- 4.4 liter DOHC 12-cylinder / 340 horsepower
- 5-speed manual transaxle
- 3.21 final drive ratio
- Fully independent suspension
- 4-wheel hydraulic disc brakes
- Metric wheels with correct Michelin tires
- Rosso Corsa paint
- Fully documented
- 1 of only 1,007 produced
- Ferrari's last completely hand-built model
Introduced at the 1981 Frankfurt Motor Show, the 512 BBi was the last derivation of the 1973 365 Berlinetta Boxers. Thanks to a new fuel injection system, aerodynamic improvements and new tires, the car's increased performance and handling characteristics resulted in a new top speed of over 160 MPH and a 0-60 time of just over three seconds. The BBi would only be produced for 4 years before it was replaced with the Testarossa; and at the end of those four years, only 1,007 of the hand built cars had rolled out of the factory. Interestingly enough, no BB was ever originally sold in North America as Enzo Ferrari did not believe it to be worth the cost of federalizing the car's design. However, quite a few of them are now taking up residence in the United States thanks to their classic car status and subsequent exemption from E.P.A. rules. Logging only 5,001 original miles, this 1982 512 BBi presents a fine opportunity for a discerning super car collector to acquire an exclusive, all original, Ferrari with all the benefits of classic car status.
Production of the original BB was a major step for Enzo Ferrari. He felt that a mid-engine road car would be too difficult for his buyers to handle, and it took many years for his engineers to convince him to adopt the layout. His attitude began to change as the marque lost its racing dominance in the late 1950s to mid-engine competitors, and the company quickly debuted the mid-engine four, six, and eight cylinder Dino racing cars as a result. Realizing a good thing when he saw it, Enzo allowed production Dino road cars to use the mid-engine layout and re-configured all of the companies V12 P and LM racing cars to a mid-engine layout as well. However, he was still apprehensive about mid-engine V12 production cars, and the fabled Daytona was launched in 1968 with a traditional front engine layout. It wasn't until a few years later in 1971 that the BB, Ferrari's first mid-engine 12-cylinder road car, would be on the streets in the hands of happy consumers.
Derived from Pininfarina's 1968 P6 concept car, and introduced in 1973 as Ferrari's top sports car, the BB's body is a master class of subtle beauty. It incorporates the best 1980s-vintage aerodynamic aids into a shape that, even 30 years later, still manages to drip lust; and in the process achieves a still impressive 0.35 coefficient of drag. Get low to the ground and stare down this 512's super slick flanks and you'll find a stunning coat of 'Rosso Corsa' paint on top of great looking geometric body panels, which mix the best aspects of a top notch race car with some of the most memorable Italian design ever created. Its overall condition, fit, and finish are simply spectacular, and there are virtually no signs that its paint has ever seen anything more aggressive than a trip down main street USA. And when you finally take a step back and take it all in, you're presented with an exceptionally well-maintained example of one of the most significant Ferrari super cars to ever transition from the track to the road.
The 512 BBi marked the end of an era at Ferrari as it was the last model the brand assembled completely by hand. Despite that custom nature, its construction was all about speed; and if it didn't make the car go faster, it was probably left off the final build sheet. I mean, even the name of its vivid red paint literally translates to “Racing Red”! The BB's body remained largely unchanged throughout its 12 year run with the exception of red rear fog lights and small front running lights which were added in 1981 and carried over to this car. At the top of the body, you'll find eight pristine glass windows which appear to be factory original and are in excellent condition. On the bright red paint, simple badging complements completely adjustable mirrors which are designed to reduce drag. And all front lighting is tucked under Lexan covers which complement flip-up units that are mounted high on the nose at the sides of a great looking aluminum air intake. At the back of the body, louvered panels allow hot air to escape from the engine compartment, and traditional round tail lights hang above pristine stainless exhaust tips.
