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Jiffy Lube Serviced? 1979 Ferrari 400

Jeff LaveryBy Jeff Lavery

The Ferrari 400 was not exactly one of the most loved exotics when it was introduced. The tide has turned, slightly, as the prices of other models have skyrocketed and enthusiasts look for any affordable point of entry for Ferrari ownership. Despite being saddled with an automatic, this 400 here on eBay may find a new home, but I question whether it will sell for the current $42,500 price tag. 

The 400 has not run in 10 years, but the motor does still turn. The seller points out that the instantly recognizable flip-up headlights do still work, but that’s of little comfort considering the scale of the rest of the project. The seller also contends that the low recorded mileage of 3,958 is likely correct due to registration paperwork and an oil change sticker that shows lower mileage at previously recorded intervals.

An oil change sticker may provide mileage clues but it’s downright terrifying as evidence of this Ferrari’s maintenance history (I don’t think Ferrari dealers put a sticker in the door jamb). Also of concern is an indication Champion spark plugs were used in one of the few examples of what, if any, servicing this 400 has received over the last 20 years. What is working in this 2+2’s favor, however, is that it is a carb’d example, which made better power than later injected 400i’s.

As for high points, it appears the 400 has at least been stored in an adequate environment. The interior looks more than presentable for the age, and there’s only a few bubbling spots of rust noted on the exterior. The tool kit and owner’s manuals are included with the car, which is also a positive. But when a quick Google search reveals a running, driving automatic 400i for just $27,000, I have to wonder if this carb’d example is worth the added premium.

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Comments

  1. Klharper

    I use to work as a mechanic in a official ferrari dealership, Foreign cars Italia, about 25 years ago. Putting a sticker like this in period was perfectly normal. Though you would usually ask the customer. Some wanted it in a service book others on the door jam and some in the engine compartment.
    Champion spark plugs were factory fitment for many Ferrari’s and possibly this one. A quick look at the side of Niki Lauda 1974 F1 car would explain this.
    Also this car has the incorrect oil filters they should be orange as Fram was factory. Though most shops now use Baldwin’s or UFI filters

    1+
    • rando

      Foreign cars Italia – there was one of those in greensboro, NC. That the one? Or is that a chain? I drooled by there,. um DROVE by there a lot in my teen years.

      2+
      • Klharper

        Yes that is the one. When I worked there it was just a tiny little delearship, with a 4 bay shop and 2 lifts. Years after I left to go back to college the owner sold it to a conglomerate. I go in the current location occasionally, but it has no soul, so I am glad I worked at the old place.

        1+
  2. sparkster

    Interesting exhaust / muffler / header system used

    1+
    • Joe

      And very expensive looking too.

      1+
  3. Paul B

    I think I know this car. It sat in Willspoint Chevrolet dealership for 20 or so years, I think they just sold it for $17k. I know this is what I heard they wanted in Oct 2016.

    1+
    • Paul B

      I have a bunch of photos Here is one

      2+
      • Ron Member

        Paul can you please all photos you have on this car and as much details and history possible.

        1+
    • Paul B

      And another.

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      • Jeff Lavery Jeff Staff

        Thanks for the photos. I’d love to know the backstory as to why it languished at the dealer for so many years.

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      • Pete

        I am the owner,you don’t know what I paid for it.but I do buy things for profit

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    • Paul B

      Last one I will post. I like these shots better.

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    • Paul B

      Ok and an engine photo.

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    • Jason

      Sold for $17K two months ago, quick flip for $25K profit? Sounds jiffy!

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      • Paul B

        Not sure if that is what it sold for. I was told they wanted $17k but who knows there could have been a bidding war.

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    • Adam Wright

      I love it when someone knows the story.

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  4. TJP

    I’ll question the claimed mileage, several things say way more than 3900 miles

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    • Paul B

      I think it was traded in in the 80s and just sat at the dealership. My photos were from then

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  5. Paul B

    It had the highly desirable Ford Seatbelts

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    • Dolphin Dolphin Staff

      Enzo Ferrari was a fan of Henry Ford 1st, so I think he would not have had a problem with Ford belts in his cars.

      1+
      • boxdin

        Not so much Henry Ford II.

