I have been on the hunt for a V12 GT (see: Ferrari V12 Hunt) for quite some time now. When the hunt initially started off, the main acquisition focus was (and still is) a Ferrari F12. However, as time has gone by and the ideal Ferrari F12 hasn’t come onto the market, I’ve found myself looking into a number of other options. This opening of the aperture presents all sorts of new complications, quandaries, and possibilities as to be fair to each option, they need to be weighted on their own merits and judged against the use case. The main options that have caught my eye and gathered a fair amount of attention include a Ferrari GTC4Lusso, a Ferrari 365 GT 2+2, and an Aston Martin Vanquish Volante. The following are a few comments and insights on each:
The GTC4Lusso was not in the original consideration set as the Use Case did not include a need for four seats. However, a friend who has owned multiple different front engine Ferrari V12’s, commented that he considered it a superior option for longer road trips as it has by far the most generous space available for luggage. The GTC4Lusso does tick the box on front engine V12, Grand Tourer, and performance. I spent a very enjoyable weekend about a decade ago with its predecessor, the FF and was quite impressed with its capabilities (see: Ferrari FF Review). During a recent trip to Toronto, I stopped by the local Ferrari dealer and was able to see the GTC4Lusso and a F12 side by side. The Lusso definitely wins on luggage space with both an ample boot and rarely occupied rear seats. For more than a week, the GTC4Lusso would definitely be the superior option to the small boot and luggage shelf in the F12. Almost all our road trips are either long weekends or no more than a week so the extra space, while nice, isn’t a requirement (Mrs. SSO does have a slightly different POV). In terms of pricing, there was about a $60k difference in base list price between the GTC4Lusso and F12 when new. That gap has only widened slightly to around $80k today which given that historically 4 seat Ferraris have been the depreciation pigs of the Ferrari line up, is quite an impressive accomplishment. Given that, history would indicate that GTC4Lusso values still have a lot further to fall so perhaps now isn’t the best time to buy one. Further evidence of this is the recent roughly $35k spread between the Bring A Trailer (BAT) 2023 GTC4Lusso sales (at $200k) and current official Ferrari dealer asking prices (the F12 has a very similar spread right now). The other knock on the GTC4Lusso is that while most Ferraris are quite stunning cars with an enormous amount of presence, the GTC4Lusso is more of an acquired taste.
Ferrari 365 GT 2+2
I’ve had a strange attraction to the Ferrari 365 GT 2+2 for almost 20 years now. I do think it’s one of Pininfaria’s classic designs and the poster child for a 60’s Grand Tourer. While it was quite a large car in its day, there is something quite elegant and right about its lines. Back in 2004 I almost bought one, and if it hadn’t been for a slipping clutch and badly crunching 2ndgear, for the princely sum of €38k it very likely would have been sitting in my garage. Like just about every other Enzo era Ferrari, values on 365 GT 2+2 have increased dramatically in the last decade and now a good 365 GT 2+2 will set you back around $200-250k with a great one going for $50-100k more. Values of 365 GT 2+2 have been quite stable over the last several years. The positives on the 365 GT 2+2 are it sounds great, is quite comfortable for long distance drives, and has lots of luggage space. The negatives, it is a 50+ year old car now, has the turning radius of an oil tanker, the suspension is quite soft, and its heavy. This is something you do notice if you suddenly need to give the brakes a solid shove. Maintenance & restoration costs are similar to those of its contemporary, and much more valuable, 365 GTB/4 Daytona which does make it a challenging math car if you buy at or near the top of the market. All of this aside, I do have to remind myself that I really don’t have the patience (nor the technical skills) to own a 50 year old car at this point. As beautiful and engaging as they can be to drive, the mechanical challenges on even the best sorted examples can put a real damper on the experience. I just have to remind myself of the melted fuse boxes, overheated engines, and failed compressor belts on past classic Ferraris to pour a bit of cold water on the whole idea.
