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    Ferrari 400/412 values on the up. It could be now or never if you want to buy into the V12 dream for around £50k. / #Ferrari-400i / #Ferrari-400 / #Ferrari-V12 / #Ferrari / #V12 / #Ferrari-412i / #Ferrari-412i-Auto / #1988 / #1981 / #Ferrari-412-Automatic

    CHASING CARS Quentin Willson’s hot tips

    Quentin Willson’s hot tips There’s some bustle around the Ferrari 400 and 412. A change in affection has hardened prices with exceptional cars now touching £80k. Neal Gordon in Chelsea has a blue ’1981 right-hand-drive 400i auto with only 16,000 miles and total Ferrari history for £84,950, while Gallery Aaldering in Holland has an ’1983 LHD auto in dark blue with 22,000 miles, three owners and big history for £53,000. Right-hand-drive 400is are rarest, with only 152 cars produced, and the biggest prize is a UK-supplied manual with only 25 examples ever built. The later, rarer and more reined 412 is a good bet too, with Justin Banks in Kent offering an ’1988 412 auto in metallic black, with extensive history and 36,000 miles for a very reasonable £34,995.

    As the last of the affordable V12 Ferraris, you can see why there’s been an upswing. With roots going back to the Daytona – including that distinctive body swage line – lush Connolly leather cabins and surprising usability, canny collectors looking for value are now seeing low-mileage 400s with fresh eyes. Significantly, they’re beginning to command more than 456 GTs which is another sign of new interest.

    They’re also historically significant as the first automatic Ferrari ever. They also had the longest model production run, 17 years. My punt would be on the final series ’1985-on 412 with its Marelli ignition, anti-lock braking, plusher cabin and better drivability – they’re rarer than the 400 too with only 576 built. In the metal all 400s look terrific, low, handsome and classy and were given an aesthetic knighthood by motoring scribe LJK Setright who described the silhouette as ‘one of the most beautiful and elegant bodies ever to leave the lead in Pininfarina’s pencilling vision’. He wasn’t wrong.

    Find yourself a wellfettled, low-mileage 400i or 412 with bulging history file and you’ll be buying one of the few Seventies/Eighties Ferraris that wasn’t hyped in the Prancing Horse boom years. Think of it this way – this is a front-engined V12 classic Ferrari still available for around £50k. That statement might not hold for very much longer.
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    CHOP-TOP PROJECT JOINS THE RATPACK / #Ferrari-Ratarossa / #Ferrari-Testarossa / #Ferrari / #Ferrari-V12 / #Ferrari / V12

    FERRARI ‘RATAROSSA
    OWNED BY Scott Chivers
    FROM Wokingham, UK
    FIRST CLASSIC Porsche 912
    DREAM CLASSIC Ferrari F40
    BEST TRIP Le Mans 2015 in my 360 Challenge Stradale – the sound of heaven in long tunnels!

    Three years ago, while looking on the web for an obscure car part, my search returned this unrelated Ferrari Testarossa located in California. It was a project car that had been started (the roof had been chopped off and strengthening added to the chassis), but other than that it was a rolling shell with an engine and gearbox bolted in place, and hadn’t been on the road for well over 20 years.

    I told the seller that anyone else buying his Ferrari was likely to break it for parts because it was worth far more in bits. But I promised him that my sole intention would be to get the Testarossa built and put it back on the road. It arrived a few months later accompanied by two huge wooden crates of parts. At the time I owned another Testarossa coupé, so was lucky enough to use that car as the blueprint for my ‘Ratarossa’.

    Why the unfinished style? Part of the enjoyment of this project was that it didn’t have to be perfect, with its ‘rat’ look, so I just took my time and enjoyed the build. With the two massive crates of parts that came with the car I have been like a kid with a giant puzzle; it’s been a lot of fun and very satisfying figuring out where each item belongs.

    Ferrari made only one official #Ferrari-Testarossa-Spider for #Gianni-Agnelli , and it’s estimated that around 15 more were subsequently converted by aftermarket companies, making these a pretty rare sight. It’s also the car that many believe Ferrari really should have put into production. Obviously there have been a few head-scratching moments. Testarossas are 30 years old now, and the expertise on them has been whittled down to a few gurus worldwide. I have no background or any kind of training in this sort of thing, other than a hobby and passion. For the most part it was on-the-job learning for me.

