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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.


    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,
    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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    Rob Scorah
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    Rob Scorah
    Rob Scorah created a new group Ferrari 456 GT

    Ferrari 456 GT Open

    1992–1997 (456) and 1998–2003 (456M)

    View Group →
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    Rob Scorah
    1961 Bristol 406 £85,000

    This finely engineered gentleman’s express is one of just 174 built, and it’s in ready-to-enjoy condition, says Rob Scorah.

    The general condition of this Bristol’s deep maroon paint is very good – no bubbles or fading, though there are small chips near the filler cap and to the edge of the bonnet and doors, and light scratches to the top coat on the nearside wing. Alloy body panels look to be in fine shape – symmetrical side-to- side with consistent panel gaps. The opening wing laps that allow access to the spare tyre and battery sit completely lush when closed. Door jambs are clean and the underside of the car is very sound.

    Chrome is largely up to the standard of the paint, though that on the bonnet vent is dull and weathered. Also, the rubbers and brightwork of the windscreen and rear window surround show light cracks and a little distress. There’s rust in a couple of the screws of the radiator grille, though the deep surround itself, as well as the bumpers, look in fine fettle. There’s a little surface rust in the steel wheels’ recesses.

    Inside, the coupé again gives a good impression, looking generally well cared-for and maintaining a good balance between authenticity and ongoing upkeep.

    The grey leather is supple and retains its colour, and the maroon piping looks tidy. The sides of the front seats and headrests show some scuffing. Though handsome, the Moto-Lita steering wheel is not original. However, a correct-type example (not as good-looking) will also be supplied with the car.

    The wood trim, while largely intact and showing good grain, has lost its colour and lacquer in some places. This is mainly under the windscreen and around the rear edges of the quarterlights where the window opens. There are no signs of damage in the surrounding material. The dashboard itself is a deep rich brown. Floors are solid and interior fittings feel firm and function as they should.

    The engine bay has a workmanlike tidiness with everything in the right place and no signs of leaks or overheating. The comprehensive service history attests to five owners’ worth of diligent care. It includes handwritten letters from a garage (1976), many hefty invoices from Bristol specialist Spencer Lane Jones, plus records of a rear axle rebuild and an overhaul of the ‘one-shot’ lubrication system. Confirmed mileage now sits at 66,193.

    The clutch is light enough for one of these and, though the steering is heavy at parking speeds, it drives without sloppy tolerances in steering or suspension.

    The 2.2-litre pulls from low enough in the revs so as not to make town driving a rowing exercise, while cruising remains relaxed but flexible. Overdrive pops in and out very smoothly and decent acceleration is only a crisp gear throw away. Water temperature sits in the lower half of the gauge and oil pressure is on 60psi.
    There may be some negotiating room given those untidy details mentioned, but considering this example’s solid history, strong mechanicals and the scarcity of these cars, don’t expect to come too far south of the asking price.


    404 introduces hole-in-the-wall grille in 1953. Engine is a 1971cc six; 52 made. Longer wheelbase four-dour 405 Saloon arrives in 1954 – 265 of which are made – along with 43 405 Drophead Coupés, now highly collectable.

    Taking over from the 405 in 1957, the heavier 406 raised engine capacity to 2216cc. Body now steel rather than wood-framed; four-wheel disc brakes are standard it. In total 174 are built.

    1959 Earl’s Court Motor Show sees launch of quirkily styled, triple-carb 406 Zagato. Much lighter than regular 406s, only seven were made and now command double the price of the regular factory offering.

    406 replaced in 1961 by the Bristol 407, which looked similar but had a 5130cc Chrysler V8.

