Author Topic: Ferrari 456 Estate  (Read 2538 times)

JD

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Ferrari 456 Estate
« on: April 25, 2011, 03:59:44 PM »
Surely Ferrari would never do an Estate - or would they? Well, in this story Christian Frost took place behind the wheel of A 456 GT complete with V12, 442bhp, a top speed of 300 km/h and room for a Labrador...

Let me guess what you think. Did I miss something, or isnít a Ferrari 456 GT usually a 2+2, and a fairly cramped one at that? Youíre absolutely right, which is why the good people of Maranello decided to do an Estate version. Even the rich have families. Okay, Iím having you on. Ferrari has never offered an Estate version of the 456 GT, or any model for that matter. And yet at this very moment, Iím cruising through Hyde Park in London. Iím in a Ferrari 456 GT.Itís got four doors and a tailgate. Itís an Estate. Itís a long story. First have a listen to that brilliant 5,4-litre V12, humming through the four tailpipes. Just to let me know that, should I so desire, the 442bhp is ready and waiting.
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But then the driving in itself is not what makes this car special.Much more fun to just cruise along, watching your average petrolhead pedestrians in the rear view mirror, as they collide with lamp posts and other obstacles courtesy of the Royal Park variety. Theyíll look, because thatís what you do when a Ferrari crawls by. Then as you pass them their mouth falls open, as they desperately look for someone equally amazed to share the moment. An Estate? A Ferrari Estate?!? Oh, just wait until I tell that to the boys at the Pub tonight. Sadly, we all know what theyíll say. ďYeah, careful with that thing Pinocchio, or youíll poke somebodyís eye out...Ē.

Because there is no such thing as a Ferrari 456 Estate. Well, yes and no. The car that you see here is every bit the real thing, even though it didnít look like this when it rolled off the assembly line in Maranello. If you have a craving for a Ferrari 456 GT with a bit more luggage space than the standard issue, then thereís only one man who can help you. His name is Sergio Pininfarina, and the only limitations is the size of your cheque book. Itís like this: There are people in this world who donít consider being a Ferrari owner such a big deal. If everyone you know drives Ferraris as well, then youíll need something very special to make a statement at the Country Club. Youíll need something like, say, your very own coach built Ferrari for instance. If you have enough millions rolling around in the bank, it can be a full-time job just to spend it all. The fact that Ferrari just happens not to build the kind of car you want is not a problem. There are ways around that, if you spend enough cash in Maranello. And the guy who ordered the car that you see here, kept Ferrari in business when they were building Testarossas, Mondials, 348s and other useless machinery. A Ferrari 456 Estate, Sir? Not a problem...

Oh, and our chap didnít just order one. Pininfarina was instructed to build a small run of seven cars. Today that sort of thing is very unusual, but not very long ago most cars were build in any way you would desire. If you went to buy a car like a Maserati or an Alfa-Romeo in the Thirties, what you would get was a chassis fitted with four wheels, an engine and a gearbox. Then you took the chassis to one of the numerous Carrozzerias like Touring, Ghia, Vignale or Pinin Farina where skilled craftsmen clothed your car any way you liked. And when the green Ferrari 456 GT came to be, thatís pretty much what happened.

Pininfarina went about it as thoroughly, as if Ferrari were to put the model into regular production. First the designers had a go with their marker pens, and then the engineers and clever CAD/CAM computers translated everything into reality. It would have been a lot easier just to add a hump on the back of the existing 456 GT, but Pininfarina was determined to do the job right. So rear doors and rear seats were added, which in turn meant that the wheelbase had to be extended some 20 centimetres.

Sounds pretty simple, doesnít it? Well, it isnít.From the A-pillar and back itís virtually a brand new car. Pininfarina even did the complete tooling to stamp out the new bodyparts (except for the bootlid itself, which is carbonfibre). So the fit and finish are like any other production car, as opposed to a hand-built special. Technically it wouldnít have been a problem to do a couple of hundred of these babies. But then that would defy the purpose of the exercise - if everyone can have one, you donít really want it anymore, see?

As it were, only seven of these cars were ever built. Six of them went to the man who put in the original order, Prince Jeffrey of Brunei. For reasons unknown, his Royal Highness didnít want the seventh car, so if you have the money, it could be yours. Right now this car is for sale from London specialist Taylor & Crawley Ltd., where you would be expect to pay anything upwards of a million dollars. But then youíll have the only Ferrari outside of Brunei, thatíll carry 400 litres of luggage.The other six cars are unlikely ever to be seen again, and even more unlikely, ever to be sold. Pininfarina probably wonít do another of his special jobs, since itís just consuming too much time and money these days. This car might just be the last custom built Ferrari ever.
















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