    I faced a number of difficulties during the build. The engine hadn’t run in many years and the wiring was missing or not connected. My first job was to hear the engine roar once again. With a bit of luck and plenty of perseverance, I was able to bring the #Flat-12 back to life.

    Another challenge I’ve had is getting hold of parts. Many are no longer stocked by Ferrari and I’ve had to source items from around the world wherever available. But it’s amazing what pops up on auction sites across the globe. For example, I picked up a brand-new original dashboard in the correct colour for £180, shipped. If Ferrari still made the dash, it would have cost me £5000.

    Suspension was another massive problem; steel bars had been fabricated and welded into the mid section to reinforce the car’s structure and rigidity where the roof had been chopped off. They did a great job of keeping the car from flexing but the bars’ added weight caused the front end of the Testarossa to lift up. The factory suspension is pre-set and fixed, so I had to work with a suspension company to create custom shocks and springs. Eventually it took three sets of custom springs to get the right height I wanted.

    Other bits I’ve had to modify to work properly on the Spider include the safety belts; even with the original luggage straps behind the seats, the belts had to be anchored differently. Unless you really know Testarossas, however, you’d never spot the changes.

    When the Ferrari first arrived in the UK it was like the Flintstones’ car: there was no floor, wheelarches, carpet etc. It now looks really good and, eventually, I plan to have a mechanically perfect car, in pristine condition under the skin, yet clothed in a ‘rat’ look.

    Although it’s only recently been put back on the road, I have already taken it to a couple of events and really enjoy the reaction the car generates. It’s a bit like Marmite: you either love it or hate it. It doesn’t bother me either way because I built it to have fun! The Ferrari is by no means finished – it’s an ongoing project. I have blogged the build each step of the way, and you can follow my progress at #Drive-My .
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    Want a Ferrari-456 ? Watch and wait, that’s my advice

    / #Ferrari / #Ferrari-456GT / #Ferrari-456GTA / #Ferrari-456M-GT / #Ferrari-V12 / #1998-Ferrari-456GTA / #2003-Ferrari-456M-GTA

    CHASING CARS Quentin Willson’s hot tips

    VALUE 2012 £32k

    VALUE NOW 2018 UK £52k

    Not so long ago we gasped when a minimal-mileage Ferrari 456 made £118k. Prices shot up in the months that followed and soon the going rate for nice right-hand-drive manuals was £60k, and £120k for tiny-milers.

    Now that’s all changed and 456s have settled back to pre-hype prices as the modern Ferrari market has fallen away from its high of 2015. How low have they gone? An interesting indictor was the decent ‘1998 silver GTA with 40,000 miles and history that Coys sold in May for a little over £30k. Being left-hand drive and automatic held the car back but the no-reserve sale was a good barometer of the market. Scan the online classifieds and you’ll see a clear easing of values. A private seller in Yorkshire has a right-hook 2003-Ferrari-456M-GTA in Fiorano-Red with 37,000 miles for £39,950, while a trader in Henley-on-Thames has a 2000 GTA in Argenta with just 27,000 miles for £44,995. Last year both of these would have been pitched at the mid-£50k mark.

    At Silverstone’s May Ferrari Owners’ Club sale a concours winning 2003 GTA in Tour de France Blue with 28,000 miles and eight dealer stamps made £47,250.

    There are some 40 examples on the UK market as I write, so values are under pressure. If you’re in the market I’d advise you to watch and wait. I expect to see autos with sub-50k miles and good histories to settle at £35k in time, at which point they will be back to 2012 prices. This is becoming a cyclical market where classics go up and down – the trick is to watch the ebbs and lows and strike when the time is right. The 456 is one of the finest Ferraris of its era and at £35k definitely worth buying.
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    / #1990-Ferrari-Testarossa-FHC £71,345 / #1990 / #Ferrari-Testarossa-FHC / #1990-Ferrari-Testarossa / #Ferrari-Testarossa / #Ferrari-V12 / #Ferrari / #V12

    Bonhams, Paris, February 8

    If you were looking for a prime example of how far the Testarossa’s fortunes have slipped from the six-figure days of 2014/15, here it is. Unusually in Giallo Fly rather than regulation red, this genuine 27,000-kilometre car had all the right maintenance documentation and was in lovely condition. Yet it only just squeaked over its lower estimate. That the seller took that shows a realistic acceptance of where the market’s gone.
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    / #1997 / #Ferrari-456GTA £69,990 / #For-Sale / #Ferrari-456-GTA / #Ferrari-456GT / #Ferrari-456 / #1997-Ferrari-456GTA / #Ferrari / #Ferrari-V12

