1951 Ferrari 212
- Year of manufacture1951
- Car typeOther
- Lot number152
- Exterior colourOther
Angelo Biemmi, Iseo, Italy (acquired new in 1951 via WI.PU.CO Srl in Milan, Italy)
Ermanno Aebi, Milan, Italy (acquired in 1953)
Mario Bonacina, Milan, Italy (acquired in September 1954)
Letizia Izzo, Rome, Italy (acquired in December 1954)
Clemente Ravetto, Palermo, Italy (acquired in 1957)
Jack Christianson, US (acquired in late 1950s)
Warren Scott, US (acquired in the 1960s)
Jack Stewart, US (acquired in the 1970s)
Ron Pinto, Palos Verdes Estates, California (acquired in the late 1980s)
Ven Fonte, Boston, Massachusetts (acquired in 2001)
Current Owner (acquired from the above in 2007)
Mille Miglia, 1992 (No. 228)
Santa Barbara Concours d’Elegance, Santa Barbara, California, 1992 (First in Class)
Santa Barbara Concours d’Elegance, Santa Barbara, California, 1993 (First in Class)
Rosso Rodeo Concours d’Elegance, Beverly Hills, California, 1993
Rosso Rodeo Concours d’Elegance, Beverly Hills, California, 1994
Palos Verdes Concours d’Elegance, Rolling Hills Estates, California, 1999 (Best Sports Car)
Marcel Massini, Ferrari by Vignale, pictured on pp. 117, 188
In 1951, Enzo Ferrari was working hard to build on the early success of his four-year-old company. Count Giannino Marzotto’s victory in a Ferrari 195 S at the 1950 Mille Miglia helped establish the marque’s name in the racing world, but Enzo believed there would be a bigger market for his gran turismo, for the gentlemen keen on showing up behind the wheel of a fast, sporty road car. At the Paris Auto Show in October 1951, Ferrari introduced the 212 Inter, a refined gran turismo. The 212 featured a 2,600 mm wheelbase and a 2.5-liter SOHC V-12 engine fed by a single 36 DCF Weber carburetor to achieve greater torque and driveability in traffic. Their prowess became apparent quickly: in November, a pair of 212 Vignale Coupes finished an astonishing 1st and 2nd overall at the grueling Carrera Panamericana, won by Piero Taruffi and Luigi Chinetti, with Alberto Ascari and Luigi Villoresi close behind.
The 212 was available as a coupe and spider, finished by different coachbuilders. Of the 82 cars built in the series, 37 were dressed by Carrozzeria Vignale, including the car offered here, chassis 0175 E. A copy of the factory production sheet states that the engine featured a type 166 crankshaft and Mondial pistons. Other specifications included Pirelli 5.90-15 tires and a 120-liter fuel tank.
According to research by Ferrari historian Marcel Massini, which is included with the sale, in November 1951, the completed car was taken to the railroad technical office to be homologated, as at that time there was no dedicated motor vehicle office. That same month, finished in dark green with silver accents over a gray interior, the 212 was acquired by its first private owner, Angelo Biemmi, who lived in the town of Iseo in northern Italy.
Ermanno Aebi, a famous former soccer player living in Milan, acquired the 212 in 1953, and after it passed among a few subsequent owners in Italy, 0175 E was imported to the US and was sold to a gentleman named Jack Christianson. In the 1960s, Warren Scott acquired the car; during his ownership, the original engine was removed and sold to a dealer in the Los Angeles area, and the 212 was fitted with a Buick V-8.
The next owner, Jack Stewart, purchased the 212 in the 1970s; he re-acquired the original engine and reinstalled it in the car. In the late 1980s, the 212 was purchased by Ron Pinto of Palos Verdes Estates, California, who refinished it in red and registered it on California personalized plates reading FERARI. Photos from this period show that a fuel filler had been installed above the right rear fender. Mr. Pinto drove the 212 in the 1992 Mille Miglia and also displayed it at the Santa Barbara Concours d’Elegance in 1992 and 1993, winning its class on both occasions. In 2001, Ven Fonte, an Italian gentleman living in Boston, acquired the 212 from Mr. Pinto.
The current owner acquired the 212 in 2007 and commissioned a full restoration that would return the Ferrari to its original magnificence, enlisting the expertise of Bruce Canepa and his team to complete the work. “It was like working on a piece of art,” Canepa said, referring to the care that was given to the 212’s instruments, door handles, and grille. “In re-creating the small bakelite knobs, we discovered that they are like a piece of jewelry.”
Patrick Ottis of Berkeley, California, rebuilt the engine, and Brian Hoyt of Perfect Reflections in Hayward, California, refinished the car in black with green accents. The restoration, which included new green leather and carpets in the interior, encompassed six years at a reported cost of $850,000.
This Ferrari was invited to be shown at the 2015 and 2016 Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance®, but its restoration was not yet complete. Now, having had about 100 break-in miles since the restoration, the consignor has chosen not to debut the car on the concours circuit, reserving that honor for the Ferrari’s next caretaker. Likewise, the 212 is eligible to participate in the top driving events and rallies around the world. Whatever its next owner’s priorities are, this magnificently finished example of one of Enzo Ferrari’s earliest road-going machines is sure to delight