Thoughts on 400i? (Automatic) - Ferrari Life
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post #1 of 35 Old 05-15-2013, 08:14 AM Thread Starter
 
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Thoughts on 400i? (Automatic)

I would love to hear your general opinion about the auto 400i-s, but the main thing is about this specific one located in my country. Grabbed my mind really really hard.

1980 Ferrari 400i automatic RHD For Sale on Car And Classic UK [C359615]

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Eladó használt FERRARI 400 i automata

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post #2 of 35 Old 05-15-2013, 08:21 AM
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An extreme case of a poor matching of an engine and transmission. The engine does not have a great deal of torque at low rpm yet it was mated with a transmission, torque converter and differential ratio that required lots of low rpm torque. It had a very low stall speed converter mated with a high ratio 1st gear and high ratio differential gearing. To compound that it was only a 3 speed transmission and had very wide ratio spacing so even once it got rolling it fell on it's face at every shift. Very poor engineering.

They make really good parts cars and are good candidates for either an installation of a well thought out transmission or an American V8 engine.

The 5 speeds on the other hand were nice cars.

If you want an automatic Ferrari get a 456. They got that one right.
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post #3 of 35 Old 05-15-2013, 09:05 AM Thread Starter
 
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An extreme case of a poor matching of an engine and transmission. The engine does not have a great deal of torque at low rpm yet it was mated with a transmission, torque converter and differential ratio that required lots of low rpm torque. It had a very low stall speed converter mated with a high ratio 1st gear and high ratio differential gearing. To compound that it was only a 3 speed transmission and had very wide ratio spacing so even once it got rolling it fell on it's face at every shift. Very poor engineering.

They make really good parts cars and are good candidates for either an installation of a well thought out transmission or an American V8 engine.

The 5 speeds on the other hand were nice cars.

If you want an automatic Ferrari get a 456. They got that one right.

Yeh, that's what I was afraid of...when I first checked out what and how exactly they combined the engine and the transmission I thought that there could be problems with the auto 400i-s. The point is, I don't want an automatic Ferrari. I would like to get a 400 or a 412. Always loved somehow the shape of these cars, not caring about what other peeps think about the "carozerrie". The problem is, that I currently don't want to get abroad for a 400i, would be perfect to get it in my own country, less trouble, time, money and less probs with the local registrations. But I've found just autos here, every 5-manuals are happy with their owners. Also, which is my own crap that I can't stand with red Ferraris, the only red I could imagine is the Rosso Fuoco from the current, modern range.

All in all, I think it will be a long ride currently. If I was over my 30s I would certainly jump in for a pristine 5-manual abroad, but that's a long time ahead for me. I guess it will be easier to get a good conditioned 355 after my university years though, which Fcar is my other love.

Anyway, thanks for the suggestions!

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post #4 of 35 Old 05-30-2013, 03:34 AM
 
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You might get a corvette 6 Speed ZF shifter gearbox and make an Adaptor between
the bellhousing base of the ZF and the Bellhousing of the TH 400 automatic box...
The pedallery you might get from a parts Ferrari 400

Last edited by Yorck; 05-30-2013 at 12:41 PM.
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post #5 of 35 Old 05-30-2013, 12:00 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Brian View Post
An extreme case of a poor matching of an engine and transmission. The engine does not have a great deal of torque at low rpm yet it was mated with a transmission, torque converter and differential ratio that required lots of low rpm torque. It had a very low stall speed converter mated with a high ratio 1st gear and high ratio differential gearing. To compound that it was only a 3 speed transmission and had very wide ratio spacing so even once it got rolling it fell on it's face at every shift. Very poor engineering.............The 5 speeds on the other hand were nice cars.
Attila, you have it dead right and Brian has it exactly right. The 365/400/400i/412 automobiles are among the most beautiful and successful visually that Ferrari ever produced. Peter Stevens, chief designer for Lotus, called the series "the most beautiful production car of all time." In the mid-1990s I bought a beautiful 400i Automatic from the Ferrari dealer in Atlanta and with a friend drove it home to New York City. A wonderful highway cruiser, powerful without being a scorcher, comfortable, roomy. But I soon discovered that it was simply no fun whatever to drive as a Ferrari is intended to be driven. Sold it to the friend within four weeks. Six years ago I came on a 412GT 5-speed and bought it. The transmission transforms the car. I've written about it on other threads. Below are two photos taken on a Ferrari road rally from Saratoga Springs NY to the Lake George Club and one at a Ferrari dealer during service . Funnily, as I have too many cars for my garage and my available driving time and want to sell at least one car, I've been torn between selling this 412 or the F355 berlinetta. I love both cars, both entirely different in personality and handling but both wonderful.
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Seth
575M F1, Maserati Spyder, Cadillac STS-V & CTS
past: 330/365GTC speciale, F355b, 412GT, 400iA, 308GT4 2+2, 330GT 2+2, Porsche 356b Super 90, BMW 1800ti

