Maranello, Italy - This is regarded by Ferrari’s experts as the finest example of a 1983 400i coupé in existence anywhere in the world. And well it should be, with only 3627km on the clock from new.

But there’s more to it than that; this glossy black two-door has been kept in perfect condition from the day it left the factory, meticulously maintained at regular intervals, regardless of the distance it had covered (or not, as the case may well have been) and kept clean and polished to a standard that the factory would find difficult to match on a brand new car.

And it has only ever had one owner: Keith Richards. Yes, that Keith Richards, lead guitarist of the Rolling Stones. The 400i was collected from the Ferrari factory in 1983 by the Rolling Stones’ tour manager Alan Dunn, as one of seven Ferraris ordered by the band after their money-spinning European tour in support of the hit album Tattoo You.

Three of the seven - for Richards, Mick Jagger and Bill Wyman - were 400i models, but only this one was ordered with the rarer five-speed gearbox. It was driven directly to Paris, where Richards used it to commute to and from the studio while recording the album Dirty Work. During this time it was looked after by official dealer Charles Pozzi.

When the album was finished, the 400i was transported back to Britain, carefully stored and meticulously maintained, ready for the rare occasions on which Richards would drive it.

And now he’s put it up for auction, complete with all its original paperwork, including the warranty card with his name and his Jamaican address clearly printed on it, at a special sale of prime Italiana, in collaboration with RM Sotheby's, at the Ferrari headquarters in Maranello on 9 September.

The 400i was Ferrari’s Grand Touring car for the eighties, offering 2+2 seating in a superbly proportioned coupé body styled by Pininfarina-styled in the sharp-edged idiom of the time, complete with pop-up headlights and Kamm tail.

Its fuel-injected 4.8-litre quad-cam V12 was good for 232kW at 6500rpm and, despite an all-up weight of almost two tons, boasted a top speed of 240km/h. This is one of only 422 made with the five-speed manual ‘box.

IOL Motoring
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