Supercars On A $50,000 Budget: A V12 Ferrari With Some Added Boost


This very special Ferrari has 12 cylinders and two turbos.

It is rare for any Ferrari to fall into the $50,000 price range. If anything, old Ferraris tend to go up in value as the years go on, but there are some exceptions. We recently featured a 1996 F355 which has a wonderful sounding 3.5-liter V8. Finding a V12 Ferrari for under $50,000 is much more difficult because the V12 touring cars tended to be extremely expensive when they were new. We did find a few examples of the 456 in this price range. But what if we told you that you could buy a V12 Ferrari with two turbos for around $50,000?

The car that we are referring to is a 1984 Ferrari 400i. The original 400 had a modified version of the 365's V12 engine. In 1979, Ferrari replaced the 400's Weber carburetors with Bosch K-Jetronic fuel injection. Then in 1982 the engine was updated with new camshaft profiles and exhaust headers for a total of 315 horsepower. The interior was also given a refresh with new upholstery, center console, and switchgear. The car came with either a five-speed manual or a three-speed GM-sourced automatic. Unfortunately the 1984 example that we found is an automatic, but don't fret because it is far from stock. Among other improvements, this 400i is twin-turbocharged.

The turbo conversion was performed by Greg Armstrong of Historic Race Engineering in Costa Mesa, California. Armstrong is best known for being contracted to build a limited run of seven twin-turbo Lamborghini Diablos in the 1990s. The 4.8-liter V12 in the car was completely rebuilt, with forged internals to handle the added power of the twin Garrett T3 turbochargers. The three-speed transmission was also replaced with a stronger four-speed unit (also from GM) that can handle the new engine output. The suspension has also been reworked with new bushings and shocks that replace Ferrari's original self-leveling suspension which was prone to failure. This helps keep the car on the road.

The car is currently being offered for sale by International Auto Group in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. The car only has 4,800 miles and the asking price is $55,000. So, it is slightly above our $50,000 budget. We still love this car because it takes a Ferrari model which is far from the most appreciated and improves it without completely changing what makes it a Ferrari. For example, the air conditioning unit was replaced with a Sanden unit with R134a refrigerant. That means that this car will stay cool even in the smoldering Florida heat. It will also accelerate faster and handle better than it did from the factory, without dramatically changing the way the car feels.

Only 1,305 examples of the 400i were produced, making it quite rare. Even among other Ferrari cars, the 400i was unique with its three-box design. If you enjoy classic Ferrari styling but can't afford the millions of dollars that some cars command, then take a look at this 400i. Here is a small taste of what owning a stock 400i is like.

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