    TECHNICAL DATA FILE #1961-Bristol-406 / #1961 / #Bristol-406 / #Bristol

    Price £85,000
    Contact Old Timer Manchester (, 01944 758000)
    Engine 2216 inline-six, ohv
    Power 105bhp @ 4700rpm
    Torque 129lb ft @ 3000rpm
    Performance Top speed: 107mph; 0-60mph: 14sec
    Fuel consumption 15mpg
    Length 4978mm (196in)
    Width 1727mm (68in)

    Non-original wheel is well-matched to dashboard.
    Bristol six quickly settles into an even, rattle-free tickover.
    Some details require attention but all panels fit flush.
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    Rob Scorah
    Rob Scorah joined the group Bristol
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    It has been a long while since I last had an update on the E30 and to be honest, along with saving for a wedding and another non-BMW project I purchased at the end of last summer requiring unexpected attention, I have just been lacking motivation. Still, I did manage to fi t my new engine mount bushes. My two new bushes were ordered from Schmiedmann in Denmark, which is fantastic for BMW parts; I’m sure you could almost build a whole car from scratch with parts from its online catalogue.

    / #BMW-E30 / #BMW-318i / #BMW-318i-E30 / #BMW / #BMW-3-Series / #BMW-3-Series-E30 / #M10 / #BMW-M10

    I ordered standard bushes and not uprated polyurethane or solid items for one main reason: the price. They cost me around £13 for the pair while poly or solid mounts would have set me back closer to £100, which I just couldn’t afford. Luckily after receiving my new mounts they appear to be slightly beefier from the original bushes currently on the car. Access to the mounts was easy on my #M10-engined model; once I had removed the air box and connected intake piping to access the passenger side mount, and put the steering rack on full lock to reach the bottom nut, a squirt of the always useful WD40 and the bolts were swiftly removed. To get the bushes out involved gently jacking up the engine to raise it away from the chassis, which was done with care as the risk of bending something or severing a pipe or wire was a possibility. As you can see from the side-by-side photos the old bushes were severely worn, probably the original items and much overdue a replacement. The new bushes have locating tabs so it was impossible to get them mounted incorrectly and the only stumbling block was having to jack the engine up further to fi t them in the same gap the compressed old ones came out of. Both sides in and tightened, it was time to fi re her up and see the difference and it was huge.

    The lumpy idle from the Schrick cam is now supported much better and twist under load has been severely reduced. After taking her out for a short drive I can also confirm the issue I had last year whilst travelling to Le Mans of the exhaust hitting the floor has been cured, thanks to less movement from the engine mounts, so all in all a great bit of maintenance.
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    ROB’S #BMW-E30 / #BMW-318i / #BMW-318i-E30 / #BMW / #BMW-3-Series / #BMW-3-Series-E30 /

    The Le Mans Classic is a bi-annual event at the historic La Sarthe circuit just south of the city of Le Mans. Much like the 24-Hour event for the technically brilliant modern hybrids and GT cars, the Classic runs throughout 24 hours but for six different grids of cars ranging from the inception of the 24-Hour race way back in 1923 all the way through to the Group 5 racers and prototypes of the late ’70s and early ’80s, and this year a support race from the awesome Group C cars.

    The racing is only part of it though, with club stands, live music, a paddock area open to the public and much more. A huge part of the enjoyment for me and the group of guys I travelled there with was the 400-mile road trip down to the circuit from Surrey. This was the fourth time I’d made the trip down to the Classic but only the second I’ve done in the E30 and last time I still had a full interior, minus the carpets, electric windows and a sunroof all of which would have been useful in the 30ºC heat that we had throughout the part of France I drove through. Problems started at Dover when, even in the cool British air at 7am, sat in a traffic jam at passport control after a long motorway run, the engine started to get a little on the hot side. Putting the heater on full blast for ten minutes brought the temperature down to a more sensible level and in the cool morning air it wasn’t too uncomfortable but later on in the journey it would prove very uncomfortable.

