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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I've enjoyed reading posts

I've enjoyed reading posts here, and as an aspiring owner of an 'entry level' Ferrari, I wanted to pose a question to those in the know on the forum. I'm considering the purchase of a 400iA, and wanted to get some opinions. Any thoughts about known problems, maintenance, real-world useability, etc.? The car in question has 49k miles, and I'm curious to the expected life remaining in the engine, and what the cost of an overhaul when the time comes may be.

Any advice, input is appreciated!
 
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Discussion Starter · #2 ·
Well one plus is that the auto

Well one plus is that the automatic trany is right out of a Chevy. So if you ever need to have it worked on you can get the transmission parts dirty cheap.
 
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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Hi Andrew. We have a 400i owne

Hi Andrew. We have a 400i owner here on the board. He is here in Houston and is a really nice guy. I will see if I can get him to post his thoughts.

JL
 
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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Hello Andrew
I hope I am the


Hello Andrew
I hope I am the nice guy that Jeremy refers to. I have had a 1980 400Ia} for several years. It was converted by R. Straman when it was new to a very nice convertible. It has a little over 50k miles (80k km) and is still very strong. The A/C even works.
Where are you located?
John
 
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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
John-
Thanks for your respons


John-
Thanks for your response. I'm in Columbus, OH, but willing to ship from anywhere for the right car.

Love the idea of the convertible conversion- any general thoughts about your ownership experience?
Thanks, Andy
 
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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Andy
I have really enjoyed mi


Andy
I have really enjoyed mine. green (verde) with green and tan interior, and tan top. I have taken it to the track once, and it performed well for the era, and I had a blast. I think that the convertible looks much better than the coupe (prejudiced personal opinion only). Straman x-braced the frame, which was already tubular, when he converted it to a cabriolet. The car has excellent acceleration, is very capable on the highway, as well as fun in the twisties.
I have met some really neat car guys since I bought the car, starting with my trusted mechanic, JRV, of Pinnacle Motorsports, then Jeremy, Taek, etc., so that has enhanced the experience.
John
 
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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Andy,

While priced as an en


Andy,

While priced as an entry level Ferrari I'm not sure it would be my choice for a 1st Ferrari. Parts are extremely expensive and sometimes a real pain in the ass to get. On the plus side the 400i is getting so cheap having a "parts car" is becoming a real possibility.

Known issues are the load leveling rear suspension, which is prone to failure and expensive to replace. I know some people have found a MB part that you can retrofit. The exhaust system will cost you and arm and leg if you want to stay original or go Tubi. Heater valves are no longer available for the car, and are likely to be frozen shut if the car came from a southern location. The cars tend to run on the hot side in stop and go traffic with the OEM cooling fans and the A/C is barely adequate. Get a dual A/C car if you can find one. Also the support on forums such as these is nowhere near as complete as for the 3XX series cars. There just aren't that many of these cars around so less shared knowledge. The only tires and wheels fitted from the factory are the TRX's so you left with the choice of going to Coker tire and paying something like $400/tire and waiting a long time to get them or getting some aftermarket wheels. You can also fit the repro 16"QV rims on the car if you get wheels spacers for the wheels.

I really love my 400 but I'm glad it's not the first Ferrari I purchased or I might have been scared off. I use my 400i as a daily driver during the summer up here in Minnesota and really like the added space and somewhat usable rear seats. I usually tell people that if I have to drive 500mi on the Interstate there are no question I'm taking the 400i. It’s relatively fast and comfortable, a great cruising machine. If I have and extra 2 hours to go run the twisty back roads I'll take the 308 every time.

I would strongly suggest you try to drive both an automatic and a 5-speed. The performance of the 5-speed is dramatically better. Sports Car Market also seems to think that the 5 speeds command a $2500-$3000 price premium.

Good luck on your search.

