1979 Ferrari 400 With Only 4k Miles!

By James Keller

Allow me to preface this post by saying this: I am by no means a Ferrari expert. It is my understanding that the late 70’s and early 80’s Ferrari’s are the redheaded stepchildren of Enzo’s exclusive family. I, for one, love the four-light rear end of this generation of car though. With a current bid of $20,600, this 1979 400 Automatic found here on eBay may be a great driver for someone with somewhat deep pockets.

There she blows! Although it’s a little dusty, the 4.8 liter V12 seems to be all there. All six, yes six, Weber DCOE side-draft carburetors are present. I’m not totally sure, but do I spot two oil filters mounted on top of the engine? Also, why is the alternator and A/C compressor mounted backwards?

As a car with less that 4,000 original miles, the underside seems to match this mileage claim. I do see some surface rust, but no holes can be seen. It also appears as though the transmission is not leaking. According to my research, the 400 Automatics were fitted with GM THM-400 transmissions, so parts (if needed) won’t be too hard to find.

As would be expected, the interior appears absolutely immaculate. The tan leather with black accents seems to match the silver exterior well.

This is my favorite angle of the car. The dual pop-up headlights with individual bulbs scream 1980’s styling. Assuming you had the money to buy this sports car, would you drive it or preserve it?

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Comments

  1. Jeffro

    Damn it! I’m still looking for my pastel colored t-shirts. What would Crockett do? Can you wear parachute pants and still look good in a Ferrari?

    4+
    • Klharper

      Wrong era, this is a car that current with disco. And please don’t dress the part

      4+
      • Woodie Man

        Chuck Barris (RIP) of the Gong Show would have driven this or a slightly earlier version.

        3+
    • Red'sResto

      I don’t have enough chest hair to own this…

      13+
    • Bun Ramey

      I am worried about you guys–anyone that would notice the reversed alternator on this F-car has toooooooo much time on his hands OR is a really knowledgeable car nut / editor. Unfortunately, I am neither! Love the site.

      2+
  2. Squad41

    Great find! This thing is nice, straight and original. Now, even though Ferraris are notorious for expensive engine services, the advantage here is that this is an “Analog” car. If you have reasonable mechanical ability, you can perform many/most of the routine services and repairs without much fanfare. They also made enough of these that there are used parts available, too. My best suggestion would be to sort this thing out mechanically, and then enjoy it as is. It’s more of a “Grand Tourer” (Think Aston Martin, Jenson Interceptor, etc) than a sports car, but so what? It could be a great addition to just about anybody’s garage.

    7+
    • iK9

      Hahaha
      Take another look at the SIX double side-draft carbs and think again…

      4+
      • Squad41

        Right. So, I own a Ferrari with FOUR downdraft carburetors. Once you set them, you pretty much forget them.

        1+
  3. Don

    When I think of a Ferrari this is not it !

    3+
  4. Dan
    11+
    • Jesse Mortensen Jesse Staff

      Oops! Good eye Dan.

      3+
    • JackT

      Yes, same one — you can tell conclusively both have same ding in front bumper and gravel an.

      0
  5. Klharper

    A/C and alternator are flipped for clearance. Common practice on a lot of Italian exotics in this period. I would dump that heavy York and probably the alternator also for more modern lighter units. It will save weight, and it will save the brackets which are somewhat prone to cracking. Only the concourse judge would care.

    4+
    • Luki

      Cars and coffee maybe, Concours no.

      1+
  6. macvaugh

    I call BS on the mileage. 4000 miles is 80 hours of driving at an average of 50 mph. That driver’s door armrest has had more than 80 hours of wear and tear.

    5+
    • Brian R

      I think odometer tampering is suspect based on the trip odometer just happens to read 111.1 on the ebay pics.
      Also this statement: “TO SUPPORT THE MILES, I HAVE AN ACTUAL MILEAGE OKLAHOMA TITLE DATED 1989 WITH 2380 MILES. IT ALSO HAS A LUBE STICKER FROM 1988 SHOWING 1770 AND A STATE INSPECTION SHEET IN 1990 SHOWING 3017 ”
      I don’t know how a 27 year old documents substantiates current miles.

      3+
  7. Dolphin Dolphin Staff

    This is about the only cheap Ferrari left, since even a good 250 GT 2+2 is now a multi-$100K car. I don’t think this one will stay at $22K for another 7 days since there’s more value in the parts than that, and the body / underside look good.

    OTOH these have an ‘ordinary’ folded-paper body design and don’t really look like a Ferrari. And the auto trans and the 4 seats are definitely against them in the Ferrari world. Also, the fact that service and repairs will cost as much as the big-$$ models from the same era.