While this BB's Pininfarina designed body certainly looks the part, Ferrari is best known for their killer powerplants! Flip up the light, rear clamshell and you'll find a mid-mounted, horizontally opposed flat 12 cylinder which is the first engine the company ever produced that is not modeled into a “V” configuration. Not truly a boxer, but often referred to as just that, this all alloy 4.4 liter four cam engine turns stout 9.2 to 1 compression into 340 horsepower and an impressive 333 lb./ft. of torque. The engine itself was derived directly from Ferrari's three liter Formula One race cars. And in 1981, Bosch K-Jetronic fuel injection was added to greatly improve both performance and driving dynamics. The result is astounding performance with ample low end torque, clean throttle response and exceptionally strong acceleration. It's also a joyous-sounding beast with a subdued and composed purr at low revs, and a spine-tingling scream that becomes more and more fierce as you begin to glide closer toward the engines 6,500 RPM redline. That said, the car appears to have never been raced or abused in any way and shows the kind of modest mileage that keeps any car in good, running condition. Aesthetically, every component is race quality and there's an all-business look and feel to every single piece. And a simple examination of the engine compartment reveals no dirt, no leaks, and virtually nothing that diminishes the quality or function of this amazing car.
Almost identical to its 512 BB predecessor, the 512 BBi retained the same wider rear track, wider and longer body and monocoque chassis that had become its proven performance attributes. To make the car stiffer, that foundation was strengthened by sheet steel and fitted with multi-tubular space frames, front and rear, to locate the suspension and engine. The result is a 340 horsepower super car which, with an overall weight of just 3,304 pounds, was a stellar performer and became the kind of major sales success that is a Ferrari hallmark. This 512 BBi carries a standard 5-speed manual transaxle which is controlled by a traditional Ferrari gated shifter, and bolted directly below the big, flat 12 engine. That transaxle sends the engine's power to the ground via a 3.21 final drive ratio and a four wheel independent suspension which consists of unequal A-arms, twin coils, and front and rear anti-roll bars. The exhaust system has been tuned as carefully as a violin to deliver just the right note; and massive four wheel hydraulic disc brakes ensure quick and efficient stops. At the corners, new for 1981 metric sized wheels spin correct Michelin TRX metric tires. And everything remains in factory-new condition, from the bottom of the floors to the 31.7 gallon fuel tank. Make no mistake, this 512 BBi is a killer street car with more performance than most drivers can extract from it. However, it's also refined enough to be perfectly comfortable cruising to and from your office on a warm summer day.
Sit down low in the close quarter interior and take in the sights. Large, easy to read gauges are front and center, there's a three spoke, satin black steering wheel in your hands and a tall gated shifter to your right. The buckets are surprisingly adjustable and infinitely comfortable, without being confining or tight, and seem to be the perfect place to spend a Saturday afternoon. The dash pad is excellent with no shrinkage or warping, and everything works as it should including the trick Pioneer sound system which features both a tape deck and a highly detailed control panel that seems more akin to a sound board than a dash. The deep set door panels and like-new carpeting are in great shape; and a detailed inspection reveals almost no signs of wear and serves as a testament to the careful maintenance and use this car has received. An exceptionally detailed, and obviously hand stitched, console props buttons for both the power windows and climate control system in front of a vintage emergency brake handle. And at the sides of the car, big Kenwood speakers try their best to compare with the excellence of the engine's soundtrack. Behind the seats, some thoughtful storage bins sit just in front of the massive motor. Overall, the cockpit is a nice blend of the high quality feel that you'd expect to find in a hand built piece and a modern, no-nonsense appearance that's ripped straight out of a race car.
One of the most important aspects of any Ferrari purchase is documentation. As expected, the sale of this pristine 512 BBi includes original books, original dealer paperwork, detailed service records and Ferrari Classiche documentation.
There's a reason the Ferrari Berlinetta Boxer commands such strong feelings from its owners and admirers: these cars were lights years ahead of their time, hung on the wall of every red-blooded kids bedroom and now, even thirty years later, can still keep pace with the best super cars on the planet! This 1982 512 BBi is a superb piece of Ferrari history that's fantastic to drive, fascinating to stare at and fabulous to own!
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