    This four-seater Italian exotic has been driven sparingly but obviously cared for well, says Rob Scorah

    It’s more usual to meet Ferrari’s Nineties two-plus-two in more subdued colours – blue or silver – but this mid-production 456 in #Rosso-Corsa over Crema leather makes a striking example. With fewer than 21,500 miles driven (and having been garaged properly), you’d expect the paintwork to retain all of its factory lustre and consistency, and it does. Finish and colour hue do not vary across surfaces or different body materials and there are no signs of cracking or corrosion on aprons or leading edges. There are several very tiny stonechips to the nose. These have been touched up, though considering the calibre of the car they could maybe have been done a little better but you have to look hard to find them. The black windscreen surrounds show no sign of discolouration or corrosion.

    Panel fit remains true. Doors and boot close to leave nicely-matched edges and the big clamshell bonnet rises and falls smoothly and fits precisely. Under that big lid the engine appears as (after reading the blue-chip specialist service history) you would expect. Everything looks factory fresh – wiring, clips, cam covers and general cleanliness. As well as a fully stamped book, with the most recent services by Migliore Cars of Bromsgrove, prospective buyers will also be pleased to find that the 456 has had a recent cambelt change. Interestingly there are also a couple of notes from previous owners outlining a little specialist lineage on the mechanics who have worked on the car.

    The interior of the car mirrors the outside, with very light signs of use commensurate with the mileage. The worst that can be found is a little wear to the driver’s seat outer bolster. Otherwise, carpets and hides are clean; steering wheel, gearshift and switches are free of ring or fingernail scratches. There is also a set of fitted Ferrari luggage included, its condition not far behind the car itself.

    Nineties Ferraris were more urbane than their forebears and the V12 fires up easily and settles into a refined idle without any oil-starved rattles. The automatic transmission slots easily into gear and the car is away without any thuds or shunts. As with the car’s aesthetics the 456’s road manners emphasise refinement and you soon realise that this car is about swift progress from fairly gentle input. Steering is precise and the suspension sure-footed, handling bumps without clunks. The gear changes seem particularly smooth, even when the driver gets involved to hold / drop the coupé into a lower gear for bends (there are no rattles or creaks in the turns).

    You have to provoke the Ferrari to really hear the engine and even then its tone has a silky, even quality. The 5.4-litre V12’s heft is felt low in the revs, accelerating smoothly through the range. The pressure and temperature gauges threw up no warning signals on our test.

    Although prospective 456 owners may prefer different colour / transmission options, this 1997 car is hard to fault. It is a very clean, very usable and swift tourer. And an easier Ferrari to own than many.

    CHOOSE YOUR FERRARI 456

    The #Pininfarina -designed 456 GT 2+2 is launched in 1992 at the Paris Show. Its traditional front-engined Ferrari grand tourer layout makes it attractive and practical as well as the fastest front-engined car in the world. Complementing the usual six-speed manual, a four-speed auto is offered in the 456 GTA.

    In 1998, the 456M (for Modificata) takes over. There are subtle restyling cues, the most notable being a reshaped front grille incorporating fog lamps. The #V12 is unchanged in size or output. The biggest mechanical differences are the revised active (self-levelling) rear suspension and traction control.

    The model is discontinued in 2003 after a total of 3289 of all models have been built.

    The interior looks original but has very little wear of note. Recent cambelt change is good news for potential owners. Rosso Corsa with Crema leather is unusual on a 456.

    Quote £975.07 comprehensive, 3000 miles per year, garaged, tracker. Call: 0333 323 1181

    1997 Ferrari 456 GTA

    Price £69,990
    Contact Manor Classics, North Yorkshire (01904 501252, manorclassiccars.com)
    Engine 5474cc V12, dohc per bank
    Power 442bhp @ 6250rpm / DIN
    Torque 406lb ft @ 4500rpm / DIN
    Performance Top speed: 193mph; 0-60mph: 5.5sec
    Fuel consumption 15mpg
    Length 4763mm
    Width 1920mm
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    CAR: #Ferrari-F599GTB-F1 / #Ferrari-F599GTB / #Ferrari-F599 / #Ferrari-599 / #Ferrari-599GTB / #Ferrari-599GTB-Fiorano / #Ferrari / #Ferrari-V12
    Year of manufacture #2006 (first reg 2/1/07)
    Recorded mileage 26,250
    Asking price £124,990
    Vendor Simon Furlonger Specialist Cars, Ashford, Kent; tel: 01233 646328; simonfurlonger.co.uk


