Tuesday 5 May 2020

BAT : Ferrari 400 Carburettor Automatic

Another one on BAT! Enjoy the comments:


Some interesting remarks regarding the automatic gearbox are made as well.

This guy hit the nail:

Pure elegance, refinement and class!
Probably the most subtle and understated Ferrari to own and drive everyday without drawing attention, although that may scuttle the sole purpose of owning a Ferrari — to grab attention, for some folks. So probably this car may not be for everyone…. Under the skin it has the Colombo v12, something similar to its glamorous and celeb sibling, Daytona. Manual is preferred but automatic is convenient to drive around in metropolitan traffic.
It was never popular with the main street lot, but old money and cognoscenti had these – Enzo Ferrari had one, Gianni (of the Fiat dynasty) had one and so does Lapo (heir of Gianni)…. The case of Lapo or Enzo is unique and perhaps the strongest endorsement to 365/400/412 because of each’s (automobile) heritage, wealth (“old money”) and vast access, as either could have procured any Ferrari/super-car he wanted – period. But perhaps both wanted something subtle. And subtlety often speaks volumes.
To me the best aspect of these cars is being totally incognito and un-snobbish. Only a Ferrari literati can spot them, and there is good probability that the owner of a more “conventional” Ferrari may not decipher them from 15 feet.

Some more cool updates from the current owner:

It’s heartwarming to see the passion about special Italian cars across the Atlantic. And very nice to meet other people who share the same interest in cars like this!
About this particular 400 Automatic:
I spend a lot of money on this car in the beginning to bring it up to this high level and maintaining it during my 12 years of ownership. More than 20,000 EUR was spend during my ownership at Ferrari specialist Italauto. New brakes, new airco system, new XWX tires, new hoses and filters, some new barings, new drive-belts, two totally rebuilt Magneti Marelli ignition units, a new stainless steel exhaust system, etc. But the car deserved it, because it is a fantastic original car. And it is a Ferrari.
The car drives like new, even today. I can pick it up tomorrow at the garage and drive to Modena if I want to. And probably in one go also, if necessary.
Such an incredible car. And the build qualiity of the car is unbelievable. All done by Pininfarina in Turin, including the all leather interior.
After that they went to Maranello where Ferrari put the engines in them and bolted on the wheels, the brakes and the transmission.
Ferrari won the Formula One Championship in 1979 and you can literally feel the pride and joy of the Italian builders and mechanics.
And this car is a very late October 1979 car, so all the mechanics knew Ferrari had won the Formula One Championship, while building it.
A few days later Ferrari came out with the 400i, with the electronic Bosch injection system, which cost the engine 34 horsepower, compared to the carburetor version.
This means the car is probably one of the last big V12 front engined Ferrari’s that left the factory equipped with a normally aspirated engine, with the classic six double Weber carburetor package, if not the last Weber fed V12.
It was sold by Ferrari Kroymans in Hilversum to a very wealthy Dutch CEO of a Swiss printing company near Bern, mr van Son, who really loved cars. He kept it for 8 years.
He sold it to the vice president of the DAF factory in 1988, a Dutch car maker and a Worldwide Truck maker. Mr van Doorne owned a large car collection on his estate, with dozens of cars. He drove the 400 a few times a year.
After 8 years he sold the 400 to (believe it or not) mr Leo Ferrari, a well known member of the Dutch Ferrari Club.
8 years later he traded his 400 in for a Maserati at a well known Ferrari collector near Amsterdam, who kept the car for 4 years in his collection.
That is where I first saw it, and immediately blew me away to be honest. I just HAD to have it, no matter what.
It sounds rediculous, I know. But that is apparently how it works with some cars.
I can still remenber the first time I opened the door and got in the drivers seat. And I sensed that gorgeous smell of the amazing all leather interior, made by those incredible craftsmen at Pininfarina.
And the seats where so good, very supportive and comfortable … I just sat there for at least half an hour, looking at those gauges, the leather steering wheel with the prancing horse logo, the beautiful dashboard and the incredibly large console in the middle, with all those switches.
It was heaven on earth, really. I had never felt like that in any car in my life.
My business was doing great at that time, so after a good night sleep I bought it. And I never had any regrets.
Three months later Goldman Sachs went bankrupt and the whole world changed. So you can imagine my wife wasn’t very amused about my new car …
Luckily for her we went on a lovely holiday the next year in the 400 and crossed half of Europe, with our two children in the back and a trunk full of luggage. Absolutely one of the advantages of this car. The luggage space.
It was one of the hottest summers in Europe, but the new airco system kept us surprisingly cool and the car never missed a beat. What an incredible machine!
On the German Autobahn I had to promise to my wife not to behave like Niki Lauda or Ayrton Senna, so we were cruising at a modest 150 to 160 km/h. Almost every BMW M5, Mercedes AMG, Bentley Coupe or Audi Quattro that overtook us in the fast lane, went off the gas immediately and started driving beside us for a while, admiring our Ferrari because you never see them. They all gave us thumbs up and waved while smiling to my children, before taking off again.