Aston Martin Vanquish Volante
While I have written a lot on Aston Martin as a company, much of it being a bit less than positive, I have written very little about their cars. I have always had a soft spot for Aston Martins and believe AML has historically produced some of the most beautiful and elegant cars on the market. While I have never actually owned an Aston Martin, I did come close (ish) once as I did have a deposit down on a Valhalla back in 2019 (it was pulled in 2020 when they got into deep financial trouble). Despite shockingly not getting any invites from the AML PR department to test drive any of their current cars, I have driven a few Astons over the years. These include a 70’s V8 Vantage, which I would describe as agricultural, and a pair of both Bez and a Palmer era Vanquishes & DBS’s. The Bez era cars driving dynamics felt dated with the Palmer era cars more contemporary. While values on the latest DBS Volante’s are still quite high, they are likely headed south shortly given a facelifted/new model is due to be released finally later this year. (AML’s recent year end 2022 loading of dealerships (see: The Stuffed Turtle) will also not help that situation). On the other hand, Vanquish Volante’s look to be very good value these days and as they are 10+ years old now, they should be at or near the bottom of the depreciation curve. However, looking at the market, there does seem to be a major misalignment on expectations as official Aston Martin dealers are asking $170-200k+ but several similar cars have shown up recently on BAT and been bid only into $105-120k range. While the BAT bids might be on the low side, the market is certainly a lot closer to $120k than $170k. At $120k, a similar year Vanquish Volante would be half the price of a F12. New there would have only been a difference of $15-20k between the F12 & Vanquish.
End of Term
When we do finally add a V12 GT to the garage, unlike a few of the other recent acquisitions which have been additions, this will be a replacement of an existing car. The one that will be going is the 2018 Maserati Quattroporte Q4 Gransport (see: Maserati QP Q4) which arrived just over a year ago. The big Maserati has been a terrific car and perfect for the task we acquired it for, driving back and forth between Boston and New York. For a multi hour journey hammering up & down I95 in a range of different seasons & weather conditions, it has been brilliant. Sadly, though its “Use Case” is no longer. My agreement with Mrs. SSO was it would be moved on when that happened, and try as I might, I have not been able to come up with an excuse to keep it.
Of the three possible alternatives to the Ferrari F12 filling that need for a 12 cylinder “fix”, having gone through all the mental gymnastics, I would still put an F12 acquisition as the most likely outcome. While a Ferrari GTC4Lusso might be the most practical, it just doesn’t have the same emotional appeal. The Ferrari 365 GT 2+2 ticks the emotional box but loses badly on rationale. The most tempting of the three though is probably the Aston Martin Vanquish Volante given the value it represents right now. While I will be sad to see the big Maserati go, a V12 GT will get me through the grieving process quickly.
Thoughts and comments? Please see the comments section below.
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I’ve sat in the GTC4Lusso and it’s a very nice place to be. Someone I know, an automotive CEO but not cars, and his mum lives across from me. Hence why I know him a bit. He was made an offer he couldn’t refuse at the start of the pandemic and sold it assuming that he could step right in to another 911 again. His use case was the rear seats for his kids, but no longer being based abroad the work provided him a car. He didn’t need the four seats any longer. Sadly, he hadn’t realised that Porsches also rocketed in price…
From what I’ve heard of the second generation Vanquish is that it’s a much better car to drive. One of the frustrating parts about Aston Martin is everybody says they’re getting better and better to drive and to live with. If you can put up with the awful designs by Reichman.
The only other V12 that I can think of is one that’s a W12. A Bentley. Not the lithe sportscar, definitely leaning heavily on GT, but inside is a very special place. Does it have room on your list?
What disappointed me on the latest Aston’s was that, while I finally fit into a modern Aston (I’m 6’4 and the Bez era cars were ridiculously small inside), I found the modern interiors to be quite disappointing. The Mercedes bits seemed forced in, and the rest seemed more Hyundai Genesis than Aston. Generic and of marginal quality for the class.
And I say this as one of the biggest Aston fans you will ever meet.
I’ve enjoyed 3 V12 Ferraris. A 612 four seater oto version, an F12 and now an 812 which is really an improved F12. All have plenty of luggage space for our 9 day Woldingham village road trips. For travelling 4 up I prefer to use my practical Alpina D5 or B5 Touring
Cannot comment on actual usage of Ferrari . I like the Dino and the latest Roma, though it does look like a Jaguar F-Type….
Aston Martin Vanquish Volante looks a nice car, their prices are lower l think due to concerns of perceived lack of security. A friend had a Aston Martin Vanquish Coupe , he was very disappointed with the stitching on the seats, and only kept it for 9 months.