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Thread: Ross456 - 1998 456GTA

  1. #1
    Club Scuderia is offline Club Administrator Super Moderator
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    Default Ross456 - 1998 456GTA

    November 2005

    Mileage: 500 (& 25,000 from new)
    Issues: The best car I’ve ever driven and a rude awakening
    Money spent: £1,300 (as well as the purchase price)!


    At the start of the year (2005) I got my first F-car, a ’85 Mondial QV in great condition and low miles. The car was purchased from Forza288 in Bournemouth and is, in my opinion, very much underrated (predominantly due to it’s looks which I actually like)! At the end of the day I’d wanted a F-car for as long as I can remember and for c.£15k I’d achieved it and could now pose and do 150mph+ (the M42’s a lovely stretch of road)!

    After 10 months and 5k miles I had learnt that a 20year old car struggles to cope with today’s driving, even with just ad-hoc use. Running two cars was also starting to pi$$ me off. Not just the expense but also the need to remember to do things twice and the need to solve two different sets of problems.
    What I needed was a F-car (by this time I was hooked and couldn’t live with out one), that had suffered most of its depreciation, could fit my golf clubs in, that my Mrs can drive to pick me up from the pub when I’m drunk and has the mod cons needed for daily use (power steering, air-con and ideally an auto ‘box).

    I’d always liked the 456 but only ever admired it from afar due to the £150k+ list price. So I was pretty shocked to see the way the value had fallen over the 10years since it was launched.
    After a lot of phone calls to dealers and a couple of near misses I found myself back at Forza288 talking to Dave Miller who was happy to take back the Mondial he had previously sold me and let me drive away in a 456GTA in Grigio/Bordeaux that he was selling for a client. Dave is a top bloke and I would recomend talking to him for advice if nothing else!

    Both myself and the Mrs drove the car on the day I collected it and it even got the seal of approval from her. The 200mile drive back from Bournemouth was a breeze. No backache, no surprises just great driving and plenty of fun!

    However…
    The first week of driving it to work everyday highlighted a few glitches. The most serious of which was the coolant pipe leaking, making the temperature rise. Luckily this happened just across the road from Graypaul where it was duly limped to for further investigation and repair.
    Ouch! Loads of man hours needed and Graypaul’s turnover increased by £.1,300!

    End the month wondering if I’ve bitten off more than I can chew!
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  2. #2
    Club Scuderia is offline Club Administrator Super Moderator
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    Default December 2005

    December 2005

    Mileage: 750 (& 25,500 from new)
    Issues: New windscreen and fun in the snow!
    Money spent: £60


    Pretty quite month all told.

    The car had a small chip in the windscreen when I picked it up and it seems this has now developed into a crack of several inches. Check my insurance and am pleased to find that the RAC will replace it for a £60 excess. RAC in Notts do a good job and the boys there say that working on a F-car has brightened up their day.

    Used everyday for work even when the snow starts and have a round trip to Northampton on Xmas day to see family. Decide that my Xmas present to the Mrs is to let her drive so I can have a drink!

    I remember that my Mondial had a fitted car cover and decide I want one for the 456. Post ‘wanted’ ad on FOC website.

  3. #3
    Club Scuderia is offline Club Administrator Super Moderator
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    Default January 2005

    January 2005

    Mileage: 750 (& 26,250 from new)
    Issues: Puncture and accessories
    Money spent: £140 and tried my hand at bartering!


    Busy month!
    Drove to work one morning only to park up and realise the rear driver’s side tyre is flat (guess who can’t tell the difference between a low profile tyre and a flat)! Remembered that the GTA doesn’t come with a spare (the manual does apparently?)!
    I’m a member of the AA so give them a call, guy comes out and drives me and the car to a friend of mine who runs a repair centre. I find out the AA guy has a ‘80s 911 back at home and chat about cars in general – an all round good bloke!
    My friend at the garage sources and fits a new Bridgstone Expedia for me. Now it’s time to pay…

    You need to know that my daily ride, when I had the Mondial, was a Corsa Sport (only the finest supercars for me)! This is making my drive-way look untidy now that I’m using the 456 everyday and I’m desperate to get rid! Strike a deal with the Garage that basically means I get a new tyre and £70 in my pocket in exchange for the Corsa.
    Drive home happy that, in theory, I’ve made some cash only to realise I’m low on fuel. Go to nearest garage and fill up. How much did it cost? Of course, £70!

