One of the Cheapest Ferraris is Also One of the Most Underrated
There’s no shortage of automotive enthusiasts with the lofty dream of buying an “affordable” used Ferrari. Sure, putting the word affordable and Ferrari together is a bit questionable. However, there are some models that get to surprisingly low numbers even to this day. Moreover, one of the cheapest Ferraris out there, the 456, is one of the most overlooked models in the brand’s lineup.
The Ferrari 456 is a true-to-heritage model with a manual transmission and pop-up headlights
I’ve already touched on why front-engine V12 Ferraris are the best Ferraris, so we don’t need to delve into that argument again. That being said, that very point is one of the reasons the Ferrari 456 is one of the greatest, not just one of the cheapest Ferraris.
The 456 is a bit unique in that it features four seats. Certainly, that’s not common on a Ferrari. The rear seats, though, are best left to children or, well, people without legs. Much like the Supra, GR86, Porsche 911, and virtually any other four-seat, two-door sports car, they’re effectively useless.
What isn’t useless, though, is the powerplant under the hood. It’s a screaming 5.5-liter V12 engine that puts out 436 horsepower and 406-pound feet of torque, according to Cars and Bids. Moreover, while automatics did exist, you’ll pretty routinely find six-speed manual models for sale. Combine the heaven-on-earth that is a manual V12 car with the sleek, beautiful ‘90s styling and, of course, pop-up headlights, and it’s hard to imagine an affordable Ferrari model that could be better.
How much is a Ferrari 456 worth?
This beautiful example of a 1997 Ferrari 456 GT with a manual transmission sold at Cars and Bids earlier this year (2023) for $67,500. It has fairly high mileage at 45,900 miles. Fortunately, the seller had the “major service” done, which includes the Timing belt, tensioner bearing, cam seal bearing, cabin filter, valve cover gasket set, and belts replaced, engine oil and filter changed, transmission, brake, and coolant flushed, engine mounts, strut assemblies, exhaust center section, oxygen sensor bung, right catalyst assembly, and front and rear oxygen sensors. Major indeed!
It’s also worth noting that this particular car has a rebuilt title due to a single-car front-end collision. That verbiage seems to imply that someone behind the wheel lost control. C’est la vie. If you’re shopping for the cheapest Ferraris on the market, you’ll just have to accept that you might have to have a branded title.
On a general level, Hagerty values a good condition 456 at around $84,000 and, as of writing, on a slight downward trend. So, they’re not cheap, per say, but they are cheap for a Ferrari.
Overall, I think it’s time we pour some respect on the almighty Ferrari 456. It’s not just great because it’s one of the cheapest Ferraris. It’s great because it’s a front-engine, rear-wheel drive V12 Ferrari with an available manual transmission. A staple of the past and a breed that died off in 2012 when Ferrari discontinued the manual transmission.