    WHEN IT WAS NEW
    Price £171,825
    Max power 612bhp
    Max torque 488lb ft
    0-60mph 3.6 secs
    Top speed 205mph
    Mpg 11-15


    The F599 is, as Furlonger’s Matt Honeysett puts it, “the last of the monsters”, sharing the Enzo’s engine block, though with the wick turned down from its 661bhp. This car was specced with just about every option, including 20in monolithic wheels, Giallo brake calipers, inset Scuderia shields, front and rear parking sensors, carbon driver zone with LEDs and red rev counter, centre console and carbon ‘Daytona’ electric seats. There’s full history with supporting bills. The front has been refinished to eliminate stone-chips, and it’s smooth under the chin. Each of its four owners must have treated it gently because the (week) 4606-dated rear tyres still have a few mm of tread. The 2012 fronts have lots of life.

    Inside, the carbon dash panels are unscratched, and the rest of it still looks new – except for the seat leather being lightly creased, with slight wear to the driver’s outer bolster. The motor is in factory finishes and dry on the outside; it was last serviced just 500 miles ago, in April 2016.

    It starts instantly on the button, feeling lither than a 6-litre, and is easy to conduct, having the Superfast generation of paddle shift. You have to click through a few menus before it will tell you such things as coolant temperature, but the tyre pressure monitoring system insisted we had a puncture. The bills show that this has had various resets, so we ignored it.

    Of more interest is the menu selectable by toggle on the steering wheel. In ‘Race’ the car is epically fast. Basically, floor it, then see if you can keep pulling the right paddle fast enough to stay in front of the succession of red LEDs that light up around the circumference of the wheel as you approach the 8500 (yes!) redline. It feels as if the back wants to squirm off somewhere over your right shoulder, but somehow the cleverness keeps it all contained and, just as you approach event horizon, the carbonceramic brakes kill the madness like an arrestor hook. Quite remarkable.

    It will come with the books, two sets of keys, warranty, fresh MoT, new rear tyres, a service and Furlonger’s usual six-month/3000-mile warranty.


    SUMMARY

    EXTERIOR Part refinished and like new
    INTERIOR Only slight wear to seat hide
    MECHANICALS Full history; errant tyre pressure monitor needs investigating

    VALUE ★★★★★★★★✩✩
    For Who needs Saturn 5?
    Against Not the subtlest shade for a large 200mph car

    SHOULD I BUY IT?

    Sure to become collectable like the Daytona and 575M – and this one has all the toys. Prices range from £119-150,000, so it’s competitive.
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    CAR: #Ferrari-250-Testa-Rossa-Replica / #Ferrari-250-Testa-Rossa / #Ferrari-250 / #Ferrari / #Ferrari-V12 / #Colombo-V12 / #Ferrari-250TR / #1982 / #1963
    Year of manufacture: 1982, using ’1963 parts
    Asking price: £395,000
    Vendor: The Old Racing Car Company, north Norfolk; tel: 01692 538007; www.oldracingcar.co.uk

    WHEN A 250TR WAS NEW

    Price n/a
    Max power 300bhp / DIN
    Max torque 220lb ft / DIN
    Standing ¼ -mile 4.5 secs
    Top speed 168mph
    Mpg n/a

    This bespoke Ferrari was built in 1982 by Garnier and Billot (P3 Automobiles) for former Le Mans racer Régis Fraissinet, using a 1963 #Ferrari-250GTE as a donor – the identity of which it retains. Incorporating Fraissinet’s favourite Ferrari characteristics, it most resembles the 250TR raced by Phil Hill in 1960, and came to the UK in about 2004.

    After 35 years, it’s just taking on a sheen of patina; the paint is even and undamaged and the well-crafted aluminium body is straight, with no stars, pings or chips. There’s evidence on the rear deck that it’s had a roll-bar, where holes have been filled, neatly ringed in socket-head screws. The alloy-rim wheels are in good shape, shod in 2015-dated Michelin Pilotes, with plenty of tread. Inside, the leather is taking on creases and the crackle dash finish is perfect. Like the original, there’s no speedo or odometer.

