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Garage Fire: Burned 1981 Ferrari 400i

I will never not feel my stomach flip a bit when reading about the cars extricated from a garage fire. The scene is heartbreaking, no matter what make or model it is, just knowing how much time and energy goes into preserving old cars and trucks. This time, a structure fire claimed a 1981 Ferrari 400i and what looks like a Lamborghini Countach. The Lamborghini has sold and the Ferrari is now available here on craigslist for $2,500. Thanks to Barn Finds reader Ikey H. for the find.

The before photos not only show a very pretty Ferrari, but also a nicely appointed garage. A few news reports I was able to dig up indicate the Ferrari was accompanied by a Countach (photo below) and what appeared to be a Batmobile replica. The fire was limited to a freestanding garage and was unfortunately located in a hilly area with narrow streets, which likely did the owner no favors while waiting for the flames to be extinguished. The next caretaker will have to find a way to get it out of the garage, or the seller will deliver to a limited geography for $500.

As you can see, removal will be a challenge, especially with the tires burned off. The seller notes the mechanical components like the rear end, transmission, and V12 engine are all still there, but I’m not sure what you can do with them. The engine reportedly had just 7,000 miles on it at the time of the fire; no word if that includes the chassis, or if it was a replacement mill (not that it really matters now.) The seller notes that the insurance company claimed the pink slip and it will be sold on a bill of sale only.

Yes, that’s a Countach that is riding on BMW alloy wheels to get it to roll and steer. I can potentially see the appeal with a car like this, given Countach values have remained steadily high for years. The 400i is a bit unloved in Ferrari circles, but the parts could make conversation pieces of all sorts, from taking the seller’s advice and making the V12 into a coffee table, to outfitting your house with genuine Ferrari wheel hose reels. I feel badly for the seller, but given the neighborhood and the collection of vehicles, I’m sure he’ll be re-building and acquiring new projects soon enough.


  1. SusanOliver

    That fire seemed to burn awful hot and heavy pretty rapidly to do that. What, this guy doesn’t own a garden hose? I have rarely ever seem garage fires, and when they do happen, it is because someone is working on a car, hence, rapid response to said fire. Lots of potential scenarios to ponder here. This old girl has seen a lot ya know.

    Like 13
    • MGSteve

      What a cruel comment. You assume the owner was nearby enough to fight the fire? I’ve been through a house and garage fire. Even had we been right there, fighting it with a garden hose is analogous to draining the ocean with a tea cup. FWIW, I think snippy and sick humor jokes are not appropriate for these situations. My sympathies to the owner.

      I will also share that saving the engine is probably not going to happen. The intensity of the heat destroys, seizes, and warps any and all metal surfaces. Years later, I broke down the MG engine to the bare block. Some might have been tempted to save it, but based on everything else I saw and measured, I and others, felt it could not be trusted. When you see glass, aluminum, brass sitting in formerly molten piles, you can calculate the heat pretty quickly. Valve covers looked like pretzels.

      Like 14
      • SusanOliver

        Well, at least three people so far have agreed with my vague comments. What they mean is up to individual interpretation. Why would a fire just start in a garage on its own? BTW, cruel seems to be an interesting choice of a word here, how exactly is speculation cruel? Cruelty by definition means there is harmful intent. This owner has not come out too badly here after his friendly insurance company paid out. He will get a new garage and his choice of new rides, IF THAT is what he wanted..

        Like 3
      • Steve R

        Susan, how can you be sure the owner had adequate insurance? A few friends recently lost their houses in that area due to wild fires. No matter how well insured they thought they were, they weren’t. There is a shortage of builders in that area, they have mastered the art of padding their bill. The home owner is at their mercy. A friend is going through the rebuilding process right now, upgrading tile in the kitchen or increasing the number of electrical outlets aren’t covered by his insurance but would have been if they were written into current building codes.

        Steve R

        Like 4
  2. Classic Steel

    In think most of it will buff out 😂

    Just put some fuel in and start right?

    Honestly at 2500 dollars it could make a business marque advertising prop for a bar, muffler , transmission, tune up shop or even a car insurance sales office as a draw.

