One-upmanship on the dinner party circuit, or at any social event, can be a gladiatorial affair, especially when the talk turns to cars. Many believe that the F-word – Ferrari – holds all the aces but we’re struggling to think of a cooler way to trump the lot than announcing, ‘Oh, yes, I’ve just bought a Ferrari too; it was owned by Piero Ferrari.’
For one canny individual that is now possible. A 1983 Ferrari 400i GT went under the hammer today through Bonhams’ Les Grandes Marques a Monaco sale, selling for £59,929 including premium, and the car’s first owner was none other than Piero Ferrari.
Enzo Ferrari’s only surviving son Piero Ferrari, known at the time as Piero Lardi Ferrari, was born to Enzo Ferrari and his lifelong romantic partner Lina Lardi. The pair met in the 1930s and remained close until Enzo’s passing in 1988, with Piero only being acknowledged as a member of the Ferrari family member following the passing of his mother Laura, in 1978.
Piero’s stepbrother and Enzo’s first son, Alfredo “Dino” Ferrari, died from muscular dystrophy in 1956. When Piero joined the car company, in 1969, he was expected to make his way up through the ranks, even translating his father’s press releases, before progressing toward managing engineering projects and working within Scuderia Ferrari, before overseeing production of road cars for Ferrari.
This 1983 400i GT was specified by Piero Ferrari and delivered new from the factory in 1983. There were some subtle but significant changes that suggest how Piero intended to use the car. It came with an optional flat rear seat in place of the usual affair with a central armrest, adding an extra degree of practicality, and rather than opt for the more popular automatic gearbox – which outsold the manual version by more than three to one, and was a first for a Ferrari – he chose the manual transmission.
He also chose the delightfully classic spec of Blu Ribot paint and tan leather upholstery. And we’re pleased to note that the original Blaupunkt New York cassette and radio player is present and correct.
Over the next three years, Piero Ferrari is reported to have used the 400i extensively, clocking up 35,000 kilometres (nearly 22,000 miles) before selling it. From Italy the car was sold to Jacques Swaters of Garage Francorchamps, in Brussels, and then found a new home with an owner in Monaco, followed by the current owner in Ghent, Belgium.
Doubtless all owners will have appreciated its 4.8-litre, Colombo V12 which came with fuel injection and developed 311bhp at 6500rpm, going some way to offsetting the car’s comparative heft – it weighed more than 1800kg.
Despite having clocked up 118,000km to date (73,000 miles) the 400i GT remains original and unrestored. It’s a fact that won’t have escaped the buyer, assuming they were seeking a car with a connection to the Ferrari dynasty.
The four seat – well, four and a half in this car’s case – 400i is part of a lineage that stretches back to the 3-litre, V12 250 GT 2+2, which made its debut as the course car for the Le Mans 24 hour race in 1960. The company’s last true four seater was the FF (which became the GTC4 Lusso) of 2011.
So, one lucky individual is now able to indulge in name-dropping, should the thought of such antics appeal. Admittedly, however, having a Ferrari owned by il Ingegnere himself might be the ultimate hand when it comes to oneupmanship.
Can this man save Pininfarina?
See the new Ferrari Breadvan Hommage in all its funky glory
What do you do when your Ferrari 250 GT SWB is too valuable to drive? Buy this recreation and enjoy the drive of a lifetime