    The motor, a correctly presented outside-plug Colombo-V12 , is a 4-litre from a 330, said to make 380bhp. It’s clean and dry, wearing an alternator plus a remote oil filter, and there’s an electric fan. Its carbs are 40DFIs. This car has evidently been loved, and on our visit was being chaperoned by GTB Restorations, so the fluids will be clean and to the correct levels. Push in the key, press the button and it fires with a deep, thunderous rumble from the four-megaphone exhaust system. Though the clutch is sharp, the car’s light weight makes it easy to conduct – but steering lock is limited. The engine feels well set up, too – tractable from 2000rpm and with minimal spitting and popping through the carburettors.

    Going harder, the agile chassis flows beautifully through bends with a delightful feel to the steering – the motor simply providing as much power as you ask for the more you prod it, with a linear delivery, revving eagerly to 6500rpm and probably beyond. The all-disc brakes pull up straight, plus it’s easy to heel and toe. The gearchange is heavy, with hard-sprung detents, and you have to be precise where you aim the stick. It shows 5bar oil pressure, right in the middle of the gauge in typical Ferrari fashion, water at about 70ºC and oil temperature well under control, having just cracked off the stop. Gorgeous and, with that sublime #V12 howl, a bit addictive.

    SUMMARY

    EXTERIOR Straight aluminium; nice paint
    INTERIOR Not much, though it’s all good
    MECHANICALS Well sorted; drives beautifully
    VALUE ★★★★★★★★★★

    For Like the real thing, but for a 30th of the asking price

    Against Wouldn’t get HTP papers, so it can’t run in FIA events

    SHOULD I BUY IT?

    If you want the proper ’50s Ferrari sports-racer experience delivered using the right bits, this is fantastic value and is lovely in its own right.
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    No ferries, said Ferrari, or racetracks, and no more than 356 miles / 500km. And 24 hours maximum. So, what to do with a 770hp / 574kW F12tdf for the day? 24 Heaven. / #Ferrari-F12tdf / #2017-Ferrari-F12tdf / #Ferrari-F12 / #Ferrari / #Ferrari-250GTO / #Ferrari-250 / #Ferrari-250-GTO /

    V12 FERRARI LEGENDS 770hp / 574kW TDF MEETS $50 MILLION 250 GTO by COLIN GOODWIN PHOTOGRAPHY by ASTON PARROTT

    Twenty-four hours, 500km. That' s how long we can keep, and how far we are allowed to drive, this Ferrari F12tdf. What to do with it? Track use is off limits and the small print says that we must not cross the channel. There’s a brief thought of putting it on a trailer and taking it to the Scottish Highlands, but that would be a right faff and would leave us with about ten minutes at the wheel. So we’ll simply go for a nice drive in the country and pop in to see some friends for tea. Car-minded sort of friends.

    There’s some good history in Slough, apart from being the location for Ricky Gervais’s The Office. Ford Advanced Vehicles’ workshop was on the Slough Trading Estate (in a building that was later the home of JW Automotive, of Gulf GT40 and 917 fame) and so was Team Surtees before it moved to Kent. In the mid-’60s Lola was in premises on Yeovil Road, which is just around the corner from Ferrari’s main office. You go to the showroom at the old Maranello Concessionaires in Egham to buy your Ferrari but test cars are collected from a nondescript building in Slough.

    If I was Ferrari I’d get the council to re-lay the road outside its office. It’s bumpy as hell and even with the tdf’s suspension in the softest, Bumpy Road setting, it’s not doing my back much good. I might not be able to walk by the end of today. Thankfully, when we reach a better bit of blacktop the ride becomes acceptable. Stiff, but no need for the osteopath yet.

    What an engine. The tdf’s 6.3-litre #Ferrari-V12 produces 770hp / 574kW at 8500rpm (DIN power). It is the most powerful naturally aspirated engine I’ve ever experienced, and that includes the 8.2-litre Chevy in a McLaren M8F Can-Am car. But it’s not just the power output that’s staggering, it’s how refined those 12 cylinders are. Barely above tickover with the seven-speed dual-clutch ’box already in fifth along Slough’s Bath Road and today’s electronics act like an IV drip of Strepsils to prevent any coughing or hesitation. Twenty years ago an engine producing this amount of power per litre would have been cammy and agitated in traffic. Forty years ago it wouldn’t have ticked over under 2000rpm and would have oiled its plugs at the first set of traffic lights unless you sat there with the throttles wide open.