    Something like”Classic Steel insurance
    covers you when the unexpected things
    In life happen ….stop in for a quote. “ Blah blah blah etc..😎

    Like 6
  3. art

    Sad to see that. A lot was lost besides the vehicles. Not knowing whether this started while the garage was occupied, it certainly is a lesson for the rest of us to have large capacity fire extinguishers at each corner of the garage at the ready. Tools, parts, books, all gone and very difficult to replace. Think about your own garage and what inventory is in it…not easy to remember. Take pictures with your tool drawers open and do take physical inventory and place those records in a secure place, like a safe deposit box.
    I have fire extinguishers in my garage and have the added benefit of fire sprinklers, as well, but I know that is uncommon for most but in my community it is mandatory.
    Last but not least, insure your classic vehicles. They have coverage even for vehicles undergoing restoration.

    Like 9
    • djjerme

      It wasn’t until I got in to car racing long ago that I started to take fire prevention more seriously at my own home. Now, every level in the house has a fire extinguisher readily available, as does the kitchen, and there is a couple in the garage. Not to mention, each car has one either under the seat or in the trunk. I’ve seen far too many cars burn up at the track and it happens faster than you imagine..

      Like 7
  4. Tempo Matador Ray

    Good advise “art”(properly insure what you have). I’ve responded to numerous structure fires over the course of my fire career and the losses are never without grief…In Norther California, Sonoma County was hit by back to back catastrophic fires that changed people’s lives forever…In my circle of car enthusiasts, complete private car collections were lost to these historic fires…

    Like 4
    • SusanOliver

      California in general is a lost cause. We have desert, and semi desert lands there that are too far over populated. Not enough water to drink, much less nourish non native plants and all those silly swimming pools evaporating that precious resource into the air day and night. Not to mention that fires are a natural occurrence in nature, man has stopped that for his own selfish reasons and 200 years of dry over growth is bound to ignite sooner or later. The smart people will quietly leave most of the arid parts of the state, because sooner or later there will no longer be the means to fight these wild fires. That state and the southwest in general are over populated and soon will be uninhabitable from climate change. I am way too old to live long enough to see the end results, but many of you will not be.

      Like 9
      • KevinLee

        You wouldn’t be the actress Susan Oliver, would you?

        Like 1
      • SusanOliver

        Hey Kevin, she is dead, I am not, at least not yet, though some people are surprised that I am not.

        Like 5
  5. Roy L

    Car-b-que. I’m here all week try the veal.

    Like 3
  6. Duaney

    All the metal is ruined forever, all it’s good for is scrap

    Like 4
  7. Comet

    Good advice from art. Heartbreaking, I wish the owner the best.

    Like 2
  8. canadainmarkseh

    If the insurance company has already pulled the titles then likely he’s been payed out and in my opinion they should not be up for sale. They should go straight to the crusher and the shredder. This junk should not end up on another car.

    Like 5
    • IkeyHeyman

      The posting states that the insurance co. has the title and buyer will be provided with a bill of sale.

      Like 0
      • canadainmarkseh

        Why would the insurance company have the title unless there was a pay out? If the insurance company has the title then don’t they now own the car and if so aren’t you then buying stolen property? Up here we don’t do titles but it would seem to me that he who holds the title owns the in this case car.

        Like 4
  9. t-BONE BOB


    Like 0
  10. Mark M.

    Yes if he was paid and titles taken, these are now owned by insurance company, even if they do not want them, legally I think, not to be sold to anyone, and never can be registered unless illegally. And yes , not nice to think this person could not put out fire if he was there, my truck caught on fire , we had garden hose did nothing, burned to hell, and was outside in driveway .

    Like 1
  11. Patrick Kelly

    Ran when parked

    Like 3
    • Jim

      Ran when torched!

      Like 3
      • SusanOliver

        The word torched hints at arson for profit, is that what you are implying?

        Like 2
  12. John

    I’d almost like to buy it, just so that I could honestly say that I once owned a Ferrari. Its about as close as I’ll ever get to affording one.

    Like 4
  13. Danh

    Pull the crank and make a coffee table out of it. That’s about all that can be done.

