The Ferrari 412 is the ultimate vintage GT
Already back then, Ferrari understood that speed and comfort could be a great association.
The love story between Ferrari and GT cars is a long one. In fact, one of Enzo Ferrari's first cars in 1948 was the 166 Inter Granturismo, a fabulous 2+2 that could comfortably carry four people and reach a top speed of 150 km/h. Then, in 1960, Ferrari produced its first four-seater on a large scale: the 250 GT 2+2, and the rest was history. Ever since this moment, Ferrari has kept on producing cars that perfectly mixed comfort and speed. Today, these cars are the GTC4 Lusso and the Roma.
In 1985, Ferrari introduced the replacement of one of its most elegant cars, the 400i. The 412 received a modest redesign, that focused on habitability and aerodynamics. It was equipped with a 4'943cc V12 that developed 325 horsepower. Enough to take it from 0-100 km/h in only 6.7 seconds and reach a top speed of 250 km/h. You could get it either with a 5-speed manual gearbox, or a 3-speed automatic. We were very thankful indeed that the car we reviewed had a manual transmission.
When you first look at the 412, you immediately realize that it looks pretty much like its predecessor, the 400i. However, now, the wheels are different to support the newly standard ABS system. The boot lid is higher to provide more space for the luggage, and the body panels are all painted in the same colour.
Inside, you've got more comfortable seats as well as a new control layout on the center console. Strangely, there weren't any USA versions. Apparently, Enzo Ferrari was fed up of the constant changes in environmental and safety regulations, so he decided to not adapt his European cars. The production of the 412 ended in 1989, and only 270 manual versions were produced, making it quite rare. The 412 was replaced in 1992 by the 456 GT, which was considerably different in terms of design. But most bizarrely, it took Ferrari 7 years to re-develop an automatic gearbox after this 3-speed one. So, what do we think about the 412? In terms of design, I think it might be one of the most elegant Ferraris ever made. The sharp edges, the pop-up headlights, the four exhaust pipes, it's all just superb. In my opinion it looks much better than the 456 GT and it's certainly one of the nicest 2+2 Ferraris around.
How is it to drive? Well, we're quite far from the standards established by today's super GTs. Jeremy Clarkson even ranked it number 18 in his list of "Crap Cars", and called it "awful in every way". I wouldn't go as far as this. It's far from perfect, but one will love the sound the V12 makes, the mechanical noise of the gearbox, and the comfort of the ride. Don't expect to go quickly, just try to have a nice time. I've looked at the prices and they go all the way from £57K to £120K. It's not the most sought after, nor the most important V12 Ferrari, but it is so rare that we can maybe expect the prices to rise a bit more in the future. But no need to speculate, this is a car that you will want to drive, enjoy, and take on long roadtrips.
I would like to extend my deepest gratitude to Drivevintage.ch and V. Luzuy for making this possible. Drivevintage.ch is car conciergerie that takes care of some of the most exclusive cars ever made, and we can't wait to do some more work with them. http://drivevintage.ch & https://www.instagram.com/drivevintage.ch/
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