    The roads are rather damp this morning. This worries me. I have briefed myself by reading Jethro Bovingdon’s pilot’s notes from the F12tdf’s launch in Italy. He was only allowed a few laps around Fiorano and a few hours on local roads but gathered enough thoughts to give me the impression that this is a car that needs to be treated with utmost caution. No understeer, very direct steering and a rather unusual sensation provided by its rear-wheel- steering system. I think it unlikely that I will twiddle the manettino to the ESC Off position today, but to keep it in the Wet setting would show a lack of self-confidence that might worry photographer Aston Parrott, so Race will do, with the suspension still set to Bumpy Road. At least the interior ergonomics are superb – what you don’t need in a car that can do 0-100km/h in 2.9 seconds are distractions.

    We have a plan: we’re going to visit the Prescott Hill Climb course, near Cheltenham. I love the place and Parrott will be able to do some photography undisturbed. Stuart Webster, who runs Prescott, has said that when the hill isn’t used for competition it’s the driveway to several houses, so there’ll be no blasting up it in the tdf at full bore. This should keep us within Ferrari’s ‘no tracks’ rule.

    Prescott House and its hill were bought in 1937 by the Bugatti Owners’ Club, which was looking for its own hillclimb course having been kicked out of most venues because of noise complaints. Nothing new under the sun or in motorsport. The first meeting at Prescott was in 1938 and apart from the war getting in the way it has been used ever since. The original course was 880 yards long but in 1960 a loop was added, called Ettore’s, extending it to 1127 yards, or just over a kilometre. Today all meetings run on the longer course except for the annual Vintage Sports Car Club event.

    Unlike Shelsley Walsh, which has one significant corner to get wrong, Prescott is seriously technical with many sections and details to catch you out and ruin a time, and quite a few places to have a substantial shunt. I’ve driven it a few times in anger and it’s very challenging. Traversing it at a more sensible pace today, I’m glad I’m not against the clock. It would be a very serious challenge in the tdf, as apart from traction being an issue for virtually the whole length of the course, the Ferrari is not a narrow car. Accuracy would be key.

    For lunch I’m going to have to eat my own words. For the last few years I’ve been on a campaign against ridiculous power outputs in road cars. Hot hatches with 250kW and SUVs with 350kW are missing the point and in 2017 are totally out of step with reality. Of course, the F12 doesn’t need even the 545kW it has in standard form; with an extra 29kW the tdf is even more excessive, but I can’t help loving this engine, even though it only adds to the fear that one day all engines will have some form of forced induction. This V12 is up there with Lamborghini’s V12 and the 4.0-litre flat-six in the GT3 RS as one of the great engines of today. And it ranks above these because even the Aventador’s motor feels tame in comparison. The first proper trip I made in a Ferrari was in a 456 GT.

    Ferrari gave us a mileage limit with that car, too, but I was more of a rebel in those days and gave it back with an extra 5000km on the clock. It was a road trip of flat-out blasts and disregard for French speed limits. I’ve never forgotten it, or the car, and it started a love affair with front-engined Ferraris. Now the tdf is proving to be the most dramatic of the lot.

    We spot a plaque that celebrates the life of FitzRoy Somerset, 5th Baron Raglan. A Bugatti fanatic and chairman of the Bugatti Owners’ Club from the late ’80s and into the ’90s, he kept his Type 51 in the kitchen of his house. Yonks ago I was having a curry in Abergavenny when there was the scream of supercharged engine as a car pulled up outside. It was Baron Raglan in his 51 come to collect his takeaway. Class.

    Under Webster’s guidance Prescott has developed hill climbing at the venue to be more of a family day out, with a lot more entertainment than watching a weird and wonderful selection of cars blasting by. Not that I need much else apart from a loo and a picnic.

    We depart and set off to see my mate Vic Norman. He runs the Breitling wing-walking team that flies Boeing-Stearman biplanes with Lycra-clad girls up on their wings. The team is based near Cirencester – suitably close to Prescott for us to not commit an odometric crime and upset Ferrari.

    Four Stearman biplanes are sufficient to draw me regularly to the airfield. But like many of us, Vic’s into anything with an engine and as well as owning a 550 Maranello, a Porsche 356, an AC Ace and an ex-Stirling Moss XK120, he has a collection of motorbikes that includes a 1912 Flying Merkel. It was once used to power a generator in a gold mine previously owned by Bud Ekins, the stuntman and friend of Steve McQueen who performed the jump in The Great Escape.

