Enzo Ferrari had always been reluctant to change the front-engined V12 formula but when Ferrari started to lose to mid-engined competition on the racetrack, pride got the better of him and Ferrari started moving to mid-engined layouts in motor sport. The launch of the Miura and later the Countach, coupled with the success of the Dino sub-brand, had the same effect on Mr. Ferrari when it came to ‘taking the plunge’ on his road cars and as a result the Berlinetta Boxer was born.
First seen in 1971 at the Turin Motor Show, the 365 GT/4 BB was unveiled as the successor to the front-engined Ferrari Daytona. The engine shared the same internal dimensions as the Daytona (4.4-litres) but was now in a 180° configuration, like the Ferrari Formula 1 cars of the time.
Power was up somewhat on the Daytona at 380bhp and the torque was a little less but came in much earlier in the rev range. The true difference on the road would be the balance of the car, as opposed to simply more power and speed. The design was a huge leap as well, setting the trend of the Ferrari design direction for the next 20 years.
The original 365 GT/4 BB was available for sale from 1973 until 1976 when after just 387 were built, the new 512 BB was launched. Although similar in appearance to the outgoing 365, the 512 BB introduced a dual plate clutch, a higher compression ratio and dry sump lubrication.
It was also the first Ferrari to move away from the traditional model number designation, that used the individual cylinder displacement, to a new system of the displacement followed by the number of cylinders, in this case 5 litres and 12 cylinders.
After 929 examples had been built (101 in RHD), the 512 BB was replaced by the 512 BBi, which saw the move to fuel injection, a move that at the time was more prompted by emissions and moving with the times, as it offered no more power and one lost the incredible noise of six Webers greedily sucking air in, a few inches behind your head. A technological step forward perhaps but a step back for the purist.
This example of the Ferrari 512 BB at the Classic Motor Hub was ordered new by the official Ferrari agent, Maranello Concessionaires in May 1977 for the 1977 London Motor Show at Earls Court. Correspondence on file includes copies of original order forms to the factory and the specification of Rosso Chiaro (20-R-190) over Pelle Beige (VM 3234).
A photo on file shows the car at the show, where it is believed to have been bought and sold through Ferrari dealers Cooper Car Sales to its first owner. The history file accompanying the car is exhaustive with MOT certificates and invoices going right back to 1981, along with the aforementioned correspondence with the factory in 1977.
The original handbook and service book accompany the car in their original leather wallet. The service book shows stamps from 1978 right through to 2014 and the invoices on file show the car has been extremely well maintained over the years.
On top of the fabulous history file and provenance, this Ferrari 512 BB is Classiche Certified and comes with the hugely desirable ‘Red Book’.
Thanks to the Classic Motor Hub.