what do I know? I drive blue Ferraris

Last edited by intrepid; 05-31-2013 at 07:13 AM.
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post #6 of 35 Old 05-30-2013, 12:40 PM
 
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Do you know the "brother" of the 400 / 412 type of Ferrari,
it was the also Paolo Martin styled "Fiat 130 3200 V6 Coupé",
I just love the ultra clean looks of this little overlooked brother of the huge 400/412 type.
Engine of the 130 was a Lampredi design 2x OHC.
By the way the Fiat 130 also suffers under the Automatic 3 speed (Borg Warner) type of Jaguar Auto Box.
Best buy is the 5 speed ZF Box equiped 130 Coupé S Type you see here:
An unbelievable underrated car, Fiat guys dont like it because it does not fit to the
Fiat range of small brisk sedans and spiders and Ferrari drivers dont accept it because of
its uncomplicated OHC V6 engine. (Best thing that nice little 3.2 Engine is quite reliable, you can easily do any
maintainance by yourself in your garage...)
But I cant say anything bad about it as long as you dont want
to catch a porsche 911 or Ferrari ;-)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uzfM6senVnw

The Fiat is fun to drive, has the power of a W116 Mercedes 280SE and
a nice Fiat Dino like sound. Because there is always traffic jam here in my city it does not matter at all
that there is "only" a 3.2 V6 under bonnet....

This is the engine:
(This ultra rare 3200SS has the 3x 44 DCNF Weber carb Abarth intake manifold and hot cam package ca. 220 HP)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Qx60-71hsHM

Top speed of the normal version is205-210 KM/H with 5 speed box with auto box ca 195 KM/H

SS Version 220 KM/H enough for catching an old Porsche ;-)))

Here you can see one of the faster 130 Type S 3200 with 5 speeder

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aHHJ8MNqyuE

Because nobody (except of me?) realy likes these pretty 2+2 cars they are yet quite affordable here in Europe.
I am not sure whether they were exported by Fiat to the USA or Australia...


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post #7 of 35 Old 05-31-2013, 05:40 AM
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Originally Posted by Yorck View Post
Do you know the "brother" of the 400 / 412 type of Ferrari,
it was the also Paolo Martin styled "Fiat 130 3200 V6 Coupé", I am not sure whether they were exported by Fiat to the USA or Australia..
Another 400/412 almost look-alike was the Bitter coupe, built on the Opel Senator chassis. Don't have a photo.

Seth
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past: 330/365GTC speciale, F355b, 412GT, 400iA, 308GT4 2+2, 330GT 2+2, Porsche 356b Super 90, BMW 1800ti

what do I know? I drive blue Ferraris
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post #8 of 35 Old 05-31-2013, 06:31 AM
 
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Yeah but the Fiat Coupé 130 was the oldest original "400-like" Design by Paolo Martin,
this car earned some design titles as "STYLE AUTO AWARD - CAR OF THE YEAR 1971"
than he designed a Fiat 130 4 door coupé and a kind of shooting brake (Maremma/Opera) concept car
from those he derived the Peugeot 604 Ti "Pinin" Sedan together with the 400 type and the Rolls Royce Camarque. ;-)