    It’s not so much what he owns now that makes Norman interesting, it’s what he’s owned in the past. Particularly V12 Ferraris. For example, the 250 GTO that’s now owned by Nick Mason. “I bought it in the early ’70s,” explains Norman. “I’d heard on the grapevine that Peter Newens, whose family owned the Maids of Honour tearoom in Kew, was thinking of selling his GTO. I wasted no time and went around to Pete’s house and started negotiations. He wanted about 13 grand for the car [circa $22,000]. Anyway, while I was talking to him I saw Brian Classic, the racer and classic car dealer, coming up the front path. Guessing that Brian had also heard about the GTO, I immediately offered the asking price and shook on it. Brian was a bit peeved.”

    After keeping it for a few years, during which time it delivered young Normans to school and completed other domestic tasks, the GTO was moved on. “I got £16,000 [circa $27K] for it,” says Norman, “which I thought was amazing.” As well as the GTO, Norman has owned a couple of 275 GTBs, a 250 GT SWB and a Daytona. “Ironically my favourite Ferrari is the original 250 GT TdF. I never owned one but I’ve driven a few.”

    I’ve never taken the kids to school in a GTO but I’ve been shopping in Vic’s, now Mason’s, GTO. Cammy, as to be expected, but easy to drive and with as much soul as a car could have. Mason’s Ten Tenths, the company that runs and prepares his collection, is based at the same airfield. And since any excuse to fire up and listen to a classic Ferrari V12 mustn’t be missed, engineers Charles Knill-Jones and Ben de Chair (double-overhead surnames aren’t compulsory: the outfit is managed by Mike Hallowes) are persuaded to start the GTO and bring it outside for Parrott’s and my pleasure.

    Mason has just taken delivery of his own F12tdf. Unlike ours, it has lightweight carpets covering the industriallooking anti-slip material that’s standard and rather more comfortable seats. “That,” says Knill-Jones, pointing at the tdf, “is the best road car in the world. I drove Nick’s at Goodwood and it was doing 270km/h at the end of the Lavant Straight.” I didn’t need to hear that. I’d dearly love to drive this car on a track, particularly at Goodwood. I wish I’d risked being put on the naughty step by Ferrari.

    It is true that a 574kW Ferrari capable of over 340km/h is of limited practical use, but it is a very good thing that it exists. The tdf is one of the most dramatic Ferraris that I’ve ever driven (in fact it’s up there with a McLaren F1) yet it’s perfectly useable on the road and, if you’re damned careful, in any conditions, too. I’d like to hope that among the lucky 799 who have ordered one, there will be people like Baron Raglan and Vic Norman who use their cars. I suspect most will go into collections or heated garages.

    At least this one is getting some proper use. Back at Slough, with the Tour de Force in one piece, the trip meter reads 508km. Today was not the day to start obeying rules.

    It’s one of the most dramatic Ferraris I’ve driven, yet it’s perfectly useable on the road

    TECHNICAL DATA FILE #2017 / #Ferrari-F12tdf
    Engine 6262cc #V12 , dohc, 48v
    Power 770hp / 574kW @ 8500rpm DIN
    Torque 520lb ft / 705Nm @ 6250rpm DIN
    Transmission #Seven-speed-DCT , rear-wheel drive, #E-diff-3 , #F1-Trac , #ESC
    Front suspension Double wishbones, coil springs, adaptive dampers, anti-roll bar
    Rear suspension Multi-link, coil springs, adaptive dampers, anti-roll bar, rear-wheel steer
    Brakes Ventilated carbon-ceramic discs, 398mm front, 360mm rear, #ABS , #EBD
    Wheels 20 x 10.0-inch front, 20 x 11.5-inch rear
    Tyres 275/35 ZR20 front, 315/35 ZR20 rear
    Weight 1520kg
    Power-to-weight 507 hp / 378kW/tonne
    0-62MPH / 0-100km/h 2.9sec (claimed)
    Top speed 212 MPH / 340km/h+ (claimed)
    Basic price $808,888 (sold out)
    Rating 4+

    Above: Goodwin guides the F12 up the technical Prescott course, being careful not to prang any carbonfibre bodywork. Below: tdf with Nick Mason’s #1962 250 GTO.

    Above and right: 110kg weight saving over the standard F12 plus an extra 29kW give the tdf a truly explosive power-toweight ratio of 378kW per tonne – more than enough for the Prescott hill climb.

    What you don’t need in a car that can do 0-100km/h in 2.9 seconds are distractions
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