If you’re a fan of French New Wave cinema and iconic Ferraris, then placing a winning bid ex-Jean-Paul Belmondo Ferrari BB 512i at Aguttes Autumn Sale 2021 on December 12th will feel like winning the jackpot.
While the title of most famous mid-engined 12-cylinder Ferrari arguably goes to the Testarossa, the Ferrari BB 512i represents an important milestone in Maranello’s history as the final evolution of Ferrari’s first mid-engined sports car design — the Ferrari 365 GT4 BB. The story goes that the 365 GT4 BB’s low-slung form came about after legendary designer Sergio Scaglietti fell in love with the sketches of Leonardo Fioravanti at Pininfarina. In fact, Scaglietti and his colleague Angelo Bellei were so taken with the design that would eventually become the 365 GT4 BB — and evolve into the BB 512i — that they named the car BB after Brigitte Bardot! Of course, the official meaning was changed to “Berlinetta Boxer”, despite not being a traditional, front engined Berlinetta Ferrari, or possessing a boxer engine.
Scaglietti and Bellei were not the only ones to fall under the spell of the BB 512i’s design, however, because in December 1985 Jean-Paul Belmondo, star of That Man from Rio, Pierrot le Fou, Borsalino, The Professional, and Breathless bought this exact 1982 Ferrari BB 512i from its first owner. Clearly the actor fell in love with this Italian beauty, because he would cherish the car for 17 years, covering thousands of miles, before selling it in 2002. Not wanting his relationship with this stunning Ferrari to be forgotten, Belmondo left his signature on the driver’s side ashtray, which this car retains to this day.
Now you could be left breathless after a Sunday drive behind the wheel of this Ferrari BB 512i as it goes up for auction with Aguttes this month. Prior to the auction, this Ferrari underwent an extensive restoration which saw the bodywork, upholstery, carpets, engine compartment, and running gear all reconditioned. The cherry on top of this €250,000+ restoration was when the car received its Classiche Ferrari red book certifying its engine and gearbox number, confirming its unquestionable authenticity. Looking at this Ferrari’s stunning shade of Argento medio Ferro and its rare Daytona interior upholstered in Black leather and grey fabric, it’s easy to understand why Belmondo fell in love. After all, who wouldn’t be smitten with a Pininfarina-designed 12 cylinder Ferrari with 340 Italian horses just waiting to hit the road.
Photos by Kevin van Campenhout