Ferrari 412, the swan song for the flagship of Maranello

The latest evolution of the GT4 2 + 2 family sees the introduction of an even larger and more powerful engine as the main novelty: however, several refinements have been made to improve the Maranello flagship.

In 1985, in a period of corporate restructuring for Ferrari, the Maranello company decided not to upset its flagship but to make further improvements, despite the car having been on the market since 1972.

The new model is simply named Ferrari 412, a figure that indicates the unit displacement, eliminating the suffixes i and Automatic that explained the technical innovations of the previous 400.

Externally, there are very few signs that distinguish the new model: the 412 has matching bumpers, larger side mirrors without the decorative enameled shield, a different tail cut with relative raising of the luggage hood line. But the detail that is immediately noticeable are the alloy wheels with a new design, created to accommodate the first important technical innovation: the introduction of ABS, the first production Ferrari to have this technology.

The architecture remains the most classic in the Ferrari world, and refers to the racing berlinettas of the 1960s: four independent wheels with articulated wishbones, coil springs and shock absorbers, two springs for each single rear wheel. The rear axle is embellished with an oleopneumatic self-leveling device, operated by a hydraulic pump and developed in collaboration with Koni since 1967.

The tubular steel frame is certainly not the technological state of the art of the 1980s, however, it allows a small industrial company like Ferrari to produce light and rigid structures, ideal for making sports cars, saving huge amounts of money that they should be invested in the starting equipment such as molds and presses.

Subsequently, the printed body is joined to metal frames which are in turn hooked to the tubular frame. This industrial process takes place at Pininfarina's Turin plants, and once the bodies are completed, they are sent to Maranello to join the mechanical structure. Aesthetics and function thus come together in marriage.

The masterpiece remains the heart of this car, that is the engine, even after years of its first debut, and despite increasingly fierce competition: the twelve-cylinder 60° V, which is a direct descendant of the block designed by Colombo, improved and evolved over time, it introduced the four overhead camshafts and mechanical injection, but the structure remained unchanged.

The total displacement of 4.943 cm³ is obtained by increasing the bore by just one millimeter compared to the 400, while the stroke remains unchanged. The new internal measurements of the engine are therefore identical to those of the Coeva Testarossa, with obvious advantages in the design and production phase.

The compression ratio also increases, now 9.6:1, as well as the power which now reaches 340 horsepower with a maximum torque value of 451 Nm at 4.200 rpm. An engine that is appreciated for its elasticity with a torque value of 350 Nm available from 1.000 rpm. Power supply entrusted to two Bosch K-Jetronic mechanical injection systems as well as two petrol tanks, for a total of one hundred and twenty liters.

The Microplex ignition developed by Magneti Marelli is able to store and manage two hundred and fifty-six advance values, to choose the optimal value based on the number of revolutions and the position of the accelerator.

Two gearboxes available without price change, a five-speed manual or a three-speed automatic developed by General Motors. The latter is the preferred configuration of customers, who can best appreciate the road racing skills of this car, not designed for a sporty and exasperated drive but born to grind over kilometers at a fast pace, driving lulled by comfort.

Descending into the passenger compartment you go back in time: the analogue instrumentation recalls the Gran Turismo of the previous decade, while the sunken seat recalls the berlinettas of the 1960s. Connoly leather makes the environment sophisticated without excess. Two sore points are represented by the small rear seats, and above all the presence of some plastic buttons on the center console.

The initial intention to give a modern touch to the interior is betrayed by a saving effect, given by the plastic keys that do not integrate well with the refinement and luxury that surrounds the console.

The car, which on paper seems perfect for the American market, is not marketed in North America even in this third evolution, and five hundred and seventy-six units produced up to 1989, from chassis 56725 to 82153.

With the last Ferrari 412 left the assembly line, with the death of its founder the previous year, an important chapter for the Maranello-based company closes.

Two elements, man and a car, both proud exponents of tradition, both reached the end of the natural cycle now old and tired, leave the scene to a world that travels ever faster and asks for innovation.

For three years with Ferrari, until 1992, the role of flagship was left in abeyance but, when the 456 GT was launched, it was immediately clear that we had entered a new era for the Maranello company.


Coupè, 2+2 seats

Front engine, longitudinal, V12 60°

Rear-wheel Drive

Size and Weights

Length 4810 mm

Width 1798 mm

Height 1314 mm

Wheelbase 2700 mm

Front track 1480 mm

Rear track 1500 mm

Empty weight 412 Automatic 1810 Kg, 412 1805 Kg

120 liters tank


Displacement 4943 cm³

Type v12 60°, front, longitudinal water-cooled

Bore and stroke 82x78 mm

Compression ratio 9.6:1

Unit displacement 411 cm³

Double shaft distribution, two valves per cylinder

Bosch K-Jetronic mechanical injection power supply


Power 250 kW (340 hp) at 6,000 rpm

Specific Power 69 hp/liter (51kW/liter) 90 Nm/liter

451 Nm torque at 4200 rpm

Mono ignition, electronic Marelli Microplex

Clutch automatic transmission torque converter, manual dual-disc transmission

Three-speed automatic transmission and RM or mechanical five-speed plus RM, self-locking differential


Tubular steel

Ball-bearing steering with power steering

Front independent suspension, wishbones, coaxial coil springs with telescopic shock absorbers, anti-roll bar

Independent rear suspension, transverse wishbones, double coaxial coil springs with telescopic shock absorbers, self-leveling oleo-pneumatic devices,

stabilizer bar

Front ventilated disc brakes (301 mm) four pistons

Rear ventilated disc brakes (296 mm) four pistons

240/55 VR 16 front tires

240/55 VR 16 rear tires

16 " wheels made of light alloy

Performance declared

Speed ​​245 Km/h automatic gearbox

Speed ​​250 Km/h manual gearbox

412 Automatic Acceleration

From 0 to 100 km/h in 8.3 seconds, from 0 to 400 meters in 15.2 seconds and from 0 to 1000 meters in 27.7 seconds.

Acceleration 412 Manual

From 0 to 100 km/h in 6.7 seconds, from 0 to 400 meters in 14.6 seconds and from 0 to 1000 meters in 26.4 seconds

Luca Saitta

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