    Like 0
  14. bobhess bobhess Member

    MG Steve has it right. No facts, no sadness, just cruel comments. Maybe Susan would like to comment on the thousands of dollars of race car engines, parts, personal history, Mini Cooper, and more we lost from hurricane Irma while we were evacuated a couple hundred miles from home. Maybe we should have been there with buckets? Maybe this poor guy should have been home? Maybes don’t get it, facts do, and I haven’t seen any yet. She is right about the coast. I grew up out there and it’s sad to see it saturated with humanity.

    Like 4
    • canadainmarkseh

      Not trying to get you going here Bob but don’t you get plenty of advanced warning when it comes to hurricanes? There’s no advanced warning when it come to garage fires, if you lost engines and parts isn’t because you neglected to move them while you had a chance to. I watch US news All the time and there is usually 1 to 2 weeks notice of a coming hurricane. I always find it interesting when people that live on a flood plain or any where where there is reoccurring issues complain that they got flooded out, I say if you don’t want to get flooded out don’t live on a flood plain same goes for hurricanes.

      Like 3
      • SusanOliver

        I feel the same way about people who live on the beach as I do those who live in the California mountains. You know the dangers, yet when the inevitable happens, we are all supposed to feel sorry for you? Not to mention my tax dollars going to give you National Flood Insurance (that no reasonable private company would), just so you can rebuild and in a few years, make more claims? My daily use Model A got flattened by a tree in a tornado. I didn’t demand sympathy, just the chances you take living in tornado alley. (No insurance in those days either, you just sucked it up and went on with life). Somehow I have learned to believe that if you can afford a Ferrari or a garage full of thousands of dollars worth of race parts, you can afford the loss without worrying where your next meal comes from. Remember, there are people in our land who have far more important worries than these trivial things.

        Like 8
  15. Mike

    Christmas comes early for BHCC! The trailer is on it’s way!

    Like 1
  16. Sean

    Bill of sale but no title. Good luck getting plates if it’s ever made whole again.

    Like 0
  17. art

    On the title issue, after the insurance company pays the owner, often the owner can buy the car back for pennies on the dollar but in most cases owners do not want piles of molten metal. Usually, the title will be passed back or re-issued but marked as “Salvage”. Each state and each insurance company handles things differently. Titles held? Bills of sale? Yes, odd. Maybe the seller was to (or said they would) dispose of the scrap bodies and then decided otherwise. Questions here in need of answers.
    As most of you have stated, there’s not much left to re-use, the metal was apparently super heated so what was, is no longer.
    Haul them to the scrap dealer.

    Like 1
  18. Coventrycat

    Why would anyone think that these burned out cars are worth anything? Scrap them and get on with your life. That’s why you get insurance – and if you own stuff like this without adequate coverage, you’re a moron.

    Like 2
  19. bobhess bobhess Member

    My comment on our situation was in reference to being at the property during the fire, hurricane, or whatever. In our case we were 250 miles away when we found out the storm had changed course. Had three days and nights to get our ground level home’s contents as high as we could, a lot of which we got into our crawl space attic. We estimated at least 3,000 lbs of everything went up there. Just couldn’t get cars, engines, heavy parts etc. up there. We were lucky with no real house damage but 4 feet of mucky sea water driven by 164 mph winds really tears things up. Good insurance was our savior. Sure hope our fire guy had his in order. It would have been great if he’d had those 3 days…

    Like 1
  20. erikj

    Susan,I really like your straight forward comments. I call it reality.

    Like 0
  21. JimBot

    I wouldn’t feel bad for the seller at all .. if he / she are insured properly, no question they are coming out WAAAAY on top. No more projects to deal with and probably pocketing close to $1M. Take the money and move away..

    Also, the 400i is not “unloved” in Ferrari circles. You should spend more time in Ferrari circles if you think that.. in fact they are very much coming into their own as of late which is awesome.

    Like 0
  22. hans j daatselaar

    I store my cars in shipping containers, I have to believe they’re pretty fire proof but humidity is an issue during the winter months.

    Like 0
  23. dyno dan

    I think if I could afford BMW’S Lamborghini’s, Ferrari’s I would have a state
    of the art fire suppression system(Halon) in my garage. I too have seen the damage and destruction fires and wind can do. It is horrific, and happens so fast.

    Like 0

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