Monday, 31 July 2017

Book : Ferrari on the road by Stanley Nowak

Another book added to my archive. It looks like it's missing the paper cover though. This book provides a pretty good summary about the cars produced by Ferrari up to 1993. And of course it does have a small section about the 400. It's Chapter sixteen: 2+2 redefined. Unfortunately the standard press pictures have been used but I found the supporting text quite good. It did reveal at least about the automatic gearbox that was pioneered by the work of Dick Fritz at Chinetti Motors. He succesfully applied it on the 365GT 2+2 (queen mary), a total of six were delivered. See also my blogs:


Despite the automatic gearbox would have had it's largest potential market in the US it was not officially imported in the USA. So devasting was the cost of meeting all the US requirements, including crashing two cars, that is was not economically feasbile. the price of the car would have been to high. Note this same story applies to the BB365/512.

It also highlights the fact regarding the Bosch K-Jetronic fuel injection that seemed to encourage the rumour that the new car would be imported into the USA. It did make the car at least easier to legalise and more found their way to the USA via the grey market, despite the fact that the makers warranty was inoperative and parts were not stocked.

The most interesting part is the following; About 1982, Ferrari North America, who had replaced Chinetti-Garthwaite Imports and Modern Classic Motors as the sole US importer in 1980, made the decission to allow US Ferrari dealers to take orders for the European specification 400i for delivery at the factory in Maranello. This was partly as the result of pressure brought by the dealers who wanted to be able to compete with the grey market on Ferrari models not officially imported. As Ferrari North America is a direct branch of the factory, it became easier to steer the factory in the direction of marketing decsissions that would benefit the North American Market.

This was something I was unaware of and likely explains why quite a few 400i's made its way to the USA (especially compared with the 365GT4 2+2 and 400 carb). It clears up my remark I made in the following blog:

Another blog which is a good example in line with the above is the following which highlights this particular 412 had been ordered new from the factory:

Despite the 400i got further uplifted and became the 412 it still was unable to meet all of the US legal requirements. Perhaps that explains why only a very few 412 went to the USA even though it could be ordered new from the Factory. You still had to spend more money to make it US road legal. And potentially by 1986 onwards it was then considered to be an outdated model as well. The BB had been replaced by the Testarossa already in 1984, while the 2+2 buyers had to wait till 1992 when the new replacement became available; the 456.

Update 1-8-2017: I was provided a little more information on the above. It appears that around 17% of the total 412 production went to the US - so the US was actually quite a big marktet. The reason for not even higher sales was that in 1987 Ferrari North America pulled out of that sales programme for the US dealers - so they no longer could take new customer orders. Indeed, if you look at the series 2 400i - produced from late 1982 untill early 1985 - some ca 45% (!!) of the LHD production found their way to the US.

This makes it all clear for me now. I Always found it remarkable how many US 400i are/were offered for sale in Europe. Many were imported back again due to the low appreciation for this model (thus low prices) in combination with a cheap dollar - making it an attractive opportunity for European traders/buyers.

So it is indeed a myth that Ferrari was not influenced by the US market when it comes to the 400/412.

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