    If the mileage is accurate the mechanicals could be good, altho hydraulics and electrics will likely need attention. The fact that the window cables are broken even at such low mileage might not mean anything more than that kind of problem wasn’t unusual on these cars.

    Anyone who wants a complete, unmolested, ultra-low mile Ferrari for short money might not get another chance once this car is sold.

    3+
  8. David H.

    The late 70s/early 80s are the red-headed step children of just about every manufacturer, I think. Of course that was when I was starting to appreciate cars, and I love everything from that era — Lotus Esprits, Ferrari 308s, and Corvettes that my Volvo wagon can blow away.

    I’d love to drive a 5 speed version of this but, sadly, must feed my children.

    2+
  9. boxdin

    With ethanol now those pretty carbs will have to be completely gone thru, I can’t imagine what that would cost. But it is a good looking car although the bottom shows some off road excursions.

    1+
    • Michael

      WAWA sells non-ethanol petro.

      0
  10. Race

    I am going to suspect that it has not had it’s 5 year service done and I am not sure but I think that will require an engine out to replace belts. Yes it is expensive but not as much as a broken timing belt at 3000 rpm.

    0
    • Dolphin Dolphin Staff

      Race, these had timing chains not belts. IIRC, Ferraris didn’t get belts until the 308 line came along, which was before this car, but a completely different engine.

      I have never worked on one of these DOHC V12 engines, but I believe you can adjust the valves on these with the engine in, and maybe also change the water pump. That almost makes it affordable to own one.

      3+
      • Klharper

        You are correct, no belts and service is with engine in car on 400. Incidently engine removal on models that require it is very simple, not vw bug simple but really not hard and it makes everything very easy to work on, as you are not bent over a fender it is just right there in front of you.

        0
    • boxdin

      Ferrari makes engine removal mandatory for many services. To me, that’s what makes Corvettes look so good.

      2+
  11. nessy

    This car was posted here I believe the 2nd of January? Sure looks like the same car. Anyway, current bid is 26k for a non running V12 carb automatic 400…. Be very careful to anyone thinking about buying it. I bought a red one with a stick about 10 years ago, not running for 10k. I thought I was getting a great deal until I saw how much it would cost to just get the car on the road again and that was with me doing most of the work myself. On top of that, although the car looked ok, I found rust hiding and plenty of it. After sitting in my garage for a few years, I sold it for 10k and broke even. I was glad to get my money back and be done with it. I had a euro Mondial with issues a year or two before the 400 and was glad to break even on that one too. I am off the Ferrari kick for now unless someone has an Enzo around for a few bucks….

    5+
  12. SebastianX1/9

    As a three-time Ferrari owner with two left in the garage, there is nothing wrong with late 1970s Ferraris – far from it. The 308 GT4 (1975-1982) is perhaps the most reliable and easy to work on Ferrari ever. The 308/328 require out-engine belts, but besides that always start and run very fast even today (about 5.1 zero-60 for my tweaked 1986). The 512BB is legendary for a reason. Indeed, the 1970s F1 Ferraris (Gilles Villeneuve, Reuteman, Scheckter) were known for reliability (and jittery chassis).

    Having said that, the 400 is just a bad car and should be avoided by everyone. I’d stay away from the late 1980s to mid-1990s Ferraris (348, Testarossa (money pit & mediocre handling), Mondial, 400), and pick up again with the uber reliable F355. Great website, btw. Just discovered it a few months ago.

    2+
    • Veloce33

      None of the 308/328 series require removal of the engine for cam belt replacement. The only V8s that do are the 348 and 355. And “reliable” and “355” don’t really go together. Valve guides, exhaust manifolds, assorted electrical gremlins, convertible top hydraulics, rapid clutch wear on the F1 gearboxes, the list goes on.

      0
    • DG

      I’ve always liked the 456 GT, but I doubt the price will ever drop to affordable.

      0
    • Healeymonster

      On the 308 series you pull the right rear wheel and wheel well to access and change the belts. No pulling of the motor is needed.

      0
  13. Mike Young

    Nothing difficult at all about those carbs.(ik9)… They’re no big deal at all. Some people are afraid of two or three! You just go down the line…. Balance and adjust mixture.

    1+
  14. scottymac

    I want this, or a Fiat 130 Coupe, or a Lancia Gamma Coupe! I don’t care if they run, I just want to sit and look at them! Da** you Pinin Farina!

    1+
  15. Chris In Australia

    I’m gonna get crucified, but I’d pull the original engine & gear box, store it properly and fit an LS 1 & matching auto. All would be done without butchery so it could be restored to original.

    4+
  16. Jubjub

    Love the looks of these. Just the sort of thing that should be parked next to the Tasmin.

    0
  17. AMXSTEVE

    very nice looking car. I’m with Chris on the ls swap on this one.

    1+

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