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  6. Tom Driscoll

    17k sounds better that 27k…

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    • Paul B

      I considered it but when I factored in the shipping, tax, the known unknowns it put me in the range of decent running ones abet with 30k more miles. It is the unknown unknows (entire engine shot?) that you have to factor in. Many cars I get have sat for decades and most come back just fine but occasionally you get one that has massive unexpected issues and you always have to price expecting this.

      It was a good buy if you just wanted to sit on it and see if it became a 150K+ Ferrari in a decade and at $17k was priced fairly for a decades long non runner with limited appeal. I bought an old Mercedes instead. I would not touch this at what he is asking unless I can take it on a 400 mile test drive.

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  7. Clinton

    I’d be on this like white on rice for 17! Unfortunately it’s not 17k ….

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  8. Dolphin Dolphin Staff

    The upside:

    – Seller has excellent feedback and looks like he has been dealing in vintage cars professionally
    – The car still has its original tools and books, so it was probably owned by careful people
    – Body, upholstery and underside look pretty good, paint maybe OK

    The downside:

    – Pedals, driver’s carpet and engine bay look like more than 3958 miles
    – Old documents showing low mileage soon after original purchase are good to have but do not prove that the car has 3958 miles right now
    – To replace that exhaust system will probably cost more than I paid for my last good daily driver
    ———————————–

    This is an exciting vintage driver 4-seat sedan that happens to be an affordable Ferrari, sort of, but I would not buy it without seeing it run and drive and a compression check that should give near-new compression. Otherwise it’s not worth the asking.

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  9. Brian Smith

    Way too much money for this one. The one on Craigslist for 27k is also overpriced, due to its many missing parts. I wouldn’t even consider one of these in non-running condition for more than 15k. Look at Hagerty valuation tool. If you can find one with a manual transmission, they will definitely bring a premium, but unfortunately the auto dulls the V12 Ferrari experience.

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    • Pete

      I have already sold 2 of these last month that weren’t in this shape for a lot more than 15k.you don’t know the market

      0
  10. Rickyrover

    An automatic? In a Ferrari? Sacrilege!

    1+
    • Jason

      An automatic in this application is nothing to scoff at, because the 400 range was seen as an executive tourer. I wouldn’t be surprised if the majority of 400is were autos.

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      • Paul B

        I think this is a great car. Front engine V12 GT. Same bizarre world as 80s Maserati Q-port, Aston Martin Lagonda. Both the Qporte and Lagonda have risen in value lately. I have been tempted by all three at times. At the same time I considered this I was also looking at a similar low mileage off the road Maserati Q-porte.

        I think it is vastly overpriced but values will rise

        1+
      • Rickyrover

        I’m sure most bound for US market were autos. Not scoffing at this car, it’s a beauty, I love fast touring sedans, just not a fan of automatic gearbox in a pure sports tourer. However, the performance is near the same on both:

        http://erwin400.blogspot.com/2015/02/ferrari-automatic-transmission-part-
        ii.html

        and the automatic is reliable, while the manual is quirky, having to be warmed up before 2nd will engage properly:

        http://petrolicious.com/why-the-ferrari-400i-is-collectable

        They claim Enzo himself was a fan of automatics, maybe in his older years……but this old guy here just like to shift gears…….

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  11. John

    Am I correct in thinking that the transmission in these was a GM Turbo-hydro unit? I always thought these were classy cars. Maybe someday.

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    • Jamie H

      It is indeed Turbo Hydrostatic 400. Only about 10% of these came with the 5 speed stick and they are far more sought after. The carbed version is also more hassle but more desirable. I like them and have worked on them and agree that the present asking price is rather steep.
      I see spending probably 5 to 7k getting it running assuming the coolant hasn’t attacked the cylinder liner o-rings.
      No such thing as a cheap Ferrari

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      • Jamie H

        Darn spell correct. Turbo Hydramatic 400

        1+
    • N T Van Sanke

      I own a 400 carb and you guys just need to drive one to feel the real deal.

      They are awesome examples of front engines goliaths that can only rise in price.

      I’ve worked on and been involved in all manner of road and race cars from the age of 12, I’m 65 now so I have a little street cred.

      Let’s not knock Ferrari, all are special

      Wal

      1+
  12. sparkster

    John I was thinking the same thing on the GM sourced automatic transmission. Perhaps someone can enlighten us

    0
    • Klharper

      Yes it is a GM unit, same as used by rolls Royce I think. Ford seat belts, and there are a ton of small Fiat parts scattered about. I liked these but never loved them and thought maserati did a better job with the qporte for an executive cruiser. I know this is sacrilegious but to me the only use for these is as an engine donor for a P4 replica.