    The channel crossing was gloriously smooth but maybe five miles out of Calais whilst driving along the coastal road I could feel a knocking from underneath the car. Cue a quick roadside check and nothing was obvious, other than a mildly worn ball joint which wouldn’t have created the knock I could feel, so we carried on with a view to jack the car up and have a proper look underneath at a service station. After blasting along the coastal road we took to the motorway to get some miles under our belts and at our first fuel stop we got a jack under the car to suss the source of the knock. Lo and behold the exhaust bracket that supports the exhaust downpipe, funnily enough right under my feet, had been hitting against the heat shield above, as evident by the large gouge.

    After a little more exploring into the cause of this a worn engine mount bush was most likely to blame but certainly wouldn’t ruin my trip. We chose to stay on the motorway until we at least got through Rouen, which if you have ever made the pilgrimage to Le Mans you’ll know it can be a nightmare to drive through. This year we didn’t even make it that far before hitting a big jam. The A28 past Neufchatel-en-Bray was closed causing a huge traffic stoppage with all traffic being forced off at the next junction, through the small town, causing even larger jams.

    Being stuck in very slow moving traffic the E30 was really struggling again with its cooling and again required me to put the heater on, which was hideously uncomfortable, so when a section of the motorway was slightly downhill it was engine off and let the car roll. After close to two hours slowly creeping off the motorway the decision was made to go the opposite way from the traffic and try and work out a way south towards Rouen and back onto the motorway further down, where hopefully it was open again.

    After a wrong turn or two we found our way back to the A28 further south where, thankfully, it was open and we made good progress down to Le Mans, using motorways the whole way to make up for lost time. Once we finally made it to our campsite right next to the circuit, I discovered another couple of small problems. First was my aluminium sunroof panel; the urethane I had used to stick it to the roof, possibly due to the heat but mostly due to poor preparation by me, had come unstuck. Luckily I had added rivets for what turned out to be much-needed added security. The second small issue was with the pins used to hold on my boot panel; the bolts that held the plate on had shaken loose with only one out of the three to be found in the boot. Cue the gaffer tape to hold it on.

    The racing at the Le Mans Classic was fantastic throughout all six grids, with BMW represented in three of them from the earliest 328 of 1937 through to the 2002Ti and the M10-powered Chevrons of the late ’60s, all the way to the 3.0 CSL and M1 Pro Cars of the ’70s. Seeing these cars race flat-out around one of, in my opinion, the greatest circuits on the planet was something to behold. With the final classification being a combination of all three races from each grid the BMWs put up a good showing, with a 328 finishing third overall in grid one for years 1923-1939. The M10-powered Chevron B8 finished a eighth overall and first in class in grid five for years 1966-1971 with the 2002Ti down in 45th but also first in class. The fire-spitting M1s of grid six (1972-1981) put in a fine showing, not only stirring the senses with sight and sound but finishing 13th overall and second in class.

    One of the highlights for me was being able to walk around the paddocks at night watching all these historic cars being worked on, engines out, suspension work, clutch swaps and everything in between really evoking what it must have been like when they were racing originally. A walk around the car clubs lined up on the Bugatti Circuit turned up an interesting BMW oddity that I had to research, a Glas 2600. Turns out Glas was a German car manufacturer bought out by BMW in the ’60s with the last-of-the-line cars badged as BMWs before all Glas models were retired and BMW incorporated Glas into the company.

    There was a whole host of other beautiful BMWs in the club area, my favourite being a nice chrome bumper E30 I caught driving by. BMW also had a fantastic display in the village behind the pits, using some historic cars from its past and mirrors to create a highly interesting piece of what can only be called art. My photos certainly don’t do it enough justice.

    After a fantastic weekend, Monday morning rolled around far too soon, I could have seriously spent a few weeks there. After packing up the tent, some belt and braces remedial work was required to the E30 just to make sure nothing flew off on the drive back to Calais. I used a large amount of gaffer tape to ensure the boot panel was securely fixed and the sunroof panel was a little more airtight.

