Are you brave enough for this anti-Ferrari?

We love unconventional classics in unconventional colours, and this blue Ferrari 400i is a perfect example. Yet even today, when it has the lustre of a slightly eccentric classic, many lack the courage to opt for this ‘different’ Ferrari…

Everything you could ask for?

Think about it: the 2+2-seater offers everything the discerning ‘Classic Driver’ could want from a comfortable Ferrari saloon: Pininfarina styling, a powerful V12 engine, and the gentle surprise of a slightly eccentric GT. Above all, it is (the distinctive wedge shape gives it away) a child of the Seventies, and hence very definitely in vogue today.

This front-engined Ferrari’s life began in 1972 as Ferrari 365 GT4 2+2, with a 4.4-litre V12 engine. In 1976, a larger 4.8-litre V12 was introduced and the model was renamed 400 GT. For the first time in Ferrari’s history, there was also a version with an automatic gearbox, named (unremarkably) the 400 Automatic. Three years later, the injection versions – dubbed 400i – took over from the carburettor models. And in 1985, there came the 412, boasting some design changes and a 5.0-litre V12 engine.

For any occasion

The automatic Ferrari 400i proved popular, with almost 900 sold, as opposed to around 422 of the five-speed manual version. The three-speed automatic gearbox didn’t exactly offer the thrill of a lifetime to enthusiastic drivers, but with at least 310HP (340HP in the 412), it could manage an impromptu sprint. The 412, meanwhile, built between 1985 and 1989, claimed a top speed approaching 150mph.

The pictured car, with Blu Chiaro Metallizzato paintwork and a beige leather interior, is the sportier 5-speed manual 400i. We reckon you could confindently turn up in this light blue diva at the most prestigious events of the year – and be sure of reaping compliments. Hard to believe that the Ferrari 400/412 is currently one of the cheapest models of V12 Ferrari on the market.

Photos: Mathieu Bonnevie

The car pictured, a fully documented 1979 Ferrari 400i, is currently for sale at Automobilia Franco Lembo.

This article is part of the series 'Cars we Love', in which we bring you our favourite classics and modern classics, every Saturday morning.