For a while, there was a nice, tidy progression for wanna-be Ferrari owners who weren’t financially blessed enough to buy a brand new one right off the lot. You started with a 308 from the 1980s, and eventually, when you tired of that, bunny hopped your way up the hierarchy until you made it to a lightly-used new-ish model. Thanks to a drastic spike in the market values of just about all Ferraris, you now have to spend a lot more than $40,000 to get one from outside Maranello’s reject pile. But, if you’re willing to compromise, you can still dig up some deals, like Bring a Trailer’s 1980 Ferrari 400i.
Although it’s got a Prancing Pony on the front nose, we would be surprised to see this break the six-figure mark for a few reasons. The 400i, a car from the 365 2+2/400/412 model family, has long languished as one of Ferrari’s undesirables thanks to blocky, angular styling, 2+2 configuration, and lazy GM-sourced automatic transmissions. At a base level, it isn’t off to a great start. Consider that this is also an aftermarket drop-top conversion with engine modifications and the price should stay reasonable.
Good, now that hardcore collectors and pretentious Ferrari purists have stopped reading, let’s dive a bit deeper. Regarding the styling, the 400 family has aged like fine vino, remaining steadfastly low-key and clean while modern Ferraris have exploded into bundles of curves, creases, and eye-catching aerodynamic effects.
Underneath the hood beats a true Ferrari V-12, a heart that should absolve the 400 of any sins. The 4.8-liter mill was worked over at some point and now sports a twin-turbo Turbonetics setup, uprated injectors, MOTEC ECU, and MSD ignition. Current power figures aren’t provided, but output is sure to be much healthier than the factory 300 hp. Like a good number of 400s, power is sent to the rear wheels through a GM Turbo-Hydramatic 400 three-speed automatic transmission.
The roof chop was done through Straman, a well-known convertible workshop. It’s got a thick canvas top, contrasting the tan interior. Overall, the car is presented in near-perfect condition, inside and out.
Thanks to modifications and the full convertible treatment, this isn’t likely to appreciate in value, but it’s one of the best ways into the often impenetrable vintage Ferrari market without stooping to a Ferrari Mondial.
Check it out on Bring a Trailer before it’s gone.