    The drive back up through France still wasn’t trouble free though. I again noticed the temperature creeping up through towns but then it would return back to normal. After having problems with my electric fan during the engine rebuild I suspected an intermittent fault with the fan was to blame. Pulling into a petrol station just north of Rouen gave me the opportunity to fully diagnose the problem. It turned out to be a loose connection, most likely stemming from when I had the head off and strapped the wiring harness out of the way. No matter, some basic tools and electrical tape sorted it and the rest of the trip went smoothly… apart from yet another huge traffic jam heading into Calais.

    So, after a long drive, I was finally home and the E30 did me proud. I was especially pleased with how the reconditioned head and new camshaft stood up to the 800-mile round trip. Now with a new list of jobs to do to the E30 along with the improvements I already had lined up, I have plenty to be getting on with…
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    Rob Scorah
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    / BMW / ROB’S / #BMW-E30 / #BMW-318i / #BMW-318i-E30 / #BMW

    This month I discovered that you get what you pay for. I was just checking everything was kosher on the spare head I had been planning on using before bolting it onto the block but alas when I started checking it all was not as it seemed. I bought this head from eBay about four years ago. I was the only bidder and won it for a measly ten English pounds. Upon picking it up from a very friendly chap in Southampton I was informed he had rebuilt and refurbished it but it was no longer required. I handed over a crisp note and went gleefully on my way.

    Fast forward four years and I am now dismantling the head I bought for a tenner. With a lot of help from my dad, who has built an engine before, we stripped down the head with a lot of swearing and some persuasion tools. It should not have been such a struggle but on inspection of the rocker shafts and cam it appears that, when it had been rebuilt by the chap I purchased it from, he had been rather rough and hammered the shafts back in, which in turn has warped them, so new shafts and a Schrick 292 degree cam were ordered, as well as new rockers and valve stem oil seals. The good news with the head is that the valve guides are new and it appears to have been skimmed so I’ll get a little extra compression. All in all, still a bargain for a tenner. Top tip, though, if you ever buy a cylinder head or any part of an engine secondhand, even if it looks good, strip it down if you can, to ensure all is in good working order.

    Once the head was completely stripped down the first job was to lap the valves. This involves what is essentially a small plunger on a stick, known as a lapping tool, and two abrasive pastes, one coarse one fine, which are used to file away any imperfections in the valve seat and valve to create a perfect seal. You can get powered lapping tools but I only had a manual one to hand and it’s very labour intensive, dull, monotonous work. But with iTunes on shuffle, the three hours it took to finish the job passed quickly enough.

    Next up, it was time to refit the valves. This was far simpler than I expected and actually really quite enjoyable. We used a special grease that’s designed for use when assembling precision engineering to coat the valve stems.

    Then the valves are dropped into their guides and the oil seals are pushed over the stem onto the top of the guide. The trickier part of the valve assembly are the springs. They need to be compressed with a valve spring compressor (go figure!) and to get my compressor to sit properly was a little bit of a pain and took a couple of attempts with a few of the valves. However, it was not too annoying. The really fiddly bit, though, is fitting the collets onto the top of the valve stem while the compressor is in the way!

    Using needle nose pliers and a small screwdriver to position the two collets onto each stem felt like I was playing that children’s board game Operation, just without that annoying buzzing when you got it wrong. With a little patience and steady hands all eight valves were installed. With the valves in, the cam was the next part of the puzzle. Again, with liberal amounts of grease, the cam slid into its journals without issue.

    A couple of other things this month: I have had a set of 325i brake calipers blasted and now I’ve painted them silver they look almost new. This is quite something seeing as previously they looked like they had been dragged up from the bottom of the North Sea. I will hopefully have them installed as soon as I get the correct size seals for them, as the ones I was supplied with are too large. Also I thought I would point out what a superb workbench the front panel of an E30 makes; it’s perfect for storing all your tools during a head rebuild!

    By the time you read this the E30 and I will be on our way to France for the Le Mans Classic, as I hope to have the head back on and engine running in a week or two. I should have another update before you can find out if both myself and the car make it to Le Mans…
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