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1995 Ferrari 456 GT Manual: Twelve Cylinders with Upward Potential

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Given the state of perpetual flux that financial markets have seen as of late, I have noticed a lot of chatter around various car blogs and social media sites about cars with the potential to hold or increase in value. I’m definitely a believer in tangible assets, so this got me thinking: if I were looking to shirk responsibility and plant some retirement money into a car that I can use sparingly while hopefully seeing a moderate uptick in value or at least enough to cover my ownership costs, what would I buy? 

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But here’s the thing: if I’m going to do this, I want to do it with gusto! Sure, aircooled 911s are seemingly always on the rise to one extent or another, but a) I’ve been there and done that, and b) they’re, well, kind-of common among sports and exotic cars. Likewise, blue chip cars like 300SL Gullwings and BMW 507s are likely safe bets from an investment standpoint, but the price of admission is frankly too rich for my middle-class Generation X retirement account at this point. So what to buy? Well, investment advisors are always telling folks to “buy what you like” when it comes to stocks, so I’m going to apply that same logic here: I like Ferraris, although I’ve never owned one. I don’t, however, like all Ferraris. In true Enzo tradition, I like my Ferraris with 12 cylinders up front driving the rear wheels. Somewhat less popularly, I also like my Ferraris with room for the whole family. With those parameters in mind, I’ve decided to fictitiously throw cautios to the wind and sink my hard-earned money invest in this 1995 Ferrari 456GT 6-speed manual for sale in Seattle, Washington with an asking price of $65,000

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I’ve been a big fan of the 456 (so named because each of its 12 cylinders displaces 456cc) since they first came out circa 1993. The design was period-modern with such very Rad-era touches as pop-up headlights and massive side vents/scoops, but it also had some classic Ferrari touches such as the egg-crate front grille and a remarkably Daytona-esque rear 3/4 profile. It was a tremendous step forward from its spiritual successor – the razor-edged 400/412 4-seater – and in fact seemed more reminiscent of cars like the 330GT of the 1960s. Of course, all were penned by Pininfarina.

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By 2020 standards, the wheels are kind-of small and the Dino-based F116B V-12’s 436hp and 406 lb-ft of torque seem somewhat mundane for a precision Italian exotic car, but when new the 456GT’s 0-60mph time of 4.8 seconds and top speed of 192mph made it the world’s second fastest production four-seater automobile behind the Porsche 959. Sure, my 2001 Mercedes-Benz W210 E55 is just as fast off the line, but I’m limited to 155mph. Besides, as much as I love my E55, it’s nether a stick nor a Ferrari. And besides, it’s certainly no slouch even today.

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Some other cool details in the 456GT – and I prefer the earlier, older interior and exterior styling to the later 456GTM – are the traditional gated shifter, the array of small gauges across the center stack, and the vertically mounted stereo in the console. Like the Quattroporte we talked about a little while ago, the switchgear in these cars is prone to wear quickly and get weirdly sticky, and the leather dash is susceptible to shrinkage. This one looks remarkably good inside, especially considering its kind-of-high-for-a-Ferrari 48,500 miles.

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As mentioned already, I like 4-seat Ferraris. Always have. This one is no exception, and the black leather interior complete with proper 4-place bucket seating looks like a very appealing place to be. The rear seats can reportedly hold full-sized adults, but I wouldn’t want to be there for an extended period of time. Note proper shoulder belts for rear seat occupants – excellent for securing a child seat or to hold your young-uns in place during spirited (but of course, responsible) driving. The molded rear headrests are a particularly nice touch.

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Nothing sounds, feels. or drives like a V12. They are just so smooth, and in Ferrari form, make a burble that no amount of exhaust engineering can adequately duplicate. The 456’s powerplant does require belt changes every 5 years. However, that change is a DIY job for even moderately-skilled home mechanics. Other potential weak spots include all of the electrics (test everything!) and self-leveling suspension. Rot can occur in the rockers and floors especially, so be sure and check them out well.  This car has reportedly recently had over $22,000 in new upgraded components for longer service intervals: New belts, pumps, coils, wires, covers, thermostat, values, hoses, window regulators rebuilt, and so on. Additionally, the seller indicates that the car comes with all records, books, and the factory tool kit.

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So where will values of these cars go? Goodness only knows. The S&P has averaged about 9.2% over a 10 year period, so to achieve a similar return this car would need to double in value over the next 5 years. That may be a bit of a stretch, but even if your investments continue on that track, you can’t drive your portfolio, shift its gated 6-speed connected to its 12 cylinders, and bask in it’s aural awesomeness. So there’s that. 

If not this one, what car would you consider as a viable “retirement vehicle” – if you get my meaning….?

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