    Get contacted by a guy with 456 car and seat cover set for sale, after seeing my ‘wanted’ ad on the FOC website. He sends pics that show hardly any use and still in official carry bag. Deal struck for £200 the lot. Sorted!

    I’ve always preferred F-cars when they have the Scuderia shields on the wings but always assumed that this can’t be done if they didn’t come on the car when new. Get educated on t’internet and visit eurospares.co.uk to buy a pair of shields for £10, which I fit myself. Get nervous when fitting them in case they are not in the same position on both sides, but very happy with results.

    Oh, I also joined F-cars this month and met Chas!
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  4. #4
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    Default February 2006

    February 2006

    Mileage: 750 (& 27,000 from new)
    Issues: Dead battery
    Money spent: £30


    Feb was a dull month guys, so I didn’t post a report at the time!
    The only event worth noting was me going away for a week only to get home to find the car wouldn’t start. This was soon diagnosed as a flat battery and a new one bought and fitted by myself and my Dad (well mostly my Dad)!

  5. #5
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    Default March 2006

    March 2006

    Mileage: 1,250 (& 27,750 from new)
    Issues: Annual service & MOT and a new tyre valve
    Money spent: £695


    Lets start with the expensive bit…
    My annual service was due this month, so who to do the servicing?
    I’ve always been a fan of independents. The majority come from a ‘main dealer’ back ground but without charging main dealer labour rates. Also the owner/s (who are most protective of their companies reputation etc) will be carrying out the work themselves as opposed to watching over a young and inexperienced trainee technician.

    Previously, on my Mondy, I had used Shiltech in Loughborough and have also spoken to Nick Cartwright on several occasions. It was through a conversation with Nick that I discovered Peter Higgins. Peter has been operating on his own for a few years now but he was Nick’s mechanic for several years and was with Graypaul in Loughborough for a decade before that. He also has experience of Lotus and Jag from ‘back in the day’.
    This CV was enough for me to book in the 456 for an annual check, MOT and wheel balance.

    I have to say the service I received was great. No additional work was carried out without Peter giving me a phone call to let me know what he was doing and why. On any identified problems he rang to tell me what and why the problem had occurred, the price to put right through mending or using a reconditioned part and also the price of using a new replacement part. This level of owner involvement in making decisions is something that, IMO, is sadly lacking from most main dealers.
    I was informed that there was a slight oil leak from the cam seals and that I should get it fixed over the next couple of months to avoid any further problems being caused. This will be quite pricey due to the labour involved and was advised that putting on a new cam belt could be added to the process for little extra cost.
    So £640 for the service, MOT and wheel balance and an appointment for the end of April for the car to have the oil leak fixed and belts changed while I’m out of the country on honeymoon.

    So with 4 months completed of using the 456 everyday, I can honestly say that driving it is getting better and better. Never have I had a car for this long that still puts a smile on my face every time I start it and set off on a journey. I have never been so keen to begin my drive to work in a morning!!!

    With the worst of the British winter now behind us I am getting more and more comfortable exploring the limits of the cars performance.
    To me, the car has already proven itself as an unbeatable M’way and A road cruiser. Very comfortable seats, a great driving position that allows you to feel the turns through the wheel at speed, superb ride that lets the car communicate exactly what it’s doing without making you feel like your in control of a ‘no suspension’ track-day car and most importantly tremendous amounts of pull. The torque is truly special, even after the auto ‘box has selected 4th at around 120mph, the pace of acceleration doesn’t decrease.
    Unfortunately this does mean that it’s very easy to see some very stupid speeds on the speedo without actually meaning to do so!

    What I really wanted to see now is how the car copes with roads that are bit more twisty. To the Cotswolds…

    The Cotswolds run was a fantastically well organised event, for which Julian deserves repeated thanks. The day started well with a small convoy, of three Fcars, down from the midlands to the first meeting point. The route for the rest of the day was fantastic with a great combination of roads. I’m pleased to say the 456 stood up to the job superbly, it never missed a beat and was a joy to drive even along the most tight and twisty single track roads that the Cotswolds could through at it.

    Must go now, I have a wedding to finalise!

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