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Ferrari 512BB

1978 Autocar Cover Star

Price: £299,995

In 1976 Ferrari introduced a revised version of the Berlinetta Boxer, one that was more driveable in all conditions and with an enlarged five-litre engine to provide greater torque. 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 Boxer in 1976. But 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 GT4's. Most obviously there was a new wraparound chin spoiler, NACA ducts carved out from in front of the rear wheelarches 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. Few changes of any note were made to the cabin, just some minor switchgear and instrument relocation. Launched during October 1976 at the Paris Salon, the 512 Berlinetta Boxer continued in production until late 1981, by which time some 929 examples had been completed, 106 of which were right-hand drive and only 101 were delivered to the UK.

This 512 BB was one of the very first 5 Litre Berlinetta Boxers to enter the UK, and was ordered from the factory by the importer Maranello Concessionaires for demonstration and press purposes in Argento Auteuil with Nero hide (as the restored car presents today). Fittingly the car was famously featured in the hotly anticipated Autocar magazine article "Is this the Ultimate?" and was prominently displayed on the front cover of the publication wearing its then registration "TBP 640S". Maranello Concessionaires retained the car until 1979 when it was sold to its first private owner, David McLaren of the KMP Partnership. During in his 14 year ownership he covered some 40,000 miles and the file documents annual servicing and a fastidious approach to its maintenance. In 1982 he had the car totally repainted red from its original Silver. In 1992 the car was bought by the well-known racer Malcolm Paul.

This ownership would last 23 years in which the car was dry stored (and reputedly only got wet on one occasion). Regular MOTs were still upkept as well as servicing, but in this period the car covered hardly more than 1,000 miles. And so in 2015 DK Engineering brokered a sale to the current owner and having undertaken an inspection any mechanical necessities were addressed and the car enjoyed some sparing use over the following two years. Then in 2017 it was decided to undertake a sympathetic restoration of this special Berlinetta Boxer and over the course of 12 months the car was restored to its original striking colour combination.

The car was shown for the first time at the London City Concours in May of this Year to great acclaim. This remarkable example retains its original tools, spare wheel and book pouch which is accompanied by a thorough and detailed history file and pictorial restoration record.

A stunning example of the last 12 Cylinder Ferrari to breathe through Carburettors this three owner Boxer is ready to be used and enjoyed once more, as the Autocar Test review of this car (the "fastest in the world" at that time) concluded in 1978 "the potential owner would Live for the Boxer [which] does offer a special kind of motoring that is hard to capture in words"...

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