Gray Market 2+2: 1979 Ferrari 400GT

Despite looking similar to the later 400i, this is actually a gray market 1979 Ferrari 400 GT, equipped with a V12 and five-speed manual transmission. It’s a classic 2+2 design in the Ferrari tradition, designed for gobbling up long expanses of highway while delivering a soundtrack like only a 12-cylinder Italian can. The photos show a car in excellent original condition, with a gorgeous leather interior, spotless red bodywork, and crystal-clear glass. The seller notes it has just 30,000 miles and is running perfectly at the moment. Find it here on craigslist for $59,500 in Bayside, New York.

The 400 was part of a model family of 2+2 V12 cars, the likes of which didn’t show up in the U.S. as changing emissions requirements and other hurdles on the federalization landscape forced the company to stick with eight-cylinder models. Of course, that didn’t stop Ferrari enthusiasts from getting their forbidden fruit into the U.S., as this example goes to show. The 1970s was an interesting era for supercar builders, as the increasingly stringent emissions regulations and push for greater fuel economy impacted the performance credentials of many brands, but that didn’t stop Ferrari, Lamborghini, and Maserati, among others, from building sultry GT cars capable of hauling four passengers and some luggage.

And haul, they did. The V12 models returned stirring performance despite the additional passenger volume, and the 400GT featured 4.8 liters of displacement and six 38 DCOE Webers, good for a run to 60 of just over seven seconds. The engine compartment of this example is a pleasing mixture of new and old, with some signs of age and use clearly evident but also somewhat appealing, given it conveys this Ferrari was actually driven, and not simply propped up as a static display piece. Plug wires look fairly recent and hoses don’t appear to be old or brittle, so perhaps this 400GT comes with a healthy maintenance papertrail.

The bodywork appears to be quite sound, but of course, it’s impossible to discern the quality of the paint and any other details from the other side of a computer screen. The later 400s featured four taillights across the rear, replacing the six-lens setup of the earlier 365 GT4. It’s hard to keep the various models straight that flowed from this 2+2 model series, but the taillights are an easy tell. While gray market imports are not impossible to find among the usual crop of vintage Ferraris for sale, a model like this doesn’t come up often, especially with the ideal combo of the original V12 engine and manual gearbox. While not to everyone’s liking, a classic 2+2 like this is a far cheaper entry point to classic Ferrari ownership.

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Comments

  1. alphasud Member

    Compared to the 40K BarnFinds Ferrari posted earlier this month this car is a no brainer for someone wanting to get into the club. Plus how can one not love all those Weber side drafts! Much more of a performance potential and it will sound much more glorious than the injected model. Plus it has a service history.

    Like 4
  2. Doyler

    I always preferred these ones in “not red” for some reason.

    Like 5
  3. Steve Clinton

    Even though this model has never been very popular, how could someone who yearns to own a Ferrari pass this up?

    Like 2
  4. chrlsful

    “…how could someone…”
    right – lotsa webber carbs, 2 digits of late ’70s Italian cylinders…
    line forms to my right
    8^ )

  5. DETROIT LAND YACHT

    Pininfarina kinda blew it on the front clip (I would call it buttafaced) … but overall a nice underrated cool cruiser. The ragtops are nice as well.

    • Joe Elliott

      The looks have never been popular (which is presumably what keeps these affordable), but surely Pininfarina’s original is preferable to the Volvo 480 and Honda Prelude which it inspired, no?

  6. ran when parked

    love those 70s ferraris

    Like 1
  7. RichardinMaine

    I have liked these since they were new. But they look so much better in gray or really anything other than red. Saw one just last week on Miami Vice (of course).
    I could swing the purchase, but not the divorce.

    Like 2
    • Steve Clinton

      I feel your pain!

    • greg v

      Nice car. Always loved these, especially with a manual.

      But for a $60k ask maybe roll it out of the driveway and take some decent pics someplace?

  8. Phil

    Looked at Bring a Trailer https://bringatrailer.com/auctions/results/?search=ferrari+400. This is a premium priced car. It is rare, being carbureted. Hope it is worth the price

    Like 1
  9. Jcs

    That is one of the prettiest Pontiac Sunbirds I’ve ever seen.

    Like 4
    • Beyfon

      I saw one of these in Germany with a sign on the dash that read “Enzo Ferrari: Aerodynamics is for people who can’t build a proper engine!”

      Like 2
  10. Robert May

    I first saw one in a Car And Driver road test in the early Eighties in my high school library. I had no idea Ferrari made a four seat car. I only knew of Ferrari through Magnum PI and from plastic model kits. Idk why, but it amazed me that you could get a Ferrari with a back seat! I have wanted a 365/400 ever since. These cars looks so much better not red to me. Yet this is a nice example. Someone is gonna be proud to get this.

    Like 1
  11. Araknid78

    nice car

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