I also like the Peugeot 604 Gti 2.8,
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pwntXrX1TII
this quite brisk AlpineV6 motorized 4 door car is also one of those
"unloved by anybody" (except of me) cars. Its not easy to find one with the good pont a mousson 5 speed floor shifter box most of those french politicians and mafia sedans were equiped with a BMW ZF Type 3 speed Autmatic box.
Their V6 OHC engines sound very maserati like, I like those.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QI1sd7TyUHM

There also was a Heuliez built 2 door Coupe
"604 Cti" = "Kind of French 400i or 130 Coupe"
Such a clean Pininfarina design, i want one ;-))))


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post #9 of 35 Old 05-31-2013, 08:06 AM Thread Starter
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Yorck View Post
You might get a corvette 6 Speed ZF shifter gearbox and make an Adaptor between
the bellhousing base of the ZF and the Bellhousing of the TH 400 automatic box...
The pedallery you might get from a parts Ferrari 400
Haven't got that much experience yet to get into a thing big like that and Warm Up would drive away me if I found them for this situation. Also I don't know any good mechanics here who I would trust with this kind of job though. Maybe after a long search but I wouldn't consider this transformation as on option.

Piece of cake that one of my friend informed me that the whole bottom of the car is rusted although I wouldn't think of it at first sight by looking at this car maybe he saw another blue 400i, it happens.

Seth, your 412 looks gorgeous, I would be in a difficult situation as well if I had to consider which of the two should be sold. Especially if the 355 is blue just like the other Cavallinos...

About the design of that era: It's surprising for me how many people just can't stand with these shapes although a friend of mine who is really into French cars and don't really like any of the Fcars, said that about that specific 400i that it looks pretty good. Maybe cause of its "line-sharings" with the Peugeot 604.

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post #10 of 35 Old 05-31-2013, 08:51 AM
 
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Yes you are right!
The 604 and 504 is the most Ferrari like french car ;-))))))
i think these wonderfull 2+2 or even sedan cars no matter whether they are a Ferrari or Fiat or Peugeot or Rolls Royce / Bentley 2+2 deserve a broader awareness and a little bit more of PR in historical magazines and books.
Lots of people dont know these cars.
There are too many overrated 2 seater Sports and Race cars....not everyone wants a small red racer
i widely prefer those large GTs of the 1960s and 1970s!
Maserati Mexico etc...also very underrated!
Hmm we forgot the clean styled 504 Peugeot Coupe V6, also a Paolo Martin designed car sharing some lines and ideas with the Fiat 130 and 400i: (Also a greatly underrated Pininfarina design!)


By the way here is the BITTER CD basing on GMs OPEL DIPLOMAT and OPEL ADMIRAL V8 5.4 sedan,
design was made in Germany by ERICH BITTER and KARMANN OSNABRUECK not Pininfarina ;-)
This car was built in the same factory as VW Karmann Ghia and BMW E9 3,0 CSi Coupe.
These German 1970s V8 supercars were very high quality cars with DeDion rear axle, good body finish and great handling plus a reliable US Chevy 327 (Corvette ´68) Small Block strong ATE brakes plus some more Corvette and Opel Parts.
Love it, its a true 2+2 just as the 400. Very easy to maintain and cheap to operate as daily driver during the summer.


Last edited by Yorck; 05-31-2013 at 11:39 AM.
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post #11 of 35 Old 05-31-2013, 08:58 AM
 
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Found something about gearbox swap Auto to Manual:

Auto to manual conversion on 400?? - FerrariChat.com
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post #12 of 35 Old 05-31-2013, 09:04 AM
 
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Also an interesting idea, putting a modern 4 speed TH700R4 into such an old 400 Automatic car:

400i Transmission Question...... - Page 2 - FerrariChat.com

There is an interesting comment, I found:

"Don at International Dreamcars has been working on one and it should be ready for testing soon. He is putting a 5 speed Tremec into a 400a and would like to be able to make it into a kit. "


---------------

Well it should be possible but I am sure it will take more money to get all this modified
professionaly than buying directly a good 400 or 412 5 speed.

