In October 1976, no doubt spurred on by the imminent arrival of Lamborghini's wild LP400 Countach S, Ferrari upstaged the financially troubled Sant' Agata manufacturer by releasing their 512 Berlinetta Boxer at the Paris Auto Salon, a revised version of the 365 BB, one that was more driveable in all conditions and with an enlarged 5.0-litre engine to provide greater torque.
With the exception of a wider rear track, few set-up changes were made, the outgoing 365's 4.4-litre flat-12 engine undergoing the most fundamental revisions. Despite no fundamental changes being made to the bodywork, a couple of detail alterations do help identify 512's from 365 BB's. Most obviously was a new wraparound chin spoiler, NACA ducts carved out from in front of the rear wheel arches and twin rear lights rather than distinctive triple clusters. New wing mirrors and a mildly reworked rear valance housing four exhaust pipes instead of six also differentiated the new version.
Inside some minor switchgear and instrument relocation could be noticed. The 512 Berlinetta Boxer continued in production until late 1981, by which time some 823 left hand drive examples had been completed and only 106 right hand drive examples.
Later in the year 1981, during October Paris Salon, Ferrari's 512 BBi most notably marked the arrival of fuel injection on Ferrari's flat-12. Replacing the familiar Weber carbs (seen on almost every previous Ferrari model) fuel injection not only improved an engine's flexibility but made it much easier to maintain, to live with, to start from cold as well as prolonging the lifetime of the engine.
The BBi would remain in production for almost three years. A few minor detail changes were made to the bodywork with clear reflectors inserted into the front bumper and supplementary driving lights now exposed in the grille and even new wing mirrors. 1,007 fuel injected Berlinetta Boxers were completed of which just 37 were UK RHD supplied making this the rarest variation of the RHD Boxers. This took entire BB production to just over 2,300 examples.
This fantastic example of Ferrari’s 512 BBi was first ordered new by H.R. Owen, completing build in May of 1983 as one of the 37 UK RHD examples. As per the service booklet, the car would go on to be first registered to Maranello Concessionaires as ‘HDT 1’ on the 1st of January 1984. Optioned in Rosso Corsa, with the black bottom half, over Pelle Sabbia interior with red cloth inserts designed by notable Italian fashion house Ermenegildo Zegna, featuring on the seats, roof lining, and door. These cloth inserts were a hugely rare option, with under 30 cars from the total 512 boxer production of 1,936 examples optioned with them.
The car would serve Maranello Concessionaires as their very own demonstrator until one weekend early in 1984, Mr John Collins was handed the car for the weekend. Mr Collins at the time was a journalist, who would later go on to establish Talacrest in 1989. Upon returning the 512, Mr Collins then drove his 308, immediately calling Mark Konig who worked for Maranello Concessionaires asking what was wrong with his car, as it seemed ‘flat’ to which he received the response "John dear boy – that is the difference between a V8 and a flat-12!".
A deal was made that very morning where Mr Collins purchased that very 512, including the registration ‘HDT 1’, to which Mr Collins to this day still owns, and can be seen on his LaFerrari Aperta. As part of the deal, Maranello re-painted the bottom half, as we see it presented today. Before the re-paint was done, Mr Collins generously loaned the car to CAR Magazine, where it featured in their April edition of 1984 where it was put to the test against rivals from Porsche, Aston Martin, and Lamborghini of the period.
Remarkably, the car would cover the large portion of its mileage by the end of 1986, where during an annual service, it is noted that the car had achieved 15,562 miles. For the next 10 years, the car would see minimal use, passing through the hands of a few owners until the year 1994.
In March of 1994, the car would pass through the hands of William Loughran Limited who proceeded to sell the car to the care of ‘Aircraft Maintenance Support Services’, a company owned by Mr Duncan Barber, where it would be kept under the ownership of for 23 years until the car transferred to Mr Barber as a private owner in 2017. During his ownership, the car would see regular servicing, despite little mileage being covered. Included within the cars comprehensive history file during his ownership is correspondence outlining an invitation to the factory in Maranello in 1997, to celebrate the marque's 50th anniversary, an invitation only extended to the most discerning of Ferrari collectors. Up until 2005, the car would cover just 500 miles until put into storage, where it remained until 2014.
In the year 2014, the decision was made to bring the car out of hibernation, during which time the car would be sent to Dick Lovett of Swindon for a major service and overhaul works, for which the invoice would total nearly £12,000. In 2018, the opportunity presented itself for Mr Collins to purchase the car back again for his personal collection until he decided to give it a new lease of life, selling it to its current keeper in 2019 where it has remained since.
In 2022, the car passed through our own workshops where a major service alongside other works were undertaken, with the invoice totalling nearly £20,000. Today, this fantastic low mileage example of the 512 BBi, accompanied by its original book pack, Classiche folder, comprehensive folio, tool kit and two keys can be viewed by appointment at our showrooms just outside of London immediately.