Ferrari Berlinetta Boxer – The Road and Racing Legends

You never forget your first time, and for this reviewer his first trip in a Ferrari was in the passenger seat of a black BB512, 30-odd years ago. So when a new book on the subject arrived in the Classic Driver office it brought back happy memories of long hair, flares, and the days when you could let 360bhp loose on the public road in reasonable safety.

The author, respected Ferrari historian Nathan Beehl, charts the development of the car from its unveiling at the 1971 Turin Show as the 365 GT4/BB to its final incarnation as a BB512i: fuel-injected with a slightly bigger engine and Michelin TRX wheels and tyres. In between, he examines the car's contemporaries (Aston V8 Vantage, Miura, Bora and 911 Turbo) as well as the car's honourable 10-year career as a top-flight GT predominantly at Le Mans.

The Boxer has lived in the shadow of its highly regarded immediate forebears, the 365 GTB/4 'Daytona' and 275 GTB, but values are now creeping up, and original cars in good condition are highly sought-after. To aid the potential buyer, Beehl gives a thorough run-down of each model, as well as including owners' stories and a complete listing of chassis numbers with - where available - information on original colours and country of original delivery.

The specially modified cars of the 1980s have their own chapter (and it's strong stuff, so you have been warned...), while a large part of the book is taken up with a year-by-year and chassis-by-chassis guide to the racing cars that were a feature of long-distance racing at the time. This is one of the book's strongest points and although it's only 25 years ago, you could be looking at photos of GTOs and 250LMs from a much older era.

You have to admire the style of racing entrants such as Simon Phillips who, having shared a drive at Le Mans in 1980 (in Steve O'Rourke's EMKA BB/LM), liked the car so much he ordered a new chassis for 1981.

This was heavily damaged at an end-of-year British relay race when competing against pre-War VSCC cars and modsports MGs as part of Phillips' own team composed entirely of his own cars: 1938 BMW 328, 1951 Frazer-Nash Le Mans Replica, Ferrari 250 GT SWB Comp., Porsche 911 RSR and 1970 Chevron B16.

Those were the days.

A nice book, full of nostalgia and essential for current (and potential) Boxer owners.

The book costs £49.00 plus post and packing and is available direct from the publisher, Fiorano Publishing, on +44(0)1582 451850.

There's also a deluxe, limited edition (to 512 copies, at £99.00) version in a red leatherette slip case that comes with a CD-Rom featuring video footage, more than 240 extra photos and documents not included in the standard book.


Text - Steve Wakefield
Photos - Classic Driver

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