If you're not a DYI type of person, is buying a 365/400/412 a mistake?

Discussion in '365 GT4 2+2/400/412' started by TeamF1Jr, Dec 22, 2019.

  1. TeamF1Jr

    TeamF1Jr Formula 3

    Nov 8, 2003
    Lake Mead
    The primary focus on these vintage message boards it seems is DYI. Is it that costly that DYI is almost mandatory with this car? I was reading an article recently that advised that the 365 is the one to get as it has less electronics and is a more DYI car. Naturally I want to enjoy the car, but not if it's in the shop constantly.

    Is it that uncommon to put say 3000 to 4000 miles a year on it and not have to do anything to it other than fluids for a year, of if lucky, two? Am I living in some sort of dream world here?
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  3. samsaprunoff

    samsaprunoff F1 Rookie
    Silver Subscribed

    Jun 8, 2004
    Edmonton, AB Canada
    Full Name:
    Sam Saprunoff
    Good day,

    In response to your post:

    DYI posts... I cannot speak for everyone, but I think the posts are meant to educate others on the steps needed to perform the various services and/or highlight the pitfalls that may arise. The result is that the thread gives the reader a sense of the efforts needed to perform a certain task and thus they can determine if they wish to tackle the project themselves or to send it to a shop to do.

    I do not think one cannot make such a generalized statement given the number of variables involved. For example:

    - Car's condition (restored, driver, barn find, e-bay "special", etc)
    - One's proximity to a shop that is capable of working on these cars for a reasonable price
    - One's financial resources.
    - One's interest/skills to be able to work on these cars

    One has to remember that these cars are 30 to 40+ years old and so a car's current condition plays a large role in its maintenance cost. A fully restored car would (and should) have much lower maintenance cost than an example that was unloved/untouched for years.

    Again, I do not think one can generalize, as each series has its quirks. Early cars (365/400GTs) are carbed and so to some this is less complicated than fuel injection. The issue here is that not everyone has the knowledge to proper service/tune carbs. Later cars are injected and so there is more sophistication to them, but the system is made by Bosch which was used in a number of other cars (Mercedes, Porsche, etc) and so there are more resources (info, shops, etc) available.

    The question is who does? ... except ofcourse the shop doing the work :)

    As I mentioned earlier, it all depends on the condition of the car. If the car has had a lot of deferred maintenance, then there is a much greater chance that the car will have needs throughout the year: old hoses leak/break, old/worn parts will fail, etc. If you buy a top example and have it fully inspected you can make a determination on what kind of maintenance that car will need over time.

    The bottom line is that these cars are old cars and so they are going to have more needs than newer and more modern cars. Also... this is not meant to be a harsh statement...if you are expecting to buy an unrestored 365/400/412 and not expect to do any or minimal work on the car, then I think you are indeed dreaming.


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  4. Part Time

    Part Time Formula Junior
    Silver Subscribed

    Dec 16, 2013
    Port St. Lucie, Fl
    Full Name:
    Gary Shore
    And....YES !... to everything Sam said, plus.....

    I watched my father work on the family cars when I had to stand on a milk crate to see over the fender, so I grew up fixing things. I am "that guy" in the neighborhood that you bring a lawnmower or an electric tool or a broken chair to me and I can fix just comes easily to me. I have owned and repaired cars twice as old as my 1985, they are all the same, just cars. Never went to college, tech school instead, I liked working with my hands, but that's just me. So when I found an '85 400i for sale, original 12k mile car that did not run for under $20k, NO PROBLEM !! I can fix that !

    I can't afford to pay a tech $$$ to do work, so I do research and teach myself how to work on Bosch Fuel Inj. and overhaul power window motors and etc.
    Sometimes I have to search the planet for parts, sometimes I "make" the part....I enjoy working on my car !

    Do you HAVE to do your own if you want to. But, if you don't work on your car, then either buy a well kept/restored car or open your wallet and pay someone else to do it. Yes, these cars are old, but so am I, things break, deal with it.

    Lastly, you really need to find someone close to you who can give you a ride in off, windows down, ….with room to run...….
    and just listen to a four cam V12 talking.

    That's my 2 cents.

  5. Ewan

    Ewan Karting

    Jul 5, 2015
    Dorset, UK
    The condition of the car you buy is an important factor. My car had been dry stored for 20 years, so was rust free but needed reconditioning. I do zero DIY but do have an excellent specialist who’s pricing is bare-able. Now that it’s all sorted, future running costs should be okay, even with me outsourcing everything.

    The most expensive job was the full bare metal respray, then new glass, rubbers, badges etc. But this was undertaken more out of want than technical need. She looks fantastic now, so money well spent.

