Yet the debonair two-plus-two coupe has the right credentials, starting with Pininfarina design. The 400 series originated at the 1976 Paris Motor Show, and three years later its medium-displacement V-12 engine was stripped of Weber carburetors and endowed with Bosch electronic fuel injection. The 400i, as it was now known, continued to be offered with a five-speed manual transmission or the three-speed automatic made, of all places, in the same Michigan factory that had churned out B-24 bombers during World War Two; the Hydra-Matic was also used in Jaguars, Rolls-Royces, and Bentleys--as well as Checker Marathons and Jeep pickups and SUVs. More for diplomat than playboy, the 400i benefitted from well-tailored simplicity. Inside the car, broad and flat front chairs suggested the club room as much as autostrada. The layout of instruments and controls was unprepossessing and orderly enough for a Boy Scout merit badge; in fact, when compared to a car like today’s Porsche Panamera, which is intended for the same purpose, the serving of dials and indicators is disappointingly meager.
Beyond these touches, the 400i shows the usual hopeful aspects of the period: pop-up headlamps, overly obvious five-spoke wheels, and a sleek, large-diameter, pre-airbag steering wheel. This Ferrari strove for elegance and largely achieved it. And despite the electronic fuel injection leading to a nine-percent drop to 310 horsepower (but a more favorable emissions test), the 400i went down the road with authority, no matter which transmission the 4.8-liter twelve was matched with. Zero to 60 mph could be achieved in 7.1 seconds, and the powerband had an advantageous torque curve, letting the drivetrain excel on the type of highway excursion this coupe was designed for. (In one Ferrari forum, the owner of a 400i says the trunk is cavernous, and he thinks the fitted luggage for a 412 would inconspicuously nestle into the rear; but he was not sure about the existence of bespoke cases for his own car. Further research revealed that Schedoni, did in fact make leather valises for this GT.)
Although the Turbo-Hydramatic 400 automatic was heavy, it was the choice for two of every three examples of the 400i.