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  • Kirk Robinson

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    OK, I had previously dismissed the 400i as, in the words of Jeremy Clarkson, "simply awful, in every way". I never cared much for the more boxy lines (well - boxy compared to the 60's and 70's ferraris designed by Pininfarina) or the proportions, which I felt suggested the car was centered around the driver and comfort, like a family sedan, and do not suggest the focus is the engine and performance, as the the mid-engined cars' and the long hood/short tail proportions of cars like the Daytona and 250 cars suggest. I also felt it was criminal to put a Ferrari V12 in a big, heavy, soft wooshmobile, where it could never achieve performance in the way other Ferraris had.

    But after reading this and seeing the excellent photographs, something changed - I am now really beginning to understand the appeal. After all, whats wrong with big comfy cruiser with a great engine? And while I still maintain that the looks are a bit dated, and haven't quite hit the "timeless beauty" of some of the earlier 60's cars, the look is understated and beautiful.

    So I now disagree with Jeremy. I don't think this is a car with more problems than its worth, I think this is a car with exactly one problem: its badge. I think the reason for all the criticism is that it lacks all the aggressive styling and performance of all the super cars in its family tree. It doesn't strive to be like its siblings, and so when people see that it fails to meet so many of the criteria we all so closely associate with the name Ferrari, it is seen as a failure. But just because it is a bad Ferrari doesn't mean it is by any means a bad car. I bet that if this car wore a Jaguar badge or maybe even a Maserati badge, it would be seen in a much more positive light.

  • Benjamin Shahrabani

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    Tom Cruise drove one in Rain Man!

  • Guest (name)

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    now you have ruined it .

  • Guest (willem)

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    Thanks for the great article. I own a 1988 412 manual and love to see the respect for these cars.
    Why did I bought one?
    I wanted a classic Ferrari, I love the engine sound, the feeling of really driving. I was looking to a Testarossa, great car. But being the father of two boys (7 and 10) I did not liked the outlook of doing Sunday roadtrips by myself.
    And then the 412 came along : backseat comfortable for kids ( even (small) adults) , V12, manual transition, black outside, cream inside, the feeling of taming a wild horse without esp, ..... and other mechanic help.
    And now every sunny day we spent great family days, trips to countryside, little roads, or highway trips, evrything is super. And sometimes, after a hard day work , I take it out myself and push it to the limit, o tot 60 in 6,2 sec and even more great torque going easily to 165 miles ( I live in Belgium, some highways are great at night)
    Downside : it drinks gas like a alcoholic russian , I always joke that if you go to a gas station and fuel it with engine on , you will never stop fueling. And then running cost, you have to be lucky , some are good, some have problems, I haven't been lucky : I had a full overhaule which costs me as much as the car. But now she is even more perfect, and Ihave a smile on my face the moment I get in and smell the typical smeel and turn the key....... priceless.

  • Guest (Aaron)

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    thats the life.

  • Guest (TJ Martin)

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    Actually they're kind of not . Collectable that is . Problem being the cost of maintenance and repair and god help you if restoration is needed well and exceeds any potential value the car may ever have ... unless you can do 90% of the work yourself . Add to that the 400/412 was always unloved by the Ferrarista ... not selling well from the get go and still in limbo today . As far as reliability .. having owned a 365 GTC/4 ... the 400/412's are no better nor any worse than any V12 Ferrari . Problem being as I said .. the 400/412 is still a bit of a lame duck as far as desirability and collectibility is concerned so you'll probably never see a return should you sell it . Having said that though ... the 400/412's are one ___ of a mighty fine ride if you can afford it

    A minor caveat ? When I bought the 365 GTC/4 back in the late 70's it was as unloved as the 400/412 is today . Paid a price guaranteed no one wants to know [ excessively low ] Sold it a few years ago for well in excess of $100k .. so ... something to think about ;-)

    from Denver, CO, USA
  • Matthew Lange

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    The notion that the 400 did not sell well is not entirely true. From the time body style was introduced as the 365GT4 2+2 through to the end of 400 production it marginally outsold Ferrari's then 12 cylinder berlinetta the Boxer. Yes the 412 was massively outsold by the Testarossa, but by then it was an old design and the Testarossa was sold in the States and the 412 wasn't officially. The '400' bodystyle was in production for 17 years longer than any other Ferrari.

    I agree these cars are never going to massively appreciate and will always cost more to fully restore than they will ever worth. I love 365GTC/4's they are a really underrated Ferrari my Dad has two at the moment. Not as sporty or as exhilarating to drive as my Daytona but a better car for a 10 hour drive across Europe.

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  • Guest (Harry)

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    I think we need to define collectibility here. Is it the next model that hedge fund guys are going to start buying and hiding away, making prices skyrocket? Or is it an under-appreciated gem that true car enthusiasts can get into? Few cars are going to gain enough value to offset V-12 maintenance and, god forbid, a restoration. But if I love the car, I'm buying it, driving it, and restoring it for myself, not for the next hypothetical owner. If this model is undervalued because it lacks the glamour of the 512BB and the familiarity of the 308/28, and not because it has a poor mechanical record, then great. No one got excited about the Mondial either, but maybe that means there are Ferraris out there for people who love the marque, want the practicality of a 2+2 GT car, but don't have a $250,000 budget. I love the idea of finding great but unloved models. Consider the BMW Bavaria from the 70s. Is it collectible? Not in the sense that there's a hot market for it. But look what you get: a gorgeous four-door with the lighter, less option-heavy 2500 body and the more powerful 2800 engine. If you're getting into a car because you're thinking it'll be a good investment, maybe you're more of a speculator than a collector.

  • gwen williams

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    Oohlala! Great car! Car auctions are the best. As a vintage car collector, it is where I got my best buys. It pays to be very careful in choosing sources for this kind of transaction to avoid fraud or worst, drug dealer automobiles.

  • Guest (Fernando)

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    Thanks for the article and pics. I really like the 400i series. It's probably because I am more a Jaguar (XJ-S) guy than a Ferrari fan. In fact central engine Ferraris only attracted me when I was a teenager. Now in my mid fourties central engined units rarely deserve a second glance for me; I am more for the "diplomat" than for the "playboy". It's sad that they are expensive to run.