Tuesday, April 24, 2007

The Much Maligned Ferrari 400/400i/412

Ferraristas have always insisted that a true Ferrari must only have two seats. But throughout much of Ferrari's history, 2+2 GTs have been a part of the Maranello firm's line-up. Because of the bias against four-seaters, their resale value and desirability have never held up to their shorter wheelbased cousins.

Of all the maligned 2+2s, the 400/400i/412 series (hereinafter "400s") have been subjected to further insults and sneers because of its controversial three-box design. To many, the 400s are nothing more than glorified Maserati Biturbos or Bitter SCs. But to the rare afficionado of the 400s, the majority's wrath is the minority's gain. Used 400s in daily-driver shape can be had for the price of a new entry level imported luxo-sports sedan.

The original 400 (1976 to '78) and 412 (1985 to '89) are the best examples. Their V12 engines, one a 4.8 liter, the other 4.9 liter, put out 340 horses. The 400i (1979 to '84) was equipped with a suffocating Bosch fuel injector. The 400i was rated at 310 horsepower.

Though they may be a bargain to buy, maintenance is of course going to be enough to bankrupt small Banana Republics (the countries, not the retailers). Nevertheless, it is still a classy and relatively affordable classic GT to drive to the office.


Alan said...

How you can call the Islero ugly and then praise the 400 is baffling.

Maxichamp said...

I wrote the piece about the Islero three years ago. Since then, I've come around and realized it's actually not bad looking. The 400 still reigns supreme in my eyes, though.

Anonymous said...

The 400 has always looked stunning to me. Admittedly, it's kind of '70s with those sharp creases, and the 456 made it look suddenly very old, but I've always wanted one -alot-.

Until I sat in one. I didn't drive it - I didn't even want to anymore. The driving position is just unbelievable. You either sit so low you can barely see over the scuttle, or you find your head is brushing the roof. And you're stretching forward to reach the steering wheel, even on an auto (I was sizing up a 400i, the least popular of all) with no clutch pedal to worry about.

Anyone who can cope with all that & still manage to look cool, casual and relaxed (which must be part of the point of cruising a GT Ferrari) must be channeling Luca di M.