      0
      • Van

        Love the P4

        0
  13. Pete

    @Paul B. thanks big mouth.you don’t really know what I paid, because you weren’t there.it went thru another dealer before I bought it. sounds like you are a dealer also.how would you like it if someone posted on the Internet what they thought you paid for cars in your inventory?

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    • Dan10

      I think we would all love it. Until you tell us what you paid people will think it is $17K. So, how much?

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    • Paul B

      I didn’t post to stick it to you, I have no idea who you even are. I think these cars are cool and I love seeing what happens to them. I also love seeing them in their “Barnfind” condition which is what this site is all about if you hadn’t noticed. You are in the wrong site, not me.

      I am not a dealer but a collector. I generally keep cars for at least three or four years before I move on. I love getting cars that have not run in a long time and wrenching them back to life myself. I get a kick out of the process and then bringing them to car shows. If I was a dealer with space for an 8th car, and did not have to pay sales tax I would have bought it but that is not what I do. This is my beloved hobby, bring them back not flipping.

      So you are a dead car flipper, great for you, a bunch of cars I see end up at that place in Beverly Hills or Astoria NY. Since you just give the car a wash, your not as concerned about what it may take to bring a car back. Sometimes it is easy, sometimes it is far more difficult and expensive than expected. You usually don’t know till you get the engine apart. Some folks will run with old chains and old gaskets and they will get away with that for a short while.

      If I was a professional dealer I wouldn’t be on “Barnfind” forum crying because someone knows more about the barn find history of a car I bought than I do.

      As you see above I never claimed to know exactly what you paid for this, just what I was told the owner (son of the fellow who took it in on trade in I believe) wanted for the car) . I spoke with the dealership but didn’t proceed because I honestly had too many car balls up in the air and was on travel.

      FYI back in October there was a great discussion with photos about this car on one of those facebook groups with 50k members. If 5000 people see a dollar bill on the street and I pick it up first it is still worth a dollar. This car is worth what it is worth and complaining here that I posted has just as much relevance as someone here saying they wouldn’t pay $1 for it.

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  14. Pete

    I wish I paid 17k,that would have been a no brainer.Paul.,you missed a deal

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  15. Ed

    Cool down Pete. It doesn’t matter what people think you paid for the car. If your selling price is right it will sell no matter what you paid for it. If your asking more than it worth then it will not sell until the right person is wiling to pay what you ask for. With the internet nowadays it’s very easy for anyone to compare values of any car or anything to make a well informed decision. Paul B just commented on what he knows of the car and won’t affect the sale of the car, again if the price is fair according to market value!!! Thanks BF and its members for great car stories!!!

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  16. Pete

    Ok,Ed,I took a cold shower to cool down. lol. .been at this game for 30 years,but it sure has changed with the internet,mostly better,but not all the time

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  17. Laverda3

    Pete sounds like exactly the kind of seller I’d avoid even if the car was free. I have bought and sold many cars and motorcycles over the years, and never deal with rude people – life is too short and cars are too fun to put up with that.

    1+
  18. Jason

    big mouth Pete (seller) said –

    “thanks for trying to ruin my sale”

    Thanks for trying to ruin the hobby, jackass!

    1+
    • Paul B

      Seems like Pete bought it from whoever bought it from the dealership. I’d never give someone a hard time for trying to make some money but for him to come to the Barn Find site and cry because I talked about a Barn Find is pretty outrageous.

      Barn Find cars need love and I think most of us fans like the process of dealing with them. I got good advice when I was young and that was body came first over mechanical. This one has real promise but I see things I would get dealt with now. Beyond the body, it is pretty common that you need to deal with:

      1)Brakes, brake lines perhaps, brake hydraulics including master,slave,calipers. (The master and slave will die sooner than later if not replaced if they happen to work)
      2)Tires of course (brakes and tires are most important to me and don’t drive on old tires no matter how good they look)
      3)Transmission service flush, filter best case, repair replace if this is why car sat
      4)New hoses and belts
      5)Radiator flush and clean at a minimum, if you are going to drive it, just save yourself the hassle and get replaced or rebuilt. Do thermostats, thermoswitch as well as these are just a matter of time till they die and are easy to do all at once. (perhaps switch to waterless coolant, won’t eat the engine if you don’t drive it often) Elecrtical fans perhaps, it often seems you do everything else then a week or month later the old electric fans go.
      6)Battery of course
      7)fuel tank clean/fix/replace, pump or pumps, fuel lines? (your electric pump may work but its going to die and leave you on the side of the road)
      8) Rebuild carbs if been sitting as the gaskets dry out. You don’t want a fire and this is a risk for a car that has sat for a long time (rebuild 6 carbs here)
      9)Suspension pieces, shocks,bushings etc… You can do over time but keep costs and work in mind.
      10)Electrical wires, harness etc… possibly. These dry out etc… On some cars (British, Italian cough cough, this can be a massive PIA)
      11)Generator or alternator (again if you are going to drive it it will probably die sooner than later)

      Then you get to the engine and you can do anything from just change the plugs and fluids to a full breakdown, new seals, gaskets, timing chains, engine bearings etc…. Of course you have to figure out why the car sat to begin with. On a car like a 944 a simple problem like an oil cooler going looks like a head gasket blown but in both cases you are looking at a real question on what the coolant has done to the engine bearings. Fixing the Oil cooler is cheap parts wise but a PIA job. I have had barn finds which were simple fluids, batteries and tires to ones that seemed like they would be simple but ended up being beset with gremlins.

      What am I forgetting?

      0
      • streamliner

        I’d like to add that I really appreciate Paul B’s comments, as well as those expressed in support of what Paul B wrote and what the Barnfinds community is all about. Pete is a flipper. An opportunist. Reading his griping, self-interested point of view reminds me of realtors who cost home buyers a great deal of money, yet add nothing of value. Case in point: When I compare the terrific photos Paul B shared with us to those Pete used in his ebay listing, it confirms everything I know to be true. What I see is a car that has been washed, and now costs $42,000. — possibly $25,000. MORE than what it sold for a couple of months ago. I see no improvements to the car, or any work having been done. For $42K, I’d expect a solid running road tested car. I’d expect the underside to have been worked on, including new undercoating and a lot of detail work throughout. This car should be pristine and sharp. Instead, the new seller has just given it a quick wash. Big deal. Keep up the good work Paul B. No apologies necessary.

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  19. Tom Driscoll

    I had a similar experience when I sold my Vista Cruiser a few years ago…I sold it on Ebay for $8700 and 2 weeks later it was listed on the internet for $12,000. I posted a comment that I had just sold the car for $8700 and the guy raised hell with me for messing up his deal. I guess it was sour grapes on my part for leaving money on the table, and of course, “asking aint gettin’, so who knows what the guy got for it…it was a lesson for me…I guess anybody deserves to make money anyway they can, as long as it’s honest.

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  20. bcavileer

    Jeez, i love when the flippers get into each other’s game. To bad it is no longer about the cars. Anyone ever drive one of these or can comment about the experience without the money b.s…
    I am gonna start a website about the cars, about the hobby and you investors can all go wallow in you own (4 letter word left to your imagination).

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  21. Paul B

    Hi Ron,

    I have about 25 photos but it is too much of a pain to post them one by one and I don’t want Pete to hunt me down. The car does have a very interesting story though but it seems they got the blood out 😉

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  22. Ron Member

    strange ……
    As I bought the car today
    and Pete and I are happy I don’t
    see the problem of giving the history details on this care ,As I like to have as much historical info as possible
    And you are the one on this moment who can give it
    but ok I’am happy with it anyway
    and will give i all TLC it needs

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    • Paul B

      Call up Willspoint Chevrolet, they had it there for decades. Took it as a trade and there is no dramatic story behind it. I believe the dealership owner liked it but it just sat till his son took over and wanted it gone. I am pretty sure mileage is correct. Good luck. I love the car, would have bought it myself but just no room for it at the time (last October) and I am not a flipper so I wasn’t looking for anything to flip. http://www.willspointchevrolet.com/ContactUsForm?siteMapItemName=4EE2287890EE100485F700145EDEFA37

      Best of luck. I think you will make out just fine. I would love to hear how you make out with it. Do a youtube diary or the like. Get me an email address and I will send you all the photos. Pete was a jerk to me here so that is why I was hesitant as was still for sale when you posted.

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      • Ron Member

        Ok Paul i will keep you
        updated on the project
        F400 please sent pictures to
        ronald@vanderboor.com

        thanks !

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