The only convertible 412 ever built. It’s a custom, but a damn ugly one

It’s common knowledge that Ferraris have been among the best-selling and most expensive classic cars for quite a few decades now. But, while the 250 GTO and other 1960s models can fetch in excess of $10 million and most other Maranello-built sports cars tend to capture the most attention at auction events, some Ferraris aren’t that popular among collectors. Like any other automaker, Ferrari developed and sold a number of models that had very little in common with its heritage except for the Prancing Horse on the nose. One such vehicle was the 400/412 series built between 1976 and 1989.

Although its ancestor list includes the 365, 330, and the iconic 250 series, the 400 was a significant departure from Ferrari’s classic grand tourer recipe. The 365 GT4 2+2 it evolved from received a three-box design instead of the fastback body style that made 1970 Ferrari models famous and the updated styling of the 400 and 412 turned it into one of the ugliest Ferraris to ever leave Maranello. Sure, it was the late 1970s and manufacturers were into the wedge design, but the 308 GTB and the 512 Berlinetta Boxer were proof that Pininfarina knew how to build gorgeous wedge-shaped sports cars.

The 400 and 412 are perfect examples to illustrate that some Ferraris aren’t desirable, but what happens when you add a unique body style into the mix? Although the 400/412 wasn’t a favorite among coachbuilders, there’s at least one car that received a bespoke body. Meet the Ferrari 412 Pavesi Ventorosso, a unique convertible that just surfaced the Internet and it’s looking for a new owner.

Continue reading to learn more about the 1989 Ferrari 412 Pavesi Ventorosso.

  • 1989 Ferrari 412 Pavesi Ventorosso
  • Year:
  • Make:
  • Engine:
  • Horsepower @ RPM:
    335 @ 6000
  • Torque @ RPM:
    333 @ 4200
  • Displacement:
    5.0 L
  • 0-60 time:
    6.6 sec.
  • Top Speed:
    149 mph
  • Price:
    € 120000
  • car segment:
  • body style:


1989 Ferrari 412 Pavesi Ventorosso Exterior
- image 671288

The Pavesi Ventorosso is based on a 1989 model, which was the final model year for the 365 GT4/400/412 series. The 412 was introduced in 1985 and remained in production for nearly five years, during which 376 units were built. The 412 was nearly identical to the 400 before it, with Pininfarina making only subtle tweaks to the exterior and adding a raised rear deck for increased luggage space.

This bespoke version was rebodied by Carrozzeria Pavesi, an Italian coachbuilder based in Milan.

This bespoke version was rebodied by Carrozzeria Pavesi, an Italian coachbuilder based in Milan. Founded in 1929 as a hearse buildng, Pavesi later switched to armored cars for police and other government agencies. Although it never achieved the fame of Bertone, Pininfarina and other Italian coachbuilders, Pavesi also designed and built cabriolet and targa versions of various Ferrari, Maserati, and De Tomaso models. Notable cars altered by Pavesi included the Maserati Ghibli, Kyalami, and Quattroporte III, and De Tomaso Longchamp, Pantera, and Deauville.

Much like the rest of its custom builds, this Ferrari is also a convertible, which is an important feat given that all 412 were shipped as coupes. Modifications are quite extensive as the open-top grand tourer bears little to the car it is based on.

Every single body panel was reworked up front. The engine hood gained a different grille pattern, the pop-up headlamps were removed, while the normal headlamps were enlarged and reshaped into a more pleasant design. The bumper gained a massive grille, while the lower apron was redesigned and looks similar to the Testarossa.

Onto the sides, the most obvious change is the lack of a metal roof.

Onto the sides, the most obvious change is the lack of a metal roof. Below, the car gained a new character line right below the waistline and the reworked front fenders and doors received a squared off, C-shaped vent. A similar element was carved behind the rear wheels, while the new character line blends with a black-painted grille toward the rear fascia. Around back, Pavesi kept the dual taillights configuration of the 412, but the light units were moved closer to the bumper. Above them there’s a black grille with horizontal bars that seems to have been inspired by the Testarossa. The trunk lid is no longer a slim top integrated into the body, but an actual lid that reminds me of vintage washing machines. This feature and the black grille atop the taillights, coupled with the fact that the fascia and bumper are now flat, makes the rear end of this custom Ferrari quite ugly to look at.

The five-spoke alloy wheels of the 412 were kept unaltered, but they don’t make the Pavesi look any better. While the front end is somewhat appealing for a 1980s car — it reminds me a bit of the VL-generation Holden Commodore, though — the profile is rather uninspiring, while the rear is absolutely hideous.

Needless to say, the original 412 doesn’t look that ugly all of a sudden...