Regards,
Tom
 
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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
The load leveling suspension i

The load leveling suspension is only on the later models. (I think started in 82 or 83). I replaced the exhaust with stainless from the headers on back. After checking around a lot in the States, I bought the system, for about $1200 US from London Stainless, who had it in stock, ( about 1/4 of Tubi price), and got it by FedEx in 2 days. It looks and sounds good.
John
 
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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
John,

I wouldn't bet my


John,

I wouldn't bet my life on it, but... My understanding is that from the 365GT4 2+2 to the 412 they all had self leveling rear suspension. The early cars had 2 standard Koni shocks at the rear and 2 self levelers, so if the self levelers died it was not such a big deal. From chassis number 42705 on all four rear shocks were hydraulic self levelers and failure became a big deal.

Regarding the exhaust, my comments were in reference to OEM or Tubi. But I agree, you would have to seriously question if you want to go that way since a good muffler shop can set you up with a custom made system for significantly less, or go the route you suggested. It all comes down to how original you want to keep the car.

The previous owner of my car went for the Tubi. Nice exhaust system… I'm glad I didn't have to pay for it. He also installed a custom Carrera coil over suspension in the rear and replaced the OEM cooling fans with SPAL pull through. All reasons I went with the car I did. Obviously originality was not the top priority with me. I sure wish it had dual air. I have a black interior and it can get pretty bad in the summer months.

Did you see the write up in last month's Sports Car Market on the Stratman converted 400i? Gave it a pretty nice review.

Regards,
Tom
 
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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
You are right about the self-l

You are right about the self-leveling feature, which was modified later. I guess maay memory is going with every passing year. Thanks for the lead to the article. The link below will take someone there. My convertible has the etched Straman labels on the sill plates the writer refers to, and the odometer is in km.

http://www.sportscarmarket.com/profiles/current/fer400i.php
 
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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
I just purchased a 400i (b

I just purchased a 400i (black with green interior) and thus far think it is a very interesting car. At 6'4" this is a Ferrari that I can sit it almost comfortably.

One of the big benefits of this Ferrari is that it has a back seat for the children. I doubt that makes the car practical, but is does provide essential extra space.

Plus, with a 400i you get a V12 engine. The exhaust sounds of all 12 cylinders is wonderful.
 
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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Congrats on your purchase. I h

Congrats on your purchase. I have enjoyed mine. What year is it, and where are you located?
 
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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Hey- I am not a member but hav

Hey- I am not a member but have found myself here. I see that this discussion was some time ago but maybe...

I have an 87' 412. I just replaced the exhaust system with a custom for about $900 including cats. He did a great job tucking them away so they're not seen.

The question I have is about the ride. I belive I need new shocks at the rear but don't have a clue to a make or model etc... Any suggestions?
 
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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
I noticed a nice 412 in Autowe

I noticed a nice 412 in Autoweek Classifieds not too long ago..........

Agree that they can get pricey to repair, but it is a nice car....Forza did an article on all the 2+2s and covered this model, along with the 456 and older ones....
 
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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Hello again.I agree with you t

Hello again.I agree with you that they are nice car, I have absolutly loved mine from the get go. The one thing about them being expensive is right on. In fact maybe you all can help me.

I am looking for shocks- I have an 87' 412,one of the later ones with 4 shocks at the rear. I've gotten a price of $1100 per shock for a set from Italy so I am looking for options...

Any help you can give me would greatly be appreciated

Thank You
 
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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Mark,

Did you call Lee at A


Mark,

Did you call Lee at Algar or Frank at AW (one of our sponsirs)?????

$1100 per shock sounds stupid or a scam!!! KONI rebuilds shocks for about $150 ea here in the states.
 
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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
JRV,
Thank you for the comme


JRV,
Thank you for the comment- I'm glad it seems crazy to someone else but me...

Do you have the number for AW? or can you direct me to where our sponsors are on the site?
 
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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
OK- A follow-up on the rear su

OK- A follow-up on the rear suspension...

It's the nitrogen acumulators. yea that's what I said. Appearently these are the devices which regulate the hydrolic shocks. The part is no longer made but my mechanic was able to retro-fit a merc part. It did the trick. The car rides FANTASTIC!

thank you to everyone who had words of advice or leads on the parts!
 
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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
>>my mechanic was able

>>my mechanic was able to retro-fit a merc part.>>

A 6.3 or 6.9 part!!

I"ll print this to Memory!!!

 
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