• Ferrari 400/412 values on the up. It could be now or never if you want to buy into the V12 dream for around £50k. / #Ferrari-400i / #Ferrari-400 / #Ferrari-V12 / #Ferrari / #V12 / #Ferrari-412i / #Ferrari-412i-Auto / #1988 / #1981 / #Ferrari-412-Automatic

    CHASING CARS Quentin Willson’s hot tips

    Quentin Willson’s hot tips There’s some bustle around the Ferrari 400 and 412. A change in affection has hardened prices with exceptional cars now touching £80k. Neal Gordon in Chelsea has a blue ’1981 right-hand-drive 400i auto with only 16,000 miles and total Ferrari history for £84,950, while Gallery Aaldering in Holland has an ’1983 LHD auto in dark blue with 22,000 miles, three owners and big history for £53,000. Right-hand-drive 400is are rarest, with only 152 cars produced, and the biggest prize is a UK-supplied manual with only 25 examples ever built. The later, rarer and more reined 412 is a good bet too, with Justin Banks in Kent offering an ’1988 412 auto in metallic black, with extensive history and 36,000 miles for a very reasonable £34,995.

    As the last of the affordable V12 Ferraris, you can see why there’s been an upswing. With roots going back to the Daytona – including that distinctive body swage line – lush Connolly leather cabins and surprising usability, canny collectors looking for value are now seeing low-mileage 400s with fresh eyes. Significantly, they’re beginning to command more than 456 GTs which is another sign of new interest.

    They’re also historically significant as the first automatic Ferrari ever. They also had the longest model production run, 17 years. My punt would be on the final series ’1985-on 412 with its Marelli ignition, anti-lock braking, plusher cabin and better drivability – they’re rarer than the 400 too with only 576 built. In the metal all 400s look terrific, low, handsome and classy and were given an aesthetic knighthood by motoring scribe LJK Setright who described the silhouette as ‘one of the most beautiful and elegant bodies ever to leave the lead in Pininfarina’s pencilling vision’. He wasn’t wrong.

    Find yourself a wellfettled, low-mileage 400i or 412 with bulging history file and you’ll be buying one of the few Seventies/Eighties Ferraris that wasn’t hyped in the Prancing Horse boom years. Think of it this way – this is a front-engined V12 classic Ferrari still available for around £50k. That statement might not hold for very much longer.