1989 Ferrari 412 Pavesi Ventorosso Interior
- image 671275

There is no information as to what changed inside the cabin, but based on the photos, Pavesi left the cabin untouched. Considering the interior, I could say that this is good news. On the other hand, the 412’s standard cockpit is far from being a work of art. While modern Ferraris are known for their luxury features and outstanding craftsmanship, this wasn’t the case three decades ago. In the 1980s, Ferraris were more about driving than riding in a fancy cabin and the 412 is the perfect example to illustrate that. Sure, most surfaces were wrapped in leather and the fit and finish was good, but the 412 lacked features such as two-tone dashboards, contrast stitching, and race-inspired seats. The dashboard featured four analogue clocks, the center stack had square A/C vents and three more gauges (which were oriented toward the driver), while center console was crowded with buttons and switches. While the all-black interior of the Pavesi puts the 412 in a dull light, the grand tourer was offered with more lively colors back in the day, including cream and red upholstery.


1989 Ferrari 412 Pavesi Ventorosso Drivetrain
- image 671281

The drivetrain was carried over from the original car, which means that the Pavesi uses a 5.0-liter V-12 to show its ugly butt around town. The 412’s engine was almost identical to the one used in the 400 and 400i, but bored one millimeter for an increase in displacement from 4.9 to 5.0 liters. Output was rated at 335 horsepower at 6,000 rpm and 333 pound-feet of torque at 4,200 rpm, respectable figures for the mid-1980s.

The 412 wasn't the quickest Ferrari around, needing 6.6 seconds to hit 60 mph from a standing start

However, the 412 wasn’t the quickest Ferrari around, needing 6.6 seconds to hit 60 mph from a standing start. That’s because it was quite heavy at 3,990 pounds. For reference, the Ferrari 328 achieved that in 5.5 ticks with only 270 horsepower at its disposal, while the 390-horsepower Testarossa hit the same benchmark in 5.2 seconds. The 412 wasn’t exactly quick on the quarter-mile either, with drag times of around 15.2 seconds. Top speed was estimated at 149 mph. Both 0-to-60 and top speed are likely to be lower on this convertible.

Two transmissions were offered in the 412: a five-speed manual shared with other Ferraris from the era and a three-speed automatic.


1989 Ferrari 412 Pavesi Ventorosso Exterior
- image 671284

In the late 1980s, a Ferrari 412 was sold for the equivalent of $45,000 before options. That was about half the price of a Testarossa and made it one of the most affordable Ferraris of the decade. But, unlike other models, the 412 has yet to become a classic, thus current prices are far from spectacular. Depending on specs, options, and condition, 412s can fetch anywhere between $25,000 and $100,000. For this unique convertible built by Pavesi Ventorosso is being sold by Maranello Service of Calvatone, Italy for €120,000, which converts to around $136,600 as of April 2016. Quite a lot for a 412, but pretty affordable for a vehicle that’s unique.


Aston Martin V8 Vantage Volante

1989 Ferrari 412 Pavesi Ventorosso Exterior
- image 672484

Produced between 1977 and 1989, the V8 Vantage was one of the 412’s traditional competitors. Unlike Ferrari, Aston Martin also offered a convertible version dubbed V8 Vantage Volante. The drop-top was produced between 1986 and 1989 in 192 units and fitted with the same 5.3-liter V-8 offered in the coupe. Although it didn’t have a V-12, the Vantage Volante had plenty of power at its disposal. The original unit pumped out 375 horsepower, but by the time the Volante was introduced, Aston Martin had updated the engine to 403 horses. The British cabriolet was able to hit 60 mph in less than six seconds and its top speed was estimated at over 160 mph. The V8 Vantage Volante is significantly more valuable than the 412 nowadays, with prices going north of $250,000.


1989 Ferrari 412 Pavesi Ventorosso Exterior
- image 671283

The 400/412 received mixed reviews during its lifetime. While some described it as one of the most elegant Ferrari’s ever built, others slammed it for its mundane design and not-so-impressive performance. BBC’s "Crap Cars" listed it as the 18th "crappiest car in Britain," while Top Gear’s Jeremy Clarkson described it as "awful in every way. Its relatively limited production run and somewhat awkward design made it more appealing to modern collectors, but the 412 is far from being a true Ferrari classic. The Pavesi Ventorosso could have been just that, but the awful exterior design turned it into the ugliest 400/412 series model ever built. On the flip side, it’s the only 412 convertible you’ll ever find and its design is unique, as Pavesi built just the one. I guess it’s down to whether you want to spend more than $100,000 on a unique, custom-built but ugly 412 or a stock model with low mileage and in tip-top condition. I’d rather have the latter, how about you?

  • Leave it
    • Ugly profile and rear end
    • Dull interior colors scheme
    • Not that impressive for the badge


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