Ferrari 400

Cars

Many people have a romance with the Ferrari brand. That can start with a first drive, a first sighting – or even a gobsmacking spread in the pages of a magazine. Sometimes, of course, it can simply be the very idea of a brand that intoxicates you. Such is the strange fascination that cars hold over the world. And little boys are of course, most sure to fall.

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The first Ferrari I ever saw in the flesh was a light blue 400. It was parked on the inner circle of The Regents Park, right near London Zoo, where me and my family were visiting one sunny Sunday around 1978/79 Not only was this subtly cool, futuristic vision of the mid seventies quite simply a very pretty design (especially next to the Austin Maxi we had pulled up in) – but the number plate was MF1. And those letters are, of course my initials.

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Ever since then, ridiculous as it may seem, I’ve felt there is some strange connection between me and the 400. And now that my romance with the Ferrari brand has matured, it still retains its mystery for me. I’ve been lucky to drive a few Ferrari’s in my time – from the stripped back, mind-blowingly lean F430 Scuderia to the eminently long-legged 599 Fiorano and a few others in between – but even in the light of these superb contemporary Ferraris, I still have one eye on all things 400. And you can pick a nice one up for the price of a new Diesel Civic!

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For me, the Pininfarina designed body is one of the most sensitive, if conventional bits of drawing they have done. I love the rear end, with its stubby, squared off lines complimented by those rather large, trademark circular rear lamps. The front end is typical Pinin futurism – but the whole issue sits with a very palatable coherence. And the fact that Clarkson, apparently, hates it – makes me love it all the more.

What say you?

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