Car #1979 #Ferrari-400GT
£44,995 / #Ferrari
Recently repatriated from the continent, this 400GT provides a fluid driving experience, says Ross Alkureishi.
We’re used to left-hookers coming to the UK, but it’s rarer for a right-hand-drive car to go to mainland Europe.
The vendor recently sourced this car in the south of France and brought it back to the UK. The history file includes the original invoice for £23,862 and a stack of service and parts bills, including a recent one from Ferrari specialist Foskers. Its work included a new clutch and tuning the engine, at a cost of just more than £2500.
400GTs are prone to rust, but its time in the Mediterranean climate kept the bodywork in good condition. There are some stone chips on the bonnet, a couple of small cracks on the front valance and a couple of chips on the offside door but all are minor.
On the rear panel a badge has been removed at some point, and this has lifted some black paint off. The nearside chrome trim strip is a little loose to the rear. It sports fresh stainless steel backboxes, although not the period-correct and difficult-to-source Ansa items. Under the bonnet there are no signs of leaks, just a normal oily coating on the six #Weber-38DCOE
carbs. The radiator and oil cooler appear sound, although there’s a small weep from the brake master cylinder.
The carpets and Ferrari overmats are quite heavily coated in dust and while the former would benefit from a deep clean, the latter need replacing. The tan leather seats are nicely patinated – though there’s a small flaw in one red stripe on the driver’s squab – and remain firm and fully supportive. All electrics function as they should.
With 65,297 miles on the clock it drives beautifully. This 400GT feels a lot more fluid than other lower-mileage examples I’ve sampled and the manual ZF gearbox transforms the experience. It definitely lends it a sportier disposition than its auto-boxed cruiser sibling.
The power steering is light and helps ensure that manoeuvring the near-twotonne beast is a cinch. The new clutch engages smoothly and the canted gearlever shifts with a satisfyingly positive action and little recalcitrance.
Oil pressure remained healthy throughout our test. The oil temperature gauge doesn’t work, but water temperature sat in the ‘normal’ zone. The braking prowess more than matches up to the acceleration on offer. It’s worth checking when the timing chain was last changed – there’s no indication in the history file – but there’s no doubt that a test-drive will have you purring at how it performs. This is a fairly well-used example of a consummate GT, and those angular looks have now reached a level of maturity that’s pleasing to the eye.
If you’re looking for an example to drive then this could be for you.
Seats are deeply supportive; manual gearbox shifts smoothly through the ratios.
Vast 4.8-litre V12 delivers its 340bhp smoothly, with clean fluids and no leaks.
CHOOSE YOUR 400GT
Introduced in 1972, the 365 GT4 2+2 is the third generation of Maranello four-seaters. Based on a six-inch extended GTC/4 chassis it features sharp Pininfarina pop-up headlamp styling, allied to the quad-cam V12 that traces its lineage back to the 275 GTB/4. At nearly two tonnes it’s a heavy old beast but 320bhp helps it to 60mph in 7.1 seconds.
Engine is bored out to 4823cc for 1976, power rises to 340bhp and model is renamed the 400GT. It now has quad taillights, rather than its predecessor’s sextuplet. This is the first Ferrari to be offered with an automatic gearbox, the GM400 Hydra-matic, alongside the standard manual box. It’s a fast, luxurious and a consummate GT but also expensive to maintain and run – 10mpg if you’re lucky. Bosch fuel injection arrives in 1979, and accordingly it becomes the 400i.
The 5.0-litre 412 replaces it in 1985, recognisible by its body-coloured bumpers and different alloy wheels. The interior is also even more luxurious than before. It’s produced until 1989.
TECHNICAL DATA SPECIFICATIONS #1979 #Ferrari-400GT
Contact Justin Banks, Tunbridge Wells, Kent (justinbanks.com, 01622 851841)
Engine 4823cc #V12
, dohc per bank
Power 340bhp @ 6000rpm
Torque 311lb ft @ 4600rpm
Performance Top speed: 152mph;
Fuel consumption 10mpg