1976 Ferrari 512
- Year of manufacture1976
- Chassis numberF102BB 19885
- Lot number18
- Number of seats2
- Exterior colourOther
- Fuel typePetrol
Ex-Maranello Concessionaires demonstrator and press car
1976 Ferrari 512 BB Coupé
Coachwork by Pininfarina
Registration no. OBU 883P
Chassis no. F102BB 19885
Having reasserted itself at the top of the supercar hierarchy with the first Berlinetta Boxer - the 365 GTB/4 BB - Ferrari went one better with its successor, the 512 BB. For the new Boxer, Ferrari abandoned its long-standing practice of denoting a model by the capacity of an individual cylinder and adopted the Dino-type nomenclature where '512' indicates 5 litres/12 cylinders. The increase in engine size from the original Boxer's 4.4 litres was made not so much with increased power in mind but to enable the 512 BB to meet increasingly stringent emissions targets without loss of performance. Displacement was increased by enlarging both bore and stroke, while in addition the compression ratio was raised and dry-sump lubrication adopted. The result of all these changes was a useful increase in torque which, coupled with revised gear ratios, made the 512 more tractable.
Changes to Pininfarina's inspired coachwork were, not surprisingly, few: an air-dam spoiler beneath the nose, brake-cooling NACA ducts ahead of the rear wheel arches, four rear lights instead of six and revised air intake boxes, while slightly fatter rear tyres meant that the width of the 512's rear grew by just over 25mm. The running gear likewise came in for only minor revision, gaining stiffer springs/anti-roll bars and altered damping rates, while the already excellent all-round ventilated disc brakes remained unchanged. Inside, the 512 remained virtually the same as before but for the welcome adoption of multi-way adjustable seats in place of the fixed originals.
Road & Track magazine had achieved a speed of 175mph (280km/h) in the preceding 365 GT/4 BB, and although lack of road space prevented the discovery of their test 512's capability, Ferrari's claimed maximum of 188mph (302km/h) was felt entirely realistic. The fact that this was down 4mph on the Lamborghini Countach's 'fastest ever' maximum was considered unimportant. "That's because, taken on balance, the Ferrari 512 Boxer wins a more important award, as the best all-round sports and GT car we've tested," enthused the highly respected American motoring magazine. "If we had to pin the reasons down to one it would have to be that the Ferrari doesn't forget the driver. The Boxer has it all, the speed, the handling, the lovely shape, the well done cockpit and, most important of all, a reputation for reliability."
Possessing an engine directly related to Ferrari's contemporary Formula 1 unit, as well as being both lighter and faster than the legendary Daytona, the 512 BB was one of the most capable and exciting supercars of its era and is still capable of providing all the thrills that an enthusiastic owner-driver could wish for.
The very first right-hand drive Ferrari 512 BB produced, this car was imported into the UK by Maranello Concessionaires in October 1976. Originally finished in Azzurro Metallizzato (light blue metallic) with a beige Connolly leather interior, the car has been refinished in classic Rosso Corsa, a colour much more in keeping with both its looks and its parentage.
Having exhibited the new Ferrari at the London Motor Show in October 1976, Maranello Concessionaires immediately sold it to Maranello Sales for use as a demonstrator; the car being registered 'OPC 86R' on 2nd November 1976. Ferrari's latest supercar naturally created considerable press interest, being road tested by several magazines and appearing on the front cover of the 9th April 1977 issue of Autocar. Its press duties completed, the car was sold by Maranello Sales in September 1977 to Robert Cooper, then of Coopers Publicity Services. It is possible that Mr Cooper had the car re-sprayed, as the invoice from Maranello Sales confirms a verbal quote for £1,045 for doing so.
The Boxer was subsequently owned by John Woodfield, proprietor of Emblem Sports Cars, a successful Ferrari dealer in Blandford Forum, Dorset, who used the car for many years before selling it. By this time the registration had changed to 'TFX 550R'. Mr Woodfield, a Ferrari 512 enthusiast and admirer of Koenig Specials modifications, fitted wider wheels to Lamborghini Countach specification, as well as a Koenig Specials rear clamshell with wider flared wheelarches.
In October 1990, the 512 was acquired by an Austrian enthusiast and owner of a private collection of Ferraris, the car being stored in his collection for the next 26 years. Having purchased the car and returned it to the UK, Bell Classics has carried out a thorough inspection and re-commissioning, carrying out a full service, an engine-out cam-belt service, and fitting new tyres. As one would expect, having spent more than half its life in a collection, the car is in exceptional condition both inside and out.
With the value of V12 Ferraris from the 1960s and 1970s having increased dramatically, the potential of the Berlinetta Boxer series is being increasingly appreciated.