Does anyone know this company "International Dreamcars"??
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post #13 of 35 Old 05-31-2013, 10:13 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Yorck View Post
Also an interesting idea, putting a modern 4 speed TH700R4 into such an old 400 Automatic car:

400i Transmission Question...... - Page 2 - FerrariChat.com

There is an interesting comment, I found:

"Don at International Dreamcars has been working on one and it should be ready for testing soon. He is putting a 5 speed Tremec into a 400a and would like to be able to make it into a kit. "
??
That would have been cool to do.....I just sold my 400i. I have a couple other Ferraris but I always liked the look of the 400 and thought it would be a cool incognito date night Ferrari with the neighbors.....plus its an Enzo era V12 Ferrari........after not touching it for a year a basically gave it away to a local DIYer.
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post #14 of 35 Old 05-31-2013, 10:13 AM Thread Starter
 
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Really, the cheapest way would be to get a spare 5-speed manual from someone or from a wrecked 400, make the conversion then sell the rest parts. But it would still cost a hell lot of money.

@International Dream Cars: I've heard of it somewhere, but if it's the one which was at Redondo Beach, CA I've got to tell that it was reported closed. It's a pity cause I still have a copy of a comment here about that place back from 2006 and it sounds like was a pretty good one...

"At the recommendation of a friend, I had the prospect seller delivered a 99 355F1 spider to International Dream Cars, located in Redondo Beach at 8am this morning for PPI. This was going to be my daily driver.

Dan, the owner/operator/mechanic spent no less than 3 hours going through the car inch by inch both exterior/interior, test-driving it, checking all electronic components, AC and close visual inspection of engine. After lunch and before he get into the mechanical inspection (leakdown/compression test, check on the belts), he called to give me a mid point update. In the course of our conversation, Dan alerted me that the driver seat seems to look a bit worn for a car w/ only 6,000 miles.

I ran the carfax and discovered the odometer was rolled back from 29,000 miles in 2004 to 2,950 miles in 2005. I called the seller back and decline to purchase. However, odometer rolled back isn't the point of this thread.

I thanked Dan for his diligent work and about to give him my credit card number and to my astonishment, Dan flatly REFUSED. He said " he is sad and disappointed on my behalf; thus, accepting my payment isn't an option". We argued for a good 5 minutes and he was strong in his conviction and adamant in his position. I have NEVER encounter anything like this before.

Had this taken place at a Ferrari dealership, I'd probably have no issue but being a small owner/operator business, Dan can ill-afford to offer such benevolence. I am still going to send him his payment via mail but I want everyone in the LA region to know I am envious that you have someone with such class and integrity in the area to work on your car.....Man, I am still loss for words........."

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post #15 of 35 Old 06-10-2013, 04:00 PM
 
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As a long time former 400i owner, I was actually fairly happy with the GM automatic transmission after some good old American modifications. That 3 spd slush box can be made much much more responsive by fitting it with a aftermarket shift kit readily available to American mechanics. A new vacuum modulator is part of this package and not only offers much quicker shifts and rapid kick down,it also allows you to hold a gear and not shift up. The factory setting upshifts at the first hint of lift of the throttle approaching a turn and catapults you in at just the wrong gear and speed with the resulting gasps and curses. I actually ran it a couple of years at the Virginia City Hillclimb and aside from scaring the corner workers , it performed really well with the shift kit helped by the hold in second gear and redline approach.Then an upshift followed by a quick downshift back into second after a short straight in third. I would highly recommend this sub $200 fix to anyone who is looking for more driving fun with their 400i . It truly transforms the car.
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post #16 of 35 Old 06-12-2013, 04:33 AM Thread Starter
 
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Originally Posted by gburkett View Post
As a long time former 400i owner, I was actually fairly happy with the GM automatic transmission after some good old American modifications. That 3 spd slush box can be made much much more responsive by fitting it with a aftermarket shift kit readily available to American mechanics. A new vacuum modulator is part of this package and not only offers much quicker shifts and rapid kick down,it also allows you to hold a gear and not shift up. The factory setting upshifts at the first hint of lift of the throttle approaching a turn and catapults you in at just the wrong gear and speed with the resulting gasps and curses. I actually ran it a couple of years at the Virginia City Hillclimb and aside from scaring the corner workers , it performed really well with the shift kit helped by the hold in second gear and redline approach.Then an upshift followed by a quick downshift back into second after a short straight in third. I would highly recommend this sub $200 fix to anyone who is looking for more driving fun with their 400i . It truly transforms the car.
Could you send me a link of these parts/kit? Just curious.