Espadas are fantastic! I totally agree.
But there’s more:
In 1980 I personally witnessed a remarkable story about the Ferrari 400.
I was invited by mr Hans Schörn and his son Martin, to the famous circuit of Zandvoort in Holland. Mr Schörn was a member of the Dutch Ferrari Club and he owned a 1966 Ferrari 275 GTB. I had never seen anything like it, 12 cylinders, and all those Webers … Too sexy!
The event he took us to was called ‘Momento di Modena’, organized by the Dutch Ferrari Club. The idea was to give the Club members some racing instructions in the morning, so they could try out their Ferrari’s on the track all afternoon.
About 20 members were racing drivers too. So at the end of the track day they planned a race for licensed race drivers, in their own private Ferrari.
On the first row there was a 512 BB and a 250 SWB, with behind them two Daytona’s, a 250 GTO, a 365 GT/4 BB, a few 308’s, some Dino’s and a few 365 GTC’s. No sluggards, obviously …
All cars were red, all drivers had helmets and gloves and the warming up lap was about to begin.
Suddenly there was rumor in the pits, they were going to postpone the warming up, because last minute race driver Alexander van der Lof was persuaded to take part in a borrowed Club Member’s car, a dark blue metallic Ferrari 400 Automatic …
Laughter off course, what on Earth was Alexander van der Lof trying to do?
He quickly jumped into the 400, in his normal clothes, without a helmet and no gloves. And he hurried towards the last car in the row, so he had to start from the back.
The drivers did a warming up lap and took their places, with the 400 in last position. The lights went green and all cars sprinted towards the Tarzan corner, at the end of the straight.
By the time the cars came out of the Tarzan Alexander had already surpassed three cars and overtook another one while climbing the Hunzerug. After that the cars were out of sight for a while, but we could hear those V12, V8 and V6 engines howling like mad in the dunes.
Guess who came first entering the Zandvoort straight, coming out of the incredible fast and very tricky Arie Luyendijk corner …? Alexander in the dark blue 400!
He came blaring down the straight and was nearly 100 meters ahead of the 512 BB and the 250 SWB, before he braked hard and threw the 400 completely sideways into the Tarzan corner, with smoking tires.
And off course everybody was astonished. How was Alexander van der Lof able to do that?! Well, he gave it all in that first round and overtook the entire field.
During the next 20 laps his tires became a little bit too hot so he dropped back a few places. But the owner of the 400 said he had experienced the best day of his live.
His 400 Automatic proved to be no sluggard also …
This adventure was actually one of the reasons I bought my 400 Automatic 28 years later.

@WallyWombat Ja leuk he? En weet je van wie deze 400 Automatic aantoonbaar was vroeger? Van Martien van Doorne, vice president van DAF uit Eindhoven. Was totaal autogek, had vele tientallen hele bijzondere auto’s staan, naast z’n villa De Wolfsberg, in Deurne. Dit was een van zijn favorieten destijds. Hij betaalde er maar liefst 2e hands 150.000,- gulden voor aan Garage Prominent in 1988 …! Ongelofelijk. Was dus een perfecte auto.

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