transmission, Ferrari offered both versions with automatics too (these were named GTA). In total, 3.289 units were made (1.548 units of the 456 GT, 403 units of the 456 GTA, 688 units of the 456M GT, and 650 units of the 456M GTA).

The 456 is a nice collector’s item, and this refers to all versions. The prices for the 456 models are not too high, but they are still high compared to other Ferraris of that time. I guess this is because there are very few of them painted in red. Today, the 456 is priced between $37.000-$90.000, which is a rather decent price for a V12 Ferrari.



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Comments (20)

  • Actually, my favorite Ferrari, followed by 550/575.

      4 months ago
    • They are absolutely beautiful. I kinda have a feeling that they don't get enough attention like they should

        4 months ago
    • Not the usual Ferrari by today's standards. That said, I do like the other oddball, the 400i as well.

        4 months ago
  • It's hard to keep from making ours a daily driver. 1995 456GT 36k Miles.

      4 months ago
  • What an elegant colour, as well!

      3 months ago
  • It's crazy that Rowan Atkinson had a Ferrari. All I can imagine him driving is that hideous lime Mini Cooper.

      4 months ago
  • Having sold loads of them, I can say that the driving position is dreadful, the windows never shut properly, so at speed all you could hear was wind, typical Italian electrics, engine light always on for one reason or another. But they are ageing rather well and in true Ferrari style in another 20 years, it will look even more beautiful and no one will remember how dreadful they really were.

      4 months ago