Launched at the 1976 Paris Salon, the 400GT had acquired a 4.8-litre version of Ferrari’s four-cam V12 engine but otherwise differed from its 365GT/4 2+2 predecessor only in detail. The 400GT re-affirmed Ferrari’s determination to compete with the world’s finest luxury sports saloons and was intended to attract the type of mature yet discerning customer who previously might have opted for a Bentley or Mercedes-Benz. This latter requirement made the option of automatic transmission a necessity. The unit chosen – General Motors’ three-speed Hydramatic – was widely regarded as the world’s best, having been used by Cadillac and subsequently by Rolls-Royce and Jaguar among others. Ferrari’s splendidly equipped 2+2 featured self-levelling independent rear suspension, power-assisted steering, electric windows and optional air conditioning. Sadly, even after it received fuel injection, the 400GT – now the 400i GT – remained effectively a Europe-only model because of the expense involved in crash-testing two cars for US safety assessment. By the time production of the final 412 version ceased in 1989, Ferrari’s finest 2+2 had been in production for a remarkable 17 years, though its exclusivity meant that there were seldom more than 200 sold in any one year.
Supplied new in the UK through Brighton Ferrari Concessionaires, this particular example was purchased from them new by a Mr J Kennedy, who took delivery in November 1979. The cars original service booklet notes services from 1980 through to 1984, before various bills and receipts in the file depict its future service history.
The car passed to Mr Armstrong –Jones in 1998 and has remained part of his private collection since, being very well maintained whilst in his ownership. Most recently the sumptuous and originally creased leather seats have been suitably fed by a leather specialist and the dashboard re-covered to factory specification. The automatic gearbox is smooth and the car starts on the button. Finished in Silver, arguably the finest colour for a 400.