Barrett-Jackson 2022: 1981 Ferrari 400i Custom Limousine

The bread and butter of every Barrett-Jackson auction event is American cars from the 1950s, 1960s, and 1970s. This is what the company specializes in and what their target demographic wants to buy.

Walking through row after row of white tents in Scottsdale, I passed by hundreds of Mustangs, Camaros, Corvettes, Chevelles, Novas, Firebirds, and Dodge Chargers and Challengers for sale. But every once in a while an oddball car would be tucked in among the American muscle cars.

In this case, the 1981 Ferrari 400i Stretch Limousine is a truly rare and weird car. Rare because the Ferrari 400 (and its fuel-injected successor, the 400i) were never officially sold in the United States, and weird because Ferrari vehicles are not a popular choice for limousine conversions.
Any 400i vehicles in the U.S. today are grey market imports that were ordered from Europe and federalized to meet U.S. DOT regulations. With 1,305 examples of the 400i produced between 1979 and 1985, it is a safe bet that the number of these cars in America is “not very many.”

So you can be forgiven for never having heard of the Ferrari 400i in America. Its three-box styling and pop-up headlights are typical of the period. A non-stretched version of the 400i made an appearance in the 1988 movie “Rain Man” starring Tom Cruise and Dustin Hoffman.
Power comes from a 4.8-liter V12 engine producing 310-315 horsepower, depending on the year. The car was among the first Ferrari vehicles to be offered with an automatic transmission, starting in 1976. The vinyl top and the wheels are not earning this car any style points, in my own opinion.

This 1981 Ferrari limo sold for $52,800 (including buyer’s premium) at the auction. While it may not be the most aesthetically pleasing or tasteful example of Ferrari automobiles, you can bet that you will be turning some heads at Cars and Coffee as you roll in with this one-of-one car.