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The 456 was a striking car. First, its size is deceptive. In pictures it looks downright svelt but in person you are struck by how large and heavy it seems. I'm sure dimensions are out there somewhere but its styling really transmits a sense of power and mass that I guess I hadn't expected. The two examples in the showroom were finished in subtle colors that really accentuated the car. One was British Racing Green and the other Titanium or some other fancy name for silver. The thing I like most about the new models from Ferrari is that they are not screaming out for attention like the Testarossa did with those big fenders and cheese-grater grilles. No, these cars seem to carry on the tradition of cars like the 365 GT2+2 that feature supreme execution of basic transportation.

Though I had to make do with looking through the window the interior was very inviting even if the $200,000 price tag meant that looks would have to do. Supple leather seats with enough but not a lot of room in the back. How is it that the leather and stitching for a car like this can look so much better even from a distance? The sales manager said one of the nice features of the 456 is that it does not have traction control like the 550. He went on to add that where the 550 will keep its nice manners as power is applied the 456 can break loose all over the place. I guess with close to 500 horsepower maybe it should.

With such perfect fit and finish it is no surprise that the sticker price is what it is. Some may say that it's outrageous but it's still only 2/3 the price of a new Bentley sports model. Talk about heavy and powerful. Even though I would expect that kind of quality in such a high-priced car it still seems such a departure from older Ferraris that are supossed to represent the true ideal. Their paint was noted for its short life, the leather was thin and lost color easily, windows usually worked and the air conditioning and heating systems were sub-standard. Yet, these were and are the cars of dreams. Clearly, times have changed and the cars have changed with them. I guess it's sort of like wanting Eisenhower back. Well, maybe we would if he were driving a 250 Berlinetta.