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  6. jacques

    jacques Formula Junior

    May 23, 2006
    Los Angeles/Florida
    In my humble opinion, and having my 1980 400i Ser. 1, for 20 plus years,you absolutely MUST expect to be hands on with these older Ferraris of all models, or perhaps just forget it, and buy a brand new chevy with full warranty. If not you will hate life itself. Jq.
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  8. raemin

    raemin Formula Junior

    Jan 16, 2007
    Lyon (FR)
    Full Name:
    R. Emin
    Bear in mind these cars are even more complex than a Daytona, so factor for the maintenance cost accordingly... A fast review of the owner manual gives a comprehensive overview of what's involved in a regular service. So yes, these cars do definitively need a lots of periodic adjustments in order to work the way they should, and most of these adjustments we can do on our own (eg: add some oil to the horn pump).

    The real issue maybe not to do the work yourself, but to do the homework for your mechanic. If your mechanic has never touched one of these cars he will spend countless hours trying to figure out how the car is supposed to operate. By contrast if you can provide him with all the whereabouts of this car (owner manual, workshop manual, hint and tips from other owners), he will be in a position to chase all the gremlins within a reasonable time-frame.

    Just to illustrate what I am talking about: last year one of the forum member had oil in the coolant. His mechanic was suspecting head gasket (that's $6000 per cylinder bank). Several members of the forum told him this was probably more related to the oil riser gasket (à $100 job). In the end by making the appropriate research, he made a huge saving. That's basically what this forum is all about.
  9. rubenpadron

    rubenpadron Formula 3
    Silver Subscribed

    Oct 22, 2013
    SF Bay Area, CA
    Full Name:
    I could not agree more with this post, it’s absolutely on point!

    The only thing I’d add is that, regardless of who’s doing the maintenance (DIY or a shop), I think that understanding and learning about how these wonderful machines work is indeed part of the ownership experience and makes owning them even more rewarding. Do the research, start with a good one (or as good as you can find), and go in eyes wide open - they’re wonderful cars! Just remember - no one ever said a Ferrari was cheap to maintain!

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  10. TeamF1Jr

    TeamF1Jr Formula 3

    Nov 8, 2003
    Lake Mead
    Appreciate all your feedback! I had some American classics 40 years ago, so with that experience, I already had the mindset early on of finding a car in the top 5%-10% condition wise and taking it from there. I'm in my 70s age wise, so in my condition I can do the small stuff, but I doubt it will go beyond that. I have to make the decision if it's worth it. Maybe a newer car is better for me. From your feedback and articles I've read, it seems this car is worth any troubles you come across. Is it a car that would be better if I was in my 40s or 50s versus 70s. For my last run so to speak, maybe a modern car is better. That's the debate in my head. Once again, thanks for helping me in the process.
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  11. steved033

    steved033 F1 Rookie
    Silver Subscribed Owner

    Apr 12, 2017
    Atlanta, GA
    Full Name:
    Steve D.
    There ARE more of us. Craigslist 348 here! eyeballing something in the 400 world, or Dino GT4, or...

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  13. Ewan

    Ewan Karting

    Jul 5, 2015
    Dorset, UK
    If you can find a nice example, give it a go. If it so transpires it’s not for you, simply sell it and then maybe resort to a car more modern. Start by having a look around and seeing what’s available, as there can be no harm in that.
  14. Ashman

    Ashman Two Time F1 World Champ
    Silver Subscribed Owner

    Sep 5, 2002
    Full Name:
    That is exactly like when my children say "Let's just go look at those puppies for sale, there is no harm in that!" ;):D
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  15. raemin

    raemin Formula Junior

    Jan 16, 2007
    Lyon (FR)
    Full Name:
    R. Emin
    These cars are expensive to maintain (for sure), but are really nice to drive and extremely forgiving. That's the sort of peace of mind to be taken into account.
  16. Choptop400

    Choptop400 Karting

    Oct 10, 2014
    Huntington, NY
    Full Name:
    Frank L Caponi
    FCA saying "Ferrari's are meant to be driven" I will add hard. As the owner of a 365GT4 2+2 spyder, the second best joy to driving my Ferrari is working on it. I have 6 hours in on a 2 hour job by a experience mechanic. Let's do the math 2 X $165.00 per hour (NY) $330.00 vs 6 hours of my labor, PRICELESS! My recommendation as a milk crate trained mechanic is use your heart, research your purchase as much as possible, utilize the great wealth of knowledge FChat members provide and enjoy. It is the season.
  17. It's Ross

    It's Ross Formula 3

    Jul 30, 2007
    Barrington, Ill. USA
    Full Name:
    Mandatory? No, but don't expect maintenance costs to be proportional to purchase price.
    If you have to ask.......
    A car is a car and an engine an engine but some jobs are VERY tedious and time consuming and require skills, tools and finesse not needed for most other cars.
  18. mike32

    mike32 F1 Rookie

    May 13, 2016
    A friend of mine has a 365 gtc 4 and found out the hard way that costs can bite you- what started out as a small noise turned into a full engine rebuild at mega money. Due to the age of the car it took days to get the heads off, as stuck on the head studs etc. Had to be jacked off.
    Engine only had moderate miles but age had taken its toll . He now has a mint car with a fully rebuilt engine but it took over a year to do after finding all the parts

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