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post #17 of 35 Old 06-12-2013, 07:30 AM
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Ah, no. Quite the opposite. Just one man's opinion, but i don't think I'm alone. Value alone will tell you it has been rejected by most. To be among the most beautiful and successful ferraris you would have to put it next to a dozen of the most beautiful and iconic cars in the history of automobiles. It would look silly there.To each his own, but that was quite a declaration. I think you may also be alone when it comes to being torn between the 355 and the 412. Not trying to pick a fight with you so don't take it personally, just my thoughts, as requested by the OP on the subject of the 400 series in general.

While we are quoting people "Jeremy Clarkson on Top Gear described it as "awful in every way".


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The 365/400/400i/412 automobiles are among the most beautiful and successful visually that Ferrari ever produced.


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post #18 of 35 Old 06-13-2013, 03:17 AM
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Automatic right or wrong

As a long term owner (since 1997) of a 400 automatic I need to respons to this discussion. The GM 3-speed transmission was first introduced at the 400. Because of the 3-speed automatic gearbox Ferrari gave the engine a lot more torque at lower revs. The 400 is the most powerfull of the complete range 365 till 412. The 400i has a lot less torque than a 400 carb, so a it feels slow compared to a 400carb (i drove both, there is a huge difference).If you like the carb noise and want an automatic, buy a 400automatic or a 412 or buy a 400i 5-speed manual.To my experience a 400automatic is quite quick for it's age, the engine settings (carbs/ignition timing) must be absolute correct. I mounted an upgrated ignition making it more responsive and more fuel economical.
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post #19 of 35 Old 06-13-2013, 04:17 AM
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Ah, no. Quite the opposite. Just one man's opinion, but i don't think I'm alone. Value alone will tell you it has been rejected by most. To be among the most beautiful and successful ferraris you would have to put it next to a dozen of the most beautiful and iconic cars in the history of automobiles. It would look silly there.To each his own, but that was quite a declaration. I think you may also be alone when it comes to being torn between the 355 and the 412. Not trying to pick a fight with you so don't take it personally, just my thoughts, as requested by the OP on the subject of the 400 series in general.

While we are quoting people "Jeremy Clarkson on Top Gear described it as "awful in every way".
"successful visually" is what I wrote. "Most beautiful production car of all time" is what Peter Stevens, Lotus chief designer wrote of the 365/400/400i/412 series. And if one measures success by the length of the production run of a car, try the series' 17 year production run - 1972-1989 - by many times the longest production run in the history of the Company.

At the Petersen Museum in Beverly Hills during the 1997 introduction of the 550 Maranello to the North American market, Piero Ferrari told me that the 412 was the car his father drove almost until his passing.

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post #20 of 35 Old 06-13-2013, 06:25 AM Thread Starter
 
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Originally Posted by ferrari400 View Post
As a long term owner (since 1997) of a 400 automatic I need to respons to this discussion. The GM 3-speed transmission was first introduced at the 400. Because of the 3-speed automatic gearbox Ferrari gave the engine a lot more torque at lower revs. The 400 is the most powerfull of the complete range 365 till 412. The 400i has a lot less torque than a 400 carb, so a it feels slow compared to a 400carb (i drove both, there is a huge difference).If you like the carb noise and want an automatic, buy a 400automatic or a 412 or buy a 400i 5-speed manual.To my experience a 400automatic is quite quick for it's age, the engine settings (carbs/ignition timing) must be absolute correct. I mounted an upgrated ignition making it more responsive and more fuel economical.
Thanks for your input! I think I'll go for a 400 carb 5-speed when a good one appears here. Although, a 412 would be another option as well, gonna check the inernet for them every day. :P

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